Reddit user Alecxander recently wrote an open letter to the Hearthstone development team regarding how they read and internally respond to feedback from the community. Lead Designer Ben Brode took some time to write a lengthy response including talk of Arena changes being sooner than we thought.

"How do you guys and gals feel when we critique the game after each release or on an on-going basis," asks Alecxander. "Does this subreddit provide you a place of positive/useful critiquing?"

Alec continues, "I like to think that certain devs like /u/bbrode lurk alot around here and listen and filter out some of the noise/crap and pick out some valuable insights we might provide. Recently though I see alot of griping and complaining on our side from general users and I wonder, does this have much of a negative impact on the teams from Hearthstone? Do they feel like this subreddit is not a useful place to find insight to how the game is received by the public? Do they feel like we are bashing their project and not enjoying it?

I'd like to stay naive and believe that they do lurk and find some insights that they think would be nice to add to the game from our pandering, but recently I lose a little faith in this subreddit in all it's negativity (post ONiK) so I devs/teams of Hearthstone:

'How do you guys and gals feel when we critique the game after each release or on an on-going basis? Does this subreddit provide you a place of positive/useful critiquing?'

-Just some random player of Hearthstone who thinks you still do a bang up job minus some minor problems"

A few hours later Brode posted his response. Most noteworthy is what he has to say about the Arena problem, "We had plans for tools that would let us make changes in the medium-long term, but the online discussion has made us stop and rethink our timelines and options. That's honestly great. Hoping to have something to share on this in a couple weeks."
Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

I know pretty much everyone on the (now 70+ person!) dev team reads this subreddit pretty frequently. Personally I check it several times a day.

I love it. I love reading stories about people having fun with Hearthstone or exploring new decks. I also love finding opportunities to make the game better. I send every bug report and suggestion to the different teams responsible to make sure we are tracking them. They assure me it's redundant because they are also reading Reddit daily (and most reported bugs have already been caught by QA) but I don't want to miss anything.

Sometimes we disagree with a particular post, and one of the biggest pitfalls is believing that one person's perspective (or even a couple thousand people, in the case of a highly upvoted thread) is representative of everyone. I think it sometimes inspires fervor when people believe that everyone thinks the same thing, so how can we be deciding something different? Reddit is especially powerful at drowning out dissenters through up and down votes. And certain categories of player are just not represented here at all. That's usually irrelevant, because the feedback is helpful either way, but it can amplify a feeling of "community vs developers" which has always felt strange to me. When we go home, we play Hearthstone. We're part of the community, too. I like to feel like we're working together to make the game more awesome.

I also notice that sometimes when people don't have access to the whole picture, it can inspire an angry position. It doesn't always happen, but it comes out as: "I can't imagine any reason for you to do this. The only possible reason I can come up with is that you are bad developers, therefor that must be what is true." This is the hardest feedback for me personally to read. I'm lucky to be able to see the whole picture, so I can see the reasons behind these decisions. This phenomenon is the biggest reason I love interacting with players. I think just hearing the other side of things can take it out of that zone of "you must be idiots" to "oh they actually had reasons for this". Important to note that people often still disagree with those reasons, but it becomes an informed conversation at that point, which is awesome.

Arena Balance is one thing that has received a lot of attention recently, and has spawned a lot of discussion internally. We had plans for tools that would let us make changes in the medium-long term, but the online discussion has made us stop and rethink our timelines and options. That's honestly great. Hoping to have something to share on this in a couple weeks.

Yeah, sometimes there is negativity. But there is always something for us to learn in that, and so we come back every day, hopefully with a curious mind, hoping to find ideas that we can take back to keep making Hearthstone better.

Also who doesn't love Day9 highlights.