LoL Psychology : Flaming (rage) and Tilt


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Everyone knows that players often insult one another and some get angry and start playing poorly due to those insults. This article is going to cover the topic of flaming, tilting and how to manage them.


Flaming is simply defined as engaging in verbal abuse towards another player. Most people use flaming to ruin the gaming experience for others by making them feel bad. Often, the victims try to defend themselves and, in turn, also end up flaming other players.

It is a poor display of sportsmanship and should never occur. It’s been scientifically proven that gaming helps relieve stress, but there’s never a need to curse in game! You can opt to curse in your head or do something to calm yourself. There are many people who manage to relieve their anger and calm themselves in other ways, phjysical exercise for instance is one of them, helping to boost their physical and mental health.

What sanctions can be imposed for flaming in League of Legends ?

Flaming will get your reported and punished. Sanctions range from restricted messaging to permanent bans in some cases. Messaging restrictions seem to not have any limits. A player recently recieved a restriction for 7200 games. You can be banned permanently if you wish death or illness on another player, if you post racist, homophobic or xenophobic insults or comments.

Two famous players have already been banned for these reasons: Nukeduck and Mithy, the mid-laner for Roccat and the Support for Origen respectively. They were put under Riot Games supervision and after having proven their willingness to change their behaviour, they have once again been allowed to play competitively…

How to handle toxic players?

  • If you become a target of flaming, first of all you shouldn’t feel bad, even if the action for which you’re being flamed is indeed a mistake on your part. Everyone can have a bad game. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by a mistake or flaming teammates.


  • You can use the “ignore” function (in the scoreboard, or through the command  »/mute <player name>) in chat to get rid of the toxic player. This function, however, doesn’t block pings, so if the flaming player calms down and starts playing with the team, you will still be able to see their pings (signals) in order to focus on important team objectives. A frequent occurrence is that of people trying to blame a blameless person. These players, otherwise known as “toxic” players, are quite prone to flaming and should simply be ignored; either by not reading their messages, or by ignoring them during the game.

Why do people flame?

Getting angry when things don’t go as planned is part of human nature. Don’t get discouraged by words without any substance in real life.

« Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me ».

If you remember this proverb and stay calm even when someone is flaming, everything will be ok.

Why shouldn’t you flame in League of Legends?

  • In other words, if you feel someone’s desire to flame, just try to stay calm. In fact, if you get angry, chances are your teammates will start playing poorly. You’re not to blame for your teammates’ poor skill levels, instead of flaming, it’s a far better idea to give a small piece of friendly advice.


  • Flaming will reduce your team’s morale, it’s not beneficial. Telling them they aren’t playing well will just make them feel guilty, thinking they are hampering the team’s progress. Yes, they may well be slowing the team down, but make sure their mental state doesn’t erode too much. This would create a lack of motivation in them and would further worsen their performance. The inverse effect (and the most common one) is that you will simply end up annoying everyone. When you are angry, you will become impulsive, and you’ll place yourself in more bad situations which could have been avoided entirely with better judgement. It’s fundamental common sense, but doing something will give you more chances of winning than doing nothing. Doing nothing is the step towards guaranteed defeat. But you want to maximise your chances of victory!


  • Of course, flaming isn’t beneficial to you either. All the effects mentionned above also apply to you. What you want to do is maximise your performance and that of all your teammates. Maintaining good spirits is key to the success of that objective. If you start shouting at your teammates, you will be in a state of rage that will lead you to poor decision making, so take a break. You will just worsen the situation by continuing to play. If you’re in a bad mood, wait until you aren’t anymore. Some people recommend stopping League of Legends entirely, and there is something to that, but if you find League of Legends to be fun, play in normal or ARAM games. Play champions you love or create amusing or strategic builds. Do something to make yourself happy!


  • A final point, you’re angry because you love the game. You want to better yourself and become the best. You want to be the best because you find it fun. The fact you have a messaging restriction proves you are losing your ability to play the game. You can’t be the best at the game if you can’t even play it. You’re losing the ability to play the game you love and you’re losing all of the progress you’ve made as well as all of the those hours you spent trying to get better.

In the end it’s your choice, whether you want to be able to keep playing or not. Nobody is taking away your privileges, you’re just punishing yourself..

