Guild Wars 2 Game Director Mike Zadorojny and VP of Marketing Mike Silbowitz left ArenaNet

    
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The centaur iPad is really overpowered.

We’ve updated this post at the end with confirmation of the Mike Z departure.

We hate to rain on the “wheee Guild Wars 2 is getting a third expansion” parade because it’s a nice parade and we’re enjoying it. But we now return to reality, where yet another top ArenaNet staffer has left the building.

Eagle-eyed Redditors point to Linkedin, where it’s now clear that Mike Silbowitz, the former VP of ArenaNet’s global marketing team and VP of marketing for NCsoft, has morphed into head of marketing for… Wargaming, working on an “exciting unannounced new game.”

The Reddit thread took a bizarre turn when a pro-ArenaNet account piped up to defend Silbowitz personally, complete with insults for Redditors and oddly explicit information (in fact, the whole account is like that, with commentary specifically on marketing and insider info on staffing). Last year, Redditors suspected that someone associated with the game was using sockpuppet accounts to post pseudo-ads for its marketing on Reddit, so it’s an… interesting situation over there indeed.

MMO readers will recall that ArenaNet suffered heavy layoffs and a reorganization in 2019, and since then we’ve seen a steady stream of multiple additional devs (including studio head Mike O’Brien) moving on from the company, most recently a pair last month.

Source: Reddit, Linkedin
Update
The odd insider Redditor account also offers up the wild claim that Mike Zadorojny left ArenaNet several months ago, with his last official comm to players being when Mike O’Brien departed last October. It initially sounded nuts, but we’ve now been able to confirm this information off the record with our own sources, to our astonishment. According to our sources, John Taylor is now the (top) game director at ArenaNet. We have reached out to ArenaNet for an official statement. It is not clear yet why this information about the studio’s leadership was withheld from the playerbase for so long.
Update
The account we wrote about earlier that was a steady stream of vitriol for players and seeming inside information has now – wait for it – been deleted outright. In addition to its claim that Mike Z had left the company months ago, over the past year it produced such gems as:

“Holy shit you’re a stupid fuck nugget!!! No delusion. Fact! When confirmed I will come back and say told you so you stupid stupid bitch.”

“Oh here we go. ‘Marketing is the worst!’ You are all such a whiny bunch of b**ches. Seriously. Don’t like it? Leave the game and make room for the new blood who is actually fun to play with.”

“And you’re nothing but a middle aged loser living in your mothers basement. I’m not proving shit. I know the truth. Deep down you know it too from seeing new players in game. You just need something to bitch about to fill the empty void in your unimpressive life.”

“You do realize the team that thought of the magazine is also the team that made the trailer and made the announcement event? It was the marketing team that everyone seems to hate.”

In response to the departure of Jason Reynolds over three months ago, the account wrote: “Wow. So many departures. Doesn’t mean the game is dying. Mike Z left and the game is still functioning. Sky isn’t falling. Calm down.” And in this week’s thread, the account wrote:

“You are all a bunch of idiots. For real. Even for reddit, the majority of comments around this dudes marketing have been positive but then all you asshats need to jump when he leaves and say he sucked. This dude has worked on some of the biggest campaigns in gaming but you losers chime in from your mother’s basements on things you know nothing about. The poncho sucked but other then that… Get a life!”

ArenaNet has yet to respond to our request for a statement as of 4 p.m. EDT on Friday.

Update
One of our writers (thanks Andy) grabbed pics of some of the account’s comments before the account was deleted – we’re including what we have below, just to keep the record as intact as we can.

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HawkeWar

Doooommmmmm

Not really…Honestly lots of folks have left, I don’t see the difference. It’s the same game I played when the last expansion was released.

I still think all these people (who are basically his old guard, or who was hired when GW2 was in early development) are following MikeO in his new studio

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Greg Myers

Sounds like this person has a crap load of gold, mounts, legendaries that he is afraid to go before bye.

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agemyth 😩

Well clearly they had too many Mikes and it fell upon the leadership to fix their mistakes and resign.

Reddit drama? I have nothing to say.

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starbuck1771

You forgot to say Mike drop. 😋

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Arktouros

When I bought Heart of Thorns, I more or less knew what I was buying. But for me pretty much everything has been downhill since that time with GW2. Game updates have become unpredictable and sporadic. Path of Fire was just a remix of the Nightfall story. Now there’s multi-layered loot box system stores, season passes, and whatever the hell “sagas” are.

Now we have them trotting out the last chunks of Guild Wars 1’s corpse for people to beat on finally with Cantha. Neat. However who is puppeteering the corpse these days? This is all pretty much why there’s no point in having a parade. I played the hell out of GW2 but I have no idea who the people are left running the ship at this point. I might as well be buying a game from a new company who was licensed to use the Guild Wars IP.

But hey, “woo! Cantha!”

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Tell SoMuchMass I said hello.

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Arktouros

I dunno who or what that is

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Utakata

A regular who made his life’s work to bash ‘n troll GW2 before it was ever released. Sorta smartened up over time until he stopped posting here for sometime now as far as I am aware.

And I dunno why anyone would compare you to him. Next, they’ll be calling you Golden Girl. >.<

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Utakata

“Holy shit you’re a stupid fuck nugget!!!”

…should entombed on this person’s resume and forever immortalized. o.O

Godnaz
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Godnaz

As a former GW2 Reddit mod, I remember this person. Speculation on why such an old Reddit account would get deleted by its user? Caithe82

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starbuck1771

Anet most likely threatened them to delete the account or be fired for leaking the information.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

I’d be so ticked if I was for all intents and purposes the acting game director and not getting credit or pay for that. Also, how do all those people that were in the know just go along with selling that Mike Z was there this whole time after all those layoffs?

Wowsers.

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McGuffn

They’re (probably?— they could have been let go too!) the same people who pretended that Mike O’Brien was still in charge.

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yoh_sl

Wow, when you think Areanets shitshow couldn’t get any worse, they find a way to one up themselves.

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Dankey Kang

They haven’t laid off 800 employees and given themselves bonuses yet.

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Leiloni

Mike Zadorojny left ArenaNet several months ago, with his last official comm to players being when Mike O’Brien departed last October. It sounds nuts, but we’ve now been able to confirm this information off the record, to our astonishment.

It sounds nuts but not unheard of. When high level folks like this leave under less than positive circumstances, they don’t just make them walk out the door the same day like the rest of us plebes. I’ve had experience with high level people like chiefs/directors being silently let go but quietly phasing them out. We had someone years ago that effectively was let go about six months prior to their actually announced departure date. They were mostly “working” from home and not in the office for that time, with the grapevine understanding being they were, out of respect, letting the person find other employment while giving the company time to figure out what to do.

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McGuffn

Besides that it’s kind of bad when “you’re in good hands with mike z” turns out to be just bullshit.

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Bryan Correll

I worked at a company where anytime someone over a certain pay grade got canned a memo went out announcing that said person was taking an indefinite personal leave of absence, effective immediately. Everyone (at least at headquarters) knew that this was code for “this guy done fucked up in a major way.”