Mental States in Gamer Mastery

Learning State

While in the learning state of mind your objective should be to concentrate on learning and experimentation. You should play to win, and take matches seriously, but not be afraid to try different strategies for the purpose of learning. In this state you aim to maximize your learning, not your win-percentage.

Feel free to think about your moves, what would have happened if you took another route, what you are going to try in the next matchup and so on. It is only beneficial to you and your opponent if your time is well spent, thus if you both see a match going to end a certain way, stop. Play again. If your opponent made a dumb mistake, let them take it back, note it and move on.

Think of this as sharpening your sword.

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you.” – the Buddha

Proving State

In the proving state you either simulate a tournament match, or play in a tournament. In this state your sole objective is to win each match, or maximize your probability of winning. This means that you should apply all that you have learnt, but there is no time to learn new things. Your whole being is concentrated on playing and analysing; if you have energy left over you should concentrate on analysing your opponent instead.

This also means that you play in the now. Anything that happened in the past is irrelevant to the future. This includes worrying about past matches, past mistakes, how your friends are doing et cetera. Feel free to note any mistakes you make, but do not dwell on them. You will make mistakes. Forgive yourself and move on.

Think of this as wielding your sword.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate your mind on the present moment.” – the Buddha

Casual State

In the casual state your objective is having fun, gaining energy and enjoying the game. What separates the casual state from the other two states is that it does not require concentration from you. Whether you win or lose or make ‘mistakes’ towards that goal is less relevant. What makes this state important is that you are regenerating, either by the social aspect, interesting interactions, card banter or other things that gain you the energy back.

A good number of players prefer this stage to the others the majority of the time, Do what you enjoy, what brought you here in the first place.

Think of this as having sheathed your sword.

“There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path.” – the Buddha


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 The Zen of Netrunner
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Elusive, (12/3/2016), The Zen of Netrunner, Retrieved on 2018-11-20
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  • Folksonomies: gaming mental states