Jump to content

  • Curse Sites


Member Since 02 Jun 2009
Offline Last Active Sep 20 2013 12:12 AM

#3740752 The Psychology of Winning: Fail Better | Guide

Posted Guest on 09 August 2012 - 07:51 AM

The Psychology of Winning: Fail Better

With the newly launched GW2 section of AJ, I am promoting some of my most popular and well-received guides for the community here, originally promoted on Gw2Guru. While they pertain to GW2 in general, I published these guides to be sure they represent a variety of competitive scenes, so many items, such as in this guide here, can be applied to WoW or other formats.

I hope you enjoy. We posted the guide in full here, but the original can be found on www.teamlegacy.net. As well as other great guides.

Posted Image

Here's a simple question for you: Do you play to win?  I bet 90% of the people reading this would immediately answer "Yes, of course."  The problem is, a great number of them would be wrong.  They think they are playing to win, but they are trapped by pride and mental defense mechanisms that prevent them from truly playing to win.  I was once one of those players.  Most players start out that way.  The default state of human psychology is "protect the ego from harm."  When you lose, it's not your fault right?  The other guy was using an OP weapon, or a cheap move that takes no skill.  While these concepts are comforting to our ego, they are a massive barrier preventing us from getting better at games.  Hopefully, by the end of this article,  you will have the capacity to break through that barrier and truly Play to Win.

Playing to Win

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
- Sun Tzu

Lets start off with a disclaimer: Playing to win is not for everyone.  It takes time and effort, and can be incredibly satisfying for many people, but not everyone enjoys it.  Some people have other hobbies and only play games on the side.  There's nothing wrong with that.  This article isn't for them  This article is for the type of person who finds satisfaction in mastery, competition and self improvement.  Games provide a fantastic avenue to measure these aspects of achievement.  You either win a game or you lose; there is no in between.  So if you are the type of player who is willing to sacrifice time, effort, and a little pride, this article is for you.

Playing to win is a very simple concept: It means using the most effective tournament legal moves/tactics/abilities/characters/factions available.  It means you will sometimes be using abilities/characters/tactics that will win you the game, but earn the ire of your opponents.  It means accepting the fact that defeat is not to be blamed on your opponent's; defeat is not to be blamed on the game; defeat is your fault.  This is the key to playing to win.  Once you can accept that fact, you are ready to travel down the path of self improvement, towards satisfaction and victory.

"That move is so cheap!  It ruins the game!"
-Typical Scrub

We all accept that some games are better than others, but when it comes to multiplayer competitive games, there's only one measurement that really matters: how deep is the game?  Depth, in a multiplayer competitive game, is a measure of how many different viable avenues there are to victory.  If there is a single character/strategy/ability that is vastly superior to all others, the game is very shallow.  Whereas a game with many different equally viable options would be very deep.  Imagine if an FPS had a gun that was effective at all ranges, easy to aim, and did more damage than any other weapon in the game, with no major drawbacks.  We can all agree such a game would be become quite boring. Nobody would bother to use the other weapons, and there would be very little variety in playstyle or tactics.  Now imagine an MMO where every class was equally viable in the 5v5 competitive mode.  Imagine the combinations you could make!  Two warriors, a necro and two rangers might play very differently from a Warrior/Guardian/Elementalist/two thief setup.  As long as both teams have a roughly equal chance of winning, the game has a ton of depth.

The thing is, it's very hard to tell when a game is truly shallow, or if there is something that you are missing.  Sometimes deep games will appear to be shallow until you learn more about the game.  Sometimes games which look shallow actually are shallow.  The best example I can provide is
this one.  Would you look at this n00b?  He's whining about his opponent rushing him in an RTS game:


"All the guy did was build 2 villagers, have them build farms, research military, build a barracks with a 3rd villager, then pump out units. THAT'S IT! How is that strategy? Game over in 3 minutes? We're building our 2nd city and this guys attacking?"

Posted Image

Clearly unbeatable!

So this guy encounters a strategy that seems to be uncounterable.  And even if it could be countered, it's not a real strategy because it ends the game in 5 minutes!  You never even get into the later ages of the game!  These arguments are not new, they've been made countless times ever since RTS games first started to be played competitively.  There's only one problem with these arguments: they are all based upon the premise that this strategy is unbeatable.  This guy got beat once and immediately concluded that  such a strategy is overpowered/broken.  About 15 posts down, one of the developers calmly responds with the easy to execute counter-move that stops such this rush dead.  This was a pivotal moment for this player.  He could accept the fact that he was wrong to jump the gun, or defend his pride and whine about rushing in RTS games forever.

