Not Every Player Should Do A Post-Game Interview

There are people who are born to be in front of a camera. And then there are people who find it an excruciating and nerve-wracking experience. Public speaking isn't for everyone; it's one of the most common fears for a reason.

But for one Hearthstone player, a post-game interview proved far, far more difficult than that.

American Hearthstone player Napoleon had just gotten through an arduous task, qualifying for the Spring Championship of Blizzard's grand tour for the free-to-play collectible card game.

Napoleon was on the back foot from the off, with his anti-control decks oddly positioned against a metagame that had shifted to a far more aggressive style. It was intense, and during his 3-2 quarter final victory he looked physically uncomfortable from the start.

It was an intense match, one that took its toll. That carried through to the pre-game interview with TJ Sanders, where Napoleon appeared to struggle to contain his composure and anxiety.

It's an awful situation for everyone involved. Napoleon clearly isn't in a state to be giving an interview. It's not something Sanders is experienced with either, and his reaction dovetails from concern to wide grins and smiles at Napoleon's obvious discomfort.

The incident has kicked off a discussion as to whether whether players should have the right to opt out of post-game interviews if they feel so inclined. Currently it's an automatic part of the production process. Tournaments aren't just a case of watching a game until it ends: there's pre-game analysis, commentary, post-game analysis, filler content, vox pops with the fans, and more.

The whole point of a post-game interview is to capture a player's reaction — so if you schedule a chat too long after a match has finished, you lose some of the colour. But in this instance, Napoleon was too nervous, probably too anxious, maybe coursing too much with adrenaline and should have been allowed to opt out. Failing that, the interview could have been ended sooner — although in the world of esports, having the license to go off-script isn't an autonomy often granted to interviewers.

It's a tricky situation. But it's a good reminder to the gaming world that there are people and faces behind the avatars on screen — and maybe it's worth keeping that humanity in consideration in future events to come.


    I can only say that all the sports I watched with my friends and such when I dragged to always have post game commentary and people always want to hear the instant post game thoughts when they're fresh. If eSports wishes to continue competing with traditional television and markets which have a lot of expectations then post game interviews is one of them.

    What makes this difficult though is that eSports players are used to the limelight and typically honed their skill in seclusion so marketable and social skills can be left wanting. Won't be long though till it an established thing and more and players will become more social as the eSports becomes for open and social.

    Well, Hearthstone is pretty intense (absolutely no sarcasm either). When it comes to anxiety I feel this guy's pain but in reverse. For about a decade my career entered around being in front of and addressing people, often in large numbers and being on radio/TV, so it became natural to me, my personality wore mask and it became like a safe place, but as a result I pretty much developed stage fright in regular social situations - I could feel comfortable addressing a thousand people but I feel so watched and scrutinised and judged while I was somewhere like the waiting room of a doctor's surgery. Being in the public eye can mess up things to you, and when people like Napoleons break down while the spotlight is on them, we get a glimpse into that struggle.

    Nah.. if you wanna play "sports" professionally, doing media is a big part of it.

    He'll get better at it the more he does it.

    The competitor's anxiety aside, this is a shining example of the problem eSports is going to have the longer it just keeps putting players (ex/current) up in hosting jobs. A twenty-something who has just ran their own YouTube channel for a few years is terrible, terrible training for a media career. Contemporary reporters still have to study the fundamentals with a three year degree, then put in the hard-yards of report preparation (gather info, write, edit, etc) before they step in front of a camera. Compare a football (any code) game which has a former player alongside a career presenter - there is a phenomenal difference in quality.

    Playing does not the Presenter make. (sic)

    A proper interviewer would have killed that interview on the spot. The ABC Breakfast team are an excellent example of how a professional team handle someone who is having an anxiety attack on-air. Kill it, move on, come back later if you need to. (

      This is a fantastic point.

      In my experience, it is an exceedingly rare thing to see players casting/interviewing within their own sport who are actually good at it. Sometimes it's actually quite cringeworthy and hard to watch/listen to those doing the interviewing than it is whoever is being interviewed.

      Surely cricket would be the exception to your rule. The Australian commentary team was always made of former players and they tend to get invited to work foreign domestic competitions because they're considered some of the best.

        Commentators still have a place, yes, but calling the game requires knowledge of the game, rather than the skill-set needed for traditional Presentation (eg. Brayshaw vs Sutcliffe).

        Although you get some great gems, Shane Warne waxing on about "Dirty Rotten Pizza"

        All class. ;)

      Oh man I generally watch ABC Breakfast before work and I saw that segment you linked to. Felt so bad for the guy.

      Absolutely, couldn't agree more.

      I recently read an article by the interviewee on that ABC morning show segment, and the main thing he said was that as soon as the cameras stopped rolling, the interviewers came straight to him and were incredibly supportive and helpful. I really hope someone took the time to help Napolean after the interview.

    Ignore the poor guy clearly struggling with some sort of issue, how about we talk about the terrible interviewer and his production crew that failed to can the interview when it was immediately clear that the player was having some issues... Fail all around.

    I thought Hearthstone was meant to be this massive eSports blockbuster success?? This is just outright scrappy. The Rocket League Championship Series has WAAAYYYY better production and presenters than this! No umming and ahhing all over the shop.

    I feel for him, that's a really tough spot to be put in whilst dealing with what appears to be a fairly accute anxiety attack. He dealt with it a lot better than I was expecting him to given the comments etc though. Interviewer definitely should have stopped sooner though.

    There was a segment on Good Game the other day where Hingers went to spend some time with a newly formed pro-gaming team house thingo, and I was pleasantly surprised that the team has regular sessions with a sports psychologist. One particular shot showed the psychologist teaching them focussing techniques so they can calm themselves down if they feel their stress levels spiking. In the video Napolean seems to be going through the 'i feel uncomfortable, I need to not feel uncomfortable RIGHT NOW' thinking, which often has the reverse effect (at least in my experience anyway).

    As the pro-gaming scene continues develop I think it's really important that this kind of engagement with mental health professionals becomes standard. I can't even imagine the pressure pro players must be under to perform, and just like traditional sport ball players, they need to develop and practice the skills to be able to deal with that pressure. It's an essential skill set to have in that situation, not just performance wise, but more importantly with respect to their general well being and mental health.

    Clearly this guy has a personality disorder. For you PC lot, he's probably severely on the spectrum, so don't say it was because he was nervous or some other BS - this guy is probably just like this usually, because he's a weird nerd like half of you, living in your parents' basement all afraid of the sun and shit, the kind of person who walks around school talking to himself, twitching and just freaking people the fuck out.

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