Before you even start a game of League, you can find the core cause of the game's tilting nature in one strategy and personality melting pot: Champion Select.
The pregame pick/ban phase of a game of League holds three important things that everyone past level five can identify with ease. Your Champions, your bans, and most importantly, your teammates.
The first two items are the things in the game that you can control. You can choose your favorite champion, save for when it gets banned in which case you can choose your second favorite champion (God forbid.) And you can ban whoever you want. If there is an oppressive champion in the game that is anti-fun to play against, kick them out of the game. Boom. Easy.
But when it comes to teammates, there is nothing you can do to remedy a poorly performing, inting, or toxic summoner on your side, no matter how hard you may want to.
You simply have to spend the next 30-40 minutes slugging through their performance which vehemently drags you down. But I'm sure it's a familiar feeling.
The 1v9 disasters
The League of Legends Ladder is NOT, as common knowledge would have you believe, a 5v5. It is in fact a game with five enemies you can kill, and four enemies you have to baby across the finish line (if you're lucky.)
Every time an enemy kills a teammate, that isn't just a bigger gold count given to the other team, it's also less gold for your team. And while this aspect of League is obviously necessary to keep the game true to its core, it's also a function that means you can't just mind your own performance, it has to be on your team's as well.
There is nothing worse than feeling as if, despite your best intentions and best play, one or two "teammates" are negligently choking the effort you've put into a match until it suffocates and turns into nothing but a stressed out summoner staring at his or her computer screen with the words "Defeat" sprawled across the monitor in an almost mocking fashion.
This isn't helped by the fact that you're often not given a chance to be proud of your own performance by the end of the game, either, since an enemy team that is gaining an advantage over your teammates will almost invariably have their dominance seep into your KDA before the surrender vote hits.
A 2/0/0 laning phase might seem like a good for a start for a match, but we all know that it's not how you start, it's how you finish that is remembered. And remembering a 2/10/0 match is absolutely disheartening when you feel like you did much better than that.
All this put together means that you can't be proud of a good performance in the end because you often aren't playing to destroy people who are worse than you in lane, you are playing to gain LP and to get better. But a situation where someone (assuming it isn't you) single-handedly fumbles a victory to your opponent gives you neither, and leaves a sour taste in your mouth for good measure.
There seems to be a common attitude League players have when finding themselves outclassed or counter picked in lane. For the most part, they tend to bite the bullet and play a passive farm game with their team in mind, sacrificing their riven montage footage for the sake of themselves and their allies.
Except I'm lying to you, because no one outside of the LCS or Challenger scenes has ever had that mentality.
Now don't think we can make this all about other "teammate foes" without throwing some criticism at ourselves.
It happens more often than we'd like to remember or admit that a lane opponent proves to be MUCH more efficient at almost every aspect of the game than we are. They outfarm us, control more vision than we do and in a more aggressive manner, they work well with their junglers, and generally just outplay us. It happens.
And besides, as long as you at least ward one of the lane paths, you should be fine, right? Darn. Well at least the jungler won't come back two times in a row, right?
After you make these decisions and get killed twice within 2 minutes, there is almost no chance your team is going to be on your side. They'd promote a cannon minion if they could.
It is at this point in the match that you realize the only messages you will be getting from your team are ones with passive aggressive or condescending tones behind the words.
Any time your lane opponents pulls off a successful roam you will be held accountable (no matter how many times you spammed a missing ping.) Any time the enemy team wins an objective you will be the one blamed, and any time a team fight is lost, you will be the one people are going to question.
Suddenly you're the one who becomes the teammate foe for everyone else. Suddenly, you're the one who must be babied across the finish line.
If the laning phase didn't make you feel despair, then the anger from your teammates certainly will. And don't expect the other team to make you feel better: the more tilted you and your team are, the more chances they have to win the game. In fact, expect the enemy team to flame you worse than your teammates will, and expect them to return to you again and again to try and stomp you right off the Rift.
This doesn't mean that we who make poor choices when behind should feel bad about our disposition or that we should ever tilt over having a bad game. I only mention it because it's important to be honest with one's own flaws and be able to recognize the difference between your team being the problem and you being the problem.
This does mean, however, that the frustration League creates is multi-dimensional, and regardless of how you're performing, you probably aren't free from it without 9 summoners muted in chat as a result.
Participation trophy LP
It must be stated that not all games that start with a bad laning phase end with a defeat screen. In fact, a lot of my victories in league have come from cutting my losses and playing around my teammates that are doing well.
That being said, playing a supportive role in which you do your best to not get in your team's way doesn't provide a summoner with a great deal of satisfaction.
On the contrary, it actually adds to the issue of people associating League with stress and frustration. Even when on the winning side.
As I stated before, no matter how much fun it is to smash in the laning phase of League, it's not why most people on the ladder are playing. They are playing to get better.
When the Vayne on your team manages to get steamrolling against all the odds you put up against her with your poor performance, it's very possible she'll be able carry you to a victory, no matter how much weight there is.
But while some LP never hurts, it's a pretty empty victory. It feels like you were handed a victory for free without earning it. It feels more like RNG.
This can be fine if you're are playing Hearthstone, but in a game like League where RNG is supposed to have absolutely nothing to do with how good you are as a player, it actually makes the wins feel cheap, and the game as a result. It's participatory LP.
Losing always feels bad on the Rift. If its your fault, it feels bad. If its a teammate's fault, it feels bad. Sometimes it's even more-so with wins.
But with all of this said, it's important to remember why you started and continue to play League in the first place.
Whether that was to relax in a normal game, for the Ladder, for the professional scene, or just because it's something to connect with friends over, there's something for almost everyone so long as they don't lose sight of what brought them to the game in the first place.
And if you can't remember why you even play anymore, grab four of your best friends and jump into a normal game with the most off-meta champs as your pocket picks and faux-BM as your strategy. Don't expect to win, expect to have fun.
For those who think that's not any real way to competitive League... I guess we're going to have to see about that.
Let us know what you think about League of Legends and the Summoner's Rift tilt in the comments below!