Human psychology is a part of everyday life, in everyday things and everyday activities. There are many psychological factors we get confronted with every day; triggered by interacting with fellows, family members, colleagues and most notably, yourself. The effects of these exchanges vary in intensity and result, and will effect each member of society very differently. Yet due to similar interest in parts of the population, and the vast pool of data available to us today, certain psychological similarities between individuals may be discerned, one of which I like to suggest as ‘Division Psychology’.
As a fellow participant in the Do Gaming League, I have felt the same pride and dismay many of you experienced during the first leg of DGL. More specifically, when playing as a team, or clan, those emotions are multiplied substantially. This isn’t hard to understand if you have ever felt the rush, or disappointment after participating in any team sport. Even though the things we experience after a match are important, they can hardly be compared to the effects contributing factors before game may have on the result.
The Battlefield 3 league is a good example to illustrate my hypothesis. With the seeding leg’s group structure being replaced by 4 divisions in the second leg, understanding the stances and potential of rival clans has become a rather complex task. The reason for this is almost wholly as a result of the 3rd division, made up of either new, and relatively unknown clans, or branches from already successful and established clans. Many of these teams are made up of veteran DGL players, or players that has proven themselves otherwise. When comparing these teams to the second division, you may suspect that it is easier to win matches in the second, than the third. However when turning attention to the premier division, it is relatively simple to see why the teams on the roster are, needless to say, the premier teams. Thus when comparing potential performance in the premier and first divisions, it results in a direct opposite as what can be expected from the divisions mentioned earlier. These factors affect the way clan management devise, and implement in and out game strategies, in an attempt to improve their chances of success.
Now you may wonder how thís applies to you, and how these factors affect your clan. Even though division psychology won’t consciously affect anyone, the effects of this may be felt at later stages, and can influence choices made by leaders, some of which may be important. Following is an example of the factors, and their eventual effect on results; Team A needs to schedule, and play a match against team B in week 1 of leg 1. The management of team A studies the statistics of team B and scouts skills, accomplishments and map patterns of the rival team. When a date is being chosen they discuss the effects the potential time and date may have; like how daily life affects someone on a Thursday at 21:00, compared to Sunday at 19:00, making Sunday the desirable ‘less stress’ option, not to mention the need to take player availability into account. When the time for the knife round comes, the management can either use the data they gathered on the rivals to their advantage in map eliminations, or take the gamble that they are simply better than the opposition on their preferred map. When the maps are chosen and the date set the management of Team A has enough information to plan the offensive. They discuss the chances they have of winning, and consider the consequences of either winning or losing. It is also normal for leadership in any sport to positively support their team, and ensure success, if they play at their best.
The management of team A follows this pattern and their members are told to give their best no matter what the case, and if the odds are in their favor they will have their first win. Even though the players in team A may be indifferent to the possibilities, the management knows the odds (good or bad), and even if they don’t discuss losing, they know it’s always a possibility. On match day Team B wins the first round by a rather large ticket count, but wins the second round by a much smaller ticket count, indicating either team A improved game-play, or team B relaxed due to their success in the first round. Team B is satisfied with their win, believing team A did better against them in the second round because they got relaxed, and continue to play for fun for some time. Team A, on the other hand is disappointed, and believes they did better the second round due to teamwork or game play improvements. They log out after the match, and meet again the following day, saying it was an unfortunate loss, but good experience, and that they will definitely do better in the next match.
In week 5 team A has won 3 games and lost 2, whereas Team B has won all their games so far. Team A is debating the feasibility of continuing in the tournament, whereas team B already has their eyes on first place, with only two average teams between them and victory.
In week 7 team A decides to continue in the second leg after an unexpected win, striving towards top rank in the second division of leg 2, and team B faces their last opponent. Even though Team B’s opponents map of choice correspond with that of team B, they believe their previous successes on this map is enough reason to choose it. The management of team B quickly analyses their competition, and agree that even though the other team also has a full record of wins, they (team B) still has a better chance of winning. They communicate the need to give their best to their players, and remind them of the advance if they win. As motivation they mention team B’s ability to beat the rival team just before the game, and in all cases things are looking like they should. The game results in a close loss for team B and their opponents end up advancing to the premier division. Team B is devastated by their loss, and disbands shortly afterwards. Their senior members end up joining various premier clans as junior players and reserves for leg 2.
To conclude, we see that many psychological elements come to play before and after a match, some of which adversely affect players during the actual match, and so the resulting score and fate of the clan in question. To further complicate things, the results of each match contributes to the already saturated amount of elements, making it increasingly difficult to have a clear perspective of home clan standing in comparison to potential competition. These factors then explain the challenge we face every week of devising a accurate strategy in-game, not to mention out-game, making it ever more important to understand division psychology.
The first leg was a good learning ground for everyone, both in-game and out, the lessons of which I hope will be applied in the following leg. I for one learned a great deal during the past few months, and have been through what I discussed. I think it’s important for clan leaders to understand that this is a sport, and so there is some theory to take into account before rushing in. Thus this article is not intended to define ‘division psychology’, or to limit the ‘science’ thereof, but rather to suggest what it may become in the next season of gaming, and aspire you to look at your clan’s stance from an outside perspective.
Good luck in the next leg of DGL, and may the odds be ever in your favor.