Fighting game Anxiety

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#1 Edited by kronixi (34 posts) -

First of all i do have anxiety issues outside of competitive gaming.

I just won first fight against a player on dragonball z fighterz but throughout the 3 games my arms felt like jelly and my heart was beating fast. Does this sensation go away after a lot of games? because i love playing the game but I hate the feeling of anxiety i get in 1v1 games with anything.

Where those people who can just play a fighting game normally and not experience any of this anxiety? is there any tips or are you just naturally like that?

I played alot against bots and can beat expert levels but against a player I cant fight like i want to fight i just end up doing really stupid stuff like dragon rushing to close the gap when they are on the ground waiting for the anti air.

Can you list tips for players with anxiety on how to step in the arena?



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#2 Edited by Jovafy (29 posts) -

kronixi marked this as the best answer

It does get better. I was also terrified at first to play fighting games online but over time my fear diminished and I can now play against people without trouble. Sure, I still get a bit shaky if it's a close and a tense match but that's normal in my opinion.

The disappointing thing is that I don't think there's any special trick to get over it. You just have to keep playing until you get used to the situation. Also, take frequent breaks when the anxiety and salt levels start being too much and go back when you've cooled down.

Actually, I do have a tip: Don't be afraid to lose. As long as you're willing to learn from your mistakes, losses can improve your game a lot more than wins do in the long run. Learn to lose and keep losing until you start winning. Think about why you lost and try to improve on those things. Don't think that you have to win but instead think that you want to learn.

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#3 Posted by nutter (2324 posts) -

I’m fine in person, but playing online makes me a little anxious. I think it’s knowing that the person I’m playing is a complete dickbag that does it.

I’ve had almost every fighting game with a rando go sideways, win or lose. Killer Instinct may be the exception. I like that game, but I’m no good at it. Win or lose, though, players of KI have been alright.

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#4 Edited by Oodli (246 posts) -

Something that works for me is I try to make most matches into a learning experience. I'll give myself an objective other than winning the match - try to counter airborne attacks, improve my defense against mixup, work on pulling off combos in a match, stuff like that. This way I don't care too much if I lose cause that isn't my only goal.

Also, playing against people way above my level gives me a good challenge and shifts my focus from the win to just holding my own when I know my chances are slim anyway.

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#5 Posted by Efesell (4575 posts) -

I have no real tips but man it's encouraging somehow to find kind kindred spirits. I get like this with most multiplayer games and always feel ridiculous about it because these people are barely even aware of me at all.

Repetition is sadly the only solution I've ever found, do a thing enough times to convince my brain that there is in fact nothing to be all that worried about in a video game.

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#6 Posted by DanishingAct (414 posts) -

Just keep doing it. Exposure is one of the best ways to fight anxiety, and it really does get a little less intense each time.

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#7 Posted by Vasta_Narada (751 posts) -

Honestly, it's just something you have to get used to by doing it. I still get anxiety when I take a new character into PvP matches, and I always feel uncomfortable when I try a new game. I always put it off for as long as possible, doing trials and stuff. It's the same thing as tournament nerves, and conquering them in order to play at your best is what separates the great players from the good players. Of course, the stakes are different but it's the same idea. If you've got friends that play as well, getting used to the nerves by using them as a sort of comfort blanket could work.

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#8 Edited by Goboard (293 posts) -

What you describe sounds exactly like how I felt in the final 5 of a PUBG match when I'd first started playing. It took getting to that point again a few dozen times before it wasn't nearly as bad. I was also learning to drive at the time and driving had and still does induce a fair amount of anxiety in me. The thing I did that helped was to remind myself to focus on the moment more than the goal when I was about to get to the point where anxiety kicked in so I could make each decision a meta goal that made me focus on something other than the physical sensations and my mental state. It didn't get rid of the anxiety and stress entirely but it allowed me to use the increased adrenaline towards a better outcome. I'm also playing DBFZ, but haven't done any online matches yet, so I'm expecting to have a similar experience again when I do.

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#9 Posted by kronixi (34 posts) -

thanks for the responses. I think the conclusion is to just keep doing it repetitively until the nerves calm down. My ego is so afraid to lose but why should i let in get in the way of enjoying the experience of the game

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#10 Posted by dstopia (366 posts) -

My way of getting over it is realizing that I'm not trying to prove anything, I just want to get better. If I lose, it means there's something to be learned from the loss. Which is why I am able to play dozens of matches in a row against someone better than me and not worry about losing every time. Though I do worry I bore them sometimes lol.

