PvP Tilt: How to Control It

Published on: Sep 3, 2015 @ 16:03

Even the greatest Crucible warriors can get frustrated from time to time, but the key to success is recognizing when your emotions are getting the best of you. Like in any competition, controlling tilt can help you develop better habits and skill, win the game, and most importantly, enjoy yourself more.

Tilt: What Is It?

The term “tilt” is commonly used when referring to poker. Occasionally, a gambler can go on a losing streak and convince themselves that they will eventually recover by winning big. When this happens, they begin to lose control, bet more, and continue to lose, which causes even more frustration and anger. This is going on tilt. When a gambler is tilting, it can be hard to listen to reason or even notice when it’s happening. It’s no different in video games, except instead of losing money, you’re dying more frequently and failing to help your team.

How It Starts

You don’t have to be at the top of the rankings or a sponsored player to be competitive in Destiny. Video games are an important hobby to many, and gamers are often very passionate about the games the play – even PvE fanatics can wind up furious and exasperated after one-too-many wipes during a raid session. Therefore tilt can be an important problem to address at all skill levels in the Crucible. No one likes to get killed, lose, or perform poorly and see their name at the bottom of the scorecard. When this happens and the frustration builds up enough, the game is suddenly out of your control.

Tilt can come from a variety of sources beyond the average death in PvP:

Another Player

Sometimes, you begin to recognize a player on the opposing team who seems to be killing you more often than not. Maybe you checked the score and noticed that player with thousands of more points, or maybe they’re on a tear with No Land Beyond and you’re just feeding their kill streak. A tilting player can develop a personal vendetta against a single opponent and forget about the main objective, which is defeating the enemy together as a team. Other times, the unfortunate reality of online gaming becomes apparent, and lag or glitches can send players into a rage.

Long Gaming Session

We’ve all been there: eyes straining, empty cans of Red Bull on the coffee table, searching for one more Control match to end on a good note. You’ve had a long day at the controller and things have only gotten worse as you plod through more and more games. It’s a simple fact that exhaustion can lead to poor performance, and extending a bad session will only result in worse scores and more frustration.

External Factors

Stress from everyday life unrelated to video games can manifest as anger while playing Destiny. Maybe you bombed a final, or the boss was on your back all day, and you came home to grind some bounties and chill. Suddenly you’re getting stomped on by full fireteams of six and the relaxation you needed just isn’t coming. Now, you’ve got one more thing adding to your stress levels.
Tilt can be caused by all sorts of factors, but there’s a good chance that every player has a few specific things that particularly get on their nerves. Recognizing what bothers you can allow you to address tilt as it happens and prevent it from occurring in the future.

How It Affects You

As your frustration and anger builds, your decision-making abilities suffer greatly. When KillerSniperz360 uses his wave emote after sniping you for the 4th time, bloodlust kicks in and suddenly you’re blinking through enemy lines hunting one player instead of keeping map control and strategy in mind. In highly competitive game modes such as Trials of Osiris, tilt can set a player on a crash course not for the Lighthouse but for Brother Vance to pick up yet another ticket. This is what tilt does; tilt impairs your play and destroys whatever enjoyment you might usually get out of battling it out in the Crucible.

When on tilt, a common side effect is the development of an increasingly aggressive style of play. The longer you go without a kill the hungrier you are to get one, so instead of assessing your surroundings and planning a smart approach, you sprint for the first red blip on your radar. Like a Titan using Shoulder Charge, tunnel vision kicks in and enemies with their guns at the ready go unnoticed.

taken king pvp tilt

Another side effect of tilt involves an uncalled-for change in strategy or equipment. Perhaps an opposing team has won three Trials rounds by rushing from the same location. Tilt kicks in, and shotguns come out even though a player might be far more comfortable and skilled with a sniper. Even with extensive playtime, it might not be your best weapon, and you’re certainly not going to break out an impressive play with a gun you haven’t held in awhile in this state of mind.

As tilting affects a single player’s game, it seeps through the headset and begins to negatively affect the entire team. This can have dire consequences if the frustration from one team member begins to throw off the play of another. If a tilting player has become overly aggressive, they might put their teammates at a disadvantage, leaving them to run into 1v3 encounters without backup. Not only will teammates be forced into unfavorable positions, they’ll slowly stop enjoying themselves. Emotional responses have a strong conscious and subconscious effects on others, regardless of how serious another player might be about the current game. Vocalized frustration now replaces callouts and communication, and puts a sour mood on the experience. It’s no longer fun, and that’s really why we play.

How to Control Tilt

We’re all human after all, and frustration is going to occur from time to time. If it regularly affects your gaming experience, however, you might want to carry out the following measures to improve your mood, skill, and the overall experience for you and your friends:

Recognize It

Did KillerSniperz360 dance on your ghost again? Is this the fifth game of Iron Banner this evening in which you’ve faced off against a full fireteam of six? Did your commute from work double in length due to some untimely traffic? Try and focus on what it is that’s bothering you and take a second to consider if it’s worth getting worked up over. If it’s something unrelated to Destiny, let it go for awhile and relax with your buddies. If another player is besting you, examine their strategy and play style, then counter appropriately. Tilt can sometimes be turned into fuel, and with a strong focus, that fire can ignite a comeback.

Self-Awareness

What are you doing differently now that you’re in full tilt? Did you take out that Party Crasher? Have you been starting off each Trials round with the same approach? Do you continue to return to the same sniper’s nest even though an enemy has that zone locked down? Observing your own habits and tendencies can be one of the hardest parts about playing competitively, but all it takes is a deep breath and a clear mind. Observing your own gameplay can help you reel back when tilting, and can even allow you to recognize bad habits to eliminate and improve your game overall.

Take a Break, Stretch, or Switch Modes

There’s a common myth in gaming that the more hours you put in, the better player you become. This has been proven false in many competitive arenas even beyond video games. Extended sessions can reinforce bad habits during exhaustion and cause physical problems down the road such as carpal tunnel. Pausing to grab a snack, go for a run, or simply stretch and get some push ups in can do wonders for your mood and your performance. If you’re getting frustrated but still want to play with your friends, consider switching from a 6v6 game mode to something smaller like Skirmish, or ditch the Trials ticket for some casual Clash.

Talk About It

destiny pvp tiltDon’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s not easy to immediately put these feelings of frustration behind you, but if teammates discuss either their own frustration or others, it can actually be a helpful conversation for everyone. If you’re feeling frustrated, express yourself in a clear way or ask your teammates for advice. They might be able to suggest covering a certain zone or trying a new approach. Speaking openly about your frustration in a calm manner can be enough to improve your mood and allow you to get back on track. This also goes for teammates – cheering up your comrade or calling them out for overreacting can get your team straightened out and allow everyone to enjoy themselves once again. Be honest, appropriate, and encouraging to teammates. Sometimes even a “We got this!” can turn the tide. Controlling tilt is not a burden that must fall entirely on a single player.

We’re all human, and disappointment and irritation is natural. Letting it take over your game, however, can tip the scales in your enemy’s favor. With the right attitude and little self-awareness, tilt can be quelled before it takes hold and sends a Guardian off the rails. So focus up, enjoy yourself, assemble the fireteam, and start leading that comeback.

Thankfully, the 2.0 patch is almost here, so at least we’ll have a more balanced experience going into The Taken King!

Bones
A Crucible warrior trying to fight my way up the rankings and host of the Crucible Radio podcast under my better-known pseudonym “Bones.” But don’t let the show fool you – I’m obsessed with everything Destiny has to offer, and I’ll talk about it until you tell me to stop.