Blizzard roundup: Michael Chu leaves Overwatch, Acti-Blizz gets a new COO, and WoW Classic drops a banhammer

    
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In a world of human wreckage.

Blizzard’s been on a tear this week with staffing shifts and patches and cancellations, so let’s dig in. First, probably the saddest part of this post is the fact that Michael Chu, the much-loved head writer for Overwatch, has left Blizzard after 20 years of working there, presumably leaving the under-construction Overwatch 2 bereft of one of its brightest minds. He doesn’t stomp on Blizzard on his way out the door, nor explain where exactly he’s going, except to stay in games writing, but he did leave this for players:

“Overwatch has been a life-changing experience. I have always felt that games and the stories they tell have the unique ability to bring people closer together, and that the empathy you feel from stepping into someone else’s shoes, even virtually, can bridge the gap between miles, cultures, and nations. Overwatch and its consistently generous and inspiring community have only reinforced that belief. I’ve heard stories of people learning a new language after hearing a line of dialogue, people feeling inspired to take a trip to a new place after ‘visiting’ it in-game, and people meeting teammates across languages and borders to take up the cause of making our world a better place. But most of all: again and again, of people empathizing with a story about someone who is not the same as them.”

Also on the business end of the company, Activision-Blizzard appointed a new President and COO, ex-Google exec Daniel Alegre. “In his new role, Alegre will oversee the Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, and King Digital Entertainment businesses, reporting directly to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick,” the company says. His background is focused chiefly in international business expansion, if that gives you an idea what Acti-Blizz is thinking about right now. The former President and COO, Coddy Johnson, will apparently stay on as “Special Advisor” to Kotick.

Finally, we’ve got some news tidbits for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft specifically:

  • There’s another encrypted Shadowlands Alpha build out for those able to access it: 9.0.1.33644.
  • Blizzard is apparently cracking down on cheaters in WoW Classic, announcing a banwave for people using third-party programs to bot, automate movement, or idle indefinitely, “especially in Alterac Valley.
  • And yes, the studio is finally fixing gear rewards from Horrific Visions, ensuring they will all be corrupted as of March 17th. “We’ve heard from many players that Corrupted items were not obtainable enough, limiting their ability to play with the system and its inherent tradeoffs,” Blizz writes. “This change will substantially increase the number of Corrupted items reliably earned each week, allowing players to choose from among a greater selection of Corrupted pieces and enjoy using those that work best in a given situation.”
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Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

After yesterday’s stock market crash, I’m surprised Acti-Blizz is being draconian. Stocks crashing and less customers equals a diminishing WoW and Acti-Blizz over the long term.

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Sorenthaz

Yeah it’s blatantly obvious they’re wanting to move to going all-in on the Chinese market, even as their economy is tanking due to the Wuhan virus.

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NecroFox4

The decline of Blizzard continues…

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Danny Smith

Oh no, just think of amazing future Overwatch storylines we will miss out on as good as….

and….

uh, and dont forget….

Shit, gimme a minute.

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Sorenthaz

Symmetra being on the autism spectrum, Soldier 76 and Tracer being homosexual, and… I think maybe Reaper was 76’s lover at one point too or something? I don’t remember. OW was basically Blizzard’s game that was getting them ‘woke’ points with Chu at the lead.

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Armsbend

He didn’t step on Blizzard no – but he also didn’t say anything in that statement saying anything good about them either.

He just wrote a love letter to himself.

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Kay

He just wrote a love letter to himself.

He did also have nice things to say about the Overwatch community and his co-workers. It’s not some narcissist rant.

But it does seem weird that he never talks about the future of Overwatch. Usually their is some kind of note about “leaving it in good hands” or “having faith in new guy to run the franchise”.

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Danny Smith

He did say “On to new Adventures” which is a trending downlow “signal flare” that you did not part with your employer amicably and want the cronytrain to forward them work. Especially among gamedevs. They are probably biting their tongue to not look bad.

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Bryan Correll

It’s never a good idea to publicly air your gripes with an employer. Unless you’re flat out retiring. Then you can let it all out.

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Armsbend

Or you are rich.