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Hearthstone devs reluctant to make community videos for fear of harassment

Game director Ben Brode says he is trying to encourage more of the team to take part in his Designer Insights series

Even the creators of a popular game like Hearthstone are concerned about internet harassment, according to the game's director.

In a Reddit thread, spotted by Kotaku, Ben Brode said he was keen to get more of the developers behind the card battler to participate in videos for the game's community, but many wish to stay out of the limelight.

"I love doing videos, and I think I can convince more of the team to get involved, so it's not just me," he wrote. "Not everyone is as excited about being a public face as Yong [Woo, senior producer] and I are, though - there is a lot of harassment that comes with being more public."

The videos he was referring to were his Designer Insights series, which he revealed have to be filled at home once his child has gone to sleep due to the lack of dedicated video space in the studio. However, he is hoping that such a space will be created in the near future.

Internet toxicity has been an issue that games developers face for years, and ramped up significantly in 2014, but it's a sad state of affairs when the developers behind a widely acclaimed title are reluctant to reach out to their community. Hearthstone has been a big hit for Blizzard, one that has prompted firms like Jagex and Bethesda to bring their own RPG franchises to the CCG formula, and yet harsh behaviour from avid fans has evidently prompted the game's creators to shun any form of exposure.

The nature of social media and video platforms such as YouTube means consumers are able to get closer to the creative minds behind their favourite titles - a relationship that has gone on to define and reshape numerous games through crowdfunding and community involvement - but that conversation is being soured by those who use it as a channel for abuse.

Football Manager developer Miles Jacobson recently spoke out about the issue with GamesIndustry.biz, saying it was it was "not acceptable" to attack someone's family over a video game. BioShock creator Ken Levine warned the industry about this back in 2013, after Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar received death threats over a Call of Duty patch that rebalanced a single weapon.

Kotaku noted that a moderator for a popular Hearthstone community responded to Brode's comments, urging members to put more consideration into what they post.

"Although you may not agree with certain philosophies that the team may have about the game, it is important to post with respect and stay constructive," he wrote. "We should be welcoming communication first and foremost, so let's make that more of a priority this year and not feed those who want to cast plagues upon the creators. 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."

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