Prioritize Your Mentality - Utilizing The Mute Button In League Of Legends
Fri 20th Mar 2020 - 10:51pm
From all of the hours spent playing League of Legends, there are only a few things that carry with you into a new match from previous games: knowledge gained and mentality. Both are vital to getting better at the game and increasing win percentage, but players often prioritize improving mechanical skill and mastering new champions over practicing strong mental health habits to prevent tilting.
Tilting refers to a state of mind in which a player is overcome with frustration, causing their performance to suffer and possibly make more mistakes as a result. In 10 years of playing League of Legends, tilting has been one of my worst habits, hindering my ability to enjoy the game and negatively impacting my performance. In these moments my ego spirals out of control, demanding the need to be right, win an argument, or defend my actions, even when I know I have made a mistake. After seasons of tilting I've started managing communication differently, and it makes a world of difference. I do so by consistently using the mute button.
The first reason to use the mute button is simple; we play League of Legends to have fun. Getting flamed after making a mistake can be incredibly difficult to handle in a healthy way. We are often our own toughest critics and having to cope with both external and internal negative input can compound the frustration, allowing emotion to seize control of our actions. Mistakes are going to happen, we will not win every game that we play, and sometimes our teammates will make mistakes that we have a hard time accepting. These truths are unavoidable and often uncontrollable.
We can however take control of, and hold ourselves accountable for, our attitude. That can certainly be a difficult task, but I have found it much easier to do so by managing the flow of communication internally and externally. Without having to deal with verbal abuse after making a mistake, it is a much more straightforward process to stop negative self-talk before tilting. Reminding myself that I am investing my time to have fun, learn, and improve has been monumental in enjoying the game, especially when losing. The practice of utilizing these elements of positivity and patience has greatly improved my mental health both on and off Summoner's Rift.
It can be difficult to know when to mute someone. In some instances, it might feel premature to mute a teammate for one negative comment after a mistake is made. Recognizing counterproductive communication is vital to knowing when to mute. I normally ask myself two questions when deciding to mute:
Am I learning anything valuable from what this person has to say?
Some of the most educational moments we experience on Summoner's Rift occur when we receive constructive criticism from teammates. Teammates are often great resources for learning, and most learning occurs after making a mistake. Players with more experience and familiarity with play patterns are valuable teachers when mastering a new champion. I often receive new insight on champions I am already comfortable playing. It can even still be valuable to listen to a teammate with a negative tone, if you feel you are learning something from their communication. An example of this might be:
"Their entire team deals attack damage, and you're building only magic resistance items. You're not paying attention!"
Even though there is certainly some negative tone in the message, there is a lesson to be learned about adapting purchase paths in order to best counter what your opponents are doing. The key to knowing when to mute is recognizing counterproductive communication:
"Your build is trash, no wonder you're feeding."
There is nothing to be gained from this communication as it doesn't provide any real insight on what behavior should be changed to improve. Not all counterproductive communication will be as straightforward to recognize, but even just taking the time to observe what you are gaining from that input will help you decide if muting is worth it.
Is this person still playing with the goal of winning the game?
One of the most discouraging situations is when one or more of your teammates are no longer playing to win. It can seem impossible to keep a positive outlook in these scenarios but reminding yourself that you are responsible for your attitude will help keep you grounded as you navigate the remainder of the match. My recommendation is that you mute any player you determine is no longer focused on winning the game, especially if their communication is working against the goal of victory.
Responding in a confrontational manner to a teammate that is lashing out or emotionally distraught reinforces their behavior, dragging both parties into a dispute with no real victor. More often than not, the conversation will devolve into pure aggression without yielding any productive result. In most cases, not responding restricts the channels through which a teammate can vent their frustrations, and facilitates preservation of your mental state. Simply put, don't argue with stupidity.
Communicate through pings
The aforementioned questions serve as an effective litmus test when deciding to mute a player. Still you might be concerned about missing key communication from your muted teammates in the event that they decide to cooperate. An effective way to combat this dissonance is to tell the person(s) you are muting them and can be reached through pings. Unfortunately, you may have to mute their pings as well, as some players will choose to spam them in response, but at the very least you will have left a channel open for cooperation. Communicating through the variety of pings available is still a viable way to relay and receive information without having to subject yourself to verbal abuse. It also relieves any stress of being reported at the end of the match for refusing to communicate.
Every game of League of Legends will have its own unique story, with different team compositions, champions, and teammates. Your mentality is one of the few factors that is consistently carried with you into each new match, and reinforcing a healthy mindset is paramount to increasing win percentage. Muting is an effective tool for managing external input and protecting your mentality. A positive attitude has a significant impact on performance and should be habitually supported by limiting the amount of negativity you are subjected to. Recognizing counterproductive communication and refusing to provide a platform to further a tilted teammate's behavior are key components to consider when deciding to mute. It is viable to coordinate through pings when necessary, and letting your muted teammates know they are wasting their time by continuing to type to you in chat is advisable.
The best players in the world still make mistakes, lose games, and sometimes struggle to coordinate effectively with teammates. These factors are what make every victory in League of Legends feel so satisfying. Working hard to overcome these struggles, doing our best to learn and improve, and seeing those results in action are what make winning so satisfying. Always remember that we play League of Legends to have fun, so don't let another person's negative attitude impact your own. Hold yourself accountable for your attitude in the event that you feel yourself getting frustrated. Protect your mentality and enjoy every part of the climb up the ladder. I hope this discussion helps you keep a healthy perspective as you journey through solo queue. Thank you for reading and as always, good luck and have fun!