Ben Brode

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Ben Brode
Ben Brode(701).png
Type: Minion
Rarity: Legendary
Cost: 3
Attack: 4
Health: 1

Your volume can't be reduced below maximum.

See this card on Hearthpwn

"There is no way to contain the Brode." - Yong Woo[1]

Ben Brode is a Blizzard employee, member of Team 5 and Game Director for Hearthstone.[2] He is featured in the credits card of the same name.

Official[edit | edit source]

As one of the game designers for Blizzard Entertainment's Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™, Ben Brode is involved in all aspects of the design, including core gameplay design, card powers, balance, artwork selection, programming, and writing.

Brode joined Blizzard Entertainment in 2003, and during his tenure has served in numerous roles throughout the company. His first role was as a tester on Warcraft III, followed by a position in quality assurance on World of Warcraft®. Before joining the Hearthstone team, Brode was part of Blizzard’s creative development department, in charge of licensed products.

In his free time, Brode stays true to the rap game as an MC and beatboxer.[3]

Notes[edit | edit source]

Ben Brode

Brode started his Blizzard career as a "night crew game tester".[4][5] In 2002 Brode was working part-time delivering pizzas, and a friend of Brode's who was working at Blizzard in night shift Q&A convinced the team to order from Brode's pizza firm, allowing Brode to make connections within the team and eventually get a job as a night shift game tester for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and later QA on World of Warcraft.[6][7] Brode "loved the job", got involved in testing the level editor and eventually began making his own maps for Warcraft III, which led him to learn about game design.[7][8]

Brode later worked on the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game from its "very beginning" until 2008, when Team 5 was created and work on Hearthstone began.[9][10][11] Brode describes this as "how I ended up on the Hearthstone team",[12] stating, "I caught the attention of [then executive producer Rob Pardo] and when they spun up Team 5, I got in!"[8]

Brode appears to have been one of the first members of Team 5, describing the team as having had "maybe" 2 members when he joined.[13]

Early in the game's development, prior to the beginning of prototyping, deadlines for another Blizzard project caused all of Team 5 except Eric Dodds and Brode to be reassigned to that game.[14] This isolation allowed the two designers to work in an even more focused way, with only the two of them to settle prototyping decisions, and were able to rapidly progress through myriad design iterations.[14] The two went on to establish the core game still found in Hearthstone today.[14]

For most of the game's initial development, Brode and Dodds were the sole designers regarding card changes and balance. Brode was also responsible for choosing the card art for all cards.[15]

Describing himself as "mostly the guy who heads up content design",[16] up until Whispers of the Old Gods Brode was responsible for initial card design,[17][18] and would sometimes also program prototypes of new mechanics,[19] as well as working "a lot" with the dialogue and voice actors for the game's soundbites and sound design.[20]

In late 2015 Brode was promoted from Senior Game Designer to Lead Designer.[21][22] In November 2016 his title changed again to Game Director (a title previously held by Eric Dodds) although Brode had already been filling the role for around a year.[2][23][24][25] Brode is now less involved in initial design and card creation, with more of a focus on "helping guide teams" and "leadership and direction stuff", but is still "very involved" in the overall design process.[26][27][28][29]

Aside from his work on the game itself, Brode is known for being active on Twitter and reddit, where he is often to be found discussing the game with players. Brode is also the host of the Designer Insights video series, discussing current game design issues with the community. By far the most communicative member of the development team, Brode rose to prominence during the game's beta, quickly becoming the public face (and voice) of the Hearthstone team.

In March 2017, in response to a petition on reddit asking him to "sing a song" for the upcoming Journey to Un'Goro, Brode released "Un'Goro: The Journey", a video featuring himself rapping, on his personal YouTube channel.[30][31] Within a few hours the rap's reddit post had become the all-time most upvoted post on /r/Hearthstone,[32][33] and soon the number one post on all of reddit at that time.[34] The rap quickly saw a number of remixes from community members, setting Brode's voice to music ranging from hip hop and synthpop to the internet phenomenon "We Are Number One" and even tech metal, as well as overlaying Brode's rap over the original cinematic. Brode composed, performed and recorded the rap himself without assistance from other team members,[35] taking him about 90 minutes to write.[36] Brode states that he had been rapping "on and off" for 18 years at the time.[37]

In July 2017, Brode starred in Hearthstone: The Lich King Interviews for a Job at Blizzard, a short video on Hearthstone's official YouTube channel which features the Lich King unsuccessfully attempting to get a job at Blizzard through a job interview with Brode.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

