The title says it all. Is conceding a game bad sportsmanship? This is one of the threads I ran into when I was browsing the official Hearthstone forums. The original poster laments that conceding the game (or rage quitting) is ultimately bad form. Players who concede are sore losers.
Is it really though? Let's take a look at both sides of the argument here. Sadly, the lack of chat and relying heavily on emotes means that many actions can be taken out of context.
Yes, conceding is bad sportsmanship!
Take your losses like a man! You should stay in the game and let my minions deliver the finishing blow! By quitting early, you are robbing me my satisfaction of my win! I need another 9 points of damage so I can finish my daily quest!
This isn't Magic: the Gathering. This is a completely automated digital collectible card game with quick animations and a speedy interface. Turns should technically take no time at all. Conceding flat out denies the opponent the fun of actually taking the win. Magic actually involved physical motions, more thought, and additional complexity whereas Hearthstone does most of the animations and actions for you. It still is a game of strategy (and luck, to an extent).
On the other side of the table, one could additionally make the argument that the conceding player should've held out longer. Make the other player who is in a better position work for that win. Hold out until the bitter end and pray for a miracle! Maybe the other player will screw up!
No, not even close!
During the earlier stages of the beta, I used to simply pass my turn and give my opponent the pleasure of finishing me off. I got tired of it really quick when they started showboating and emptying out their whole hand when it wasn't necessary to begin with.
Your time is no more important than my time. The time I spend waiting for you to play every minion you have, cast all your buffs, and meticulously take apart my army when you could've done it with two minion swings is a complete waste of my time. When I play, I go straight for the win. If I have a King Krush, Unleash the Hounds, and a Kill Command with my opponent at two health, I'm just going to use my hero power and get it over with. I don't want to drag it down any further than I need to. I personally think it's bad form to showboat and play every card you have but that's just my opinion. Taking 20 seconds to play out your turn by unloading every card you have to win instead of going for kill when it could've taken you 2 seconds is disrespectful to me. This is especially true if I'm in top deck mode.
If Blizzard didn't want to give players the option to concede a match, then the choice would not have been there to begin with in the first place. The option is accessible via the menu for a reason.
Top deck: When you have no remaining cards in your hand and are playing off the top of your deck.
Which side am I on?
I don't believe conceding is bad sportsmanship at all. I will concede the game if I know I have no more outs remaining in my deck. I don't want to waste my opponents time. More importantly, I don't want to waste my own time. If the outcome is inevitable and there's literally nothing I can draw from my deck that can even salvage the game, I'll concede because I want to get going onto the next match right away. Sure, there's always the chance that my opponent might calculate math wrong and make the wrong play. I've seen it happen where my opponent takes 2 turns to win and didn't spot the 1 turn ace so I'll stay in the match hoping that they might make a mental error. That might be true at lower level tiers but at the Diamond level or higher, I find it very rare for players to make silly mistakes like that.
This isn't the same as conceding a game after turn 2 if you pull a bad draw. I once mulled my hand from two Hunter's Marks and a Multi-Shot into a King Krush and two Savannah Highmanes. That's a dead draw and ultimately I forfeited after turn 4 because my opponent's board was teeming with hungry murlocs that would've shredded me within another turn or two and there were was no hope of me climbing back (unless they opted to use Hellfire).
Actually, if you really want to define "rage quitting", I've come across players who simply close their client. They don't even bother hitting the concede button. You get a little notification in the bottom corner saying "This player has left". The good side of me assumes that the player ran into a game breaking bug and simply hit the Alt + F4 keys to quit (or maybe they're late for a date). We should make the assumption that they're being good sports. But on the other hand, cynical Matticus simply thinks that they're just raging out.
I understand that players want their quest gold and rewards. But I find that you're going to get them anyway just by simply playing. So what if it takes you an extra game? It's something that you're eventually going to get around to do no matter if it takes you 1 game or 3 games. These quests don't take that long to do at all and they usually involve killing minions or dealing a set number of damage to a player.
This is one of the few benefits of having emotes as the only method of communication between random opponents. At least I'll be spared having to listen to some player complain about not getting their quests done or all sorts of potentially toxic behavior (and that's me coming from League of Legends). However, the lack of an actual chat is a different column and topic entirely.