Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Mentality of Losing

We all reach a point in game where winning is no longer an option. My recent tournament performances have shed some light on the other side of the game, Losing. How do we learn from our mistakes? How do we play with integrity when faced with certain defeat? How do we keep ourselves from tilting or worse? Ever dreaded is the rage quits and pre teen tantrums in a public scene, but occasionally that inner monster rears his head, and reminds that we are human and we are not infallible. The question is how do we make the best of a bad situation?
Learning from a superior opponent is the best thing we can take from a loss. At the Bay Area Open I was paired against Grimgob in round 2 and Yakface in round 3. These 2 gentlemen are some of the top rated players in the U.S. and they handed me my ass pretty easily. I was pretty nervous going into the games with them and I made some obvious mistakes, but they played exceptionally well and capitalized on every opportunity I gave them. Seeing their tactics and watching how they took advantage of my errors made me a slightly better player. It was also cool for me to meet some iFamous people! More on this after the break!

What about when you are technically better than your opponent? In Magic: The Gathering, most tournament players are very aware of their DCI rankings and sometimes they let this artificial ego get the best of them. I know going into a tournament who is rated higher than me, so I tend to carry a little cockiness into a game versus an opponent ranked lower than me. It is always a challenge for me to lose these games and it becomes apparent. It will ruin my whole night sometimes to lose a game to a person that had no business beating me. We are playing games of chance, in Warhammer or M:TG or poker, but there are mitigating factors to luck. Still luck is a mother fucker. The most fucked up feeling is losing a game on the last turn because you couldn’t roll over a 4 on 6D6, or watching a guy catch the card they need on the river to defy the 95% win odds to fuck you out of the money. Composure in the face of shit storm is something that is un-learnable, un-trainable and basically hard to manage, but I think it is one of the most important things as gamer and as a human being as it translates the most to the rest of our lives.

“Never give up, never surrender!” Like the motto from Galaxy Quest, it is my theory on life and the way I approach all things in my life, not just games. I would consider myself a gambler, I take risks and put it all on the line in the hopes of a larger reward. I am watching Guardsman Bob’s live stream and he is talking about risk versus reward and how he pressures people of lower skill / rating. His point is that people of lower skill tend to make mistakes, and the best way to force these mistakes is to play aggressively. I think this translates directly to real life. The problem is most people are very passive / non confrontational. This approach to life / gaming is boring, and it does not press people. Pressing people in games will cause them to make mistakes thus allowing you to exploit them. Casually, pressing people will be annoying and abrasive, but professionally it’s how most people rise to the top. Sitting back and hoping your boss notices your skills is not the most effective way to get a raise. This is also the best way to lose. Over extending, over compensating, and bad judgment all come with over aggressive play, but this is also all manageable.

“We wiped on Rag for the 18th time so I took my keyboard outside and smashed it on the tree!” Sometimes we all reach that point in life when we want to smash shit and scream!!! There is an interesting podcast covering the idea of tilting, or getting so mad that you make more mistakes.
Here is a link to that. talk about how shit spirals out of control and what they do to compensate for it. The last thing we want, as adults is throw a tantrum and rage quit, but we see it all the time. Watch professional poker on TV and you will often see grown ass men whining like little girls and stomping off. At the end of the day you need to be able to look your opponent / opponents in the eye and say good game. Sportsman like conduct is something that is expected and at this point, should be demanded. We must not allow the inner monster to get the better of us.

In closing, I want to thank all the people that have influenced my mentality in gaming and in life. My gaming career has sort of defined my professional career and the stuff I have learned from Magic: The Gathering, Everquest, World of Warcraft, Warhammer 40,000, League of Legends and Dungeons and Dragons has taught me a lot about life and has enlightened me to the different ways I can approach difficult situations and has taught me how to deal with losing in an appropriate manner. Being able to deal with these situations has allowed me to succeed time and time again when others have given up and as much as it sucks, losing is needed to teach us to win.


  1. So what you're saying is "Dok, thanks for beating my ass at warhammer for the last 14 years. This has made me the man i am today!"
    In which case, You're welcome bro. Anytime.
    I'm the kwai chang caine of this shit.

  2. I smell a distinct lack of modesty in this comments section... Oh, that's just Dok.

    Nice article Soldado, anyone that games for any length of time is bound to find themselves on the losing side and dealing with it gracefully while learning what you can from it is the best way to get better.

  3. Good article bro. Drop some knowledge on those hoes.


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