So if you love this game, if you want to be the best and you cherish the progress you’ve made, be sure not to lose that ability. If you feel your teammates aren’t playing properly don’t take it out on them. Know that being mean to them will only lead them to play worse. You want the opposite. You want to win. Don’t ever lose sight of your goal. Always keep the fact that flaming will utterly destroy your chances of winning in mind.

After all, no mater which one of your teammates cost the team a loss. You still lost.

You’re flaming because you want to win, but there’s no logic in flaming if it’s going to achieve the reverse, flaming will lead your team to a loss.

Flaming often leads to more than bad feelings or reports : it also causes Tilting.


If you’ve already played many ranked matches, you have already had victory as well as defeat streaks. Typically, when you’re in a nice winning streak, you feel more confident and think more clearly about what you’re doing and you’re playing on a higher level than what you’re used to in your own league.

However, when a player encounters a streak of defeats, especially in the longer ones, we call that « Tilting » . In the previous chapter of this article, I mentionned the use of the mute button to avoid tilting and how it could enhance your experience in the Solo Queue, but what if you’re already tilting and you can’t seem to get out of it ?

Tilting is a term, used in poker, to describe a state of mental or emotional confusion and frustration during which players start adopting sub-optimal strategies, causing them to become aggressive. Even if Tilting is a loan word from Poker, it can be applied to literally any comptitive environment.

For any player, no matter their level, tilting is almost inevitable. If you reach the peak of your performance and you’re playing with better players than yourself, the league system is engineered so that your win/lose ratio stays around 50% when you’re in a league adapted to your level. That said, tilting inhibits your abilities and will make you lose more often than you win.

The same method is used to fix tilting as is used to fix anger issues. Take a break, play something else or do something that makes you happy.

After a break, it’s good to do a few warmup matches to prepare mechanically but also mentally. Clearing your mind and opening it once more to the game is the most effective method to overcome tilting. Without the anxiety associated with wondering if a player will play well or not, the mind can act faster and think less, which can lead to excellent results.

Tilting is something that can even affect the best players. Anyone can spot it in their own everyday life. Someone playing badly, getting angry and piling up a string of defeats. In League of Legends, in order to avoid this eventuality, taking a break remains every player’s best course of action.

Understanding tilting in League of Legends

Here are a few signs that may indicate you are tilting :

  • You are playing a champion you have just lost against : You’re playing champions who seem powerful because you just lost against them, even if you don’t usually play them.

  • You’re fixated on your last game : you have some kind of « post traumatic stress disorder » because of your last game and you think it’s going to happen again if your team doesn’t banish the champions that sunk your team in the last game.

  • You’re constantly blaming your teammates.

  • You become pessimistic at the fist sign of trouble : You gave First Blood to the enemy support at 1:12. It’s not very dramatic, but you think the mistake will surely cost you the game. If you think you’re going to lose it’s better to dodge the game (leave the queue) than to play it. Losing 3 points is better than losing 15+ points and at least 20 minutes.

  • You make the same mistakes over and over : « Insanity : Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (Albert Einstein) ». If you try to do the same thing several times over and you keep failing, you should probably start trying something else which has a higher chance of success. For example, if you’re jungling and you try to invade the enemy jungle on level 2 and the enemy team shows up each and every time, you should probably go farm until you find a better opportunity.

  • You focus on the feeders, trolls and AFKs : you’re not the only one encountering trolls even if you think you are. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is to ignore them, try to learn as much as you can from the game and report them at the end. As long as you’re not the troll or the AFK, statistically they have higher chances of being on the enemy team than on yours.

  • You’re very aggressive to secure kills : as is described in the very definition of tilting, the player becomes more aggressive, and aggressive people tend to make poorly thought out decisions. League of Legends is a goal oriented game. Concentrating on farming, taking on objectives and being there when your team needs you is better than killing the enemy laner over and over. However, that doesn’t mean you should let your your enemy’s mistakes go unpunished.

  • You think you act better than your own league : don’t take your division for granted, it’s possible that you just lucked out at the start, or that you have good teammates or even bad adversaries. Play every game as seriously as the previous one. Acting like you’re the best in your league is disheartening for yourself and for your team.

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