Months later, the World of Warcraft community is still coming to grips with the absence of Chris Metzen, who decided to retire from Blizzard at the age of 42. From the perspective of fans, his departure was aburpt, but according to Metzen, it was the culmination of several difficult years of development.
In an audio interview, Metzen admitted that the pressure to “out-perform” with Project Titan, and later Overwatch, produced panic attacks and overwhelming anxiety. Metzen said that it all got to be too much: “I spent so many years running real hot and real fast and chasing this dream that I had and also being a good soldier, a good officer, for this company I was with.”
You can listen to the full interview after the jump.
Do you remember BlizzCon 2016? It was just a couple of weeks ago, surely you do. One of the topics on discussion was letting World of Warcraft players use the game’s WoW Tokens as a more flexible currency, offering not just subscription time but also as currency for the game’s online store. The first round of datamining for the upcoming patch 7.1.5 suggests that feature may be added to the game with that patch… or it may just be getting the framework and the actual functionality is a ways off.
Hey, that’s how datamining goes: Some of it is relevant, some of it becomes just speculation. You can catch up on the latest datamining from Wowhead, if you’re in the mood for more stuff that may-or-may-not be in the next patch when it goes live. You can also check out an interview with Chris Metzen just below, covering the former Blizzard creative head honcho’s past experiences and future plans.
Do you scoff, chortle, or sneer when you hear the phrase “casual raiding” among the MMO community? You might be laughing at your own ignorance of modern trends, according to Frank at Overly Positive.
“Led by a movement in games like WoW and others who want to create more inclusive endgame, raids have gradually become more accessible to casual players,” Frank writes, “whether that is from reduction in the required number of raiding players, removal of difficult gated requirements, or the ease by which you find other people to do raids with. Some people might call this a perversion or a ruining of the idea of raiding, but I’d say that it’s more of an evolution of the practice in MMOs.”
Strap yourself in (we’re all about safety here at MOP), because we have a huge tour of the MMO blogosphere today, including a farewell to Chris Metzen, a roast of Angmar, and a visit to one of the most beautiful player homes in online games.
Looks like Blizzard has lost more than just Chris Metzen this week; MMO Champion reports that World of Warcraft Lead Quest Designer Craig Amai has departed that team. Adding to that are departure tweets from Senior Director of Story & Creative Development James Waugh and WoW Lead Character Artist Tyson Murphy.
Lest you think they’re all going to a startup — like, say, Pardo’s — do note that Murphy says he’s headed to Riot Games, and Amai says he’s just leaving WoW, “not necessarily Blizzard.”
Chris Metzen announced this evening that he is leaving Blizzard and “retiring” — and he says he means it.
Formally Blizzard’s Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development, Metzen has been one of core creative minds behind both the Warcraft and Diablo universes, known best to MMORPG players for his role in steering World of Warcraft’s plotlines, not to mention his voicing of several key characters.
“The reason I use the word ‘retire’ is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest,” he told players tonight. “I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live… to love my wife with all my strength… that’s my career now.”
Blizz has not yet issued a statement. Given Legion’s strong launch performance, we reckon Metzen fancied going out on top.
When you think mobile gaming, chances are that super-casual (and extremely cheap) titles come to mind. Blizzard might be looking to change that stereotype, as its execs are publicly mulling over future mobile development with deeper, more serious titles.
In an interview with Venture Beat, President Michael Morhaime, Senior Vice President Frank Pearce, and Senior Vice President Chris Metzen hinted at some of the paths that the studio might take in its upcoming titles. The execs said that “conscious evaluation” was being given to bringing deeper titles like StarCraft to mobile platforms.
“I feel like there’s still a big opportunity in mobile beyond just casual games,” Morhaime stated. “I’m not sure we’ve figured out what that is yet.”