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Hearthstone Hot Topic: Communication

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A new issue has risen up, with the Hearthstone community complaining that there is a need for better and faster communication regarding content updates. The developer team should also be communicating more via the official forums.

 

It all started with Ben Brode's video on content updates. In this video, the Hearthstone lead designer apologised for the team not communicating as much as players would like and he added the reasons why this lack of communication cannot be helped at most times. A lot of people weren't happy with Ben's stance on the matter and they took their complaints to the official forums, in a thread called "Ben Brode's Unapologetic Apology: Content Update".

 

Community manager Daxxarri appeared in that thread and tried to calm the spirits. He basically repeated what Brode had said in a Reddit post: the team prefers to talk right before an update, because they don't want to raise people's expectations for features that might not be released immediately or at all. Additionally, Daxxarri mentioned another hot issue, namely deck slots; we will be covering this in another article.

 

The same concerns on communication were risen in the official discussion thread on Ben Brode's video. Another community manager, Zeriyah, explained that the team's policy is to mostly communicate via social media, whereas forums are mostly used for news, feedback and longer discussions. Quite a few people argued that it would make more sense if the team communicated via the official website of their own game rather than via social media. The World of Warcraft forums were mentioned as an example, since there are threads in them that are constantly updated with the latest tweets from the Warcraft Devs account. Here's what Zeriyah had to say:

 

Blizzard Icon Zeriyah

+ Show
With the evolution of the massive social media ecosystem, we do have to prioritize how and when we are communicating. We use the forums to read feedback and hold discussions, chime in on threads and topics, and share news, but we also have to support our other official channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

In this day and age, social media is more of an agile way of immediately communicating with players, and offers opportunities to reach more people as well. Communication methods are something we look at and reassess often. We are always asking, "How can we get important news to the largest portion of our audience quickly? How can we get important news to people that may not be connected to our channels?"

We have to communicate where the people are, and in doing that we have to be dynamic and shift priorities around from time to time. We'll still be here though.

(source)


Then tell us how it does work, and why you're okay with speaking with the WoW forum audience that way?

I work on Hearthstone, so I don't know how the WoW forums function or how they choose to manage them.

The issues appears to be less of "the forum community is not receiving information" and more of "the forum community is not receiving enough direct unique engagement". I can see the forum community is getting the information that is distributed, as topics are created almost as soon as news goes up.

Twitter is not a good platform for extended discussions, and the character limit has its own complications to deal with. The forums, or any extended text discussion platform (such as Reddit) are better for that, and for player-to-player discussions.

But as was previously mentioned, it's more of a prioritization thing - we monitor the feedback and discussions that evolve on the forums while also supporting our social media channels, keeping in mind the unique world the PC and mobile audience that Hearthstone has each consumes content very differently.

(source)

 

A lot of players wanted to see "Banter with the Blues" return. They happened quite sparingly and it has been a while since the last one: they were done in June of 2014 and February of 2015. CM Aratil asked if people wanted to have more "Banter with the Blues" and the response was positive, so perhaps we can expect one soon.

 

Blizzard Icon Aratil

+ Show
We definitely want to do more "Banter with the Blues", but the last time we held one, we were buried under criticism for not answering balance questions and for not revealing new content. If we were to hold another "Banter with the Blues" in the near future without addressing balance questions/new content, is that still of interest?

(source)

 

Even though both the Hearthstone developer and community teams have some valid points, the community is in general right in demanding some more communication from the team's part. There is always an element of surprise, when there's a new Hearthstone update; this is definitely a positive feeling, but it would be better if there's some more information we could work on other than mere guesswork.

 

What do you think? Are you happy with the current way the team is announcing updates? Would you like to hear more from them?

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