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