For those of you who haven't noticed, the post in question was written by me, and was a turning point in how I viewed multiplayer games.  I had this mental rule that said "rushing is lame and should not be allowed."  I wasn't playing the actual game, I was playing a special sub-set of the game where you're not allowed to rush.  What's more, I expected everyone to abide by my made up rule.  Rushing isn't a problem in RTS games unless the rush is truly a degenerate/broken strategy that is the only method of winning.  On the day I wrote this post, I learned how easy it is to misidentify a game mechanic as broken.  From that day forward I decided to be more patient, and take more time before making the decisions that X mechanic was overpowered/broken.  

I even came up with a fantastic method of testing to see if a strategy/character/ability really is overpowered, and it's the easiest thing in the world: Master the potentially broken mechanic and use it against everyone.  If you think a class in an FPS is overpowered, play as that class exclusively and use all his "cheap" moves/weapons.  Nine times out of ten, someone will show you the true meaning of depth and wipe the floor with your "overpowered" character.  Try and figure out how he did it, and you're one step closer to mastering the game.

Playing to win in a broken game will result in boring, repetitive gameplay.  Playing to win in a deep game will force you to learn counters to the powerful strategies, and then learn counters to those counter-moves, and so on.  The deep games can look just like a broken shallow game, but give it a little time and you may find a whole new level of play you didn't even know existed.  Always assume there is more depth that you are missing and you won't wind up looking like a fool to the more knowledgeable players.

You Are Not Good At This Game
"Ever Tried?  Ever Failed?  No Matter.  Try Again.  Fail Again.  Fail better"
-Samuel Beckett

What goes through your head when you lose?  "I could have beaten him if only..." or "Well there was no way I could win if he used that broken..."  or maybe "that map sucks anyway."  If your goal is to get better, the first step is to correct the thoughts that run through your head right after a loss.  Instead of excuses which comfort the ego ("he beat me with that overpowered ability!"), the best possible path to mastery is examination of what you did wrong ("I should have been more prepared to dodge his powerful elite skill").  Ask yourself these questions:
  • "What mistakes did I make in this game?"

  • "For each mistake, what could I have done differently?"

  • "What can I learn from my opponent's play?"
Often these questions will not be easy to answer, but you must at least try.  With games that offer replay systems (usually RTS games like Starcraft 2), you can go watch the replay to answer these questions when you get stumped.  If you are truly not sure what you did wrong, perhaps you were simply not fast enough.  Once you've identified your mistakes, you know what to work on for the future.  Even if you had all the right moves and you tried to execute them at the right time, if your opponent was faster, you need to practice more to get your own speed up.  One of the best ways to get better is to practice one specific aspect to the exclusion of others.  If you are trying to get better at timing your leap attacks, try using them all the time (even when you normally wouldn't) and accept the fact that you're probably going to lose a lot while you do this.  In the end though, leap attacks will become second nature to you, and then you can move on to another skill.

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
-Douglas Adams

Once you accept that you are not good at the game, you can start to learn from others.  If you're struggling with a particular faction/character/class, seek out guides/replays/videos from other players.  This is another mental barrier for some people.  What you'll hear from these people is "you didn't come up with that strategy by yourself, you just copied a better player."  For them, innovation is the only skill worth evaluating about someone.  You could wipe the floor with them using every single character/faction/class in the game, but if you do it by utilizing other people's strategies then (to them) you are clearly less skilled than they are.  This is another mental defense mechanism designed to protect the ego.  These players don't have the speed/reaction times to compete at the high level, so they will make up their own mental rule about what makes someone "good" at a game.  To these folks, winning isn't the ultimate measurement of someone's ability at a game.  They suggest that you must also measure the innovation of their strategy.  This makes them feel better when their innovative strategy fails to win them the game.  The best players study others and combine all the best strategies they can find.  If you spurn "copying" other people then you are setting yourself up for failure.  

Posted Image

Innovation has it's limits.

Another great way to learn is to write your own guides.  I have noticed that when I go to write a guide I want the information to be accurate, so I am motivated to go out and actively test/research everything that I'm writing about to make sure it's correct.  As I write, I learn more about what I do and don't know about a character/faction/strategy, and I'm able to correct my deficiencies.  In addition, if what you write is incorrect, there will be plenty of people ready to tell you what you missed.  This is a great way to really discover what your own knowledge consists of.

