Why Do We Tilt?
First off, we’re natural creatures, so there’s got to be some instinctual reason that, every so often, murder sounds like a rational solution to losing in a video game. Some possibilities:
First of all, humans are hard-wired to be competitive. Males especially must be the best, the strongest, and not be perceived as weak. It’s in our evolutionary code – or you know, whatever you believe in. God made us that way. Nature taught us that way. French fries are delicious. I’m not sure what that last one has to do with the subject but damn if it isn’t true.
So perhaps this is why (french fries included), when we go 0/3 in lane, we get tilted. Or, alternatively, we go 5/0 in lane and still lose – we should have won, but we didn’t. That competitive mark was in our grasp and snatched away.
Perhaps you don’t realize this, but every day you are “checking” yourself from doing stupid things that are just plain socially unacceptable. Feel like stabbing your smug boss right in his smug face for giving you the crappy workload again? Welp, that’s socially unacceptable, better not do that I guess. Declaring your love to your coworker who’s married? Yeah, not a good idea. Feel like stripping down and walking in McDonald’s just to see how people react? Uh…yeah me neither…yeah. Uh.
Moving on. You’re able to say “No” to unacceptable desires because your brain can handle that important function in the moment. Cue League – which takes a significant portion of your brain’s processing power – now those socially unacceptable behaviors are simply harder to say no to, and attempting to say no can further stress you out, causing explosive behavior in an otherwise functional human being. This is why I play League in the nude.
No jokes this time, as I honestly think we should take this seriously.
Now this sort of falls in line with the two above, and I would say is somewhat of a hybrid of the two, but I think this is honestly true for most of us. It’s also really hard to notice in ourselves, and really easy to notice it in others. Case in point – I have a friend from WoW, and apparently his brother plays League at a Diamond level, and he makes sure everyone knows it. I beat him in lane during a game and he made a billion excuses. Why? Because he’s insecure. From what little I know of him all he has to look forward to in life is League, so he places all of his eggs in that basket. It makes for a frail existence because if you can snatch that basket away, the self-image shatters entirely.
I think a lot of us at least partially define our self-worth through League, and when we don’t “measure up” it can crush a portion of us that is perhaps more vulnerable than we’d like to admit. So we either sink into a hazy sadness or we make excuses. You can see how I saw the insecurity in another, but haven’t mentioned my own because I honestly have no gauge for my own insecurity in league other than I know it’s there. When I lose a lane I feel I should have won I can get pretty depressed sometimes, for instance.
We have lives outside of League
If life outside of league is going kind of crappy, or we feel it might, then we run the risk of having that bleed into League (and vice-versa). Playing League to “blow off steam” can be a great idea – as long as it’s not tied to the competitive aspect. If we’re playing ranked while already in a bad mood, we’re highly likely to perform poorly and spiral further. AKA tilt. We’re doing a results-oriented activity while in a non-results-optimal mindset. Disappointment will follow.
Playing URF (or ARAM or whatever) while in a bad mood can be GREAT for our mindset, though, because it’s light-hearted and fun (or it should be). This is why a lot of people play flex when tilted – they don’t care about their flex rank as much and since NOBODY cares about it as much the environment is much more chill.
There are obviously more…
But someone’s at the door and I’ve gotta put some pants on. Also it wouldn’t be beneficial to list every single instance of tilt anyway. These are some of the major instigators.
What Can We Do About It?
So there are two (well, three) solutions to tilt, first (well, third) – we can actually just let ourselves tilt and go on a murder spree.
I don’t recommend this solution.
Second, we can take steps to untilt ourselves. I.e. we must learn to recognize when we’re tilted and take steps to step out of tilt. Ha, pun unintended.
Third (well, first, since it’s the best), we can take steps to avoid tilt altogether.
Told you it was first.
So, obviously, we first want to avoid tilt. Here’s an unhelpful list of things you’ll never do but if you did it would help you avoid tilt:
- Meditate – can be for 10 minutes or 12 hours. In the Alps. With a Sherpa.
- Before, during, or after your games. It doesn’t matter because you aren’t going to do it anyway.
- Eat Healthy – A healthy brain leads to healthy thoughts. Eating broccoli salad with a side of spinach (no dressing), with small portions of meat (chicken/eggs for protein, fish/eggs for omega-3’s, beef for iron) will help you gain mental clarity, allowing your brain more “space” to manage socially unacceptable thoughts.
