The Science Behind Grieving in MOBAs

LoLMultiplayer Online Battle Arenas are games that have little content or story and are focused on pure combat between players. These can be quite fun if taken into context, but they can also be high-stress environments. Players of all skill levels engage against one another and tempers are quick to ignite. This often leads to players grieving others by making rude comments and disparaging remarks. Kinda takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?

Why These Players Grieve Others

For the most part, grieving happens when one player isn’t playing up to par with the rest of the group. Most of the time, this bad player is trying his or her best – which is still not good enough in the eyes of those with more Player-versus-Player experience. Since I’ve been playing, I would estimate that more than 90% of these cases result in other players doing what they can to make the lesser player feel as bad as possible.

Boosting Esteem
Like bullying of any kind, certain people will do and say what they can to make themselves feel better. Usually, these are individuals that suffer from low self-esteem or have a complex of inadequacy. By attacking the player with the least amount of skill, they justify their own capabilities and try to remove themselves from the responsibility of failure. Even if the team wins the game, the momentum for rudeness has snowballed and could leave the game and be perceived in the real world…such as the case of Justin Carter.

Control of an Uncontrollable World
When someone doesn’t have control of their own world, he or she will lash out in ways to make them feel like they do. Perhaps a gamer comes from a broken home and seeks this control in the virtual world. Adult gamers could have little control over spouse or career situations. In their eyes, the MOBA in question is their platform of which they can control and feel emotionally connected. When a player comes in and does terrible, it is an affront to the individual which results in obscenities and grieving. In this person’s mind, they are looking at the bad player and thinking, “How dare you play on my level in my game.”

RudenessThe Band Wagon
Many of the sayings that these grieving players post are almost cookie-cutter-esque. Most of them will make references to how the MOBA isn’t a game such as “Minecraft” or that you should “uninstall” the MOBA and find something else to play. One particular individual once told me I should uninstall my brain – which I think loses something in translation. These statements are not original and are assimilated by other grievers because they might be viewed as funny – at one point. Some teens and young adults will begin to grieve because they see others do it and figure it’s acceptable. However, this form of grieving only makes this person look pathetic. There is only so many times a certain saying can be delivered before it looks as though you’re beating a dead horse.

What Does Grieving Players Prove?

In most popular MOBA titles, gameplay relies on teamwork. When you begin to verbally assault someone because of the way he or she plays, you are actually proving that you do not have the capacity for being on a team. Sure you may play well with your friends, but the team environment will still be stressful as the need to point out the shortcomings of others is great.

TeamworkBy assaulting a person’s ability to play the game, you’re demonstrating that you do not have leadership skills or know what’s best for the team. You’re trying to shift blame from yourself to the lesser player in the event the team loses. This mentality will play a dominant role in trying to get on a championship team – should that be your goal. No one wants to play with a D-bag and it will absolutely affect your win-loss records and any other metric you feel that validates yourself as a person.

Grievers Miss the Real Point of Playing MOBAs

Games are intended to be fun and entertaining. To throw out an old saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” That’s the motto for sportsmanship. Those that grieve other players are missing the point of having fun. Not everyone is going to perform as an expert or have the same skills within the game. That doesn’t mean he or she is any less of a person, but it does mean that he or she may need some encouragement or perhaps tips in how to play better. According to studies made by MOBA developers such as Riot Games, teams win almost 40% more often when players help each other and discuss tactics instead of grieving.

The thing to remember is that not all players are going to play at the same skill level in any given game. Instead of pointing out how much a person sucks or how terrible he or she is, offer advice for improvement. Not only does it make you look more like a decent human being, but you could increase the chances of winning your game. Be a leader, not a griever.

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Michael Brockbank

I have been playing games for more than 30 years. I wouldn't consider myself a hard-core gamer, but I have brought the pain in my day. Now that I am rounding the horn at 40, I still enjoy everything from booting up the old Commodore 64 to exploring new titles in Steam. You're never too old to enjoy a good plot and mind-numbing graphics.

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