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Designer Insights with Ben Brode: Content Updates

On the official Hearthstone youtube Ben Brode has been releasing Designer Insights videos to better communicate to the community Blizzard's design methodology. This video is a response to community reaction to lulls in the development cycle. Check out the video or jump to the summary

In Ben Brode's fifth "Designer Insights" video he directly discusses the natural lulls that happen during development cycles and the community response. Specifically, he addresses when the development team has little to announce and how the community can often feel that "nothing is going on" and they feel "the hearthstone team is lazy."

Brode conveys that this is not the case, but can understand how players feel they "should be having the things that [they] want." Specifically he points to deck slots and tournament mode as commonly cited examples. He admits, however, that this problem stems a lot from lack of communication on Blizzard's side. With Tavern Brawl, he notes that development had been underway since before the game's launch.

Brode understands, and feels it is reasonable, for players to feel like there is a lack of communication. He uses the Curse of Naxxramas expansion as an example where they announced things too early, reducing the excitement level at release. Blizzard has been finding the right "time to announce things," with a danger of announcing things that may change. Currently they feel it is better to "underpromise and overdeliver".

As a result of not constantly announcing unfinished features, Brode discusses the "gaps" in information. He feels the Brawl gamemode has helped make Hearthstone constantly feel new and different. He wants to make clear that the Blizzard team is constantly working on things, and Hearthstone undergoes a lot more iteration than some may expect. He points to Derek Sakamota's 2015 GDC talk about designing the Hearthstone UI as a great example of the iteration process.

Tidwell in Design Videos - Jan 13, 2016