5 Nov 2013

Full Tilt!

I have noticed a disturbing trend with my PvP habits.

I will lose a ship, usually in a close fight, and I will go straight back to the hangar to pick up another ship and then lose it again, usually in fights I know I can't win. It is a lot like a losing streak in poker. I can't work out why this happens or if there is a way to fix it. I am not even sure if you can fix it. Is it even a bad thing? If you fixed it as such, would you become risk averse? Is this just the way to fly to maximise killboard production?

Now this doesn't happen all the time, in fact it is quite a sporadic thing, but it got me thinking about the idea of going full tilt and how other pilots react to this. If they experience it at all. How they fix it. What triggers it. Questions that needed answers.

I asked some of my fellow corpmates for their views on the subject, but first I thought I would take a look at what exactly going full tilt is and how we can compare this to spaceship combat losing streaks.

Tilt is a poker term for a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in the player becoming over-aggressive.

An obvious comparison right there. You lose a ship, and maybe you're frustrated at the way you handled the fight, or you were annoyed at that extra ship that joined in the action and swung the fight in your opponent's favour. You undock in a new ship and you're looking for another fight to correct the wrongdoing from before, you're flying aggressive and you will fly headfirst into the next thing you see on your overview.


There could be a number of factors involved in going full tilt. 

Being shown a bluff. That cruiser with a mining drone out suddenly turns into an anti-frig killer with teeth, webs and neuts. 

Having an opponent 'suck out' or find a miracle late in the fight. A passing gang that sees you plinking away at a ratting Dominix, warps on in, kills you and the Dominix.

Having what you think is a dominating hand bested by an unexpected more powerful hand. You know that your Assault Frigate can take this Sabre. Oh no what's that? A Falcon and Rapier suddenly decloak and now who is the dominant one?

Standing up to an overly aggressive player. Perhaps this is in retaliation to taking on somebody you know loses a lot of ships, or spams you with 1v1 requests. An underestimation and being lead on by other factors and suddenly you're in over your head and heading for another lossmail.

Making a bad play and realising it afterwards. Wrong ammo choice, a mis-click like turning your guns off or burning them out completely, having the wrong keep at range settings set, etc, etc ...

All of this mixed into the melting pot of PvP can really upset the mental equilibrium essential for optimal combat judgement. Another common way to tilt is from the bad behaviour of others in the game. Excessive rudeness in local (smack?) that winds you up the wrong way, dealing with heavily intoxicated players, coming up against somebody who is provocative, poor combat etiquette from your foe, these are all factors that can wear on the nerves and send you closer to tilt. 

Now, back to the advice of others. We had a discussion on the subject on our corporate forums.

Well I've just lost three ships in an hour not ten minutes ago. But jumping straight back in payed off with nabbing an Executioner and Daredevil kill. If I was still in a familiar region I probably would have gone afk or logged the trade alt for a while. So maybe my situation was just a little different because I'm learning a new area. ~ Death ToU

I used to do the exact same thing but think I've come up with a couple of strategies that work to my advantage. One evening not too long ago I lost nine ships. I did exactly what Miura described. Most probably the first ship I lost was to a silly mistake on my own part. This lead to me becoming a bit annoyed at myself, and to make things better I needed to get another ship and make something explode. Most probably I then engaged something I shouldn't have due to losing my cool somewhat, and lost yet another ship. And as Tilt! hit, it was hard to stop. After losing nine ships Lhorenzho suggested I take a break. And a drink. Good advice indeed.

These days I do one of three things when I experience a loss that gets to me in one way or another. Either I take a break until the feeling has subsided, or I head out for half an hour or so and take on fights that I very rarely lose and that at the same time are satisfactory. This usually means I go on a short roam in a Condor Killer fit and hunt LML Condors. Sure the fights are kind of easy and in themselves not very exciting. But I'm killing Condors! I'm doing God's work and it feels good. And thirdly I'll watch the recording of the fight and try to figure out what I could have done better and how I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. 

I very rarely experience tilt when I've lost a really good fight where I feel I did everything I possibly could do to win the fight. It's more common when I lose a fight I think I should have won but lost due to a silly mistake of some sort on my part.

I also think it's possible to fix the issues with tilt without becoming risk averse. On the flipside, I actually think that tilting itself can make you more risk averse if you lose too much. Especially when you're space poor. Personally I find that the more good fights I win, usually meaning fights where I take a risk, the more and greater risks I tend to take in the near future as well. And losing a fight where the risk is great doesn't feel as bad since I kind of expected to lose it from the start anyway. 

Getting in to fights that are quite easy to win for a short period of time, but that at the same time are satisfactory, is the best method I've found so far. It boosts the confidence a little bit after a loss and the set up for the actual fight is often challenging enough (baiting a Condor to leave a gang for instance) without full commitment can be interesting and fun.  

After that half an hour I'm usually ready to head out hunting good fights and windmills again. ~ Crake Gaterau

I dunno, it's frustrating as hell and I don't really have any solution. Stepping away is all well and good, but when you get back in the saddle and things start going wrong again you're just back at square one.

I suppose it's just the nature of the beast.

This is the curse of the PvP junkie. Downward spiralling.

I have a propensity for this certainly, in the same way as you guys it seems. Silly loss leads to annoyance leads to silly fight leads to silly loss leads to further annoyance leads to silly fight...ad infinitum. Crash and burn.

I wonder about the psychology of it at times. As gamers it's natural that we're competitive. Sure, we enjoy a gudfite, but personally speaking I enjoy a gudfite that ends with a KM in my favour even more.

Do the players bring this aspect to the game, or does the game, in its unforgiving complexity bring it out in the player?

I also think that there's a 'pride before a fall' element involved, certainly for me. I enjoyed a good run of success earlier in the year, hit top ranked on BattleClinic, had a K:D ratio of 3:1 and suddenly, after a couple of bad months, I'm seriously questioning my ability.

