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ryzeonline 11-24-2012 08:42 AM

[Solo Q Secrets #006] Breathe In (The Soul-Crushing Defeat)
NOTE 1: I don't have ELO to back me up. My rank sucks, but I still have wisdom to share, and I do play with many high-ELO friends. I've written a book about League, and I run my own business as a life-coach.

I share what I've learned here aimed to help others. I offer people Fresh, Creative Ideas they may not have heard. I offer a chance to EXPERIMENT and potentially IMPROVE your game EXPERIENCE.

I know you can appreciate the time it took to write, and I trust you'll be gentle and kind.

But, hey... if you gotta hate, or take sides, or pick fights -- best of luck to ya, I'm sure it'll
take you far in life ;)

NOTE 2: Like my other Solo Q “Secrets”, these are just my own experiences, and conclusions I’ve discovered. I’m a human being, I’m sharing things I feel will help others. They are SUGGESTED EXPERIMENTS.


[Solo Q Secrets #006] Breathe In (The Soul-Crushing Defeat)

I’m gonna let you in on a little something.

League Of Legends breaks my heart.

Actually, from time to time, league absolutely crushes my soul.


…I wake each day, hoping to god to play with other human beings who co-operate, uplift each other, and work as a team aimed at victory and fun.

(I know, right? lol.)

And you know -- I feel pretty blessed, ‘cause a lot of the time I do get something like that, my friends list is filled with pretty cool people, and it’s a big part of why I keep playing.

But still…

…lots of times, for me and for others, we end up ‘trapped’ in a game with 4 other people who rage, blame, judge, hate, label, demand, and bully the rest of their team with insults and snap remarks.

The emotional environment & attitude in this ‘eSport’ is generally hostile and unpleasant. (Yes, League Of Legends has grown from video-game, into eSport)

(awesome gaming comic Penny Arcade seems to agree about playing solo q: http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/06/29)

But there’s something very important to know.

It’s this:

In LoL, you’re not really setup to find good teammates.

In school, if you were to play a ‘normal sport’, like soccer, hockey, or football… you wouldn’t go find all the bullies in your class and play with them.

You’d get your own friends, that suit you, and play with them.

You’re definitely not trapped for 30-60minutes with a bunch of people you don’t along with, and who venomously blame you for anything they feel is not going their way.

But that’s exactly what happens in LoL, and Riot’s 20min surrender & penalties for DCing make it worse.

There’s a reason for this though, and it mainly has to do with their best efforts to offer free, instant gaming with 9 other people.

In any other sport, you hook up with groups, friends, (and leagues) who ‘get you’ and are fun to play with, and you work around their schedules.

In LOL, ‘setting up a clan’, and ‘making friends’ feels like too much hassle, people just wanna click a button and get playin’.

IRL you can’t just instantly play soccer - it takes more effort than that.

But in LoL people want instant gratification.

And Riot has provided it - but right now, you’re kinda at the mercy of their woefully under-powered match-making system (and it’s still one of the best in the industry!)

And so… if you want instant gaming with a bunch of strangers, with minimal effort on your part…

… you’ll end up with a pretty sh***y game-experience.

You’ll be playing with people who are basically at their core… inconsiderate emotionally, mentally, and often physically.

And video games are still a ‘young-persons’ past time (though that’s changing), and so be prepared to play with immature teenagers filled with angst, unsure of their purpose in life, and raging with hormones.

This isn’t blame; I’m not hating.

I’m trying to get clear on the environment you dive into every time you click “Match Me With Teammates”

It’s just how it is.

It's kind of like if you went to India, you’d see more Indian people; if you play a video game, you meet a lot more kids who throw tantrums and don’t know how to handle their feelings.

Are you following? Are you getting this?

Because for me… this kinda breaks my heart.

'Cause I see the potential of League Of Legends.

I see the potential for it to be a truly uplifting game and community, recognized by many as a “great place to be”.

League's already fun, for sure…

…and it could be an amazing way to unwind.

