To Rage Quit Or Not To Rage Quit, That Is The Question

Last night, after a gruelling episode of Game of Thrones, a good number of people swore they would never watch the show again. Take a look at the retweets on the TheRedWedding Twitter account, which chronicles the extreme reaction to the Rains of Castamere episode, to see what I mean. (Don't visit the link if you're trying to avoid spoilers!) You might say they "rage quit" Game of Thrones.

While not unique to multiplayer games — there's the Game of Thrones example, and I've definitely rage-quit singleplayer games — chances are that if you play online games, you're well-acquainted with rage-quitters. These are the people who end up leaving a match mid-progress instead of waiting for the game to end. Maybe they were losing. Maybe the match was annoying because they kept teleporting everywhere — bad connection. Maybe they're a bad sport. Maybe the same person kept killing them again and again just 30 seconds after they'd spawn.

The reason doesn't matter so much as the act of leaving in frustration does. Hence, you know, the rage part of rage quitting. But it's not always as simple as being pushed to the brink of your tolerance. While quitting mid-match can be seen as 'rage-quitting,' there are a lot of different scenarios that will illicit a similar response.

It sounds silly — and it is — but it's still a huge part of multiplayer games. People rage quit all the time, to the point that some games have measures or achievements associated with the practice. Some games might give you a penalty of some sort: if you leave a match early, you don't get any experience in your next game. That's a common measure. Sometimes, games like to have more fun with the practice — Team Fortress 2's "BarbeQueQ" achievement comes to mind, which Pyros can get if the player they "dominate" leaves the server.

On the whole, rage-quitting is seen as an act of bad sportsmanship, although troll-culture makes it so that a rage quit isn't necessarily an undesired outcome. Sure, it sucks if you have someone on your team leave a game before it ends — but on the flipside, it can also feel gratifying to think you are the specific reason someone feels angry. The fact there's an entire culture around this should not be understated: there are forums, websites and more dedicated to presenting people with irritating material, posing that if you let it affect you, you've lost.

Only the stoic can win — or, put another way, you rage you lose! Of course there's such a big problem with bullying online when that's the case. Hazing breeds hazing, and only those able to keep it together even when under immense, possibly unfair pressure, are worthy of respect.

Seen in that light, there's always a bigger 'game' going on when you play against someone. You can lose the video game, but you can still win the more important 'game.' You can still be the better man and leave with your head held high, so to speak — or at least you can make it look that way.

You can lose the video game, but you can still win the more important 'game.'

Appearances and dignity are a huge part of rage quitting, after all — and so the feeling of frustration is not the whole picture here. Remember, we've got stats and leaderboards to consider as well. A match that doesn't go in your favour is not a thing you can hide when most games keep track of information like win/loss ratio or kill/death ratio. As a result, many people are willing to take a loss by disconnecting from a game if it means they can keep their precious statistics intact. They might not necessarily be raging because they're losing: they might simply leave because it's a way to save face.

It's just as (arguably) scummy of a reason, but there's technically no "rage" happening in that rage quit. Which is to say, the reasons that someone leaves a match might be more complex than losing a game, or even just because "they mad." A recent look into the practice in DOTA 2 by Valve reveals the following:

The outcome of matches doesn’t correlate at all to the likelihood of quitting. Losing a bunch of Dota 2 games doesn’t seem to cause people to quit.

Instead, one of the primary reasons why people left matches was because of unpleasant communication between players. The things that make people rage quit, then, may not be related to the immediate game at all.

This makes me curious about other people's rage-quitting habits — because let's be real, many of us have probably left a match before it was over. I've definitely left a match before I got too pissed off to be able to have any fun or contribute meaningfully to the team's effort. In the case where my repeated death can have consequences for the entire team, leaving seems like an imperative. I don't want to be fodder for someone to repeatedly get a kill streak, or make it so that the team's life pool becomes endangered because I can't keep my shit together. In that case, leaving might even be a boon for the team.

That's a whole lot of justification for a kind of shitty act, but hey, these things happen. I find that more often than not, I see rage-quitting as an opportunity to prove myself — situations where my team wins despite being a man down feel that much more rewarding. I'll stay in these matches just to prove a point.

But that's enough about me. I'm curious about you guys. Do you have hard rules about when you can leave a game? Do you care about how it might affect others at all, or do you put your own enjoyment of the game before sportsmanship? And if you don't really play online games, have you ever found yourself rage-quitting media — like Game of Thrones? What does it take to push you off the brink and give something you enjoy up?

