Interview: Supercell’s Dani discusses how community management has helped Brawl Stars thrive

Brawl Stars has proven to be a popular game over the years, and it’s currently celebrating its fifth birthday. In that time, a staggering 170 billion matches have been played. That’s a lot of tapping away on phones.

Keeping players engaged over a long period isn’t easy, and remaining popular with a lot of people is even more difficult. Over at Supercell, a lot of the game’s continued success is partly credited to the community management being in constant conversations with the community.

To discuss the hows and the whys, we spoke to Dani, one of the folks working on Brawl Stars’ YouTube channel.

Can you introduce yourself and your role on Brawl Stars for our readers, please?

Hi, readers, I’m Dani. I’m one of the Brawl Stars community managers and also known as the guy in the massive rabbit costume from our latest update video on YouTube.

Can you tell us about how important community management has been for the success of Brawl Stars?

Many of the players don’t know, but the Brawl Stars team had considered killing the game because the performance during the beta wasn’t great. At that time, the team had a different lead and vision for the game (I wasn’t even part of the team yet, but I was already a player, though).

Frank (also known from our update videos!), who was a lead in a different team, stepped in and presented an endless list of things on why this game shouldn’t be killed, which made the Brawl Team and the Leadership team offer Frank the lead position.

Frank did accept that, but with the condition that Brawl Stars would be a community-centred development game, and since the last months of beta until today, that has been the mindset for the team. There is A LOT MORE to that story, and these two paragraphs don’t do justice, but they are just to illustrate how vital community management is for this project because it’s embedded in everything we do.

So overall, community management is really important! I can’t really measure how much, but there is a lot of evidence that shows how the Brawl Stars community is directly connected to the game performance (there’s also evidence on how they AREN’T connected sometimes, but that’s not what this question is about :D).

Also, Brawl is one of the most volatile games we have reach-wise. If you look at the interest numbers from Google Trends or any reach/buzz tracking platform, you can see how Brawl usually fluctuates from high peaks to low lows, while every other (Supercell) game tends to follow a flat line.

This means that when we have big news or something exciting happening on our social media, there are millions of people talking about it, and we usually go trending everywhere.

This also means that if we DON’T have anything to talk about, the interest keeps dropping. This was a bit wilder at the beginning of the year, but finally, after the Starr Drop/re-engagement calendar update, we managed to improve our retention. So, players who returned/installed Brawl recently are now staying in the game (or at least a bigger percentage of them).

Besides that, we have a vast community of content creators who help us achieve all those crazy numbers, not to mention the thousands of incredibly talented fan artists and passionate players who create wikis/content about our lore, characters, and much more.

Are there any examples of major changes over the past five years that are player-led?

If we are talking about major changes, I can pick two items:

When we removed boxes/gacha from the game, our number 1 complaint was: “bring boxes back”. And we’ve reintroduced gacha to the game (not in the same fashion – it’s now an engagement feature rather than a monetization item), and as I said before, our retention and engagement have gone up quite significantly.

The other change was regarding Gears, a progression item we’ve added to the game, and since its release, it has been one of the biggest pain points in the community. We did rework the system and made it better, and even though it hasn’t substantially improved our metrics, it at least cleared this from being a hot (and negative) topic in the community

Those were probably the most significant changes we have done based on community feedback, but on top of that, we have multiple community Skin campaigns every year (with #SupercellMake), Brawler mechanics, maps, lore suggestions, and game mode ideas, like the 5 versus 5 we’ve just added in our latest update.

Also, I’m responsible for bringing up the players’ point-of-view to every feature and change we make in the game, and there are always tweaks made based on what our vocal community is talking about, including quality of life changes, bug fixing, balancing, and so on…

Of course, we can’t do everything they ask for, but we are constantly reading and discussing topics with them, and it helps guide a lot of our decisions.

In five years, Brawl Stars has seen a lot of changes, whether that’s to gameplay or monetisation. How do you test these changes out and gauge player reaction?

Well, we are a live game, so many of the tests are live (#yolo). But jokes aside, we run a lot of surveys, focus groups, A/B tests, and so on that allow us to understand and predict the outcome of our upcoming changes and features.

We also are constantly asking our community on our social channels and in-game what they like or dislike about our current systems, and this is used as a base to design improvements or a completely new system. The same goes for our content creators; we sometimes show them early and work-in-progress designs in a private group to see how they react, as most of them are really passionate players as well.

And, of course, being a passionate player myself and having been with this community for 5 years, I can often put myself in their shoes and predict what reaction players would have to whatever we release out there.

How have you found cultivating a community for a global game?

I’ve worked in other global games, but I guess the difference with Brawl is the scale of how enormous this community is.

It’s everything. It’s really exciting, sometimes weird, and sometimes stressful, haha. When we are looking at the numbers from the office, we can’t really see the whole picture or how many people we are impacting, but once you go to a local event, or just sometimes walking on the street and someone shouts “Brawl Stars!…,” is something really mind-boggling to experience…

I had people putting notes under my door asking for gems (STOP DOING THAT!), getting weird looks in restaurants, and people playing Brawl Stars beside me on the train because they recognized me. So those are a bit weird but funny nonetheless. But when we are at a Brawl Stars event like the Brawl Stars World Championship at Dreamhack in Jonköping or similar events, it’s really heartwarming to talk and interact with all the fans face-to-face.

But of course, as in any gaming community, especially a passionate one, if something is controversial or not great from a player’s perspective, we do get a lot of heat. Most of the negative feedback is fine and understandable, but there are always people who go too far and make it personal. Luckily, they are a really small minority, but unfortunately, they do exist.

