Don’t Fear The Roper

Life happens. Sometimes really unexpectedly. With the best intentions to finish a game, sometimes you sit down and it feels like everything is against you on that goal. The wonderful door to door salesperson strolls up mid control mirror, it’s been a while since you heard from Grandma so she calls to catch up, Taco Bell decides it officially doesn’t agree with you, your very sick 4-year-old wakes up thrilled. Anyone who has played video games for any amount of time knows this feeling, and how much it can take away from gaming immersion.

I’ve seen a lot of posts regarding “roping”, or taking the entirety of your turn clock to make a decision. I think the term originates from Hearthstone, where after a certain amount of time, a “rope” appears on your screen and slowly “burns away” signaling the forced end of your turn. I thought it might be valuable to remind folks that stuff happens, and being patient can help you enjoy your experience more, too. The beauty of the digital card games we love is that they are ephemeral, and you are typically able to play a bunch in a relatively small amount of time. Even if one opponent is slower, before you know it, you will be into the next game against a new opponent.

I saw a pertinent post regarding your opponents intentions from CHARM3R in the Elder Scrolls Legends subreddit:

  • “Physical, mental, or emotional disabilities: I think it’s easy to forget that the effort to perform relatively simple actions is not simple for everyone.
  • Connection issues: I roped two opponents the other night, and it would have seemed on their end that I was a sore loser. The truth is actually that Comcast is a tool created by a demon determined to destroy my soul, and switching to mobile after your connection drops on a PC isn’t exactly “quick.” Legends is also played in plenty of countries, and the internet isn’t stable in all of them.
  • Technology issues: Basically the same as connection issues, but in a different form. Some people play on *really* old devices. Some people play on new devices that like to randomly BSoD on them. My pain is real.
  • Distractions: Like it or not, Legends is a mobile game that can be played on the go. As such, not everyone is sitting in front of a screen devoting 100% of their attention to the game. Kids do interrupt me. Coworkers, even if I’m on break, will come to me with questions. Sometimes I’m playing on the counter while I’m cooking, and something spills. Sometimes I wipe, and I wipe, and I wipe, and I just can’t get clean. The point is that there are things outside of the game that can influence what happens inside the game. That’s the just what happens with mobile games.
  • Lines of play: Sometimes, people need some extra time to think through lines of play. I know people like to say “They took all of their actions for the turn, so they should hit the button!”, but what if they aren’t thinking about that turn? What if they are playing a crazy combo deck, and they know in two turns they will need to take a bunch of actions within the turn timer so they start thinking about it early? What if they simply lack the experience and knowledge that you have, and they need longer to think things through? Not everyone thinks things through in the same way, or at the same speed.
  • Mistake: Ever think you’ve hit the button to end your turn, and then realize you misclicked? Nope, me either…
  • Salt: Yes, some people simply rage quit. Some take out their frustrations on strangers. But the thing is, *they might be having a bad day too.* Maybe their wife cheated on them. Maybe their dog died. Maybe their alcoholic dad beat them when they lost at T-ball, and now they have an adverse reaction to losing. We don’t know what’s going on in the lives of others, so some compassion can go a long way even when they do things like this.”

CVH also wrote an amazing article about roping a couple of years ago.

With that, hopefully the next time you see your opponent roping, you take some of these things into consideration. Or if you see a streamer tilting, its worth reminding them that their opponent is human too. We are blessed with limited communication in our games, but that also means you can’t flat-out tell your opponent that your kitchen is currently on fire. So next time your opponent is taking their time, sit back, browse Reddit or Discord,  think about your next turn, message one of your friends in-game, and remember the next game is only a few turns away.


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