- You can do this once a week, every day, or never. Because let’s face it, you’re gonna do it never. You heard me, you’re gonna do it never. Grammar intentional.
- roflol, yeah sure, let’s all get right on this.
Whew. With that piece of useless advice out of the way here’s more unhelpful advice. And I mean more in both contexts – it’s added advice and it’s even worse than the previous advice – because it’s vague af and only “sounds” good but isn’t actionable.
- Recognize that you’ll win 50/50 and that any one game doesn’t have a large impact on your climb.
- Okay. You’re still losing and it sucks. We’re creatures of the moment, and our brain is engaged in a game right now, telling us to look at the future is not viable advice.
- Don’t rage.
- Is this actually advice? That’s why we’re here, to learn how to not rage. Telling me not to rage is like telling me to work out. My only response is “uh, k.”
- Fake it til you make it.
- This is just bad advice. Faking that you’re okay with the 0/5/2 Yasuo just makes you cynical. Cue “this is fine.” meme.
There’s more but it falls under these others in one way or another. You’ve all seen them.
So now that the useless advice is out of the way, how do we really avoid tilt? Well, it all comes down to preparation, honestly. You have a clear mind right now so take 5 minutes before your game to set yourself up for success. Think of it like a war – nobody is gonna load their gunpowder in the bullets and fill their clips in the field – they do it at camp and make sure they have plenty of ammo to survive the day. Be the same. Here’s some ideas:
- Come up with a few canned responses to people who can either set you off or you could potentially set them off:
- Have an unconventional (or new) pick like Leona Top? Someone’s probably gonna question it – be prepared by saying something like “Yeah it’s a bit unconventional but it’s actually been working really well for me lately. Check my op.gg if you don’t believe me.” I.e. avoid the pissing contest.
- Was someone asking for help but you either saw the attempt would have been futile or you had another objective in mind? Whether it worked or not, try – “Yeah, sorry man, I was tunneling on the tower, I got you next time!” Bonus points if you say that word-for-word and what you were doing had absolutely jack shit to do with the tower.
Regardless, this is hard to do on the spot, but not so hard when you’ve prepared it beforehand – hell, keep it on a post-it that you can look at so you don’t even have to think of what to type.
- /mute all works too – but you can miss some crucial pieces of information if you do this. To each their own, if you simply can’t handle chat, /mute all might be your solution.
- Loading screen – Are you going against a champion you haven’t faced often?
- Mentally prepare yourself for a possibly brutal learning experience. You may die. It may tilt you a little bit, but if you’ve mentally prepared beforehand I promise you’ll be “more okay” with it, and you’ll play safer afterward to avoid snowballing them.
- This applies to both avoiding tilt and removing it, but watch or listen to something that makes you laugh.
- The more out loud the better. Endorphins are real and they work.
- Dave Chappelle just put a new stand-up routine on Netflix and the first episode is pretty good, if you enjoy his humor. Try that. Or your favorite South Park episode. Or, you know, a youtube video of a man getting hit in the nuts by a football. Whatever you need.
- “Joyous” laughter melts stress (angry/sarcastic laughter (“haha yeah right, fuck you!”) only adds stress).
Also, one more useless comment that I haven’t seen as commonly, but still applies:
Remember how your coworkers, friends, and family kept telling you that once you stopped caring about finding romance you’d find it? The same applies to winning. Once winning is not really your intention but a happy accident – or in other words, once you can remove your self worth from the condition of winning or losing – you’ll find that tilt never happens.
But just like finding romance – you still care about it and you’re lonely and losing. Man, you’re pathetic.
Wait, shit, this is supposed to be motivational. You got this, brother (sister?), hang in there!
Okay so you attempted to avoid tilt, but you’re a creature of the moment and you’re 1/2/0 in lane because their jungler pressured you and your jungler didn’t do shit about it and now the enemy is snowballing and fucking hell bot lane is 0/5 already and it’s only 4 minutes in and holy shit this is totally gonna be a loss.
FUCK THIS SHIT!
Ahem. Yeah. Everyone’s been there. I promise. How do we untilt?
First off, recognize that untilting during the game is extremely difficult. It is possible, and if you’ve mentally prepared yourself beforehand it becomes much more manageable, but sometimes you’re just pissed as fuck and perhaps tired and realizing you maybe should not have played another game after your previous loss.
