Heroes, Community & CCL Esports
My Builds My Tiers
Pro Players as Balance Designers
I've been seeing a few answers in the Live Design AMA to the effect of "Blizzard should hire pro players so that they can tell them how to balance". I think a lot of people forget that the skillset is quite often not very transferable.

Almost all pro players are so good because of their mechanics, but that skill doesn't transfer at all. A lot of pro players have a great understanding of how to abuse advantages, but again that's not a skill that transfers. Even fewer pro players understand how the meta works, and here's where the skill finally transfers. Those players also need to be team players, articulate themselves well, be from North America or have a convenient way to move there, be problem solvers, and hardest of all be able to come up with solid ideas.

It's a tough skillset, and while I agree that pro players have a lot more to offer than they currently do in terms of consulting, its not as clean cut as it would initially seem.
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Agreed. Actually I think the best thing would be to to create a liaison position, someone who only has the third qualification but also has good communication skills and talks to pro players, bringing insight from the way the game works at a high level from professional players and the reasons they are playing certain heroes. Especially as niche hero design goes forward, it would be invaluable.
I think the best way to incorporate a pro, or ex-pro player, would be in a consultant or balance testing position. Someone who has kept up with the game and the community, like DunkTrain for example, would be great for a position like that.
Why would Blizzard hire pros when pros spill their suggestions on reddit for free Keepo. While a lot of pros wouldn't be good game designers, plenty would (you, Dunk, and Splendour come to mind). It wouldn't be the first time either, look at Lore on the WoW team. I'm not sure his exact position, but he started off as a player, then a raid leader, then a guild leader, then creator of The Weekly Marmot podcast, and then eventually got hired by Blizzard. Quin69 doesn't work for Blizzard, but they seem to take a lot of his Diablo suggestions as well.

TL;DR I see your point that not everyone can be a game designer (there are college degrees for that after all), but at the same time, you don't have to be college educated to have valuable input
Agreed. I think that some of the frustration of the vocal player base comes from lacking nuance related to Blizzard's game design decisions. Because we pretty much only see the end result of a change, and when it happens to be a mistake (at least in someone's eyes) it's easily assumed that the balance change was made because of haphazard decision-making and poor understanding when, in reality, the change might have gone through numerous iterations. The truth seems to be closer to game design just being extremely complex and difficult rather than the designers' lack of competence.
Back in my days in Guild Wars there was a board for the pros, to suggest or give feedback to possible balance changes. The board was only visible for a few players and the balance team. Something like this could make sense, since Blizz doesn't want to share every possible change with the community, but need feedback to make decisions easier.