I write a lot about the impact that mental performance has on gaming performance. Looking at this research is always interesting, and it helps guide us to higher win rates. But we often get the question ‘how goes MaddCog actually help me play better?’
This article aims to provide the answer, so let's start by summarizing the key questions that MaddCog answers to help the serious gamer play their best:
- Am I fatigued and do I need a break?
- Am I in flow and ready to dominate the game?
- What pre-game routines help me get into flow?
- What time of day do I play best?
- How many games do I need to warm up? And how many games before my performance drops?
Fatigue — Do I Need a Break?
When we ask gamers why they want to track mental performance, the most common response is that they want to know when they become fatigued and are likely to lose more games. MaddCog can address this concern using a sensor band to track fatigue response.
MaddCog tracks mental fatigue and learns the impact that this fatigue has on the individual player’s game performance. Some players are more sensitive to fatigue than others, meaning that their performance drops more sharply as they become fatigued. This allows a recommendation to take a break to be provided when there is an increased chance of poor performance. Sometimes, even a short break can allow adequate recovery to perform well for another one or two games.
The graph below shows the average win rate of this League of Legends player based on his fatigue level. As you can see, when he has high mental fatigue levels, his win rate is heavily impacted. In this case, the player should avoid playing when heavily fatigued as there is a substantial reduction in win rate.
Regarding what this looks like while playing, MaddCog provides a post-game summary. In this example, fatigue was high after the game, so the app recommends the player to have a short break to aid recovery.
Flow is the mental state where you are fully immersed in your activity and performing well with relaxed focus. There is plenty of research showing that this is associated with optimal performance in all types of mental tasks, and our research shows this applies to gaming too. MaddCog measures flow levels using a sensor band.
Below is a graph that shows a high-level League of Legends player’s flow levels relative to his win rate. This shows the huge impact that mental performance can have on game outcome, and the importance of flow. In this case, the player won 13% more games when he was in a high flow state.
We just discussed the importance of flow, and given its impact on win rate, it would be nice to play every game with high flow. Unfortunately, that is a challenge as there are many factors impacting your ability to achieve this state. Common recommendations to help you achieve flow are outlined in this article and include getting the right environment, the optimal time of day, and the best pre-game routine for you.
MaddCog helps you identify these routines by tagging games based on what you do pre-game. For example, if you go for a walk before playing, tag the game with ‘walk’. Over time, MaddCog learns which tags help you the most. The example below shows the average flow level and win rate for different pre-game tags. In this case, the player should avoid studying prior to playing, and instead focus on relaxation activities such as meditation or a walk.
Time of Day
The real benefit of MaddCog is being able to measure mental performance and associate it with game outcome to identify insights. However, there are a couple of benefits that can be achieved without the sensor band. The first is simply looking at the time of day you play best. What period of the day do you play at your best and have the highest win rate?
The example below shows that this player plays best in the late afternoon / early evening, but performance is then reduced as the night goes on. This would allow the player to adapt and play at the ideal time, while avoiding late night games.
Number of Games
The other benefit MaddCog offers without the need of the sensor band is looking at your performance across consecutive games and determining how many games you usually play before you start to deteriorate. How many games can you play in a row before you are likely to fatigue and start losing?
This same analysis also allows you to see if you need a warmup. Some players will play well in game 1, while others might need a practice game to warm up before playing their best in games 2 and 3.
In the graph below, we see that performance was high across the first 4 games, before it started to decline. In this case, it would be recommended that this player has a warmup game before competing in 2–3 ranked games.
While this analysis is beneficial, it is further enhanced when coupled with mental performance. The warmup assessment can not only look at game outcome, but also look at how many games till you maximize flow.
I hope this highlights some of the practical benefits of MaddCog and how it can help you improve your gaming performance. MaddCog’s research shows the average increase in win rate when you have optimized your mental performance is 15%. If you are a serious gamer who values their rank, then considering your mental performance can have a substantial impact on your win rate.