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.