I recently picked up bbtag and I literally spammed matches with the first person I found in a lobby just to get used to the game. I lost almost every time but I got better way faster than if I had been sitting down playing against the AI, afraid to jump into online matches.

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#11 Posted by Razor_Sharp1997 (13 posts) -

I suggest you don't play while you're cranky, or you don't know what to do. I get over it by playing only when I feel like having game. I take small breaks every hour or so and stay hydrated throughout my gaming sessions. Hope it helps!

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#12 Posted by Undeadpool (7091 posts) -

Don't be afraid to lose, as the Best Answer said, but also don't feel like you HAVE to stick it out.

I was playing FighterZ last night, and got absolutely TROUNCED by someone twice in a row. I just bounced on the third game at the rematch screen because I realized I wasn't learning nor having fun. Play the games the way YOU want to on YOUR terms. I also lost my next 2 matches, and then came back with 3 wins in a row against that person, so sometimes you're definitely learning and starting to play better.

And yeah, some jitters and nerves are to be expected, there's a reason that even the pros celebrate like mad when they win.

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#13 Edited by hnke (189 posts) -

Pretty much everyone feels what you felt during their first PVP fights no matter the game. It goes away pretty soon and then you start to miss it because no matter how intense the fight nothing will compare to the adrenaline of those first fights.

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#14 Edited by TobbRobb (6588 posts) -

Performance anxiety is usually tied to familiarity and confidence. If you have unrelated anxiety then maybe it won't ENTIRELY go away, but it will definitely get better.

Just focus on improving your own skills and have fun getting better at the game. As you improve and as you get more familiar with common situations and interactions in the game, the anxiety will go down. Because you will no longer be going into unknown territory (high anxiety) and you will feel more confident in your own performance. Even if it's just a little bit, believing in yourself makes a world a difference in competition.

I had horrible nervous shakes and pumping adrenaline when I started to get into Starcraft. Every time I queued up was almost a mental breakdown, and I could only really stomach one match per session. But as I got more used to the mechanics and started recognizing the rush/cheese strats and how to beat them. The game got increasingly less scary. This confidence and reassurance that it will always get better, and that I know I can improve myself has carried into later games as well. The curve of anxiety going into MOBA's, shooters and fighting games after breaking through that initial wall, has been much shorter.

Now years later, I'm generally pretty confident even when going into an unfamiliar game. Things change dramatically if you want them to.

EDIT: Tips on getting more familiar with a game faster. Honestly just pay attention to what your opponent is doing more. You can start off being kind of passive and just try and think of counters for what they are doing. You are going to get hit and lose a TON by doing this, but as you figure out solutions you will get hit less and less over time.

Thinking critically and observing speeds up the process a lot. And trying to flail wildly in hopes of a random victory will just keep you stress levels up. Might as well slow the pace down and take your time. And don't be afraid to experiment. If you have an idea that feels like it might be stupid, you might as well try. It could be good, could be bad. At least you'll know after trying.

EDIT2: The TLDR of my point. Focus on developing your skills and recognizing situations instead of focusing on the anxious feeling. Focusing on how to be less anxious will make you more anxious. Focusing on getting better at the game will make you less anxious over time.

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#15 Posted by BrotherBran (287 posts) -

The simple fact that you can see the mistakes you are making puts you ahead of the game. Just focus on improving your own game and have fun. It will take quite a few matches and there might be some painful losses but there is no replacement for experience.

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#16 Posted by cikame (2924 posts) -

I haven't gotten over this yet, i don't have any anxiety issues outside of fighting games, but when playing online against strangers my heart starts beating incredibly fast, i sweat like crazy and my emotions are amped, so when i get hit by a combo or lose i just feel like a garbage person, i've actually broken a headset because of it, and nearly my wrist when i punched a door, which made me feel like even more of a garbage person, i don't get like this when playing with friends.
I've heard similar stories before and tried to play as much online as possible to get used to it, but it's not happening, i started taking them seriously 9 years ago, and currently have 338 hours in Tekken 7, though recently i've been doing offline and friends only because i don't like the anxiety.

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#17 Posted by TobbRobb (6588 posts) -

@cikame: Is that anxiety though? To me it sounds like you are just really invested and competitive and take the wins and losses very seriously. In this case I don't really think the grinding solution solves much since investing more time in the game would make losses feel even worse when you've built some competitive ego.

Though I realize anxiety can take symptomize in rage/shame as well and I most assuredly can't speak to your situation better than you can. Just curious since it's much more common to relate fighting games with performance anxiety. And those type of symptoms calm down with exposure and experience.