Yomi - Get Into Your Opponent's Head

"I see only one move ahead, but it is always the correct one."
-Jose Raoul Capablanca, 3rdWorld Chess Champion

Yomi is a Japanese word that means "reading."  It is used in the fighting game community to mean "the process of reading/predicting the mind of your opponent."  Once you have identified and eliminated the flaws in your standard play, it's time to graduate to the next step: playing the opponent and not just the game.  Have you ever played a game where you are preparing some hidden strategy, and just when you go to launch it, your opponent unveils the perfect counter to your strategy.  But...but you know for afact he didn't scout you.  You made absolutely sure  that there was no way he could know you were going for that.  How the hell?  He must be maphacking right?  Or maybe he's just lucky.  There's no other explanation!  

Often you will find that very good players seem to just "know" what their opponent is about to do.  They are actually reading subtle cues and patterns in their opponent's play that broadcast the next move.  You can take advantage of this pattern recognition.  Not only should you study the patterns in your opponent, but try laying traps for him.  Broadcast a pattern (Attack, dodge, stun, big damage, repeat) and then when he has that pattern figured out, change something to catch him by suprise.  When he  dogdges twice to dodge your stun and big damage attack, wait until he finishes his second doge,then throw your big damge at him.  A great way to train this ability out is using the card game "Yomi" by David Sirlin.  You can play for free online, and I highly recomend it.

If you are utilizing all your skill and Yomi and still are unable to defeat your opponent, perhaps you should stop playing to his strength, and break out something
unconventional that he may not be prepared for.  If nobody in high level play uses the melee ranger build because it is considered "Weak," that means that nobody has spent any time countering it!

Conclusion: Be Humble; Know Thyself

One of the key concepts running through this article is that of being humble.  Never assume you know more than you do, or you might make a fool of yourself when you call something overpowered.  Always remember to avoid making up mental rules that handicap you from playing the real game.  When you lose, don't blame the game, blame yourself and seek out what you can do better next time.  Don't think so highly of yourself that you don't ask for help.  Always assume that you are giving something away to the opponent, and try to take advantage of that.

Respect the game, respect your opponents, and respect yourself

Change the Way You Get Better At Games - Gamesradar
Playing to Win - David Sirlin
How David Beats Goliath - The New Yorker

This guide and others can be found on www.teamlegacy.net. We understand everyone has great opinions, and we encourage open criticism. Thanks for reading.

#3752674 Am I missing something? Condition builds are doing zero damage.

Posted Kaylos on 28 August 2012 - 02:44 AM

25 is the max.  At 1200 condition damage, that is 100 damage per bleed, or 2500 DPS with a 25 stack.  Otherwise a glass cannon class will go down in 4-8 seconds.  Throw on a poison and burning, and the person is pretty much dead unless they are removing conditions really, really fast.

With might stacks, you can push over 2000 condition damage at max might stacks.  That would be 140 damage per bleed, or 4200 DPS for a 25 stack.

#3751381 DWi Gaming - Professional eSports Community | High Quality PUG Groups Always...

Posted Guest on 27 August 2012 - 09:00 AM

If people haven't understood this by now, DWi is the place to be for Guild Wars 2 PvP.

Come check it out:


#3744329 GW2 esport viability

Posted Windwrath1 on 14 August 2012 - 10:45 PM

Yeah, Foefire is really the only map with this problem, currently.

Furthermore, if you get a significant lead in any other e-sport it's likely to be hard to come back. Professional teams mess up so infrequently that if you get a significant lead you often keep it.

#3739817 DWi Gaming - Professional eSports Community | High Quality PUG Groups Always...

Posted ToonVendor on 07 August 2012 - 01:59 PM

Posted Image

DWi is an elite community formed by players who have already proven
that they are capable of obtaining top rankings in a competitive
. Our goal is to form a world-class eSports

community that prides itself on individual skill

over numbers.

Looking for a home that you can just login whenever you want and get into a good tournament group? Put in an application, this is the only place like that in the game.

Website: www.dwigaming.com

Community Forum: www.sPvP.org

Ingame Server: Northern Shiverpeaks

Contact: [email protected]

Our Background -

Deal With it was conceptualized by a small group of players who competed in World of Warcraft arena at the highest level. After seeing the potential that Guild Wars 2 has as an eSports title, DWi has opened its doors and expanded its involvement from simply being a team to becoming a foundation stone for the Guild Wars 2 Structured PvP community. Together, we seek to be the premier Structured PvP guild and informational resource in Guild Wars 2. Our aim with recruitment is to maintain to a small, tight-knit group of serious, competitive and passionate players that constantly strive for excellence and are capable of becoming the best players in the world.