The Multiplayer is a weekly column that looks at how people crash into each other while playing games.

Picture: Shutterstock


    If you're not enjoying something, stop doing it. If you are enjoying it, keep doing it. If you need a short break from something because you enjoy it normally but right now you don't, then take a short break. It's not really a puzzling dilemma or anything.

      sooo...if a cyber bully reads your speil he would be like..."yea! I should definitely do it more coz i enjoy it!" :P

        I think the important caveat should be '...whilst being considerate to others'.

      What's puzzling is so many keep playing, even when they're not enjoying the game, to the point that they are full of rage.

      I've been guilty of this many times with street fighter.

    people who rage quit are stupid and should seek help

    It's just a game and is meant to be a leisure activity. So many people seem to be incapable of controlling their own emotions and I can't understand why.

    I only ever quit games if people are cheating or using hacks and even then it's not out of rage, other than that nothing else bothers me or causes me to quit.

    Last edited 04/06/13 6:23 pm

    I occasionally rage quit. Hate it when i do. I respect a team who are losing badly and still play to the end

      I rage-quit an episode of Criminal Minds the other day, a serial killer captured a dude, he fought back with his kickboxing skills, they ended up locked together on the floor long enough for the killer to reach for his dropped gun and shoot the dude in his gut. All the while the dudes wife was crying in a corner instead of picking up the gun and saving her husbands life, I was so angry at her for allowing him to die like a dog, and letting herself be killed right after, that I had to turn the pc off and walk around to cool off. The dude was fighting for their lives and she just sat there.

      I rage-quit singleplayer games sometimes. Like when I get killed thirty times trying to jump over the same gap or whatever, because such a build up of frustration has to be released. I'd never throw my controller across a room like some people though, that's just irrationally destructive.

      In multiplayer I'm happy to stick around and lose a game, it's only fair. But I've also been marked on record before as a bad sport just because of a random disconnect.. it's ridiculous how people can be so selfish. It ruined my ability to play in the same leagues again.

      That said I see absolutely no need to stick around and continue playing a game, something that I do for enjoyment, with trash talking scum bags who can't tell they are mentally and emotionally deficient when they say things like 'rape culture' is an acceptable part of gaming. These kind of people might believe they've won something 'more than the game' when a guy like me leaves a server, but it's usually because I'm not interested in, or just plain disgusted with their behaviour. nothing to do with rage. The fact they do feel that way is probably more evidence of mental health problems.

      Oh.. I also rage-quit Game of Thrones after a few episodes because I decided to read the books and then realised I'd have to wait six years for the dude to even write the next one, I just instantly and angrily lost all interest in knowing how it turns out.. they probably all die anyway.

    An ex girlfriend of mine actually rage quit modern warfare 2 *SPOLIER BUT AS IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW* when Ghost and Roach get killed in one of the last few missions and got all nutty calling it a stupid game. she hasn't seen the red wedding episode of game of thrones yet, and she's much more invested I'd say, so it'll be VERY interesting to see her reaction


      Kotaku even provides a handy click button for spoilers

        ohhh thanks man, didn't realise, i posted it on my phone

    I don't rage quit, I get comfortable in my bed and cry myself to sleep.
    Wake up the next morning and tell myself that yesterday didn't happen.

    For my friend and I, we rage quit only because of the poor game design on the Xbox. Because all multiplayer games on the 360 (other than BF3) are peer-to-peer, lag is a huge problem. We just quit and try to find another match when we find the lag too much in a particular match. So we basically end up match surfing to find a playable (but still bad lag) game. So we never end up playing CoD or Halo or Gears, and only game that we really did play was BF3 because we could pick and choose the lag. I hope that with the new generation of consoles, they ban peer-to-peer multiplayer and force games to use servers.

      Same thing here. Poor lag handling makes some games very difficult to play. I constantly drop out of games in COD because I am lagging so far behind other players that there is no point in continuing.

      Yeah, I really don't get why they considered quitting out of a game where you're rubber-banding or teleporting to be a 'rage' quit. There's no rage involved. A FPS at 450ms isn't a game, it's a powerpoint slideshow. You write it off and pick another game. What on earth could anyone use as a valid reason for sticking around in that? It'd be like inviting someone around for a game of tennis where one half of the court is quicksand and complaining that people aren't sticking around to play in it. Weirdos.

