Ranked Anxiety: How to Overcome Your Shortcomings



Wed 27th Apr 2016 - 2:43pm

First let me explain what ranked anxiety is. Ranked anxiety is the fear and anxiousness of playing ranked due to a few factors; toxicity, poor play and the feeling that something is at stake. These are all valid fears that Smite players have to deal with every day. Nobody wants to fail, especially when something is on the line. These feelings need to be abandoned however.

You Cannot Control Matchmaking.

Many people are scared that they will be queued with trolls or "bad" players, so why would they want to lose their rankings because of these people. This mindset is counterproductive as you will be queued with trolls no matter what gamemode you queue for. The idea that you will get trolls in enough games that causes you to lose a ranking is nigh impossible as they are the minority in ranked. There are many more people that wish to climb in the ranked scene rather than prohibit others.

The other issue of poor player quality is a biased perspective. It is much easier to find faults in teammates rather than yourself, something that I, as well as much of the Smite player base, am guilty of. However, it is impossible to change how another person plays but you can control how you play. So it is possible to change your own playstyle to better adapt to your teammates as that is the one thing you can control in ranked games. You can be a part of the solution, possibly changing how aggressive to be based on team positioning as a solution to a person not understanding their characters at a high level.

Do You Feel Uncomfortable with Your Own Play?

Another major issue with ranked anxiety is a person's own feeling of inadequacy. This includes a plethora of things, mainly mechanics and game knowledge. In order to play ranked you must meet two criteria, you must be level thirty and you must have eighteen gods mastered. These requirements are so you can have basic game understanding and so you can choose at least one god if you are the very last pick in the draft phase.

However, it is recommended to have more gods mastered than the minimum eighteen so that you have the ability to adapt to other players. This is where the anxiety begins. I have met many people that have mastered every god in Smite and still feel that they are not ready for ranked. This is an issue, as if you have anything above forty gods mastered and preferably at least four gods in each role, you are prepared for ranked play. Also as long as you have the top three "meta" picks you will be fine if anyone needs you to pick up a god for them.

Generally, those that have ranked anxiety are in lower tiers of ranked. This means that you are still in the ranks where you can be forgiven for mistakes, so it isn't necessary to be a mechanical god like the professional players. This is a buffer zone that the anxious players I know fail to realize. Usually I hear the term 'Elo Hell' associated with lower tiers in ranked and this scares many new players. Since these tiers of ranked have traditionally worse players, the quality of the game isn't that of the higher tiers but it isn't expected to be. These tiers of the game are meant to help you as a player adapt so that you can be both a better mechanical player and a better team fighter in higher rankings.

The Mindset of Ranked

The one major difference between casual play and ranked conquest is the idea that you "lose" or "gain" something after every game. This causes mindset that every time you lose, you are punished. This makes not playing ranked seem like a better choice since you don't lose anything in casual games. This mindset is slightly incorrect, as the TP system is meant to represent progression of a player on their climb in ranked and most win to loss ratios for standard players range between 45%-55% so there is no need to feel anxious about losing, as the game is balanced around your own skill level.

Is this system unfair? Slightly, but it is impossible for you as a person to change this. You can, however, change the mindset that a loss is a punishment to the idea that a loss is somewhere you can improve yourself so that next game can be better. This change has helped me personally improve in ranked significantly as it gets rid of the pressure of winning every game and the TP system reflects this by changing the amounts of TP gained and decreasing the amount lost in certain scenarios.

Overcoming Ranked Anxiety

First things first, if you haven't qualified into a rating and you are too scared to play ranked, you just need to get out of qualifiers. Those first ten games are not an accurate representation of how ranked will be. If you lose your first few games, there isn't any need to fret, as the qualifiers are attempting to place you in the appropriate rating to face against players of your skill level. I would also recommend having at least four gods for every role that you can feel comfortable enough to play consistently, however you don't need to carry these games and shouldn't get frustrated if you lose.

If you are out of qualifiers and you still feel inadequate still after playing a few games in your rating, then you should play more casual conquest games to better understand the roles you are expecting to play. This also gives you an opportunity to play your less desired roles to understand how to play them at a basic level so you can at least do well if you are forced into them. After you play some casual games, go back to ranked. Don't be afraid of losing. You are already in a rank that you may belong in, so if you are put into a lower rating, you should be able to do better against those players, I would recommend playing at least five more games in ranked to see if you are still uncomfortable. Rinse and repeat this strategy and I guarantee you will notice the difference in your own play.

Ranked Anxiety is purely mind games. These ranked matches are no different from casual play, so there is no reason to get frustrated or scared of the gamemode. You will get trolls and lower skilled players, that is a guarantee, so as long as you can feel comfortable about your own play you will do fine. Happy hunting.

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