In total, our community currently has over 20 Rank 1 titles, and over 100 Gladiator titles within our roster. Our belief is that the many of the skills that our members were able to develop over the years with WoW will greatly benefit us in Guild Wars 2. We aim to be a small, tight-knit community that is full of many top SPvP teams in the world. However, most importantly, we're here to have a good time.

Our Goals -

The core ideology behind the DWi brand is to become synonymous with top level Guild Wars 2 gameplay. Obtaining sponsorship is one of the many important steps we will be taking to build revenue for the guild. Our goal is to compensate our members for everything they write, record and stream for DWi. Additionally, we envision our affiliate website, SPvP.org, as a conduit for the competitive SPvP scene, where players can read and submit accurate content and promote valuable discussion for the benefit of the community as a whole. As such, we are looking for people who are comfortable writing guides, creating videos, streaming on twitch.tv and generating original, precise and thoughtful content that is of unparalleled quality. This is not an official requirement for our members, but exemplifying this is one way potential applicants can get ahead.

Structured PvP is the primary in-game focus of DWi. Our core members are expected to maintain top glory ranks and participate in tournament games with the guild. Every core member should constantly practice, do research on their profession and make every attempt to optimize their gameplay. Multi-profession play is encouraged in order to more intimately understand the strengths and weaknesses of each profession and how they function in Structured PvP. Involvement in World vs. World and PvE is optional. For those interested in World vs World, our guild is part of the Ascension Alliance and will dominate World vs. World with twelve other organized guilds.

Requirements -

  • Can prove that you're a high skill caliber player of a competitive game. (E.g. WoW, Dota, LoL, HoN, Counterstrike) - Note: If you can't prove this, we will have trial slots open for those who just want to be given a chance.
  • At least 16 years of age or older
  • Able to maintain composure (no ragers)
  • Able to associate with others professionally (This is a big one, we don't want trolls in our community. We plan to have sponsors, and we can't risk having someone who is going to represent us poorly.)
  • Can communicate via Voice Chat (Not looking for someone who isn't comfortable speaking. We need team players who are going to be reactive)
  • Friendly, Mature, Reliable - All traits were looking for
  • Have read and agree to the requirements listed in the Guild Charter

How to Join - Register at www.SPvP.org-- Hit "Join Us" link at top.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in this thread or email [email protected]


Posted SchizoidGW2 on 24 August 2012 - 01:00 PM

Please delete this thread.

#3743259 Thief Absolutely WRECKS Mesmer (VIDEO!)

Posted Timatsu on 13 August 2012 - 03:19 AM

Video of my friend getting absolutely wrecked by a random Thief in spvp.  I thought you guys would enjoy!  :)

My YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/TimatsuFTW

#3429445 Feral druid after Unheeded nerf

Posted Xelithras on 11 August 2011 - 06:21 PM

still op, insta clones need to go.

(and a good chunk of damage)

#3407689 swifty's epic pummel macro

Posted Ellonija on 01 August 2011 - 03:19 PM

View Postlaylowk, on 01 August 2011 - 02:14 PM, said:

people who hate swifty are just jealous of him cos he never gave them keyboard mouse or headphones so they just come here and just hate him all the way lmfo..

at least he is making money of the game but you haters are just so bad that no one notice who you are..

at least swift tries to help the noobs but you so called gladiator what do you do for the newbs i would like to heir your say!?

Posted Image

#3407614 swifty's epic pummel macro

Posted Keliann on 01 August 2011 - 02:24 PM

i'll be nice to him if he gives me free shit

#3414817 feral druids lol

Posted merker on 05 August 2011 - 02:11 PM

everyone is talking about 'feral', what the fuck is that? if you are referring to the spec where druids become the best CC class, best damage class, and best surviving class I think it is referred to as god mode

#3412390 feral druids lol

Posted dizzlez1st on 04 August 2011 - 01:50 AM

stupid dmg, stupid survivability.
that is all.

#3410059 feral druids lol

Posted wisdomcube on 02 August 2011 - 10:04 PM

You forgot the bleeds that last way to long so you can literally have them on 2 targets. Or the charge silence that goes around pillars for some fucking reason. Oh and then they get a stun on top of that.

#3409439 feral druids lol

Posted Bearz on 02 August 2011 - 04:15 PM

I can hardly break even on their health bar when they're bear form. Absorb, absorb, absorb, 563, absorb, 3403, absorb

#3409308 feral druids lol

Posted Literacola on 02 August 2011 - 02:12 PM

Feral damage is fine, barkskin is a fucking joke tho. Feral survivability just seems way too good atm against other melee. Impossible to ever balance a spec that both tanks and dps's. Ferals are just the new prot wars/pals.