In a world where being social is shoved down our throats at almost every turn, Blizzard took an entirely different approach with Hearthstone by not implementing a chat system at all. Instead, the game features simple chat bubbles that play predetermined dialogue from your hero when you right click on your hero’s portrait. With every online game focusing on being social these days, some would consider this move to be a gamble from Blizzard, but the complete lack of a robust chat system is Hearthstone‘s best feature.
Let’s face it: online games these days are built off their community of players. Not just as a source of revenue, but games are more enjoyable when played with friends. Playing with friends often means being able to chat with friends; but at the same time, certain games are ruined by their community of players. Let’s take the MOBA genre for example. Games like DOTA2 and League of Legends are a lot of fun to play. At the same time however, certain MOBA titles have communities that some have labeled as “toxic.” Extreme? Sure. Relevant? Yes.
No need to type GG in Hearthstone, have your hero simply say “Well played.”
If you’ve ever played a match of DOTA2, you’d understand that a chat system is necessary in that game since teamwork is required to succeed. The unfortunate part of that game is that the chat system is often used to either belittle your opponents, or yell at your teammates. Coordination is often done through map pinging because it’s just quicker than typing. And for those that have suffered through rants of angry players in a MOBA, you’d know how it instantly ruins your gaming experience. Suddenly as much fun as that game was, you don’t want to play it anymore because you’re annoyed at the last person that just yelled at you.
And that’s why Hearthstone‘s lack of a chat system is one of the most refreshing things you’ll experience in an online game in today’s world. No more smack talking, or players spamming a chat window with “lol can’t u add?” Make a mistake and simply have your hero say “Oops.” You’ll be surprised by the amount of players that respond with “Sorry.” While most players will simply observe that Hearthstone‘s lack of a chat system is befuddling, they’ll be indirectly blessed with the fact that it’s one major thing that can no longer cause them to be annoyed at the game.
Don’t worry about being spammed dialogue in a match. Chat options are greyed out for a short period of time after each execution.
I imagine it wasn’t an easy decision for Blizzard to make, not including a chat system in Hearthstone – it is worth mentioning that you are able to chat with people on your Friends List during a match. But taunting your opponent? The most extreme thing you can do is the “Threaten” option, which is still done in typical Warcraft fashion – as in, light and friendly. Finish a game and lost or won? Commend your opponent with a “Well Played.” Instead of typing “GL HF” at the start of a match, toss them a “Greetings.” The system is so simple, yet so functional. But the key thing is, it allows you to focus on the core thing that Hearthstone is all about: having fun.
Most gamers that invest time into playing online games want it to be an enjoyable experience. By removing the possibility that your opponent could ruin your gameplay experience through chat spam, taunts, or just straight annoying talk, Hearthstone is enjoyable even when you’re losing match after match. It also helps ensure that Hearthstone‘s community upholds a reputation of being friendly and something you look forward to logging into each day.
Though chat options are the same for every hero, the audio dialogue differs to reflect your hero’s personality.
So next time you’re playing Hearthstone and five hours have passed you by, remind yourself that you didn’t quit three hours ago because someone on the other end of the table was mocking you in chat. Give Blizzard credit for taking the bold move of removing the ability to chat with your competitor from the game entirely, in order to ensure that the Hearthstone experience is pure fun. Hopefully it remains that way from beta to live, since Hearthstone‘s lack of a major feature found in every online game today, is in fact, its best feature.