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hearthstone Hearthstone: Some Ben Brode Reddit Posts

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Earlier this week, Hearthstone lead designer Ben Brode released a widely discussed video with his thoughts on content updates. Later on, Ben graced the relevant Reddit thread with his presence and made some interesting points.


First of all, Ben was happy that people enjoy his videos and he promised there will be more in the future. He's especially thinking of doing "making of" videos and/or postmortem videos on design decisions.


Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

I've been thinking about doing more "making of" videos. Thanks for the feedback!


[...]it would be nice if they did a postmortem on that design process similar to the other one he mentioned for the collection manager.

I've been thinking about that - might be fun. Thanks for the recommendation.



A lot of questions concerned the designing process. Ben spoke of Burn, a mechanic that never made it into the actual game. Would you actually like to see Burn or something similar in Hearthstone in the future?


Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

Burn was a pretty bad one. If you dealt damage and you had "Burn", the defender would start "Burning", which meant they would take 1 damage at the start of your turns from then on. Really only good if you burned the enemy hero once - mostly it was irrelevant. There were a lot of others, but some might come back some day!



The Hearthstone developer also addressed a Redditor's question on bad designs, like for example the team's expectations that Lock and Load would do better or that Mysterious Challenger wouldn't be so overpowered.


Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

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.



A lot of people are still talking about the Warsong Commander nerf; now we know why it was nerfed at the time it was nerfed.


Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

Warsong was interesting. It wasn't being played very much on ladder (compared to things like Undertaker), and was averaging <50% win ratio even when it was. Sometimes perception and reality don't really line up. We have the luxury of statistics, which you guys don't have, so it's tough. Maybe we should share more of the stats, but they sometimes risk skewing formats even more. We ended up nerfing Warsong mostly for eSports, because the Championship was incoming and at the very highest levels, people were achieving much higher win rates than most people on the ladder.



There were concerns that the designer team cannot respond fast enough to community requests. Ben Brode answered that it depends on how big the feature demanded by the community is.


Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

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.



Apart from design, the other hot topic of this Reddit conversation was communication. Ben explained that it's better to announce a nerf a few days before it happens than having people wait for it for a while. Warsong Commander was brought up again as an example.


Blizzard Icon Ben Brode

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.



Even though Ben Brode promised that the whole team is "trying to be better" at communicating, this issue seems to have risen up in the past few days in the official forums. We will be covering it very soon, so stay tuned!

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