Solid Mindset: Making the Most of a Bad Situation

Apr 5, 2016

Bad situations happen. You’re playing a game of Heroes, your team is down three levels, and you’re stuck just playing the mini-game of clearing minion waves. It’s really easy lose your mental fortitude, to finally give up and take the situation as a loss, especially in a team game where everyone else around you is feeling the same way—but you don’t have to.

There are still plenty of things to be learned and tons of options for comebacks, even during the bleakest moments of the game. Your team could scale better into the late game. You could still win a decisive fight over an objective to even the odds. You could even outright win under the ideal circumstances. At the very least, there are still chances to learn from your mistakes and improve your future gameplay.

Fixing Your Mindset

The first step in dealing with a bad situation is settling into a more positive mindset. Always approach adversity with a calm and collected mind. Obviously, this isn’t always easy—you’re always going to have that one member of your team constantly getting caught out of position and feeding, then blaming everyone else. There’s nothing you can do about that, but you do have control over your own actions.

It might sound obvious, but avoid being rude and unkind to your teammates. Toxicity breeds toxicity, and your team is unlikely to have any chance at succeeding if they’re too busy fighting with each other instead of the other team. Try to improve morale by pointing out good things that are happening and inspiring the team to success rather than pointing the finger and playing the blame game. If someone keeps making the same mistakes, try to give them suggestions (not commands) to help them improve; sometimes a minor tweak in a player’s understanding can completely change the outcome of a game.

Not my finest moment, but you can see how toxicity multiplies.
Not my finest moment, but you can see how toxic behavior multiplies.

Perhaps the most important part of maintaining a good attitude toward the team is being willing to admit you were wrong. If something goes badly and you mess up, don’t immediately start blaming the rest of the team; instead, look at yourself and be willing to admit to the team that you messed up in some way. Being open with others about your mistakes will keep you from becoming the toxic tyrant on your team, blindly ordering the team to make decisions that may or may not be good.

Looking for Opportunities

There are a plethora of ways to get back into the game when you’re falling behind, but for now we’ll just focus on the three biggest factors.

  1. Split soaking experience
  2. Trading and buying time
  3. Taking advantage of errors

Typically when you’re “behind” in Heroes of the Storm, it’s largely a function of Hero levels; the team with the highest level can continue to extend their lead using power spikes at each talent tier to win fights over and over. Obviously, your team needs more XP so you can play on an even playing field. The easiest and safest way to do this is by sending a member to a side lane during pushes and avoid taking team fights. This can be painful sometimes because you’ll have to give up an objective or even a fort/keep, but chances are that you were going to lose that fight anyway.

You don’t have to employ this strategy when both teams are on equal talent tiers (level 13 versus level 15, for example), but it’s very important if you need that extra bump up between big power spikes like Heroics at 10 or Storm talents at 20.

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If you can’t contest a push, sometimes just pushing on the other side of the map and trading equally is beneficial. At the very least, it will take pressure off of the objective or a dedicated push if the enemy decides to leave and deal with your counterpush. In terms of Hero levels, sometimes taking bosses or mercenary camps in lieu of objectives can create enough map pressure to stall out the game until 20 where there are no more power spikes. Even on a micro level, these concepts work well; when you know you’re going to die in a fight, especially as an Assassin, do your best to trade your life for damage and trade one for one at least.

If neither of these are working and you’ve fallen behind almost indefinitely in Hero levels, you still have one more option: taking advantage of the enemy team’s errors. Look for patterns in your opponent’s behavior and look for weakness to exploit. If enemy Heroes are getting careless and wandering around alone, try to catch them out. If the enemy Valla or Zagara is playing overly aggressively, finish them quickly when they are out of position. Even boss baits and party bushes in random places on the map can occasionally work and win a team fight for your team.

Learning from the Game

As much as you try to rally the team and come up with smart ways to get back into the game, sometimes you just can’t win. Some games are simply unwinnable due to skill levels or attitudes, and that’s okay. Every game is still a chance to learn.

It’s easy to blame others for losing the game, but you have to remember to stay in the right mindset: admit that you can make mistakes and still have a lot to learn. Focus your attention solely on what you can do better when things start going wrong. You lost a team fight? Were you in the correct position? Could you have landed your Heroic better? Look for minimal ways that you can impact the game and think critically about what may have gone wrong, even if it means questioning decisions you felt confident in making.

Moving On to the Next Game

Every game is going to be a struggle against both your opponents and the chaos of working together with four strangers. Every once in awhile, you’ll have one of those unicorn games where everything goes well and your team is working perfectly in tandem with one another, but most of the time, it’s not going to be easy. Nevertheless, approach each game with an open mindset.

"Work harder. Better. Make faster. Stronger. Evolution never over."
“Work harder, better. Make faster, stronger. Evolution never over.” -Inspirational quote from Abathur

Become the leader on your team and inspire your teammates; don’t become part of the problem. When you run into a situation where people don’t agree and can’t find any common ground, it’s best for you to focus on yourself. The mark of a good player is someone who can take a bad situation and turn it into something positive. Continue to improve and become a better player.

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Christopher Meek
Chris is an esports aficionado who has followed and written about several different games, including StarCraft II, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm. He has served notable time at Team Liquid, among others, in the pursuit of becoming a freelance writer and editor. He’s sometimes been known in the MOBA community as “that feeder” but continues to improve and remains optimistic for the future.
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