Bad manners

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Bad manners, commonly abbreviated to BM, is a term used to describe intentionally obnoxious behaviour within Hearthstone. Players may BM in order to frustrate or irritate the opponent, to gloat and revel in their victory, or simply to drag the game out and inconvenience the opponent as much as possible. BM is primarily enacted through use of emotes and deliberate time-wasting or unnecessary actions.

This article explores intentional bad behaviour and aggravation of the opponent. For a general discussion of social rules and etiquette within Hearthstone, see Hearthstone etiquette.

Forms[edit | edit source]

BM is most commonly seen through use of emotes. Examples include spamming "Greetings" emotes, especially while the opponent is trying to decide their actions; or repeated use of any emote, especially if the resulting message appears mocking or insulting. This is the main form seen during matches.

At the end of a match, BM is often seen in the form of deliberate misplays. This may be in order to lull the opponent into a false sense of hope; to demonstrate the player's superiority by wasting potential damage; or simply to waste as much time as possible. The general intention is that the opponent feels mocked and, due to the nature of the game's turns, is powerless to respond or prevent the player from taking whatever actions they wish.

As well as being used to gloat or intimidate the opponent, BM can also be used by losing players to aggravate the victor, and even to encourage them to concede the game. This is commonly used by players against decks which are perceived to be overpowered, and which the player considers to have an unfair and insurmountable advantage.

The most common form of BM by losing players is to take the maximum amount of time each turn, either allowing the fuse to burn all the way down before ending the turn, or even allowing the fuse to burn itself out. This form of time-wasting is usually used to protest a sense of powerlessness, and to discourage the opponent from playing their current deck. This is usually used against fast, aggro decks, which benefit from very quick match times; dragging out the match is therefore believed to be particularly aggravating for players who have become accustomed to extremely rapid play, and can also serve to slow their progress in ranking. However, the BMing player is often harmed as much if not more by such efforts than the opponent, since they too must wait out the wasted time.

At the end of matches, BM is sometimes seen in the form of grandstanding, where the victor exacts their killing blow in the most elaborate and unnecessarily complex manner possible. Cards may be played needlessly, random or even friendly targets attacked, and excessive force built for the most crushing possible defeat. This is often to demonstrate the victor's power, their potential for overkill, or simply to aggravate the opponent by wasting time.

Grandstanding, or the semblance of it, can also be used to attempt to trick the opponent into conceding, despite the player being themselves on the brink of defeat. If a player is perceived to be BMing the opponent when a swift defeat is possible, the opponent may choose to concede quickly rather than wait out and indulge the opponent's time-wasting. BMing players can use this behaviour to their advantage by making it appear that they have the cards needed to win, and thus win games they would otherwise have lost. However, successfully convincing the opponent of this state of affairs may not be easy, and is likely best achieved through establishing a pattern of behaviour throughout the match where smaller victories were played out in agonisingly slow fashion.

Uses[edit | edit source]

BM is commonly used for a range of purposes, ranging from friendly humour to intentional harassment. For this reason, it can be difficult to correctly ascertain the player's intentions.

For many, BM is used in a competitive but reasonably well-meaning manner, to express a jostling challenge to the opponent, or apply a little extra pressure. This can be compared to the 'trash talk' often seen in non-electronic sports, which might be enjoyed even by friends during a friendly match. Players may use emotes to gloat a little over an impending victory, as they see their opponent search helplessly for ways to counter them.

For others, BM is a way to harass and genuinely intimidate the opponent, or rub in their victory for personal gratification. This can be a means of causing misplays, either through intimidation or distraction, or even encouraging a mid-game concede, due to the player simply not wanting to deal with the opponent's behaviour.

For others still, BM may be used in a purely amicable manner. Some will use emotes to express aggressive or taunting behaviour during matches, but still offer a 'Well played' at the end of the game, in apparently sincere manner.

This spectrum of intentions is not exclusive; some well-known players are notorious for their heavy use of BM during tournament matches, but are also considered to be friendly and good sportsmen outside of matches.

Attitudes[edit | edit source]

Attitudes to BM vary within the community. For some it is part of the game, akin to 'trash talk', and to be expected from other players. Tournament casters may therefore glorify such behaviour, considering it to be part of the hype and fun of the game. In other cases, when the level of BM reaches extremes, players may begin to feel it interferes excessively with the play itself, although again opinions may be split with regard to whether this is funny or annoying. If a player uses BM to delay a critical event in the middle of a heated tournament, he may be lauded for creating drama and adding tension to the game, or bemoaned for wasting the time of thousands of viewers.

Some casters consider BM to be part of the bigger game of competitive Hearthstone, seeing it as 'gamesmanship' and a way of intimidating or otherwise playing mind-games with the opponent. For some this makes BM a valid and even laudable part of the game, while others may see this as distracting from the game itself, and a way of using manipulation and bullying to defeat an opponent who is in fact superior at the game being played.

In regular play, responses also vary. Some players may enjoy the exchange of hostilities, either as part of vying for supremacy and dominance of the other player, or simply because they don't take it seriously. Similarly, some players will use BM to deliberately upset opponents, while for others it is a form of jostling among friends.

A key problem is that the two players involved may perceive the same events in quite different ways: for one it may be a little fun, or even well-intentioned; while the other may perceive it as aggression, gloating or harassment.

Concern over BM was one of the key reasons for the creation of the emote system, primarily designed with the intention of minimising harassment and preventing "those really negative experiences". This was also important in terms of increasing the accessibility of the game, especially to players who were not used to the often aggressive environment of online gaming chat.[1]

Counters[edit | edit source]

There is only one way to counter BMing through emotes: emotes can be easily disabled through the Squelch feature; just mouse over their portrait and right click, then left click the 'Squelch' option. The player will no longer receive any voluntary emotes from the opponent, or even know they are being made. This can be satisfying, since the opponent will be unaware that you have Squelched them, and so may continue to emote, believing their BM to be succeeding, when in fact is being completely prevented.

However, the internal effects of BMing can also be countered by altering one's perceptions and attitudes. For example, if the opponent emotes "Well played" after your Arcane Missiles fails to hit their critical target, they may be taunting or mocking you; or, they may be playfully teasing you, or even sympathizing with the unreliability of random effects. Assuming the worst will generally create the worst possible internal reaction, which is only to the benefit of the perceived aggressor. Choosing to instead assume the best, either in terms of friendly intentions or simple playfulness, can greatly increase the player's enjoyment of the game.

In terms of the practical effects of a player who is deliberately misplaying or wasting time, there is little that can be done to prevent this, since each player is in control of the game during their own turn. However, once it becomes clear that the opponent has the cards they need to win, or is simply wasting time, there is nothing to stop the player from conceding and moving on quickly to another match.

A word of caution regarding pre-emptive concession: it is all to easy to believe the opponent has you beaten, when in fact they are themselves about to concede. Both players may believe the opponent to have the advantage, again due to the human tendency to expect the worst. This is frequently seen in streams and regular play; a player who takes too long to conclude the game may cause the opponent to concede, since they believe the opponent to be BMing - when they may simply have been talking to an audience, or even distracted by events outside the game. Players should therefore strike a balance between not allowing the player to drag out the match (assuming it bothers them), and not allowing the opponent to trick the player into conceding too early.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]