We'd co-operate and synergize with my team, rallying each other to victory, making amazing plays, and developing fantastic game-sense together.

It could be a way to measure my own success and progress and improvement as I see my own skill and situations improve.

It could be a way to connect with a fun, thriving community.

All this is so possible.

And yet…

Many times I get the exact opposite.

We lose hard, and as we lose, the chat log is filled with hate.
  • Blame from person A
  • then defending from Person B
  • then hate from person C
  • then rage in all chat from Person D
  • oh, and then the enemy team gets into it.

This goes on for 30 long, drawn-out, imprisoning minutes while I pray I can leave the game without ‘penalties’, start a fresh game, and get on with my life.

But I’m acting like a chump who’s scared of the Tribunal’s ‘penalties’, so instead I choose to suffer.

Yep, I brilliantly choose to suffer.


I choose to suffer... for what -- ?

IP? A game? My reputation? My … gasp … rank?

Who knows?

It’s pretty dumb.

It’s a silly game.

The world won’t end if I leave these massively unpleasant human beings.

Buuuuuut... I know what a 4v5 feels like, and I’d rather not do that to others… so instead, I ignore them, and my game is suddenly calmer. I can focus a bit more, but the vibe is still horrible and most of the team just wants to leave, except for a couple players who’ve decided to vote ‘no’ out of spite, or out of a misguided attachment to the game, or ‘principles.’

And 90% of the time, we lose miserably, and then I stew in anger for an hour or something.

I didn't make smart choices, lol.

Oh, and 10% of the time we “win” ‘cause the enemy throws away their insane lead with some of the cockiest, sloppiest, worst play known to man, and the zealots on our team feel proud of themselves saying “see! Toldja we could wwin n000b. Leave and I report!”

Well I have a message for Mr. Zealot…

Bravo! You trapped 3 miserable people in a game that they all wanted to leave, mostly because of your negative attitude, and you’re proud that you spent the last 60min dragging them to a win in a game for made up points.

Yes. Fantastic. Golf clap. ;)

Anyway… there’s a point to all this.

The point is this:

If you’re like me, LoL will probably break your heart.

And you will feel rage, frustration, hurt, disappointment, lethargy, despair and more.

And you know what?

It’s good.

You should be pissed off.

It’s natural to be upset if the game experience you’ve been hoping for, aiming for, and envisioning is miles away.

Who feels good when they’re ‘trapped’ in a game with people that barely suit them at all?

It’s ok though.

Eventually you’ll expand your friends list, play with a better caliber of people and find more who suit you.

And you’ll feel all kinds of good stuff too -- but I assume that’s why you keep playing, so we don’t need to talk about that.

Let’s talk about something that’ll help you.

How to manage ‘rage’

How to manage rage when a game (or 10 :P) doesn’t go your way.

It’s simple, just re-focus.

The thing is, when a game goes wrong, or your teammates begin mistreating me, it can sometimes feel like everything sucks.

Yeah, it’s angsty.

Yeah, I feel I ‘should’ be ‘above that’.

But it is what it is.

I sometimes feel horrible, like the world’s ending and s***, when I’m playing LoL.

And I believe other people feel the same.

So I’ve come up with a way to adapt, and it uses something super-simple, that everyone has.

The power to focus.


The Story:

So, I’m a pretty decent Karthus mid player, often carrying my team with suicide-initiations, well-timed ults, and above average map awareness - but I just finished a game where I was midding against an MR equipped Malphite.

We had some random troll picks, and no one really followed the meta (which can work, but let’s just say we could’ve used some practice.)

The rest of our lanes were weak as well, so it’s not like they could help me, and Leauge being a snow-ball game, it just kept getting worse.

I ended up going 0/4/0… as Karthus.

It felt like the worst game I’ve ever, ever played as Karthus, and other members of my team were focused on how bad I, and all of us, were doing.

Now, I was already kinda beating myself up for playing worse than I’ve ever done, I certainly didn’t need hate from anyone else.

So I solved it.

