Content of the article: "Stop being a victim of ranked RNG. How to manipulate the ranked system through being a nice person."
This isn't a guide on how to improve at the game. This isn't even a guide in overwatch related strategy.
This is a guide on how to inflate your SR by ruthlessly nice to a point.
Now its hard to show you guys how badly this entire subreddit has been missing the point when it comes to where your focus should be during ranked play.
Conventional wisdom is to ignore the randomness going on around you, as it will all even out over time, and to simply focus on improving yourself.
I argue the exact opposite, the advantage you get from playing better is slim, and if you focus on being nice to others, having fun, and by doing so, having others play better for you. Your SR will improve drastically, and your enjoyment of the game will return to the point it was at 2 years ago.
Focusing on others not only allows more headroom for advantages compared with focusing on yourself, but only requires a small amount of energy and input from you.
My names Realth. I've been writing pieces and advocating for people being nice to each other for a while now.
Improving yourself doesn't actually help that much
You are one person, and the chances you have of winning is equal to the input from all the players on your team.
If 0 is a player completely afk, and 100 is a player who's performing at the average level of players at their current SR. When a player performs 30% better then other players, and every other player performs as expected, their teams total effectiveness only raises to 105%.
If this 5% extra advantage converted to a 5% increased winrate1 , it would only net you an average of 1.25sr per game, and you'll take 400 games to rank up 500sr.
Similarly, playing at 160% would give you 200 games for the next 500sr.
This spells out a clear message. You are 1/6th of the team, and playing better gives you 1/6th of the advantage.
Improving other people is much more effective
The one constant with ranked is that over time the advantage and disadvantages from having bad and good players, tilters, throwers and smurfs all happen as much to the opponents team as yours.
The trick is finding a way to leverage this in order to increase your chances of winning.
In any particular game there are 5 people who aren't you, some of these people will be completely in the zone playing in a proper state and getting stuff done. Others will be playing at varying levels of their actual skill. Some will be at 80%, some will be at 60%, some will be playing at 100%.
Remember, this isn't a tournament, and it isn't a scrim. It's a ranked game, and the average level of play of both teams is more likely to be 80 to 90% of how someone at their SR should be performing.
This 10% is your advantage.
This is your headroom.
This is where your focus should be if you want to effectively increase your SR.
It is much easier to get every member of your team to play 10% better, and reach their normal level, then it is to play at 160% of your own normal level.
Lets say there's a game where a player on your team is tilted, working at 40% of their actual ability, and complaining at other team members when they mess up. Nobody plays well when they are being yelled at, most people don't even care about the outcome of the game anymore when they are being yelled at.
You don't just lose the 60% efficiency from the tilter, you everyone else too. One unaddressed toxic person can lose you a game every time.
If there's anything you can do to rally that player with the team, and get them to play at something like 80%, you've already made up your 200 game timer.
If you learn to control these people, and control the randomness of ranked through effective communication, without even touching the mouse, you can win games.
So here's a few pointers on how to approach ranked and manipulate your teammates through being a nicer, positive person.
1. Introduce yourself.
The first thing I've gathered over years of playing this game, is that first impressions matter.
This is your chance to set the tone for the game. You can easily lose out of the starting gate if someone else gets to set a negative tone before you.
"Hello everyone, good morning" Is the bare minimum. Use your own spin, be creative, be friendly.
Ask nicely in chat for voice to be joined, if people aren't keen on voice, apply a little bit of light-hearted pressure. "come say hi, I'm friendly" in chat goes a long way. Make an effort, this is your only chance to win them over.
You don't need me to tell you the advantages of everyone being in chat.
Talk to people like they're humans, some people are here after a very long and very shit day, treat them as such. Make them feel happy, happy people play better.
2. Identify the problem players.
There's a couple categories of "problem players".
- Soft throwing through being tilted.
- Throwing on purpose.
- Caring more about their own personal experience then the result of the game.
- One Tricks.
These are people who need additional consideration, possibly mental support after their terrible day. These are not your enemies, they are your friends. Their problems, at least for this game, are your problems.
You are their caring, kind, older brother if needs be. You are their cheerleader if needs be. Maybe they just need someone who's nice enough that they'd feel guilty if they underperformed and dropped your SR.
You are anything you need to be to make them play better.
I'll cover different strategies for addressing these players in a different post, or I'll need to write a TL;DR that's longer than the intro.
3. Team Comp
Remember, team comp matters, but not as much as the relationships between players on your team.
Bad relationships with others on their team will cause people to not switch regardless.
