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A little more conversation: Hearthstone director implores devs to talk to players

"I have a belief that, sometimes, you get into a vacuum and a void where if nobody's talking people sometimes assume the worst."

During a recent chat with Glixel, Hearthstone director Ben Brode explained why the dev team goes above and beyond to keep players in the loop. 

After all, communication is key in any relationship. But when you're managing a game that's huge on the competitive circuit and played by millions worldwide, it's going to be impossible to please everyone. 

So, why run decisions - some of which are bound to be contentious  - past players at all? The answer for Brode is simple: if you don't explain yourself, you're giving your community the chance to assume the worst. By trying to avoid controversy, you might just end up creating it. 

"I have a belief that, sometimes, you get [into] a vacuum and a void where if nobody's talking people sometimes assume the worst," he explains. "If you don't understand why we're doing 'A' versus 'B,' maybe the only thing you can come up with -- the only reason we would do 'A' is because we're idiots, or because we have some nefarious reasons. And that's not true."

Irrespective of whether players agree with a minor tweak or sweeping change, there's always a genuine reason behind the decisions Brode and his team make. At the very least, then, by talking to the community it's possible to reassure them that their beloved game isn't being altered out of malice. 

Beyond that, it's also a means of getting constant feedback. And Brode isn't afraid to admit that the Hearthstone community has had a "huge" influence on the game's current design. 

"I often feel like if I could just talk to people and explain what's actually going on, I could change people's opinions. I could make them feel better about the game that they're enjoying," he continues. "There's a classic example of, once upon a time, we would get feedback saying 'You should buff bad cards.' [Now], there are some reasons to buff cards, but there's a lot of reasons to not, and nobody was talking about the other side of the story. 

"So the first video that our team came out with that had this kind of style -- it was talking about why I felt like there were other sides of the story. And then it created a conversation, but it also helped bring people up to speed on some of this philosophy that we've been talking about internally for a long time. If we don't do that, it's just one side of the story."

To hear more from Brode be sure to check out the full interview over on Glixel.

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