Emotions can cause problems in any multiplayer game but those emotions seem to run much higher in Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games, but why? The answer lies in the fact that humans, by nature, are extremely competitive and MOBA’s are designed to bring out our most competitive side. The more aggressive and competitive the game gets the more competitive and aggressive the players get. It’s a fair assumption that MOBA players HATE to lose and that combined with the level of competition causes player’s emotions to soar to new, exasperating heights. In these situations, emotions take over and rage starts to fly off the tongue.

Does raging affect performance?

Rage in multiplayer games is highly counter-intuitive since it’s likely to cause a noticeable drop in performance. Even if you think that you are performing just fine, rage is a distraction that causes a player to make rash and ill-conceived decisions. The exact results of a player’s rage will depend on the player; some players will become extremely erratic while others will freeze with indecision. Regardless of how we act in a MOBA when we’re angry, these effects stem directly from our inability to properly deal with new threats or information. If you are raging, your performance is going to be worse. There’s nothing you can do about it while you’re still upset.

Ways to avoid raging

It is possible to come out of or avoid altogether performance robbing rage by realizing that you’re upset, taking a deep breath, and following some of these tips to avoid rage while playing MOBA games:

  • Don’t play when you’re already stressed or angry. If you care about MOBAs and your performance then you want to play seriously so if you’re already angry or stressed, don’t play. It won’t be enjoyable and you will play much worse than normal.
  • Mentally prepare yourself to stay calm. There will be situations in a game that will make you want to eat your controller – don’t. It’s understandable that you care about your MOBA performance but should you care THIS much? It’s just a game after all – game situations and your gaming fortunes are bound to improve. You will play better if you don’t care as much about success or failure as it will force you to concentrate more on the little details that matter like making a last hit or knowing where a ward is located.
  • Have a motto for your play that helps you stay calm. It can be as simple as “Stay calm no matter what happens.” Read it aloud several times before the game starts – you can go over it in your head or even read it aloud while the game is going – maybe it will help your teammates to stay calm as well.
  • Breathe through it. Research has shown conclusively that deep breathing will definitely help you to get calm and relaxed and then stay that way if repeated during stressful moments. Here’s how to do it properly: Take a deep long breath in through your nose – it should take about five or six seconds. Hold it for a few seconds – about three or four and then release it slowly out through your mouth for six or seven seconds and then repeat the process several more times.
  • Think outside the box. Imagine you’re someone else who can stay calm in any situation and be that person for the game. Alternatively, try to envision yourself out of body and watching your own gameplay – this helps you to clear your mind and see things about your gameplay you may not otherwise. It sounds corny but it can work – it’s an established Zen technique.
  • Listen to relaxing music before or during the game. Classical, new wave, light jazz are all good examples – whatever you like that provides a calming atmosphere.

These are just some basic ideas to help get you calm or help you stay that way while playing MOBAs. Combine some or all of these to tailor an anti-rage regimen of your own. Remember, a MOBA at its heart is still just a game so don’t take it so serious that your blood pressure is always at max – follow these tips, relax, and have fun!