This post is also available in: plpolski (Polish)

Whenever (mis)fortune happens to us, we tend to assign either the blame or praise for actions and consequence it brings alongside. You might be asking yourself: how does it correlate to my CS:GO games?

Well, friends, you would be surprised.

Described above is a definition of one of the cognitive biases called: Moral luck; and it does impact your mentality — not only in CS:GO, but real life as well.

What exactly is a cognitive bias?

In scientific words: a cognitive bias refers to the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.

In simple words: it’s basically something along the lines of calling your favorite team the best, even when their results speak otherwise. An opinion begins to deviate from any kind of rationality and is shaped by your emotions and preferences.

What exactly is “Moral luck” bias?

Imagine this: there are two people driving cars, Driver A, and Driver B. They are alike in every way.

Driver A is driving down a road, and, in a moment of inattention, runs a red light as someone is crossing the street. Driver A slams the brakes, swerves, in short, does everything to try to avoid hitting the man – alas, the accident happens.

Driver B, in the meantime, also runs a red light, but, since no one is crossing, gets a traffic ticket but nothing more.

Giant Chicken BiasAm I just imagining things or is it just bad luck?

Now imagine the same situation, but in a game of CS: GO

There are two members of the CT team — we will call them Bot and Bob. They are very much alike.

Bot is pushing to defuse in a 1v3 situation, and, in a moment of inattention, gets shot down right before arriving at the bomb site and doesn’t manage to defuse in time. Bot tries to correct his mistake a few rounds later, again in a 1v3, but comes in a few seconds late; in short – he does everything to help his team out, but the enemy shuts him down twice.

Bob finds himself in the same situation but also doesn’t manage to defuse on time. However, on his next try, he runs into a 1v3 situation and manages to defuse due to the enemy team reading his movement incorrectly.

There is not much of a difference in what the two of them could have done – however, one seems clearly more to blame than the other.

What is the issue?

This is the very problem of moral luck.

Bot gets a lot of blame for not getting the defuses on time since it resulted in his team losing two rounds that had a shot at being won. Conversely, Bob doesn’t get much blame because he managed to secure one round for the team thanks to enemy’s mistakes.

In the second case, a fortunate and rare occurrence took place and the moral blame is diminished in Bob’s case despite both players not having a realistic ability to change outcomes of said rounds.

Bias and in-game performance

I bet it sounds familiar and applies to at least a few of your games. Someone got blamed and picked on because they failed to change an outcome of something that wasn’t really changeable at that particular moment.

We are, sometimes, too quick to pass judgment on people and assign the results of said moral luck to happenings that our teammates could not have prevented, given the situation they were in at certain points in time. The results are always driven by circumstances we find ourselves in. Putting blame on others for not handling them in one way or another doesn’t really get us anywhere. It only creates more tension between teammates.

CSGO Selfie Game > CSGO Blame GamePlay the Selfie Game, not the Blame one

Handling the Bias

Next time one teammate decides to blame the other for not getting something done on time, don’t immediately jump on the hate train.

Chances are the situation was just too dire and he had no ability to change its outcome. It might be worth explaining in-game, but in most cases, acceptance of things not going our way and moving on is often the best course of action.

Sure, it’s fine and dandy to discuss what happened in-game after it’s finished. You can also watch the replay to see whether there was something that could have been done to prevent such situation from happening.

The results are always driven by circumstances. Moral luck is a cognitive bias of which we should be aware when judging other people – especially in video games.

This post is also available in: plpolski (Polish)