This article has been submitted for HT Press in Oceania. As loyal readers, you get an advanced sneak peek
The home page of Hattrick states that the “community is a huge part of Hattrick. Check out our lively forums and make friends from around the world.”. The impact of this community is different for everyone, but for me, it is key to keeping people in the game and the main reason why I am still playing after 10 years.
It took me a while to find the forums. Unless you are a strong extrovert, it does take time to integrate yourself into the machinations of regular forum activity. There are standards to learn and abide by, and topical routines to learn. While it is perfectly legitimate to lurk and shy away from getting involved, it is fun to start posting and become part of the group. After a while, you get to know the in-jokes and become part of the history that is happening before your fingertips.
Through the forums I’ve sent coins and football tickets to add to people’s collections. I’ve learned how to bake buttermilk rusks. I’ve sent and received Christmas presents and postcards from people I only know through the game. I’ve fixed laptops with assistance provided over HT mail. I grieved when I learned zambora, a popular Oceanian manager, had passed away. I’ve asked lots of questions about topics I was not familiar with, and came away enlightened. This community aspect is a major motivator that helps relieve the stress of GM work.
Meeting people from behind the keyboard has been a real highlight. Many a beer has been bought and demolished, much bacon has been devoured, and all of this over the lightweight banter of Hattrick. It surprises me, although it shouldn’t, that many people are attached to their digital players – they can recall all their skills and what stage they are at with development. People are happy to boast of their favourite players, the close wins they achieved through tactical masterstrokes, and the unfairness of a late goal in a qualification match that sealed their demise. National teams are also a topic of discussion, along with election wins and loses and what the squad should do next.
I’ve also had the pleasure of attending football games with those I’ve met through the forums. Jumping and singing shoulder to shoulder with those have a shared passion for your local football club is amazing. An interest in the round ball game is what brought us all to Hattrick in the beginning, but there is so much more that keeps us there.
Get involved in your local community, and if you dare, perhaps even the communities of other nations. You’ll never know what heights it will take you.