The first step is learning to recognize when you’re tilted and pause for just a moment. It could be during a death screen. It will take time, likely lots of time actually, before you get a good handle on this step. Tilt is sneaky as fuck and hates to be recognized. It infiltrates your mind and causes all sorts of mayhem all while attempting to cover its tracks. It helps you justify why you’re feeling that way (aka Blame), and pushes you to act out further.
So here’s the first step – develop a hatred for your own tilt. Hate it. Absolutely loathe it. It’s not you that you’re hating, it’s the little gremlin called Tilt that lives in certain areas of your brain, and you fucking hate that little shit. Tie a negative emotion to your negative emotions. When it comes up, you’ll more easily be able to recognize it, which will put you in a much better state of mind to deal with it.
Secondly – recognize that even if you are handling your tilt, you can’t fully remove it while actively participating in a mentally demanding activity like League. You’re too distracted. So while you’re now keeping those feelings we discussed at the beginning at bay – recognize that they’re still there, they’re just “under control” for now.
This means that you’ll need to absolutely, unequivocally take a break after this game. However long you need. Take the advice from up above as most of that will apply here. Particularly the point about laughing. Get to laughing and enjoying life again, then if you feel up to it, queue ranked again. If you don’t, don’t. If you truly are trying to develop great skills and shit and want to climb, then run normals when you’re feeling shitty and practice without the pressure of needing to win, but never ranked.
Just tilt, bro.
Emperor Palpatine said it best. Sometimes rage is precisely what you need to focus, and this actually works for some people.
Buuuuuuuut….it probably doesn’t actually work for you, very few of us are the chosen one destined to bring balance to…you know, whatever. French fries, the Schwartz, tilt, League. One could argue, actually, that there is only one chosen one, since, you know, it’s the chosen one. But whatever. I guess Riot was destined to bring balance to League, and they’re technically one company, so that applies.
What were we talking about?
Oh, yeah. Just letting your tilt run through you. Now I don’t suggest doing this on League. And murder, while it might be temporarily cathartic, is probably a bad decision too. However, blowing off steam by yelling in your room or punching a pillow (avoid walls, friend), can sometimes assuage the rage. Hey that rhymed, and I used the word assuage, as well. Double points!
Honestly letting your tilt run its course is usually not the correct answer because it can affect relationships and/or social standing. Don’t be the weirdo that everyone hears yelling in his apartment by himself. People avoid that guy and/or call the police on him when a dead body shows up. However sometimes it’s also the quickest way to burn it out of your system – just make sure it’s actually burned out and that nobody but you was affected by the burnout, and you should be okay.
If You Don’t Believe Me – This is Your Mind on Tilt
Take this challenge – it’s just simple arithmetic.
It works a lot better by having someone do it to you, but it’s still somewhat effective. Try it in person to a sibling or roommate and watch them fall for the “trick” nearly every time.
I won’t spoil it here – but the reason that the above happens for most people is the same reason we go on tilt – our higher functions have been engaged so we can only use the bare minimum amount of processing power for the OTHER side of our brain. Arithmetic has nothing to do with the final question, so our brain just comes up with the easiest, on-the-spot answer, which the high majority of people end up picking the same two things.
League is much the same – you’re engaged in solving numerous problems all grabbing at your attention – all of which run along the same lines of your brain, then a new problem – namely handling your emotions – comes into play and your brain just…can’t really shuffle its processing power efficiently to this new problem, so it takes the easiest path – and that’s usually to start lashing out emotionally, which then affects the ORIGINAL problems of CS, trading, staying alive, watching jungle, being on high-alert, etc., and you have tilt. Like Magic.
Whatever you do, once you feel the tilt, remove yourself completely from the source of said tilt as soon as you can. That’s step 1. Step 2 is making proactive decisions to reduce and avoid future tilt, as discussed above.
Nobody is tilt-proof unless they’re intensely autistic or sociopathic, so tilting from time to time is perfectly normal – and Riot’s statistics on toxic behavior shows that – most people rage from time to time and get it out of their system and are generally sociable human beings after that. It’s not ideal, but it’s still human.
After the game is over, you can use some of the less-than-helpful advice like “recognize it’s just one game.” If you raged, it’s okay, you’re human.
The trick is to figure out why you raged – were you embarrassed, lashing out, or just plain tired? How can you fix that in the future? Etc. Critically thinking is so important to life and it’s sad how many people just plain don’t do it. Develop critical thinking skills, it’ll go further than avoiding tilt.