Is there a term describing a popular feature in modern computer games, where players can send messages during the game by selecting messages for typical situations from a predefined list rather than typing message text in normal way?

The examples include so-called "chat wheel" in Dota 2 where player can select from 8 different messages. The set of messages and their position on the wheel can be configured in settings. This system supplements the conventional text chat.

Dota 2 chat wheel

Another example is Hearthstone. The set of 6 messages is fixed, though different heroes have their own phrases corresponding to each message. There is no option to type messages so this system is the only way of communication for players during the game.

Hearthstone chat system

Perhaps, there is also some derogatory term with negative connotation referring to degradation of communication, caused by this feature?

  • By extension from the (often dismissive) usage painting by numbers, I'd call it conversation by numbers. Reminds me of the joke about a visitor to a monastery where the monks weren't supposed to talk unnecessarily. To pass the time in the evening, they'd take it in turns to shout out the number of each joke, whereupon all the other monks would recall the joke and laugh. So our visitor joined in by shouting a number, and the monks pissed themselves laughing - turned out they hadn't heard that one before! :) – FumbleFingers Mar 28 '16 at 16:40
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    They're "canned responses", a form of "boilerplate". – Hot Licks Mar 28 '16 at 17:46
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    @HotLicks You should post that as an answer. – Scimonster Mar 28 '16 at 18:18
  • There might be a specific term for it in use among gamers and / or game developers. If so, you would be more likely to learn it from a group or list catering more specifically to one or both of those communities. – PellMel Mar 28 '16 at 20:15
  • Chat presets. I just made that up. – dangph Jul 22 '16 at 5:56

I am using that macro (or chat wheel command if you will), but it's not specific enough when you wanna let people know which hero is actually missing without having to waste time on typing. –dev.dota2.com

I call these chat macros.

So you want chat macros? –Reddit

Be careful using it by itself out of context though; macro can mean other things as well.

Definition of “Macro” as used by Starcraft II players? –Arqade



  1. Computing

    • a single instruction that expands automatically into a set of instructions to perform a particular task.


A loose use of the phrase: lost in translation might make a good substitute for the "degradation of communication", where the limited options provided by your set of macros often leads to misunderstandings.


I believe that the term is "choosing from a menu." Because the computer is offering a "menu" of choices for "selecting messages for typical situations from a predefined list rather than typing message text in normal way".

  • I think this does answer the question (which is anyway unclear). The answer is simply choose, as far as I can see. – Drew Mar 29 '16 at 1:15

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