      (Of course, this is part of the reason I don't play multiplayer games which aren't MMOs or don't have server-selection.)

    Why would you rage quit Game of Thrones? People are angry things don't turn out like they expect? That's what makes it so good!

      Agree. I was caught off guard with the ending, and that's what really impressed me about the episode. The only part I didn't like was when Robb's wolf was killed. But that was to be expected, really.

        It could have been worse.

        In the book, the Freys cut off Grey Wind's head and sew it on Robb's body. Which probably would have gotten an even stronger reaction on Twitter...

      I don't know if it's because I haven't watched the series yet or if it's because I know what to expect with the series, but I checked out spoilers of the episode to see what everyone was upset about and couldn't find anything.
      Then I found out what it was and I kind of shocked that people were upset because George R. R. Martin is known for killing everyone off.

    I don't like Patricia's definition of Rage quitting:

    "These are the people who end up leaving a match mid-progress instead of waiting for the game to end. "

    What about people who lose their connection, or the server times out while they're having a smoke, or they just ran out of time to game. That's not rage quitting in my book. But also, I really don't care what others think when I'm ready to leave a game. I'll try my best not to leave when the team's relying on me, but when I have to/want to leave, I leave.

    I don't get mad at games (or ever, really) - but sometimes a game is just like.. Ehhh.. Or the game is won, and without judgements the team still will not admit defeat and surrender. 20-30 extra minutes of your life getting stomped (for example in LoL where once they get a bit of headway, it's over, or you some games have 2 afk from the start making it 3v5)..

    Just walk away.. Go breathe the air and know you are alive - maybe not in the game because you're 0/17/3, but still... Alive none the less. :3

    I try very hard not to ragequit. You'll never see me do it just because I'm behind on some multiplayer scoreboard but if the connection goes bad, the rage builds pretty quickly. That will send be running fast.

    The closest I've ever come to "Rage quitting", though I dislike that term, is the final boss from Sonic and the Secret Rings. Runner up would be one of the bosses from BioShock Infinite.

    I raged a few times finishing earthworm jim when I was a wee lad.

    I don't think I really rage quit multiplayer games. I tend to stick around even when being dominated. If I leave, it's usually because I'm either bored or because it's the end of the round. If If there's a cheater in the server, then that's an entirely different story. I think the closest I've come to "rage quitting" a server is when my team is continually being destroyed. At that point, I'm not so much "raging" as I am, again, bored. There's no enjoyment in getting annihilated over and over again. But again, I will usually wait till the end of a round before I leave so it's not really conforming to this article's definition of a rage quit.

    The only times I have ever rage quitted games are when I'm playing single player. Unlike multiplayer where your chances of victory changes with every experience, with single player games, the thing that makes me rage is a reoccuring mechanic in the game that can't be avoided. At that point, I'll drop the game and will more than likely never play it again.

    just play LOL and you will know the true meaning of rage quitting

    Ahhh, DOTA. I ragequit that due to almost everyone seemingly expecting me to be absolutely epic at the whole micromanagement part of it (in beginner's games), just got so annoying with other people ragequitting from my team (and the other team sometimes) that I just ragequit myself. The game just wasn't fun for me.

    It's a question?

    If I'm so angry at a game that I need to rage quit that means I'm not having fun, which negates the whole reason I started playing in the first place :-/

    More games need a forfeit function. If I'm being thoroughly trounced, with no hope of coming back, there's really no reason why I should have to prolong the dull, irritating process. I should be allowed to concede the loss (or at least start a vote if it's a team game) and move on to what will, hopefully, be a more entertaining and evenly-matched experience.

    I only have one night a week to game. Winning or losing doesn't matter so much, but if I can fit in 3 fun matches it's much better than a single, annoying, prolonged annihilation.

    Is it werid that i rage quit in single player games or games with my friends than with randoms on games like LoL?

    I rage quit very often and with absolutely no regrets. I don't care if I'm being a bad sport, it's not like I'll ever see most of these people in real life. I want to play games to have fun but it's never fun to keep dying all the time. It's getting harder and harder to play video games like CoD for fun, because evrtyone on these games lives only to dominate the weak because they're weak in the real world. So I rage quit often because if I'm starting to get angry I don't have fun and I don't see a point in playing games if they aren't fun.

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