Often times a few small words or a comment on a situation can drastically change the mood of the game. While there is obvious frustration on both sides when something bad occurs, the best way to ruin the game is commenting on it. Most summoners understand that blatant harassment and trolling are unacceptable, however the subtle dagger is much harder to realize. How much does the in-game chat actually impact your team and can you avoid tilting your own team?
To What End
The first question you have to ask before you hit the enter key is “To what end?” What are you looking to get out of this exchange of words? If the answer is “I want to feel better about this situation by letting someone know I’m disappointed” then congratulations, you’ve seen through a variety of ways to say this information without those exact words! Clearly nobody opens up all chat and says the statement above, however many comments ring that same bell.
If your support dies wandering into river to facecheck a bush with mid MIA, telling them “dude wtf mid was mia” doesn’t resolve anything. What are you looking to say with that comment? Clearly the support is now aware that mid was bottom waiting in that bush, so the informative part of your statement is gone. This leaves us with “dude wtf.” Well that’s not helping anyone but you.
So let’s just say you left it with “mid was mia.” Well thanks to the power of perception, when someone reads the text in game it’s put into their frame of mind. This is a problem with email and text communication as the communicator cannot indicate tone. You might be saying the nicest and most polite way like “hey, next time can you just go the safe way?” but as long as you’re referencing that scenario, they will read it negatively. This makes the last statement equivalent to saying something along the lines of ‘didn’t you look at the map, you idiot?’ Whether you meant that or not, saying anything directly after the incident is an awful idea.
The next consideration is a paper tiger or ‘living in a glass house’ concept. Your words are being said to them most times that is all it takes to set them into flames. Now think about a scenario where you’re not doing well, anything said to you at this time just makes you angrier. Yet the very next game you queue up you sling some “are you serious, dude, just play safe” at your failing top lane. However, once you start that flame, most times it’s only a matter of time before the rest of you are ashes.
One comment on a failing lane or jungle will lead your entire team to think that you’re an asshat, your teammate is actually bad or both. Having a team that thinks you’re a jerk combined with “oh, another game with a baddie” gives a very bad mindset to your allies. They can now blame the entire game on that one person and the root of this game’s problems is from that jack wagon on top lane! Bickering and fighting over silly points also demoralizes your team as nobody is willing to give it their all if the team as a whole is acting like a bunch of children with scraped knees.
Like Moths to Flame
Once that flame is started, everyone else will be drawn to it. You start it off with “omg dude, mid was mia” and then the support snaps back “well if MID could call mia’s and follow his lane, we wouldn’t have this problem!” Now mid lane is upset because they were doing well in lane and bottom didn’t see the mia. Or perhaps they are struggling because they’ve been chain ganked by top and jungler. Either way, once that fire is lit it becomes infinitely easier to start throwing crap on everyone.
In Your Hands
So what can you do about this? Disable your chat? Mute everyone on your team? Be overly enthusiastic about the game and a cheerleader? While the last option is a step in the right direction, that won’t work most times either. The best way to approach the chat is to just let it go. Yes, they died. Sure, they’re feeding. If you were trying to lane and the opponent was better or you were camped or whatever else, how would you like getting grilled for poor performance? If you weren’t thinking and just facechecked a bush to ward and died, do you really want to hear about it? Of course you don’t! Most of the time people are aware that they’ve messed something up.
This doesn’t necessarily mean talk to others as you’d like to be talked to. The lack of tone and expression on the internet doesn’t really allow this. You have to assume everyone on the internet you don’t know is a sensitive little flower that causes nuclear destruction when the breeze blows. You can offer words of encouragement, tell someone they did a good job, assure people that you can still win the game or simply be silent. Lashing out against someone else for poor performance does nothing but make you feel better and them feel worse. That is pretty straightforward, however you have to remember their performance is directly related to whether you win or lose this game.
A torch to end all torches
A subtle dagger is just as deadly as full on bashing. Something as simple as “…” at the wrong time can absolutely set someone off on a rampage. Be careful on the expressions you choose to use, if any, and the times you choose to use them. Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish by saying anything at all, and if there is a better way to approach it. Hostility is the natural response to harsh criticism and the lack of tone makes any comment come across how the reader is feeling at that point in time. Be the better player by choosing your words and times carefully.