Was my perceived skill and understanding of the game merely luck and a niche ship fit? I'm beginning to wonder... ~ Nogusha

I've encountered this on many occasions. It usually happens when I lose a ship because of a stupid mistake. It really shakes my confidence and then I just hop in another ship and make even more mistakes. If I'm lucky I will recognize this before I lose too many ships. The solution for me is to log off or find something else to do. 

The opposite also rings true. When I'm having a good day I'm really focused and things seem to go in my favor. 

If the slump carries on more than a day or two I try a new region for awhile. That usually helps. ~ Duke Thunderhorse

Strangely enough the following inspiring words are what gets me through a string of losses and on to that next win;

"The Screaming Hayabusa pilot shows great honour in death no matter how death is achieved. 
To die as a Screaming Hayabusa warrior is a true honour and should be embraced. 
There is no feeling of loss or hatred towards the enemy. 
Every loss is a final piece in the puzzle to Elysium and the unlocking of the red door. 
Losses and victories are equal."

It's very much a martial arts, warrior mindset. Each time you enter combat you plunge yourself into the flame. To be forged and tempered by your will and that of your opponent/s.

A 'gudfite' will always end in a win, loss or a draw [warp off etc] it should be the 'journey' of the fight not the destination that matters.

[RP trousers on]

As pod pilots we are immortal, it's the conflict that drives us to excel, that makes us feel alive. A win or a loss is a footnote. We are about the lesson in the fight, the journey, and a distraction from a tedious eternal existence.

[RP trousers off]

I find my biggest problem is finding fights, all the warp offs and cloaked stabbed plex monkeys, and just plain empty space is the biggest threat to my morale. 

This too can be solved by perseverance. Keep jumping, keep scanning, get to know your area, the mantra of all the good pilots I admire. I try hard to keep this mindset. Some nights it pays off, some it does not.

But seriously, how the fuck do you guys find that many fights!?! I wonder if it's my TimeZone, being the graveyard shift of New Eden and all that. Am I spending too long or too little time in a system. Am I flying something that looks too hard to beat, is it just plain dumb arse luck...these are the things that eat at me.

Then again I tell myself it's the journey.

In the end when it does get too much for my inner space monk I either say goodnight and have a sleep, or go make some isk on my mission dude and watch the latest downloads of movies TV series etc.

Nothing like mission running for isk to get you keen for some action again. ~ Ashton Smyth

An interesting compendium of thoughts. So how do you deal with losing streaks? Can you relate to going Full Tilt!?



  1. I definitely go full tilt when I lose a fight if I, personally, messed up in some way.

    When I was primarily flying solo, I never found a way to shake the full tilt - other than avenge my mistake and kill more things.

    Nowadays, I've found joining up with a fleet takes your mind off of past mistakes and engagements, especially if said fleet is out wrecking nerds ;)

    At the end of the day, the only thing that washes away that horrible red stain of personal error on the KB is more green.


    1. I might look into joining more random fleets.



  2. I do the same, for a mix of reasons. Mostly just to get back in the saddle. Doing anything else seems like embracing my inner weenie.

    Killing more pilots is the only way to absolution...lol.

  3. Going full tilt/retard/getting mad can be solved in a few ways.
    Keep fighting, but fly cheap ships since judgement is impaired (stay the fuck away from the blinged stuff in the hanger).
    Step away from the PC and chill for a while.
    Or jump on comms and get in fleet with some mates. Best thing for beating those pvp blues is laughing and killing shit with friends :)

    1. That's a good call. Every time I lost something tech2 like an AF for example I used to religiously jump into a cheap fit dessie or tech1 frig and make sure I lost that first. Haven't done this for a while now though.

  4. I do it all he time, just look at my latest string of losses, it's embarrassing but I don't really care :)
    I will then log of and fester on my mistakes :P

  5. Story of my life. I usually react with "Excessive rudeness in local (smack?)" and continue throwing ships at them.

    Excellent post, you should start a group therapy service for space pirates suffering from PTSD.

    1. Third Saturday of every month, bottom station Melmaniel, 10:00 eve time. Bring your own biscuits, coffee provided. We can all get through this together. :)

  6. It's the nature of a fight, that it is all or nothing.
    Getting all the glory or being dirt under someone's boot.
    There is not really an inbetween, esp. in Eve.

    So, even if you're undocking in the most cheerful mood
    feeling confident, you will lose eventually.

    Why do we play this game and try to win? What rescource
    do we fight over? I'd say status. Status within this virtual
    social group.

    If you'd lower the value of this resource for you,
    the game and it's community in itself. You'd feel less
    tilted. At least that is my belief.

    Not the answer you're looking for, if an answer at all,
    but i think about these things a lot. It's the same
    principal out there. Only in Eve you don't have to go
    to the hospital to have your broken nose fixed :)
    Or pay the lawyer.

    ...now.... where was I

  7. evebroadside.blogspot.com/2013/11/full-tilt.html

  8. So that's what "full tilt" means - I'm not a native speaker and still puzzle over some of the idioms.

    I remember this situation from playing paintball - a guy in a bunker taking you out, but the fight was close enough that you think that if you only did this or that differently, you could defeat him. And so you try, and try, and try again.

    It takes discipline and training to take a mental step back, and evaluate the situation from the point of view of a disinterested party. Because the problem is: sometimes, going full tilt actually gives you a win, making you forget all the losses you had endure to get there.

    (For me, this doesn't apply to EVE - I'm bad enough that every fight is a loss anyway :) )

    1. Perhaps it takes the ultimate in discipline and mental strength to overcome this. Hmm.

  9. This is a problem? I thought this is how you are supposed to play eve?