The lights are on
Like fellow editor Dan Ryckert, I’m a relative newcomer to the world of collectible card gaming. I played Magic: The Gathering a bit when it first game out (so old), but I never devoted much time or money on it. I’ve been playing a lot of Hearthstone lately, however, in large part because of how vocal its fans have been online. That’s a big contrast to the game itself, which features little in the way of player-to-player communication. After weeks of playing the game, I’ve been frustrated by what I perceived as annoyingly poor sportsmanship. I decided to talk to our Hearthstone guru Daniel Tack to get his take on things. As it turns out, I may or may not have been onto something.
Hearthstone players have very few ways of communicating with their opponents. There are six canned phrases, but they’re all fairly benign. You can greet a player, wish them a good game, apologize, call them out on a move, thank them, or use a threat. Rather than simply using their words, players have come up with some creative ways to grief other people. Or so I thought.
Here are three of the biggest offending behaviors I’ve come across during my time with the game, followed by Daniel’s completely reasonable explanations for why it’s probably happening.
1. Kill Me Already!
What it is: Your hero has two health points remaining, through what can only be considered a combination of horrible luck and bad cards. Your opponent has several buffed minions on display, any of which could kill you and end the game immediately. Instead, they take the time to painstakingly add even more buffs to their unstoppable army before delivering the final blow. Seriously, it takes them forever, and having to watch it all unfold is just the worst thing.
My immediate reaction: C’mon, already. Just hurl a random dude my way and finish it. I’m dead. There’s no way I can win at this point. WHY ARE YOU DRAGGING THIS ON I HATE YOU!!!!
Daniel’s explanation: In all likelihood, this person is practicing to ensure that they’re maximizing their damage output regardless of their opponent’s current state. In other words, they’re going through the motions so they don’t screw it up later when things are actually at stake.
Do I buy it? Yeah, I guess it makes sense or something. It doesn’t make it any less painful, and I’ll never drag things on when I’m winning. Maybe that’s why I make so many dumb mistakes…
2. Running Out The Clock
What it is: You’re playing a decent match, when your opponent begins to run out the clock. They take forever to make their moves, and eventually the built-in timer fuse lights up. After making your next move, they don’t do anything until the last second.
My immediate reaction: They’re clearly threatened by my awesome skills. They’re not at the point of concession, however, so they’re going to try and wait me out instead. Jerks.
Daniel’s explanation: They probably just stepped away from their game for a second, because they had to do something.
Do I buy it? Once again, Daniel Tack is the voice of reason. Fine, I’ll learn to be more patient. Maybe that’s why Blizzard put in all those goofy little animations in each board’s corner.
3. “Well Played (IDIOT!)”
What it is: You’re playing a match where failure seems inevitable. Your minions are all dead, and you’ve exhausted every card in your hand. You’re now playing each turn with whatever card you draw from the deck. Your opponent taps the “Well played” emote as you play your newly revealed Grimscale Oracle.
My immediate reaction: SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!!!
Daniel’s explanation: They’re not saying that to be mean, but they’re actually exhibiting good sportsmanship.
Do I buy it? NOPE. From now on, I’m going to squelch the other person the instant things take a turn for the worse so I don’t have to endure their sarcasm – or “good sportsmanship.”
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