If someone looks like they might start a fight over a pick, "don't worry, it'll be fine, I believe in them" is a brilliant conflict deescalator.
4. Maintain constant positive presence in voice chat.
Nobody wants to be toxic when there's someone really nice doing calls over voice.
People really underestimate how timid toxic people are, they aren't gigachads who don't care what people think of them, for the most part they are just frustrated normal people.
Most don't want conflict, and they wont voice their negativity if there are other people there before them.
Just being there is enough.
Being there and being a nice person is better.
5. Criticism isbanned
The number one tip on how to performance manage people in a team is as follows.
Praise in public, punish in private.
If you have something positive to say, make sure other people hear you saying it to the person.
If you have a criticism, make sure its given in private.
In an organization, this means pulling people aside to talk to their individually about their mistakes.
But in ranked, you cant pull people aside, and this means you don't criticise people during games.
Repeat after me, you don't criticise people during games.
This person will not only have the normal bad reaction to being told they did something wrong in public, but in addition to that, they didn't ask you for your opinion.
You aren't their coach, and you aren't someone they respect unless you earn that respect.
ANY negative comment about someone's performance will negatively impact your chances of winning.
No matter how constructive or nice you think you're being, all you're doing is crossing your fingers and risking that they might be in a bad enough mood to stop playing properly.
6. Changing course, how to correct your teams direction.
Strategies are easy, picks are hard.
"Go high ground next push" has no risk of someone feeling called out.
"Sveech vidow" is universally a bad call.
All suggestions to changes need to be put in a very general way, unless you know you already have a good rapport with that player.
Because of this, changing a general strategy is far easier to put across then one or two problem picks.
You have to carefully weigh up how much conflict detracts from your team, when compared with the gain from someone swapping under your advice.
I'll explore this more in my follow up, since I'll need to address strategy considerations as well as interactions.
7. First fight matters
You don't need me to tell you that games win and lose based mostly on first fight.
This isn't just because first fight tells you who's better, its because this is when the negativity first shows up.
There will be a toxic comment if you lose. Its your job to safeguard against that.
Again, just being there is enough.
You're still going to win. "Unluckers. Go again."
That toxic 40% player shouldn't be able to complain about your ball feeding, you've already addressed it given your team a new direction.
(Regardless, if you've played your cards right, they should already be feeling better.)
8. ONLY play when you are in a good mood (or able to pretend to be)
I save the most important for last. The number one piece of advice for all competitive players of any game.
Everyone knows the impact on your own performance when you are tilted, but the impact on you isn't what I care about at the moment
When tilted, you can no longer project energy over mic, you wont be a present part of the game, shot calling, supporting other people, stopping conflict in your team.
You may unintentionally be that player who breaks morale over mic, and gets everyone else to play worse around you.
Playing whilst tilted removes all advantage you get through positively influencing your team, you are now another bot playing at 90% of your potential.
"Inflating your SR isn't a good thing."
Now I've been very clear to say that this approach to ranked wont make you better at the game. Your SR will be inflated compared to your performance.
But there's a massive silver lining here, the best way to learn and improve has always been to scrim against players who are 200-300SR better then you.
Adapting to higher level gameplay, lower kill times, less safety in open positions, respecting good players, are all skills you'll need to learn at some point.
Practicing against better players is much better for you then practicing against your own rank.
But that's the beauty of this strategy in tackling a ranked grind.
You play when you're in a better mood, and you enjoy the game more because other people feed positivity back into you when you give it to them.
And what I consider to be the most relaxing thing,
You don't need to learn to carry to rank up. You just need to hold your own.
So go try being a nicer person in comp, the worst thing that could happen is that you spread some positivity, god knows this community needs it sometimes.
Anyway, thanks for reading this one.
Hopefully this is enough to convince you of the merits to being a nice person, and put a bit of agency back in your hands when ranked RNG starts getting you down.
Have a good month,
if you're interested, I'll be streaming tonight till late UK time, Realth
TL;DR. Being nice isn't only a good thing to do, its an effective strategy to increasing your SR as others overperform when around a nice, friendly player.
You don't have to carry, you can simply manage conflict within your team and be a nice presence in voice, and its enough to rank up.
Addendum 1. Realistically, there is a compounding effect on being better then the enemy team. Being 5% better may increase your win rate by more then 5% and being 50% better then their team effectively guarantees a 99% win rate. Regardless, the fact remains that its much easier to get your teammates to stop performing badly to increase your teams win rate then it is to cause you to perform better yourself.
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