‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
Before I was ever a writer or content creator, I spent most of my off time playing a bunch of video games. The most notable of which were Dota (the WC3 version) and later on Starcraft 2. I’ve likely spent somewhere between ten to twenty thousand hours playing ladder games or pubs between those two games. I have a few humorous ladder game stories in my time, but the most memorable comes from a stretch of games I played sometime in 2012.
At the time I was deliberately trying to play around eight hours a day and hit a huge slump where I went on a massive losing streak of something like 30-40 games. I got pretty angry at the time and the frustration forced me to play even more games, which made me lose even more. Any random wins I got meant nothing to me as I felt like I still needed to dig myself out of the hole and get back to where my “perceived” skill was.
At that time I burned out emotionally in the game as it was too hard to keep that rage inside of me. It wasn’t that I had reached enlightenment so much as that I had run out of energy to rage. So regardless of what happened, whether people flamed me online, whether I lost games, got DT or cannon rushed, or whatever it was, I was able to shrug it off. I then had a ladder game where the opponent did a fairly gimmicky all-in and flamed me for the entire 20 minutes the game lasted (one of the things I learned early on in SC2 was that the trick to making a comeback is just elongating the game for as long as possible as that increases the likelihood of a mistake from the opponent).
After I lost the game, I just typed gg and moved on. Strangely enough the opponent messaged me after the game, apologized for his all-in and his behavior and asked for my how I did it, how I managed to stay so calm throughout the entire thing. It was at that moment I had realized how much I had changed in that stretch of games. While I could still lose, I was no longer emotionally attached to the idea of winning or losing, but rather how I could improve from game to game. That by letting go of my ego and taking this Stoic approach (though I didn’t know it at the time), I had reached a place where I couldn’t be affected by outside influences nearly as much as I was before.
I then took that approach and applied it to all other walks of life. The reason I’ve decided to bring up this anecdote now is because developers like Blizzard and Riot are trying to somehow control the entire community, whether that’s through the ladder or twitch chat. I don’t know if it’ll succeed or not, but I thought I’d offer my own thoughts on the matter. Every player or person will receive abuse the moment they decide to go on the internet, though the degrees to which they receive it can widely differ. While I think it’s an admirable goal to try to change internet culture so that it’s more welcoming to everyone is a good long term goal, I think for individuals learning about and applying Stoicism could immediately improve their daily quality of life. So at the end of this blog, I’ll recommend a book that I think helps in that regard. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a great handbook on understanding that philosophy and is fairly practical relative to other philosophy books.