I want to thank all who partook in this Hearthstone survey - without your participation this research cannot take place.
My interest in this area first started when Blizzard removed the “Sorry” emote from the game. I also noticed how myself, and other streamers, would squelch their opponents when certain emotes were said and under various scenarios. So, I was curious to see if there were any correlations between perceived sarcasm in Hearthstone and player personality. Here are the results:
Which emote is viewed as the most sarcastic?
Sarcasm perceived in order from highest to lowest: Thanks, Wow, Greetings Oops, Well-played, and Threaten. Players tended to see emotes as more sarcastic as the game went on and the most sarcastic when it was an easy win. There was a large disparity between the Greetings and the Well-played emote. Well-played was, generally, seen as extremely sarcastic during the first few turns, but not so much later, and vice versa for Greetings. From the results, we can say that the more incongruent the utterance is in relation to the context, the more sarcastically it will be perceived. This reason explains why sorry was perceived as extremely sarcastic and bad manners (there are few if any occasion when a player will be genuinely sorry for an action, seeing as they have deliberately instigated it)
Personality and perceived sarcasm.
First, people who rated emotes as more sarcastic were more likely to squelch their opponents. They may be protecting their emotions by squelching more often or may just be more annoyed because they perceive it more often. Second, they tended to play slightly longer per-week. This may be because the more one plays Hearthstone, the more the player learns the nuances of the mechanics, therefore, it is easier to spot failed expectations, and incongruencies between context and emote. Hence, comments were seen as being made sarcastically. Finally, those that perceived more sarcasm were slightly more conscientious. This may be because of the duality of Hearthstone’s mechanics: on one hand it is about exact calculation and order – on the other hand there is a large amount of luck involved. Therefore, people who are more conscientious may take sarcasm more seriously because it hits them where it hurts (i.e. the chaotic nature of Hearthstone).
* Conscientious – high conscientious means the person is responsible and organised. They work hard to achieve their goals and they have been associated with getting better grades, performing better at work and they have high verbal intelligence. On the other hand, a low conscientious are laid back, pay little attention to detail, are not very well-organised and sometimes can be careless. They are associated with risky behaviour, disciplinary problems, and more job changes.
Players who preferred aggressive decks expressed slightly more anger. Anger is associated with a high arousal state, so playing aggressive decks may appease those that prefer an anger rush, because of the fast paced and taunting nature of aggressive decks. Those that preferred aggressive decks were also more extraverted - this may be because extraverts prefer proximity to others, even in the form of attacking as much as possible. Lastly, people who preferred aggressive decks also tended to play more hours per-week than those who did not. This reason may be financial and competitive, because aggressive decks are generally cheaper to make and are good at climbing the ladder. There were no significant correlations between personality and control/mid-range decks.
* Extraversion – high extraverts tend to be sociable and outgoing. They prefer to be around people most of the time and they engage in thrill-seeking activities. However, low extraverts/introverts, tend to be reserved and serious. They prefer to be alone, have few close friends and they stay away from risky behaviour.
All the interpretations of the data are subject to further enquiry and should not be taken personally. Hopefully, this study will help contribute to further research in gaming and sarcasm. In particular we think it would be interesting to look at how skill (which is related to but not the same as time spent playing) affects sarcasm, and how players’ perceptions of sarcasm affect their own choice of emotes.
<My sincerest gratitude.>