GLHF – pt 9: How to play for Friendship

GLHF is a series that looks to better understand the dynamics of sportsmanship in video games, today we are taking a look at how playing for friendship and focusing on your teammates can positively impact your gaming experience, those of your teammates, and the community. If you like this article please feel free to check out the rest of the series: pt. 1: Sportsmanship in video games, pt. 2: Selfishness / Noncompetitive play, pt. 3: Kindness, pt. 4: Respectpt 5: Rage Quit, pt 6: Toxicity, pt 7: Honorably Growing Culture, pt 8: Sadness & Defeat, and pt 10: What we’ve learned.

From Expectation to Appreciation

The first thing you need to acknowledge in team games is how you internally handle the sharing of glory, accomplishments, and freedom when playing games with teammates. It is important to turn from expectation to appreciation, instead of waiting for your teammates to do something to give you an advantage, proactively look to give them an advantage. This process focuses your attention on appreciating the natural synergy that arises from your teammates contributions and your own.

Overwatch Teamwork

Friendly Focus

While playing games such as League of Legends and Heroes of The Storm with teams entirely comprised of random players, forming team bonds can be difficult. Thus I have started actively identifying the most skilled player on the team and simply contributing to whatever objective they were focused on, setting them up for plays, healing them, protecting them, and encouraging them.

In this way the strongest player, defined by their performance, not their role, is by default always being supported by my efforts. This helps to convince the rest of the team that the greatest chance of success is to work together around the natural formation of the team and its talent.

Besides helping to establish a formation with my teammates, this behavior also shows through gameplay not just communicating that I am willing to fall in line and play for the benefit of other players. In my experience this has garnered a warm reception, praise for being a good teammate, and a few after match friend requests.

Clashing with my girlfriend
My girlfriend and I team up in 2v2’s in Clash Royale

How do you feel about helping teams form through gameplay as opposed to directives? Do you try to identify the star players and support them or stick to a meta? What is your expectation of teammates in multiplayer co-op games?  I welcome discussion on this topic and if you have experiences of your own you wish to share please respond to the thread for this article, or talk to me through my email or any of my social media:, FacebookTwitter.

Play Professor is the blog of ludologist and video game journalist Andrew Mantilla. You can check out more of his content on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Youtube.

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