That’s What She Said: How To Recognise Hearthstone Addiction
This (hopefully simple) guide is aimed at assisting non-Hearthstone players in identifying whether their loved ones are addicted to playing Hearthstone and if the situation is dire enough to stage an intervention.
Hearthstone seems like an innocent enough game, basically just being an online collectible card playing game. I urge though to monitor your loved one’s behaviour regarding Hearthstone quite carefully, because as with all addictions, it can lead to a life of ruin. You do not want to be in a situation where a close friend is sleep deprived, starving and on the verge of being fired/ failing exams and you could have helped.
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Please take Hearthstone seriously. If your loved one starts exhibiting some of the signs below, it is safe to accept that Hearthstone will be the ruin of their lives and that they need help.
- One of the ways in which to do very well in Hearthstone matches is to build powerful decks either by crafting cards or by buying card packs. Card packs can be purchased using gold which is won by completing daily quests, or with actual money. Actual pecuniary loss due to Hearthstone is a sign of obsession. If you notice that, say a purchase of 40 decks has been made (with real money), then there is a problem.
- A wonderful feature of Hearthstone is that the heroes and cards are animated. This means that they have unique taunts and phrases. If your loved one starts speaking in phrases such as “my magic will tear you apart”, “I must protect the wild”, or “the light will bring victory”, they have probably spent too much time playing Hearthstone. A strong indicator of addiction is if they start using these phrases, as well as attack phrases for cards complete with accents (“get behind me”, “I will fight with honour”, “I hope you like my invention”) on inanimate objects. If they start talking to their cat like this, then it really is all over.
- A Hearthstone player will spend hours pondering over decks and heroes and what combos work best together. This, although probably worrisome, is not altogether unhealthy. What is unhealthy is spending hours pouring over card ranking spread sheets and creating databases of cards, heroes and how to play against other heroes. If the person also starts thinking that the card ranking spread-sheets are a conspiracy to make them lose all their arena matches, this is a cry for help.
- Not all time necessarily needs to be spent actually playing Hearthstone. Downloading Hearthstone related apps which contain databases of cards and heroes might also be considered obsessive. Creating their own cards, with pictures of themselves (or their cat) and then putting those cards on every conceivable social media platform while laughing hysterically, is a sign of madness.
- Blizzard, in all its wisdom, has through various methods been trying to foster actual human interaction in Hearthstone. If your loved one is trying to make Hearthstone friends, or inviting people over to play Hearthstone just so they can get the card back for a Fireside Gathering, this is not a sign of a healthy social interaction. In addition, if your loved one spends hours on Hearthmind (where players collectively make decisions on what cards to play, with an AI actually playing them) despite it being slow and tedious, addicts of Hearthstone will find this no deterrent and see Hearthmind as a healthy break from Hearthstone.
- An excellent way to improve your Hearthstone game is by watching videos of Hearthstone matches and actively participating in these. By this, a player will consider between plays, which move they would make next and in that way, learn. If however, the person is watching Hearthstone videos, not really to learn, but just to watch, and preferring to watch Hearthstone videos instead of watch Game of Thrones, this is addiction. Not much should legitimately win over watching Game of Thrones.
- Lastly, small signs of Hearthstone addiction include humming the theme song absentmindedly and being incapable of having a discussion without talking about Hearthstone. Hearthstone matches first and last thing in the day is also problematic, as is perusing your custom decks lovingly as though the flavour text were your own words.
If you have identified that someone you know is addicted to Hearthstone then they only thing to do is hack into their accounts, change their password, delete their account and hope that the sheer trauma of losing their hard won decks will destroy them. Although, if that happened to me I would use it as an opportunity to play properly from the start and not make all the noob mistakes I did at the beginning. On second thoughts then, your best bet is to physically destroy the computer and/or iPad.
You will be hated. But we will thank you in the end. One day. Basically, this article is my cry for help. No it’s not, YOU WILL NEVER TAKE MY HEARTHSTONE AWAY FROM ME.