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Designer Insights with Ben Brode: Content Updates
12/1/2016 em 11:27
Lead Designer Ben Brode has released another Designer Insights vlog addressing content updates in Hearthstone. In it he discusses things like the community's perception of the Blizzard team, restlessness, and the lack of communication.
"I wanted to talk today about this phenomenon in developer and community interaction," Brode begins, "I've noticed a couple of times in the history of Hearthstone, I've seen it happen in other games, but I just wanted to talk a little bit about my perception of what I see and why I think it's happening and how maybe together we can make it better."
" there's this feeling of restlessness and I think it mostly stems from a lack of communication on our side. And sometimes it's hard to avoid that lack of communication."
"When we announce things too early, you're kind of over it by the time it actually happens. So there's a good time to announce things and talking about it months and months in advance - well first of all things can change if it's far enough out. . .and so what's the point of telling the community . . .Especially if it's something that sounds really cool and awesome, but then it's actually kind of hackable and exploitable so we're not going to do it. . .And now you're disappointing players, that's not a great strategy."
"There's a time time that is right to announce things and it's sometimes unfortunately these gaps where it feels like nothing is happening."
"Whenever you're frustrated with the development team, you feel like they're not doing that thing that they should be doing like deck slots, the truth is we're working on them. They're not so far away, there's just so many things that we want to do and we want to get things right."
Brode has also taken some time
to address some comments.
Also, I'm curious what you all think of vids like this. It's not specifically design related, mostly community-interaction focused. Is this interesting to y'all? (I'm still going to make more design-focused videos, don't worry!)
I make the videos mostly because I think people have a tendency to assume simplicity when often the problems we run into can be quite complex. That assumption sometimes turns into unhappiness when people think there is a "clear, obvious" solution, and we must be foolish for not immediately jumping on it. I think that's on us to educate about design, which is mostly what I'm attempting with the videos.
That's not to say that we are always right, though. ;)
Do Blizzard's development times make community requests "virtually impossible" to act on?
It depends - Spectator Mode was a feature we weren't originally planning on but it jumped to the top of our list due to community feedback. Ranked Rewards is another one.
Smaller features are easier to pivot on quickly, big features take a lot of iteration and polish. But we're certainly listening and acting on requests as fast as we can.
What about addressing bad design decisions?
Mistakes happen and we constantly patch in updates. It depends on the scope of the problem, and the cost of the different fixes. For example, if Lock and Load isn't as used as we'd like, we can make more cheap, good Hunter spells in upcoming sets. We don't need to solve this problem today. Similar to how we "fixed" dragons by adding a couple pieces in TGT. We've also made major changes like redoing the ranked system and adding ranked rewards.
The truth is that perfection is not really possible, and we just keep iterating to make things better over time. It's not going to happen all at once, but we target are biggest areas for improvement one by one.
Why don't we get these videos more often and when they're more relevant?
One of the things I am worried about is announcing a nerf too far before the patch that contains it. I think it feels worse to lose to Warsong when we've announced "this is broken and we are going to nerf it", than when it's a still a point of discussion. Imagine a month of knowing Warsong will be nerfed and still losing to it daily. That's my fear, and why we don't announce nerfs until right before the patch drops.
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