Winning 101: How To Win, Even When You Lose (Becoming A Leader At Online Gaming)

by | Jun 28, 2010 | POLITICS

Playing video games online is a terrific way to meet new people and face new challenges within the gaming community, and with new content being made available daily and more games capitalizing on this growing trend, online play is now a staple of the video game industry. Players can play with or against other online players, and headsets have taken interactive gaming experiences to a new plateau. Seasoned gamers understand the impact this trend has had on the industry, and most are completely at home interacting with strangers online as they conquer new titles and revisit familiar favorites. Novices may be eager to jump into the pool, but before you get wet, there are a few things you should know.

This week we will focus on leadership, an essential element of team-based play. Good teams have effective leaders who generate positive results from the team as a whole, while lousy teams operate without a coherent plan and lack any guidance or tutelage along the way. Lousy teams suck the big one.

Playing video games online is a terrific way to meet new people and face new challenges within the gaming community, and with new content being made available daily and more games capitalizing on this growing trend, online play is now a staple of the video game industry. Players can play with or against other online players, and headsets have taken interactive gaming experiences to a new plateau. Seasoned gamers understand the impact this trend has had on the industry, and most are completely at home interacting with strangers online as they conquer new titles and revisit familiar favorites. Novices may be eager to jump into the pool, but before you get wet, there are a few things you should know.

This week we will focus on leadership, an essential element of team-based play. Good teams have effective leaders who generate positive results from the team as a whole, while lousy teams operate without a coherent plan and lack any guidance or tutelage along the way. Lousy teams suck the big one.

With that in mind, I strongly advise you to assume leadership of your squad immediately. Good leaders seize the throne online, as the contest might draw to a close before a natural leader rises to the top. Therefore, as soon as play is underway, I think you should establish dominance. I generally announce my presence as captain and thank everyone for playing as soon as the contest is underway, and my peers seem to appreciate the fact that someone is willing to take responsibility for what is about to happen. I encourage you to do likewise, but naming yourself captain is only the first (and easiest) step on your way to glory.

Once you have declared yourself captain, it is crucial that you take credit for everything positive that happens. Teams benefit from believing that their leader is talented, so even in a round where I accomplish absolutely nothing, I will loudly claim that my work behind the scenes set everything up. Sometimes you will have to argue to convince others that their fortune came as a result of your toil, but good leaders are always willing to manage conflict effectively. I find it best to be more modest when you actually did something positive and more vocal when you’re taking credit for someone else’s achievement.

Another staple of sound online video game etiquette is readily assigning blame to your teammates when things don’t go well. It’s imperative that your team believes that you have a grasp on the problem and that you’re taking steps to remedy it, so single someone out and portray their efforts as the real reason for your team’s lack of success. Always remind this individual of your captain status repeatedly while your critique their ability and their intelligence, and be sure to call them names in the process. Online vide games thrive on name-calling. If the person you single out has a stupid tag, by all means use it. Milk it for all it’s worth. Even the most obvious and tired jokes are appropriate when it comes to tags.

Another key attribute of leadership in an online video game format is the fine art of losing gracefully. Typically I only lose if I’m having a bad day or the children are staging a revolt or my opponent is a cheater, but it happens. Sometimes it happens a lot. I’ve had losing streaks on Madden that would have hurt Detroit’s pride. Regardless, I prefer an acknowledgment of defeat that still speaks to your prowess, something like “Sometimes luck triumphs over skill” or a simple “That was bullshit.” Something stoic is best, an expression of defeat that allows you to retain your dignity. If your opponent has a stupid tag, here is another fine opportunity to be childish in the name of a higher cause.

Lastly, good leaders know when to abandon ship. Nobody likes giving their all in a losing effort with a couple of morons on point. Especially if those morons are shit-talking malcontents who say “dude” more than Bill and Ted. To avoid conflict, it’s best to catch the men unaware while cutting them loose. I recommend giving them the old “we’re down, but not out” bit just before you sign off. Surely they see the humor in it after the fact. Just remember: good leaders always win or quit. There is no such thing as a losing effort in the online video game community. If things start to look down, it’s time to start over. I do not have your back. I repeat: I do not have your back. But I am your captain and I would like to thank you for playing.

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me




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