Hey, ioStux here.
Tilt is easily one of the most widespread mental problem that players face. Tilt is a state of mind where it is impossible for a player to think rationally, where all his learned knowledge seemingly disappears, leading to even more tilt and disappointment. Some players don’t really struggle with tilt at all, and those players tend to find themselves in the higher tiers of competitive play. So today I want to answer the question: “What causes tilt?”.
In order to understand tilt, a pretty negative emotion, let’s think about something positive! Jokes! Now I am german, which means that my lack of humor is really really bad. But here goes:
So a few days ago my neighbour came around, completely furious, asking me if I knew anything about her underwear disappearing. And let me tell you, I nearly shit her pants.
Alright maybe I’ll leave the jokes to funny people, but there is something important that we can learn from jokes that will help us understand tilt. And that is understanding what exactly causes a reaction in the joke. How come regular sentences get in and out of our heads no problem, but when we hear a good joke we start laughing? It’s about expectations.
We can split the joke into 2 parts. We have the lead up, it’s sole purpose being to establish the universe the joke plays in, and giving us information. Most importantly however, the lead up is misleading. It gives us information and us humans always try to process information. So when I told you about the neighbour, you imagined a person coming. When I told you she was furious, that makes your brain try to predict the outcome. Why was she furious? Did someone run over her lawn? Did she get fired from her job? Was my dog peeing in her backyard?
All of those expectations are then confronted with the last part of the joke: The Punchline.
The Punchline is basically the exact opposite of those expectations you had. You can measure how funny a joke is to you, by simply thinking about how different the punchline was from your expectation. That’s why you can also make stupid jokes like this one:
What is the most important part of a joke timing.
Now most of you probably already know that one, but it’s a joke that surprises us. We didn’t expect it, and it takes us a while to realize what is going on.
So, I just explained to you why jokes are funny. Great. ioStux comedy coaching incoming. But how does this relate to tilt?
Tilt is caused by 2 things. Expectations not being met, also called “disappointment”, and the feeling of lacking control.
When you queue up for a game you always have expectations. You paint this picture of how you want this competitive game to look like. You tell yourself things like “Alright I’ve lost 5 games in a row now, It’s about time I’ll win another game!” or “Let’s hope my team is going to be cooperative and not toxic”. Even during the game you will come up with expectations. Imagine the superlative of tilt. Think about you playing a game, completely rolling the enemy team in the first round and typing a cheeky “boosted much?” in match chat. That is the pinnacle of setting expectations. You expect the round to be a win, so much so that you went in and started being rude in match chat.
Now just imagine yourself getting absolutely steamrolled by the enemy team, losing a bunch of SR and reading “boosted much?” in chat again, but this time spammed over and over again by the enemy team.
Now that, is a fuck ton of tilt. Obviously this is a very extreme example, but tilt in general is always caused by disappointment.
In all honesty, you aren’t really tiled because you think that your teammates are bad. You don’t get tilted by the fact that someone plays Torbjorn on attack. The true reason you are tilted is because you have the expectation that everyone would agree with your prejudice that torbjorn is a bad pick. You think that your teammates have to be smart since they share a Skill Tier with you, and that expectation being shattered is what makes you feel out of control, it makes your question your fundamental beliefs, and our brains are wired to protect our beliefs, preventing you from thinking rationally. It tilts you.
And worst of all, these things are out of your control. Feeling out of control is amplifying tilt by a lot. But it’s important to realize that this only happens if you actually expect to be in control in the first place. You may not think you do, but deep down you actually expect things that are outside of your control. And that sets you up for disappointment, and thus tilt.
So in summary tilt is caused by arbitrary expectations not being met. So how can we fix this? By keeping our expectations in check!
The next time you queue up for a game, just think about all of the things you expect. Think of the in your eyes “perfect” game. And then get rid of those thoughts. Clean them out of your head. You would really like a Mercy on your team? Don’t expect one! All you want is a match where both teams try their hardest? Don’t expect that! You expect that you win the game? Your enjoyment lies in seeing your SR rise? Well, you are setting yourself up for disappointment! Make sure that you go into comp with no expectations at all. Set yourself some smaller things to focus on. Simple things like “Let’s see if the queue times are under 2 minutes” or something like “Let’s hope we won’t get 6 dps!”. These are expectations that are much more likely to be met, and more importantly, not really relevant. Players tilt because their expectations are unreasonable. Even when trying to improve! People say shit like “Oh, I’ve been practicing my aim for an hour a day over the past 2 weeks and my aim is still bad!”. That is a shitty mindset to have. Think of all the arbitrary expectations and deadlines you have set yourself, and get rid of them. They won’t get you anywhere at all!
I hope that this video could help you understand how tilt works!
My name is ioStux, and I’d like to thank you for learning!