"Hope you draw some lucky hands today!"
  • Brode is well-known for his resonant voice and hearty laugh.[38][39][40][41] This is referenced in his credits card's text - "Your volume can't be reduced below maximum".
  • As of March 2016 Brode has not voiced any of the cards or characters in the game, although he did contribute one of the many voices heard in the tavern's background chatter.[42] Brode however regularly provides voice overs and introductions at events such as BlizzCon, when presenting Hearthstone and other games such as World of Warcraft,[43] described by former World of Warcraft designer Ghostcrawler as "the voice of god".[44]
  • Brode has described Lord Jaraxxus as his #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 favourite cards.[45] Lord Jaraxxus was also designed either primarily or entirely by Brode.[46]
  • When asked how much he enjoyed his job out of 10, Brode replied "straight up 10".[47]
  • When asked what was likely the worst decision in the history of Hearthstone, Brode replied "maybe not nerfing cards that grant Charge enough the first time?", specifically referring to Warsong Commander.[48]
  • Brode is credited as artist for the WoW TCG card "Hearthstone", released in 2006, long before Hearthstone was conceived. Brode describes it as an "incredible coincidence".[49] Despite the listing Brode describes himself as "barely the artist", crediting Glenn Rane for the art's final appearance.[50]
  • Brode is paid tribute to in World of Warcraft through several items and NPCs, such as the fishing trainer Ben of the Booming Voice, and in the flavor text of the Tome of the Lost off-hand item which states "The title reads 'The Brode to Nowhere'". With the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Brode is fully realised as wandering salesman NPC Benjamin Brode, complete with a chequered shirt, who wanders players' garrisons selling a variety of Hearthstone-related novelty items. When interacted with, he says "I am SUPER excited to be here today!".
Brode's fashion choices have inspired an official Hearthstone clothing line
  • The same chequered shirt seen on both his World of Warcraft avatars can also be seen on Brode's credits card art, as well as in his 2014 official image (see right). When asked whether this was a coincidence or an intentional match, Brode humorously replied, "I am just always wearing that shirt".[51] While Brode has since broadened his tastes to include chequered shirts of other colours, the chequered shirt has quickly become a signature of the developer. Brode states that his flannel habit began many years earlier with a sale at Costco,[52] and that that his favorite brand of flannel shirts is J.Crew.[53] In 2016 the official Blizzard gear store released a "Hearthstone Flannel Jacket", reflecting the implicit connection between Hearthstone and the popular pattern. The Lich King Interviews for a Job at Blizzard references the chequered shirts several times: the sign outside Brode's office features the pattern; Arthas describes the Blizzard office as a "sweltering bastion of flannel" after being dismissed by Brode; and the video's description raises the question "Will Ben Brode finally accept that it’s summer and lose the flannel?".
  • Brode has become the focus of a number of Hearthstone memes, many involving his laugh. In 2016 Senior Game Producer Yong Woo created an internal wiki document to collect the memes, appealing to his Twitter followers to contribute.[62]
  • Brode is currently working on a "meme review" video showcasing his favorite Hearthstone memes, though if he had to choose his favorite one, he has stated a particular fondness for 4 mana 7/7.[63]
  • When asked about favorite deck to play in Hearthstone's history, including open beta, Brode stated that he has "always loved" Control Paladin, and that he also loved Yogg-and-Load.[64]
  • Brode is "definitely not" (read: absolutely is) featured on one of the wanted posters in the background of Sergeant Sally's card artwork.[65]
  • Warcraft III maps worked on by Brode include "Worm War" and "Clash of the Footmen".[66]
  • Brode is 6'4.5" tall.[67]
  • During the game's first April Fools season on April 1st 2014, Brode was featured in's /hearthstone channel's "Ben Brode day!" celebrations.[68] All poster icons were replaced with a picture of Ben Brode, while the up and down-vote icons were replaced with alternately inverted images of his head. In the top-left corner of the screen a small figure boasting an oversized copy of the same image of Ben Brode's head greeted readers with the salutation "Brodies!" when moused over. Top comment apparently belonged to none other than Brode himself, posting shortly after midnight with the simple message "WHAT IS HAPPENING".

