We live in a world that is constantly trying to keep up with technology. Social media, for example, is fairly young and yet has become an essential part of life. For game developers, particularly for those actively updating their games, it is an excellent way to keep in touch with their fans. Blizzard is one of many companies that utilize this, in particular Ben Brode, director of the Hearthstone team. Brode has released around seven videos discussing the mechanics of Hearthstone, each one gaining hundreds of thousands of views. However, Brode has noted that other developers on the team are reluctant to be as open as him. Citing harassment as the main reason.
On a Reddit post Brode commented that “there is a lot of harassment that comes with being more public.” He did also remark that “I think I can convince more of the team to get involved, so it’s not just me,” though. Brode did not comment on any specific cases of harassment that affected him or his team, so it is not clear if he is speaking from experience here. What is clear, however, is that these fears, baseless or not, are making the Hearthstone developers hesitant to expose themselves.
It’s a rather depressing affair, although it does make sense. There have been a lot of bad harassment incidents in the past. Infamously, one Call of Duty developer received death threats for increasing reload times by .1 seconds. It’s rather unfair, as the majority of gamers in most cases aren’t like this. Despite this, it seems to be that the more toxic people out there have a talent for hogging the spotlight. Hopefully this will not dissuade those on the Hearthstone team who wish to share their thoughts. Harassment problems make all except the harassers lose, and with luck they will have less influence one day.