Is it unreasonable to expect some basic etiquette on TCO? Are we just playing on a transactional platform that requires nothing more than the completion of a game, as quickly as possible, with almost no interactions? This is a topic I have thought about on multiple occasions since joining the KeyForge community and playing on The Crucible Online. Now just to be clear, 90% of the time your opponent is exactly the person you would expect them to be as a player of this great game, with fantastic social interactions on TCO; although, the other 10% can be quite unpleasant. I sent out a tweet about this topic, and it received quite a bit of discussion and response from the community, so I felt it worthwhile to take a deeper dive into the etiquette of TCO, and further dissect this idea. 

Let me make one thing very clear, we have an outstanding gaming community in KeyForge. We are truly blessed. But the future of the game both online and IRL is bound to change. Now with the big announcement of KeyForge going down the path of cash prize tournaments, there is no doubt that this will draw new players, and a new kind of player we may not have seen yet fully. Those gamers who are driven by money, not just the love of the game. This alone could change the landscape of the online player community, for better or worse. But to be certain, the online community is bound to grow, and with growth comes change. To go off-topic for a moment, if we look at Magic the Gathering, without a doubt the highest stakes non-casino card game out there, almost every major event has players who will do anything to win, including cheating. Thankfully, FFG has the foresight of creating separate tournaments called Vault Warrior to separate those players looking to play a higher stakes game. This means that the more fun-filled traditional Vault Tours will still exist as we know them alongside the new Vault Warrior cash tournaments. Now, how does this relate to the topic of TCO etiquette? For the purpose of training for these high stakes events, we are going to see more players of the no-nonsense-brand looking to train for that money category. This could also mean we see more of the less desirable etiquette on TCO. This is purely speculation, but if there are some issues now, with player population growth, it likely to only get worse. 

In order to get ahead of this possibility, I think there are some steps that can be taken, mainly on the store level IRL gameplay. Communicate with any newcomers, show the hospitality and friendliness that exists within your local KeyForge community, set a precedent for the way we all play the game in such a welcoming and inclusive way. I believe that the behaviors of some of these players may stem from the communities of the games they currently play in and demonstrating that that is not how we conduct ourselves in KeyForge will have the possibility of swaying these new players into our way of gaming and etiquette. Now that may seem like it has nothing to do with TCO, but I believe it does. If you carry your IRL etiquette online, it will start to spread. The pleasant experience other players have gaming with you can have a ripple effect, and individuals may wish to make that etiquette apart of their gaming decorum, thus furthering a more positive etiquette online. 

Here are my personal views on what the basic TCO etiquette should be:

1• To start, allow time for each player to look over their opponent’s decklist.

2• A start of game greeting, this may be as simple as “gl” or “glhf”

3• If a player wishes to switch to manual for a simple misclick mistake, allow it.Most mistakes made on TCO would never happen in IRL due to various things, such as misclicks, the breakdown of cards played could be missed if multiple events took place, causing the text to scroll up out of view. If you aren’t in an online tournament, there should be no reason not to allow a manual mode to correct things. Errors not related to gameplay can easily occur on TCO, not IRL.

4• At the end of a game if you know you have lost and don’t wish to play out the rest of the game, have the decency to concede, and not just leave the game.

5• Lastly, a departing “GG” or discussion about how you enjoyed the game. Nothing negative needs to be put here. Keep it positive.

For myself personally, I find No.5 to be the most rewarding. Especially after a close game that really could have gone either way. I really enjoy that post game breakdown. These 5 points of etiquette are not law by any means, but just things to consider to help make the TCO world a more friendly place, as well as establish the way things should be for any newcomers.

Now, I’ve had some people say they will not play random players on TCO anymore because of this negative experience, but will only play games that they have setup with opponents through discord servers. I understand this, but also feel this is not the best practice. I recognize the quality of player can be better through this way of organizing the game, but should not be the sole way games are played on TCO. Experiencing random players from time to time exposes you to a player you are not familiar with at all, unlike people you may play regularly through a particular discord. There is also the point of newer players to the game may not be aware there are discords out there to set up quality games. So spend a few matches a week with a “random” opponent, if you enjoyed the gameplay with them, let them know about the discords you frequent, bring them into the fold, start a post-game conversation. 

The growth of this game, and of the type of friendly community that we are, needs to be nurtured and further established as newcomers join in. I believe this is currently happening most of the time, and we have so many fine ambassadors championing the health of KeyForge. But at this critical junction in the game growth, with this new cash tournament coming in the mix in 2020, we need to be vigilant with the way we conduct ourselves online and set an example of how we want to be with each other when we play. That’s all for this week, thank you for taking the time to read my KeyForge literature, feel free to leave any comments or feedback below. As always, may your æmber never be stolen, and you forge your keys promptly. Have a good one!

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