While it's pretty commonly accepted that ragers aren't winners, sometimes it can be hard to keep a level head in online games when other players are trying to provoke you. Short of just ignoring all incoming input (which can be just as devastating to performance in many team games) there are ways you can manage your emotional reactions and keep your cool.
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These tips come from homeyG75 on /r/LeagueOfLegends who, after spotting a thread full of general advice on how to control your anger when someone is tormenting you, decided to spin the advice to be more suited to the world of competitive gaming — more specifically, League of Legends. With the largest player base in the world, its not hard to find trolls in League of Legends who exhibit infuriating behaviour seemingly aimed at you.
The post cites a research-based article on suppressing your anger that is worth a read, though the Reddit post boils it down to four main points:
Suppression of your emotions is not a good thing, and that it only makes your emotions worse because your amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for emotions) is working harder.
Flat out ignoring your harasser and trying not to get mad is never going to work. So what should you do?
Venting is bad, too. This is probably obvious. Venting just allows the emotions to snowball harder than Nunu. This is responsible for people who just can't stop typing verbal abuse in chat to their teammates, things like "OMG this fucking team useless needs to get cancer" or whatever.
If you feel bad and your team feels bad, you'll all be playing terribly before you know it. Instead of spreading your negative emotions, you need to control or deflect them.
Distraction is the thing that does work. "Because your brain has limited resources. Thinking about something else means you have less brainpower to dwell on the bad stuff..." Do you know why better players can ignore the shit that goes on in chat? Most likely it's because they are focusing on the actual game and what's going on so much that they don't even think about the fights going on in chat.
With MOBA games like League of Legends, there are plenty of gameplay-related menial tasks to keep your mind off what might be going on in chat — many of which will even help you play better. Try planning a further strategy instead of dwelling on other players' abusive messages, or use the time to make sure you have sight across the map.
The Answer? “Reappraisal”.
No, not 'reprisal', reappraisal — the act of interpreting a situation in a different way so that it's less likely to make you angry. This is the most important thing to remember when getting your emotions under control, especially where it concerns other people. If someone is yelling at you in chat, don't tell yourself that it's because of something you've done, try thinking that they've had a bad day.
By framing it as your own fault (and seeing yourself as the victim) you'll only be making things worse on yourself, while reframing the situation lets your anger ebb away. There's no way for us to truly know what motivates people when they're trash-talking others online, so why immediately jump to the worst conclusion?
The guy that says "gg ez" after a 50 minute long game while he had the most deaths isn't serious. The enemy that says "LMAO you suck" after you get killed is probably on a losing streak. The guy spamming laugh probably isn't trying to piss you off to no end.
For those of you who still think raging is the best recourse well, to put it in League terms: "when you are typing you are not farming, harassing, or gaining an advantage."
Still having trouble with your game rage? Check out our in-depth guide to conquering your rage here.