The Hearthstone Chat Predicament: We Don't Have It, and We Shouldn't

We can't handle the chat, that's why there isn't one.

First of all, this is not going to be another post about Hearthstone. But, I have gotten a key about 10 days ago, and yes, it is fun. I have sworn not to spend real money on the game so progress is slow. Now that this is out of the way, let’s start the real article. The key element I’d like to address is the Hearthstone chat, or rather lack thereof.

Why do we want a chat?

To communicate, of course. It’s in our nature to seek a way to express ourselves. I’d like to ask questions to my opponent and congratulate him on an extremely lucky card draw. Another point I realized is that in some cases you have about a minute of downtime while your opponent is strategically planning your doom, so the next best thing would be to spend this time communicating. He in turn could respond while you’re setting up a combo. Communication; it sounds great on paper.

So, why can’t we have a chat?

Starcraft 2 Chat

Simple, we cannot be trusted with the responsibility. In other games we might need to give instructions to our teammates, so a chat is essential. In single player games a chat is not obsolete but it can bring a lot of negative things to the table. I have played many games, LoL, Starcraft 2, Dota2, Counter-Strike, Team-Fortress, AoE 2 etc…. All of these games have one thing in common: a chat. Now you might ask why not Hearthstone, if every single game on the market has one. Because: We are horrible people. Gamers, as a species, are horrible to each other. Do not get me wrong, there are good people out there. I’d like to think that I am one of them, but occasionally the little troll inside me comes out and takes over the keyboard.

A chat is a tool, it is neither good nor bad.

However, it can be used to create good and bad experiences for your opponents or teammates. Of course a chat in Hearthstone could help building a community, to make new friends, exchange knowledge, in short: create a positive experience. Unfortunately, we as a community have proven time and time again that we cannot be trusted with the responsibility of having a chat.

But we just could use a “reporting tool”!

Blizzard doesn’t want to take on the role as our parents, so they just gave every gamer a muzzle.

Reporting is a fix for a problem, which should not exist in the first place. Riot has hired psychologists to specifically design ways to reduce insults in their game, which is a fancy way to say: If you cannot play nice, I will send you home.

This type of behavior creates negative experiences for new players who might get discouraged easily. Blizzard doesn’t want to take on the role as our parents, so they just gave every gamer a muzzle. A move I can understand very well, especially after playing a couple of games in the arena.

All I hear is: "Well Played," "I will destroy you," "Greetings"…

I thought this might get old fast, but it doesn’t. It feels nice.

And who knows, maybe in some not-so-distant future we finally learn how to "communicate."

Thanks for reading.

Published Nov. 1st 2013
  • Momo_2138
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  • Zaqwert_9580
    This article is childish garbage.

    Why not have an optional chat feature? It can be off by default but anyone who wants to turn it on can.

    That way people who want to chat, aka adults, can.

    And people who have thin skin, little kids and grandmas, can leave it off.

    Win/Win
  • Marek_7446
    I really wish we had the ability to turn chat on/off each game. If you want to be able to chat, just a check box. You can see if the other person flags yes or no, when you are both set to yes, you can chat. At any time, you can just check it no. Also, have a block button, if someone is abusive, and you click the block button, it will remind you in the future you have them blocked, so you know not to enable chat with them.

    This game feels multi-player, but not at the same time. It's really annoying that I might like to chat with someone about the current game we are playing, but really have no possible way to initiate any communication. Unless I record it, the only people who will ever witness or have reason to comment on that game are the two of us playing, but we have no way to discuss it.
  • Gunner_4409
    "We cant be trusted" is a poor excuse. They already have 1 click muting enabled. Allow all chat to be disabled in options if your social anxiety disorder is that bad.

    Social interaction makes the game fun. Any card game is made more enjoyable by discussing with friends and I'm not going to do join a forum for that. Why not with rl friends? Well they would all think i was (more of) a weirdo if they knew I played an online CCG. I really cant see myself playing for much longer without this feature.
  • ..._4373
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  • Caden Moniz
    Featured Correspondent
    This is a good post. Thank you for posting it.
  • Kevin Lloyd
    Some guy I was playing against, was spamming his emotes at me the entire match, sounding something like... "My magic will tear you apart!", over and over. So what did I do? *Right click* *Left click* and voila, squelched. I don't see how an actual chat is any different. If the guy is a dick, then I squelch... If not, then i get to chat about a fun game, strategy, and to tell the guy HOW LUCKY HE IS for top decking me to death.
  • Spyke_3447
    while I don't disagree that it certainly isn't unfathomable why they don't have chat in the game and your points are valid, I don't see why you would look at the tribunal system as anything but a positive step in the right direction to setting a proper example and stamping out the ridiculous behavior of folks who think their freedom of speech doesn't end when it infringes on anothers rights to not have to listen to the crap and abuse they spew out.

    You literally have 2 options in League now, stop being a muppet. Or watch as you over time run out of chances and then you're cut off from the game and everyone (else) wins.
  • Tom_3859
    Or they could just make chat an optional feature?

    Let the carebears turn it off if they can't handle the trash talk. For those of us with thicker-than-paper skin, the competitive interactions in chat are one of the most exciting parts of a PvP game.

    I can't believe that you and others are actually supporting this because "I don't want people to say mean things to me (or others)." Why should I be prevented from chatting casually, making friends, and trash talking because a portion of the gaming community has misplaced their testicles?
  • Robert Hein
    Featured Contributor
    I'd just like to say: Thanks for proving my point.
    That being said, in no way did I say that i wouldn't like a chat, but that there are too many ... well, you get my point.
  • Tom_3859
    This article had no point to prove; it's absolute rubbish.

    There. Now i'm being mean to you. Maybe gameskinny should remove the option to have comments because their writers don't want to see rude comments. By this article's logic, that's exactly what should be done.

    So no. I don't get your point. Especially now that you said you want a chat. Why write an article supporting Blizz's decision on the matter when you hold the opposing view?
  • Ste Grainer
    Featured Correspondent
    I enjoyed this - it got me thinking about why some games have chat and others don't.

    As a competitive game where you are rewarded for wins, having chat within a game could lead to game-fixing or game-trading. In the early days of WoW when battlegrounds were first introduced (and they were still on the same server), organized teams would often trade wins. I could see that happening in Hearthstone as well if people could more easily communicate.

    I suspect part of the lack is also how to deal with chat on touch platforms. They plan to release it on the iPad at some point. While you can use a keyboard on iPad, the UI for that impacts a large portion of the screen real estate. If instead they provide a list of common responses you can select from, it simplifies the basic communication process.

    That said, Lobby chat would be nice - I have quite a few friends who are regularly on Battle.net, and it'd be nice to keep up with them whether they're in WoW, SC2, or D3.

    It could be that chat simply wasn't a priority for the initial version. With such a small team, they are probably more focused on getting the basic core gameplay nailed down before they add more advanced secondary features.
  • Corey Kirk
    Featured Columnist
    Great post! I think it kinda sucks that we can't be trusted with chat, but I give kudos to Blizzard for not including the chat for the reasons you state above. While there have been times when I wanted to say more to my opponent other than "For Doomhammer!" I understand the reasoning behind the decision to leave chat out.

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