Dota 2

BLAME vs RESPONSIBILITY – You are in control

Content of the article: "BLAME vs RESPONSIBILITY – You are in control"

Hey guys! I’m posting content about gaming + mindset in this reddit on a regular basis. For the last 10 years I’ve played professional poker. Especially the mental aspect of the game fascinated me. I did a mental coach study and I’m currently coaching a group of poker players.

Before I started playing poker I played a lot of dota (dota1) (30+ hours a week). Last year I quit poker and now I play (some) dota again to fulfill my need to play games 😉

A lot of concepts, ideas and techniques (regarding the mental aspect) that are used in sports and poker are not yet well known in gaming. I believe a lot of players from any skill level can greatly benefit from this information. My idea is to translate these concepts, ideas and techniques and make them useful for gamers. With as goal: Helping gamers to improve their mindset so they can play better and enjoy the game more.

Today’s topic is a really important one. It’s the main reason for toxic behaviour and the reason you are stuck at your current MMR:


We are all guilty of it from time to time:

  • “Who was mid?”
  • “We won safelane, wtf happened in offlane?”
  • “Seriously sniper, you bought shadowblade while they have slardar and gondar?”
  • “Of Course this f*cking pudge picker”
  • “Such a bad picks, we will lose”

The thing with blaming and criticizing is that there is no added value in it. If it adds anything, it’s a negative vibe, a less enjoyable game and a higher chance to lose the game.

Why do we blame others? This way we don’t put the responsibility on ourselves. Instead of looking at our own mistakes and things we can do better, we blame others. This is our ego at work.

When someone else blames you for something, YOU are responsible for the way you respond to it. Even when someone says the most outrageous stuff. For example; it’s minute 15, you are mid with a score of 3/0/6 and the offlane support is 0/4/1 and he starts blaming you for not helping. Yes, clearly he isn’t right. Yes, he shouldn’t be saying that.

But it’s totally up to you how you respond to it. You can blame him back, tell him how bad he is and how he can go f$#$ himself. But what is the value in that? Is he suddenly going to play better? Is he going to stop blaming you? Most likely not. It’s more likely that he will respond even stronger, such as: “f$%$ you and your mother, I’m jungle rest of the game”

So why does he respond in this way and why do you respond in this way? In both cases it’s a defence mechanism of the ego. The 0/4/1 that started blaming you, is finding external excuses for his terrible performance. It would be a big hit to his ego if he actually admits to himself that he is playing bad, so he will look anywhere but himself to blame.

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And what about you? someone else blames you for whatever reason and you feel the urge to respond, to defend yourself. That’s also the ego. If you really think about it, do you even care the slightest bit what this 0/4/1 thinks of you? And let’s say you do care about his opinion, are you going to change his opinion by blaming him back?


People that feel an urge to blame others or defend themselves usually feel insecure. If you are very certain of your skill level and someone tells you how bad you are, it doesn’t do anything to you. You don’t feel the urge to respond or defend yourself because you know for yourself what is true.

For example, I don’t consider myself a very good player. I think I can play reasonably well but I also know that I will make stupid mistakes every now and then, or just play pretty bad in some games. I know I’m trying to play my best, so if someone says to me how terrible I am, it doesn’t affect me. I might think or even say to him “yes, not my best game”. Even if I’m 3/0/6 mid after 15 minute and the 0/4/1 starts blaming me, it doesn’t really affect me. I know for myself that I’m playing good and this guy is probably just finding reasons for his own bad performance. Ofcourse, I still sometimes feel the urge to respond back to him and tell him how terrible he is, but then I remind myself of an important lesson: Don’t fight fire with fire. This will only cause more fire.

Or when I make a mistake (everyone makes mistakes every game), and someone says: “WTF were you doing!?!” Instead of defending myself I will simply say: “Sorry, stupid of me, I’ll be more careful next time”. If you honestly think you didnt make a mistake and your play was good, then simply don’t respond. Don’t get trapped into this blame game.

There is so much power in admitting to yourself and others your mistakes. This is a sign of being confident with who you are. It gives you the opportunity to grow. If you never acknowledge any mistakes you make, how can you possibly grow? If it’s always external reasons that causes you to lose the game, why would you try to improve? Don’t play this victim role where everything is out of your control. By admitting your own mistakes you take full responsibility and you can grow much faster.

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And also take full responsibility for the way you respond to others. Always ask yourself the question: What is the value if I respond this way? If someone blames you and you blame him back, it’s likely that he will simply blame you more or feel the urge to ruin the game on purpose. Is that what you want?

If you see sniper minute 35 with only boots and shadowblade while the opponent has slardar and gondar, does it add value to say: “this #$@# Sniper is ruining the game!”? No, not at all. You can't change the past so it’s useless to complain about it.

There is a lot of complaining about toxicity in gaming. Yes it's true that there is a lot of negative and toxic behaviour. And no matter what, there will always be toxicity in gaming. But you can do something about it. Simply never fuel toxic behaviour in others. Take responsibility. NEVER blame others, NEVER criticise others, NEVER respond aggressively if someone blames you. Even a simply sarcastic “gg” after someone dies can trigger a lot of toxic behaviour. You contribute to more toxicity then you currently want to admit.

How you deal with toxic behaviour of others is fully in your control. Just watch their behaviour, observe it, laugh at it and don’t take it so seriously. Understand that toxic behaviour from others comes from a place of insecurity and negative life circumstances. Maybe even feel empathy for them.

Valuable feedback

There is a time and place for analysing mistakes and giving suggestions for improvement. For example, if pudge in your team has the wrong items in your opinion, you can suggest something like “pudge, I suggest to get blademail as next item, it’s really strong versus them”. You are not blaming him, you are simply giving a suggestion.

When you are playing with friends or in a team, you all want to become better. If you think someone made a mistake, it has value to analyse it after the game (in a non-blaming way) and to give suggestions for improvement for the next game. Also, be open to receive criticism from others. Simply ask your friends or teammates afterwards: What can I do better? Did I make any mistakes?

In the first couple of years when I was a poker pro, I asked my friends: Please write down and point out every mistake you see me make. Don’t hold back, be hard and honest with me. This is such a great way of improving. By being open rather than defensive, your friends are much more likely to help you to identify ways to improve.

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You are in much more control then you realise. Take full responsibility for how you act and feel. True confidence is to not be affected by others opinions. Admit your own mistakes and be open to suggestions. You can help create a less toxic place by simply never fueling toxic behaviour in others. Ask yourself the question, what is the value in responding this way? Blaming is almost always a completely useless activity. Don’t get trapped in this ego game. Observe the toxic behaviour of others and don't take it so seriously. It’s your own responsibility. Don’t fight fire with fire.

I’d like to challenge you: for the next week, NEVER blame or criticize anyone. Not even a sarcastic “gg”. Even if someone is totally out of line and calls you all sorts of names and you feel a strong urge to react. Just observe it, laugh at it and let it go. It’s your personal challenge. Can you do it?

Blaming others is a habit, a totally useless habit. If you can unlearn this and take full responsibility you will have much more fun while gaming (and in life). I hope this article inspires you to take control.

Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts?

If you have a certain topic in mind that you want me to write about, please let me know 🙂

If you like content like this, I'm starting a youtube channel about gaming and mindset.


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