Career[edit | edit source]

Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne - Game Tester
World of Warcraft - Quality Assurance Team Lead
2005-2008 (possibly earlier)
World of Warcraft Trading Card Game - Approvals
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade - Creative Development Production
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Creative Development Production
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - Strike Team
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - Strike Team
BRAWL - Programming, Voices, UI
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft - Senior Game Designer
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft - Lead Designer
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft - Game Director

Quotes[edit | edit source]

About Brode
  • "On a 1 to 10 scale, Ben is a 14 in terms of fun." - Whirthun[69]
  • "Brode is the same person in the office that you see in interviews and on-screen. He's always excited and full of energy and eager to answer your questions. Our area is one big open spot for everyone, and when he laughs you can hear it regardless of where you are sitting. You can't help but laugh a little, too. :)" - Zeriyah[70]
  • "[Ben Brode is] one of the most just incessantly positive people." - Garrett Weinzierl, host of the Angry Chicken podcast[71]

Card art[edit | edit source]

The art for Brode's credits card was created by Alex Horley Orlandelli.[72]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

In case you had forgotten his name
Brode in July 2016
Brode in May 2014
Credits card artwork
Ben Brode receiving his commemorative 10 year shield from Blizzard
Ben Brode and Bryan Chang performing at Blizzard's 2009 Guitar Hero competition.
Brode in 2013
Brode in 2003, while working on the night crew testing Warcraft III
Brode in 1996

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Yong Woo on Twitter. (2014-05-30). 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-12-06). 
  3. Blizzard Press Center
  4. Ben Brode (2014-05-07). Twitter / bbrode
  5. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-08-14). 
  6. Ben Brode - How to Get a Job in the Games Industry. (2015-09-04). 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Blizzard ANZ on Twitter. (2016-08-02). 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-02-16). 
  9. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-04-18). 
  10. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-15). 
  11. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-02-24). 
  12. Ben Brode on Twitch (11:40). (2016-04-17). 
  13. Designer Insights: Live Stream Q&A. (2017-01-13). 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Mark Serrels, (2014-05-04). Pens, Paper And Envelopes: The Making Of Hearthstone
  15. Monk (LiquidHearth) (2014-02-05). Interview with Senior Game Designer Ben Brode
  16. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-03). 
  17. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-06-17). 
  18. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-04). 
  19. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-06-17). 
  20. Banter with the Blues - February 13. (2015-02-13). 
  21. Twitter profile. Retrieved on 2015-12-01. Lead Designer on Hearthstone at Blizzard Entertainment.
  22. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-12-01). 
  23. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-12-07). 
  24. Chua Zhihong on Twitter. (2016-12-05). 
  25. Confirmed by Yong Woo in conversation with User:Taohinton: Blizzard personnel tend to fulfil a role for some time before being officially promoted.
  26. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-05). 
  27. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-17). 
  28. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-19). 
  29. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-11-05). 
  30. Hearthstone Game Director caves to community; raps about new expansion. (2017-03-01). 
  31. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-01). 
  32. Powerchicken on Twitter. (2017-03-01). 
  33. Top posts of /r/hearthstone. Retrieved on 2017-03-09.
  34. /r/topofreddit. Retrieved on 2017-03-02.
  35. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-01). 
  36. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-03). 
  37. 2017-03-09 on Twitter. ( 
  38. BlizzCon WC 2014: Ben Brode laugh Highlights - HAHAHAHAHA (2014-11-02
  39. Reddit: Ben Brode laugh appreciation thread
  40. My Instants: Ben Brode Laugh
  41. Bob Fitch on Twitter. (2015-10-02). 
  42. Stated by Brode multiple times, including on 2016-03-04
  43. BlizzCon 2013 World of Warcraft panel
  44. Greg Street on (2016-10-11). 
  45. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-25). 
  46. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-11-14). 
  47. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-08-02). 
  48. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-08-26). 
  49. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-11-12). 
  50. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-11-12). 
  51. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-01-03). 
  52. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-08). 
  53. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-07-15). 
  54. 54.0 54.1 Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-06-03). 
  55. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-06). 
  56. Ben Brode on twitch 2016-05-17
  57. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-06-16). 
  58. 58.0 58.1 Ben Brode quoted on reddit. (2016-10-03). 
  59. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-09-29). 
  60. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-07-15). 
  61. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-07-15). 
  62. Yong Woo on Twitter. (2016-02-18). 
  63. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-07-14). 
  64. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-07-15). 
  65. Matt Dixon on Twitter. (2016-11-28). 
  66. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-09). 
  67. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-03-05). 
  68. Salutations from all of us, on this wonderful Ben Brode day!
  69. Banter with the Blues - February 13. (2015-02-13). 
  70. Banter with the Blues - February 13. (2015-02-13). 
  71. #100 - The Angry Chicken: “May the Chicken be with You” - Ben Brode (2015-08-31)

External links[edit | edit source]

Selected media