With so many different types of players, you must get a lot of conflicting feedback. How do you decide who to listen to? Is it simply data-driven, or is there an element of your own personal judgement in there?

There is a certain extent of “personal judgement,” but even though sometimes it might feel like an unfounded gut feeling, it’s not. We’re trained to read EVERYTHING, knowing that the feedback we see on Social Media is from a specific subset of players who are willing to find us online, subscribe, and then comment. So it’s the top few percent of our most important players. But our job is to extrapolate from this group, understand the 1% vs the 99%, and bring that feedback to the team.

It really depends on the case also…usually when it comes to game balancing or opinions about art; those are pretty subjective, so data does help a lot with validating some of the feedback. However, the community is really good at flagging potential issues! So most of the improvements or changes come from their feedback, and then it’s up to us to analyze it further, confirm the issue, and change/improve if necessary.


But there are also cases where it’s just a really cool idea and well presented that gets our attention right away (there was one player who sent us a printed deck with ONE HUNDRED IDEAS for Brawl). Our designers had a call with them, and the player proved to be quite smart and insightful.

It’s just a matter of reading their posts/feedback daily so you are always on top of the trends, bugs, and everything. Once we are aware of what is being discussed around our game, we can sit down, compare with what we see in our data, and reprioritize things if we see necessary.

But even when the topic is conflicting and subjective, sometimes there are ways to please both sides… for example, I’ve just asked the community how they would like a certain campaign to be run and gave them 2 options. Well, the results are pretty much 50/50, so what we’ll do is just keep rotating between those two options. This is the tweet btw: (#followme)

What have you learned during your time at Supercell that you would pass on to other developers/community managers as advice?

If I could bring up three takeaways from my journey as a CM in the industry, but mostly at Supercell, I would say that a big part of the community manager’s job is not communicating with the actual community but actually educating the team and the company to have this player-driven vein in everything they do. Being empathetic and understanding how what you are developing will impact the player is priceless, and I’d say that there’s always room to achieve game/company goals without upsetting and disrupting the players. It’s not easy, though, but we’ve done it multiple times already.

The second one is that the longer I’m in this role, the less I feel that there’s a need for me, as a person, to be out there interacting with the community on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s beneficial, and it does show to the rest of the people that you are willing to listen and respond, but the impact of answering one individual player doesn’t seem productive since the community is so big.

I would instead collect all the feedback out there, bring it up to the team, and, with this information, improve future changes to the game so that the community would feel heard because the product we put out is already taking into account their possible concerns. Also, I would try to address most of the biggest community issues in a broader way, either through a video, talking to content creators, or a big piece of news.

And third, which is my core belief that what makes a community toxic or negative is ignorance (this is a good headline, btw), but that’s not the community’s fault. We all have seen wild statements on the internet from people who have no idea what they are talking about, right? So, as a player, your opinion is entirely based on what you see happening in the game in front of you or whatever the game communicates.

Players don’t know what the situation is with the company, with the game, the reasoning behind a particular decision, how much discussion there was about a certain topic before a feature came to life, what the goal of some changes, and so on. There’s just so much, but SO MUCH context they are missing that it’s logical to link the dots themselves and assume things. If you have the knowledge, know the context, and know where a decision is coming from, you can still either like or dislike it, but it DOES change the way you talk about it and eliminates most of the emotional layer that comes with feedback.

I keep hearing in the industry that “some people will always be haters,” but ironic enough, that’s the exact same ignorance I’ve just talked about. It’s an assumption of a player’s behaviour based on one or a couple of messages with no context/background at all. I’m sure getting to know the players and where their opinions are coming from would change the developers’ opinions the same way a player spending a week with a dev team would change theirs. NOW, the challenge is… how do you individually know every single player, and how to summarise months of discussions in one post? I don’t know yet, but I’m trying my best to do so. ????

Perfect segue, though! So, in an attempt to solve the problem mentioned above, we’ve just created this video podcast series called “Time to Explain,” where we gather lots of questions from the community and talk about a lot of the current trending topics. The goal is to explain a bit of what happens behind the scenes and why we have done certain things with Brawl. It’s super long but gives a lot of insights and context to the most engaged/vocal players, who will then disseminate this information to the rest of the community. Our latest episode was actually about community, so check it out!


One of the advantages of a format like this is that we enable our most engaged players to not only understand what we are doing and why we are doing it, but it also leads to them being able to share this knowledge with other players on our behalf.

The most recent change to Brawl Stars was the arrival of Hypercharge. How has player feedback been on this, and have you made any changes based on what they’ve said?

We’ve just released a new update with our new monthly Brawl Pass, actually, but that will only be live in January. We are ready to make changes if needed, but of course, we want to see how it goes first.

Regarding Hypercharge, we did tweak the feature a bit based on community feedback. The price for gems was too high, so we are releasing them at a discounted price now. The design of the first batch of Hypercharges didn’t feel super exciting for the community, so the new ones are already taking this into account and have been better received.

The initial reaction to Hypercharge was very loud as players were worried about this being a P2W (pay-to-win) item or an instant-win button, which is not the case. Once they actually managed to play around with that, the feedback was more positive than negative. Even the Brawl esports players came back and said that they really enjoy this mechanic now and that it adds more depth to the matches. We might not get as much hype as we expected, but it seems the feature is performing well.

If any of our readers are big Brawl Stars fans and want to provide feedback, where is the best place for them to go to have their voices heard?

We are constantly reading the comments on our posts on Instagram, Twitter/X, Reddit, Discord, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and sometimes from notes dropped under our doors (STOP IT!). So yeah, definitely, our social channels and groups are the best way to talk to us. A lot of our team members are constantly reading these and we often share some posts in our internal channels!