Hello again! Well, it’s that time of the week again so here I am. Last week we discussed trying to deal with the negative spirals that can emerge from losses and mistakes when playing competitive games. With particular reference to my experience playing League of Legends and the ranked modes. I suppose this week we are going to talk a little about the difficulty in getting into a healthier mindset in relation to the game. So lets talk about hitting our aims from last week, or not as the case may be.
I think I did a pretty decent job, I made sure that I regularly ate and drank both before and while streaming, in a bid to keep myself energetic and positive. I’ve also been able to deal with a significant amount of the back pain that was plaguing me for the past month, making sitting and streaming more comfortable. The one that I didn’t do a good job at all of, was limiting the amount of time that I was playing in one sitting. This was something that I wanted to do to reduce negative exposure to the game. However, I think the reason that I struggled with this one, is a positive thing in and of itself. I was just having more fun with the game. I’ve been playing a lot of off kilter picks, Garen botlane for example. Learning new carries like Ashe that I’ve previously considered myself to be weak on. I’ve also been playing more with friends than solo. This has by default improved the experience as good company is one of the best ways to enjoy team games regardless of your win loss ratio. But there we have it, those were last weeks goals so lets move on to today’s primary topic.
Mindset and being positive are among the most talked about things on Twitch a lot of the time. Streamers creating a positive welcoming environment, keeping chat positive, its an identifying tag as much as an aim. There is nothing wrong with that, but how do you maintain a positive attitude for several hours daily or near daily, when you can deal with adversity in any number of forms. For instance, bad games, toxicity, either in chat or in game, things happening around you while you stream. I for one am fairly guilty of letting things spiral downward in my head. I talked last week about making a better broadcast but this week I want to talk about improving mindset in game specifically and what I’ve been trying to do, to make ranked more palatable.
The first piece of advice that I have been trying to follow comes from Fnatic’s toplaner Bwipo. Have a reason for what you are doing and if you don’t have a reason for doing it, don’t do it. Or words to that effect. I’m not sure why something so simple should resonate so heavily with me but on self reflection, there are several times I just auto pilot towards a farm wave, or don’t realise objectives are coming up. Things that are fairly integral to playing league at least decently. Looking back, because I just used to load into ranked and forget normal games existed, I went into every game whether I was giving it my full attention or not. When I was tired, unfocused or in a bad mood and I think that has harmed more than helped me over the years. Relying on playing my way out of whatever situation I found myself in rather than manipulating the map to create favourable situations.
Recently I’ve been trying a lot harder to create an environment where I can be at my most focused and alert when I head into ranked. While I recognise that I will never be fully focused when I go into the game on stream, as interacting with chat and providing commentary for the stream will be a focus. However, if I can limit the ways in which my attention is split, to just the stream and the game. Trying harder to put outside concerns to one side before I start streaming I think I stand a better chance at winning those games than I otherwise would.
With that in mind I want to talk about something I’ve always tried to do, but have been working on particularly recently and plan to do more if I get back into streaming ranked games with regularity. Using commentary as a way to think through the game out loud. My hope is that by doing this I will be able to improve the way I think about the game whilst playing, as more of my focus will be on what I am doing and why. But also it gives the chat an insight into why I’m making decisions and as such I believe could spark more conversations, as well as giving me a good way to fill dead air, without relying on chat interaction. It is my hope that if I can get better at this process, not only will I help my in game mindset, as I will be focusing on my decision making to a greater degree, but I will improve my stream quality over all.
The quote I started talking about this topic with, is about always having a reason for doing something in game. A great sentiment. One I’ve already said I’ve ignored myself more than I should. But, there is another important part of this that I believe could help reduce tilt. Focusing on active decision making rather than dwelling on mistakes. This mindset encourages you to make the best decision in the moment by evaluating factors, be deliberate with your play. This requires no small amount of attention and is not easy to do. I’ve discovered in recent games that by applying the pre-requisite effort to achieve this, I’ve got less time to dwell on mistakes. I’m prone to trapping myself in downward spirals and this is a great preemptive measure against that. It reminds my a lot of what I heard about meditative techniques being designed to put you in the moment. And if I can do this then I firmly believe that I will be able to avoid tilting as regularly as it will reframe my thoughts from, crap I made a mistake, to okay, a mistake happens, how can I solve it.
Well that’s all for this week folks, we are going to be looking at implementing this mindset in future games and streams! I hope to see you there.