Hearthstone developers are reluctant to take part in community videos as they fear harassment. Ben Brode, the game director of the popular collectible card game (CCG), says that “there is a lot of harassment” that comes with being a public face.
Blizzard, the company behind the game, has previously made headlines for its anti-harassment stance, teaming up with live-streaming platform Twitch to tackle chat abuse after a Hearthstone pro faced masses of racial abuse from viewers.
Hearthstone Developers Fear Online Harassment
On reddit, in a response to a tweet by Hearthstone lead producer Yong Woo about whether the team would be willing to make more ‘Designer Insights’ videos, Brode explains that he ‘loves’ doing videos.
The game director says that he thinks he can “convince more of the team to get involved” but “not everyone is as excited about being a public face as Yong and I are.” Brode explains that “there is a lot of harassment that comes with being more public.”
Writing on the HearthPwn forums, moderator Fluxflashor says that it’s “sad” that “no one from the team wants to come out and talk.” Although the mod encourages users to “post with respect and stay constructive,” Fluxflashor also notes that “on the moderation side we can only do so much since we’re only one site of many within the community, but as a whole, we need to stop letting the really toxic posts stew.”
@Spideraxe30 it takes significant amount of time for people involved to make those but we want to do more for sure!
— Yong Woo (@ywoo_dev) December 31, 2016
It’s unclear how Brode is going to convince more members of the Hearthstone team that they won’t face harassment or that any toxicity they do face will be minimal. Turning comments off on YouTube (where the Designer Insights are currently hosted) would prevent any immediate negativity but it also walls the team off of what could be some good feedback from Hearthstone players.
As many also noted when discussing the aspect of harassment in VR gaming, earlier this week, workarounds like this don’t address the key issue of harassment: that some people think it’s acceptable in the first place. But in discussing the team’s concerns and in moderator posts such as Fluxflashor’s, that call for harmony and respect, maybe those who do harass developers will reconsider their behaviour.
Brode also explains that the Designer Insights are currently made in his free time, after his son has gone to bed. But there are plans for “getting space that is permanently wired for making these types of videos at work.” So fans of the videos could soon expect more of the videos, at least, even if harassment concerns mean that that Brode and Woo are still the only ones starring in them.