I ignored the haters.
  • I focused on the friend I was with on skype, letting him know that he was playing alright, that I appreciated his gank-attempts, and that I’d be cool with an early surrender.
  • I focused on the other games we’d had earlier, because the day before, we had many incredible wins.
  • I focused on contributing in other ways, and started warding to provide vision for our five team members (none of which were warding.)
  • I focused on feeling better, and I put on some music.
  • I focused on being happy my comfortable, ergonomic chair and my awesome PC.

Lemme be clear – this isn’t some magic potion to turn absolutely ridiculous, unbalanced, unrealistic, insane losses into wins – it’s a technique that can keep you happy, positive, and enjoying your time.

And yes, it *may* turn games where there’s a reasonable chance of a comeback around.

But if you really can’t get yourself together and focus, then at least…

…Take a break!

Some people don’t like to leave their game on a loss.

There’s lots of reasons for this:
  • They don’t want to create a habit of ending their session on a loss.
  • They’re attached to winning.
  • They think that forcing themselves to play is ‘pro’, ‘discipline’, or ‘sacrifice’.
  • Etc.

It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, I’m just sayin' try something different, and it’s something that works for me.

If you lose, and you can't re-focus, take a break.

As usual, there’s some pretty solid reasoning behind it, but it’s up to you.

For example:

Athletes are really good at their sport, they’re great at what they do.

Do you think they understand the importance of taking breaks?

Do you think they’ll rock the sport and bring their best skills to the table when they’re tired, overwhelmed, or stressed?

If you look into it you’ll discover that most of their incredible athleticism and precision disappears if they’re not feeling “in the zone.”

If you’re experiencing one s***y game after another or if you’re feeling agitated, frustrated, or irritated…

…I repeat...

...Take a f***ing break.


Well, when I take a break, it helps in a couple ways.

I don’t *spread* the frustration to others in the community.

This is important because most people want a community of calm, reasonable, friendly people to play with – I don’t wanna be the guy who starts creating the opposite.

And I get some distance from the situation.

For example, if someone asks me what I’d do if someone had a gun to my head when I’m in a calm, cool environment, far from any actual gun, I might have a clear answer, but when I’m right in the middle of it, close to the situation, with the cold steel of the barrel next to my temple, I might behave very, very differently.

(*note: the above is totally made up, I’ve never had that happen and intend to keep it that way.)

The point is: when we’re close to the situation, we often ‘panic’ or f*** up. The chances are high that when we’re irritated and very close to a recent negative experience, we’re not responding well.

You’ll give yourself a chance to release the tension.

And this relates directly to the next tip…

Breathe and let go.

This is the most ‘vague’ tip I've given yet -- but it works -- and for me it’s the most powerful.

Have ya ever noticed yourself immediately hold your breath when things get a little awkward? It’s a pretty common thing, and holding your breath can really mess you up mentally, but it’s subtle and most people don’t even notice it’s happening.

There’s all kinds of scientific reasoning regarding bloodflow, endorphins, and your nervous system behind why you want to keep breathing as easily and well as possible, especially at the first hint of stress, but I’m not gonna get into it.

Like all my "Solo Q Secrets", this is about experimenting.

It’s for people who are interested in improving their LoL experience and who are willing to give new things a shot.

I highly recommend it. If something’s not going the way you want, you can handle it while tense and holding your breath, or you can handle it while breathing easy and deep.

Try it and see if it changes things for ya!

Note: I’m not perfect at all these things, but I find they help me a lot.

Like a lot-a lot.

I feel these ways of transforming and redirecting my disappointment help me win more, but more importantly I have way more fun with LoL, so I don’t need to “quit LoL for a year” like a few people I know, and because it’s more fun, I can keep steadily improving, etc.


League of Legends is designed to give you a powerful experience.

And it does that.

So you’re gonna feel all kinds of stuff and get pretty emotional about the game, I don’t care how zen you are.

And there’s smart, helpful ways to handle those feelings and increase your fun, like 'breathing', 'taking breaks', and 're-focusing.'

