Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ghostcrawler leaves Blizzard!

Yes, I do feel that heading deserves an exclamation mark.

Ghostcrawler is someone I've respected for a long time. As Lead Systems Designer, he was the front-man, so to speak, for all the fantastic gameplay innovations that World of Warcraft introduced over the past few years. Of course, this also made him the target for any complaints that dedicated players had about the state of the game, the common meme being to claim that "Ghostcrawler must play a blank", with blank being whichever class ended up more powerful in the current patch.

The obvious question is of course: did angry fans finally cause this man to give up?

No, I really doubt that. Ghostcrawler's a pro. And he's been doing this for years, so I have to assume he's developed a hell of a thick skin when it comes to ridiculous complaints.

The explanation provided on GC's Facebook announcement was that he has "a great opportunity for something new and exciting". So in other words, the same bullshit reason any well-known executive leaves any big company.

So, speculation time! Now, the explanation which immediately occurs to me is: perhaps Activision Blizzard isn't as awesome a place to work as Blizzard once was. We've all heard stories about how cutthroat the video games industry is and Activision has been an obvious villain for quite some time.

Or, perhaps the WoW development environment has become too iterative. The upcoming expansion doesn't have any new classes to throw a wrench into the balance mix... maybe the core World of Warcraft gameplay is now as close to "complete" as it is possible to get, and there just aren't many systems left to design.

Or maybe he's telling the truth. Maybe Mr Street has found a job which is somehow more exciting than being at the forefront of designing one of the most influential video games in the industry.

We'll all find out soon enough. I have to assume the MMO Champion guy is actively chasing and/or confirming the information as I type this.

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