Tilting: When you’re so pissed off from losing multiple amount of games that you play worse and worse ’til you’re so pissed you begin leaning over your keyboard screaming over every little mistake you make and complaining about gaming imbalances. [Urban Dictionary]
I don’t know when or how it happened, but I have noticed something horrific. I am bad at video games. It pains me to type it, but it’s true. And, now that I’ve had this epiphany, I’m pissed off.
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fiercely competitive in anything I do. Just ask my brother. Even now, with both of us in our late 20’s, we’ll still do dumb stuff that we should know better about doing, because if he can do it, then I can do it better. During his last visit we did the incredibly stupid thing of seeing who could go the fastest on a skateboard. How neither of us ended up escaped broken bones is beyond me.
That competitive spirit has followed me into video games. First we would compete against each other to get the highest score in SSX Tricky, and later on when I moved away from home, I became dedicated to being the best damned healer my World of Warcraft guild had.
When another Restoration Druid came along, I made sure I studied everything I could in order maximise my output. My mana management was impeccable and my HoT uptime was damned near perfect. He may have destroyed me during the fights where we wiped, but I was the one who came out on top when we succeeded. He was proud, and so was I, but that’s okay because I always won in the end.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve returned to World of Warcraft after a considerable break from the game, and an even longer break from raiding. I am absolutely awful. So awful, in fact, that I decline invites to run Mythic dungeons with guildies because I don’t want them to see how tragic I am.
An example of my badness happened just last night. I queued for Heroic Auchindoun so I could finish a part of my legendary ring quest. I’d never done either normal or heroic of the dungeon before, so I had no idea what to expect. Things were going okay-ish… until I Thunderstormed the tank right off the edge of the platform. I apologised profusely and quickly left party. I mean, honestly. How noob can you get?!
Let’s not get started on how long it actually took me to get up the courage to queue for the silly dungeon in the first place. I’ve gone from being the person who pugged raids regularly to this pathetic shell of a human who is scared of screwing up in dungeon finder. Ugh.
I know the break certainly plays a part in my lack of skills, but after reading this post on healing the masses that talks about Self-Efficacy and eSports Aspirations, I think that perhaps it’s more so an attitude thing. To quote Eri:
With those that did exhibit lower self efficacy it seems to have greater negative effects with less chances taken, less perseverance through activities and often the reluctance to even commence such activities.
When I read that, it felt like a lot of stuff just ‘clicked’ for me. I have been so afraid of ‘stuffing up’ that I only queue into things if I’ve had a few wines for a bit of “Dutch Courage”, and since I don’t really drink any more, that means I’m pretty much never queueing up. It’s like a cycle: I don’t queue up because I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t know what I’m doing because I never queue up and experience it for myself.
Being the competitive person that I am, I really, really don’t do well with performing poorly. So, I avoid it like the plague so I don’t look like an idiot, instead of just throwing myself back into the gauntlet.
Going back to my dungeon example, that stupid, humiliating thing could have been avoided by simply: a) speaking up at the start of the dungeon to say I was new, or b) reading a guide or the dungeon journal while waiting in queue. Low confidence or not, I did not do myself or my group any favours by not going into it prepared.
Being unprepared is another problem I have in Hearthstone, too. I’m at a point in the game where I can make some pretty solid decks from my collection, and I’ll admit it, I netdeck the shit out of them. I was one of those people who played that Aggro Shaman list when it was a tier one deck. But you know what? I couldn’t get past Rank 14.
I can’t blame my cards when the decks I am using have been proven to make it to legendary.
A few days before my dungeon fail, I decided to ignore everything else that was important and smash out some ranked play. I went from rank 16 all the way back to rank 20. I was using a control Priest deck and I actually had no idea what to do against most match ups. It’s not like I was losing to aggro decks, either: I queued up against three control warriors in a row and lost every game simply because I could not figure out how to respond to their hand.
I think losing in Hearthstone makes me the angriest of all. I’m mostly cool with sucking at World of Warcraft because I rarely play it and I’m certainly not keeping up to speed with any changes and whatnot. But Hearthstone is my baby. I watch streams during the day, I organise local tournaments and I really enjoy reading about it, too. But when it comes time for me to play, I suck at it and I actually don’t understand why. I am researching deck lists and seeing how the pros respond, so why can’t I replicate that?
Perhaps it’s another self-efficacy thing. I need to load up Hearthstone while repeating to myself that I am going to absolutely stomp anyone in my path with my superior cards and choices, instead of panicking when I come across a deck I don’t know. Fake it ’til I make it, baby!
Maybe once I stop worrying about what others are thinking of me and my play style, I’ll stop being crap at the video games I love.