They’re something you can experiment with.

Most people've never tried deep breathing after a hard loss – because it sounds weird & s***.

But emotion-management skills are key, they’re what truly wins games.

If you watch the pro-streamers, you’ll notice that win or lose they're generally pretty calm.

They don’t worry about their ELO, and they don’t spend their whole chat raging.

Oh sure, they do a bit, but that’s not the point.

The point is there’s room for improvement and it’s worth an experiment, maybe even for them.

These emotion management skills are rare, but learn-able. They’re easy, but powerful. They’re forgotten, but available.

So use ‘em, feel better, and enjoy better League Of Legends games.

I really, really want this community to ryze up and have fun, and I hope you enjoyed this installment of Solo Q Secrets!

Thanks so much for reading, and I’d love to hear results if you try it!


Like this? Read more of the series:

[Solo Q Secrets #001] Surrendering Wins Games
[Solo Q Secrets #002] Boring S*** Gets You Kills
[Solo Q Secrets #003] The Skills Of Strangers (Or... Not)
[Solo Q Secrets #004] ELOs Like Money - Use It Wisely
[Solo Q Secrets #005] P-P-P-P-P-Pokerface.
[Solo Q Secrets #006] Breathe In (The Soul-Crushing Defeat)
[Solo Q Secrets #007] Clash Of The Titans … Personalities
[Solo Q Secrets #008] Kills, Kills, Kills… Using Smart Aggression Secrets
[Solo Q Secrets #009] Make Sense Of The Chaos

Think this series should be seen by more people?

Reply and BUMP IT or...


Thanks so much, guys!

Keep ryzin'!

ryzeonline 11-24-2012 10:28 AM

Bump cuz it's brilliant ;) :P

Qsario 11-24-2012 03:48 PM

My own tips: yes, have fun even when you lose. But also take note of the other players who do the same and try to friend them. Even in some crushing defeats, I've made new friends who were positive teammates. We got totally destroyed one game, but the whole team was supportive and I made new friends who I play a lot with to this day.

Then I started soloing a lot less and playing more with my new friends. At any given time, I may have a couple dozen friends or more to play or lane with and I get invites all the time because people know that we're going to have _fun_ when we play together... even if we lose.

Also, instead of being all @#$#@$@#ing BS when someone manages a beautiful combo/skillshot/whatever, give the opponent some credit for skill. I've friended more than a few devastating opponents. And the next game, they were premades on my team :) This is especially nice for a support like me who wants nothing better than to have a skilled ADC to lane with.

Bosnianmafia 11-24-2012 04:08 PM

my own tips is to talk **** to everyone on your team and the enemy team you have to be a bad ass mother ****er to win

ryzeonline 11-24-2012 11:32 PM


Originally Posted by Qsario (Hozzászólás 31777646)
My own tips: yes, have fun even when you lose. But also take note of the other players who do the same and try to friend them.

That's a fantastic tip, Qsario, and one I focus on in other installments :)


Then I started soloing a lot less and playing more with my new friends. At any given time, I may have a couple dozen friends or more to play or lane with and I get invites all the time because people know that we're going to have _fun_ when we play together... even if we lose.
Yeps, I know the feeling and handle things about the same way. It helps a LOT. Only thing is not all of them are "up for ranked" and many are a lot higher ELO than myself ;)


Also, instead of being all @#$#@$@#ing BS when someone manages a beautiful combo/skillshot/whatever, give the opponent some credit for skill. I've friended more than a few devastating opponents. And the next game, they were premades on my team :) This is especially nice for a support like me who wants nothing better than to have a skilled ADC to lane with.
Yes, totally <3 this, I do this often as well.

Qsario, sounds like you really get it. Thanks for contributing, man :)

Nhan Fiction 01-12-2013 11:22 PM

Very wise. *^*

ryzeonline 02-03-2013 08:26 AM

Appreciate the bump, Nhan :):):)

ryzeonline 03-03-2013 10:01 PM

Bump for everyone who had a losing streak today :)

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