World of Warcraft dev posts exit manifesto: ‘I was unhappy with the state of the game’

    
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World of Warcraft dev posts exit manifesto: ‘I was unhappy with the state of the game’

While people are hired, fired, and leave Blizzard all the time, it’s certainly not very often that we get a lengthy manifesto on the state of the game from someone who is on the way out. However, that’s exactly what happened this week as former game designer Chris Kaleiki left the company and posted a 14-minute video explaining exactly why.

Kaleiki isn’t raging at Blizzard but rather dissatisfied at the “muddled” state of World of Warcraft. This was made clear to him, he said, when WoW Classic released to remind him of a far more clear vision of what the MMO — what a virtual world — could be. His main focus of critique on the “human element” and “player drama” that came from the older group-focused design and the way story is being told in the game today.

“I feel that we should be focusing on features that only an MMO can do,” he said. “The world is the main character, the player is the story, and the community is the content.”

And if you need a shot of WoW lore to tide you over until Shadowlands, Blizzard posted a free short story on its site called “We Ride Forth.”

Source: YouTube, World of Warcraft. Thanks, Fisty.

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PanagiotisLial1

If he doesnt have too high expectations after working on Blizzard maybe he would like the Pantheon as a project based on all he says

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Rndomuser

I wish him good luck with finding a new job, which should not be very hard because he was not fired for anything bad and because plenty of companies like ZeniMax or Intrepid Studios are looking for employees.

As for stuff about WoW itself – meh. It was always a crappy game which I never truly enjoyed, not the “classic” version nor the current “retail”. The community always sucked, for many reasons (unlike in games like LOTRO, FFXIV or even EVE Online – yes, I enjoyed community in EVE much more), the “you really need to be in the guild to complete certain PvE content or at least pay the guild to carry your character” was awful game design (I am strong believer in giving an option to any person to complete any content solo, including any dungeon or raid instance), the quest writing was always bad, so is the general story from each and every expansion and the “drama” in game was always for petty, irrelevant things because of lack of meaningful open world PvP and lack of many systems which allowed you to do interesting “social engineering” without participating in PvP (unlike in games such as EVE Online). And “the vision” for WoW was always the same, regardless of original game or the current state of the game – “a raid/dungeon gear grinding simulator”.

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Bruno Brito

It was always a crappy game which I never truly enjoyed, not the “classic” version nor the current “retail”

We agree on something. The only difference is that i love that crappy game. Sigh, wish it was better.

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PanagiotisLial1

Its a very controversial game, has lots to like and lots to hate as well. Lets take Zandalar questline for example, makes little sense on some base lore aspects but same time, many quests there are fun and especially those that arent classic mmo kill and/or fetch quests and that is just one aspect of the game. Same time the Alliance-equivalent area was meh and most based on generic questing – all, not on just same game but same expansion and just by taking the lvl 20 f2p mode for testing purposes

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Kylus Ravencourt

I am not sure if it is the games “fault” or the community’s “fault”. I think a factor in all this is time and technology advances. WoW and EQ and EQ2 is old. When WoW came out you could play it on your toaster. There was nothing out there like these pioneers in the MMo industry. If you were given the current WoW back in the day it would still have been the greatest thing. I believe the game has adapted to what the MMO sphere or community wanted and that the community has adapted to MMO changes.

Everyone is different for sure. I see a lot of comments where people are saying they are older now with families and can only play for 30 mins or something. Well that’s not everyone. I myself am in my 40s and still play 4 hours or more a day. Except I play many MMOs now which was not an option back in the day.

Could say almost the same for cars. How they have changed so much with technology and style. I hate new cars mechanic wise and rather have just an old naturally aspirated V8 and a four speed transmission that I can work on in the drive way. So I think it all just comes down to age of the game, it being a pioneer in the industry and the changes of the community after almost two decades. Everything changes. But we can not keep going back to the past.

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tony quinn

Wow not classic or whatever you wanna call this new crap BFA, a person could get into a group or guild without being told what’s your gear score are you the elitist best dps best healer on the face of the earth or this or that. The community back in that time period would help you be better get better without treating you like an idiot. The toxicity in the current game is pathetic. Community was the great back then but all it is now is a toxic cess pool that needs to be drained. Sad, spent many many hours in this game bought ever expansion until this one, blizzard can implode as far a I am concerned. Have a good day!

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Loopy

You alright there, champ?

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Bruno Brito

Community was the great back then

Wat.

WoW’s community was always a cesspool of garbage, and there’s an entire thread of Angwe ( the orc rogue that ganked people on Menethil Harbor ) to prove it.

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Sorenthaz

I think a big problem with MMO design these days, which WoW pushed forward hard, is that at some point most MMOs stopped being virtual worlds and instead became virtual lobbies. They stopped being focusing on the communal/social aspects and instead became more focused on enabling individual/antisocial aspects. This works for getting more players/money but folks have little reason to interact with other players unless they want to do the more serious/hardcore content.

Basically back in the day like ~13+ years ago one of the things you’d need to do after so many levels in a game is you’d need to find a guild or a similar equivalent. That would essentially give you access to a regular group of folks to interact with and do stuff with, and you could always use text channels to fill in gaps where needed with random players. Now that isn’t needed because cross-server matchmaking takes care of it and you don’t need to bother remembering names or so on because you likely won’t encounter them again anytime soon.

It’s good in some ways, bad in others. But at this point there’s very few modern day options for folks who actually would like to invest their time in an MMO world instead of an MMO lobby. Only real options nowadays is to go back to Classic or stuff like OSRS. MMOs kind of lost their identity as filling different niches and catering to different types of players, and instead tried to be too much like WoW where they attempt to please everyone and at the same time struggle to adequately please anyone.

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Scott McCulloch

They stopped being focusing on the communal/social aspects and instead became more focused on enabling individual/antisocial aspects. This works for getting more players/money..

I’m sure that was their intention, but are we sure about that?

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Sorenthaz

Well, it works in the short term. Long term it’s obviously starting to bite them in the ass now to where they’ve been trying to figure out wtf to do and have been pushing more “hardcore” repeatable content like Mythic+ and I think Shadowlands brings a Roguelike form of content with the tower or whatever?

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Jeremy Barnes

Going to the elden days of MMOs isn’t the right answer. The way a community works in MMOs now is different. I believe developers should be spending way more resources on this and that anyone who thinks modern day raiding is ‘community’ is an idiot and should be immediately fired from their job.

The realities are that the people I played MMOs with in the late 90s/early 2000s have kids, marriages, careers, etc. They can’t sit and play for several hours or more a day. Investment needs to be made into new ways of creating ‘community’ in games.

Personally, I think two areas that could use focus and lowering the ‘barrier to entry’ to grouping. I think you have a lot of people who fall into a “I only have 20 minutes to play” area so they don’t group up because they’d have to leave so soon and that would “let the group down”.

Secondly, reducing toxicity. People don’t want to deal with it and so they…don’t. That’s most easily achieved by not grouping. That doesn’t just mean, “punish toxic players” somehow..it means that developers are going to have to do the hard work of looking at gameplay and grouping systems to see if those systems can be designed to lower toxicity.

That being said, I don’t think they’ll do either of those things and we’ll have two camps of whatever WoW is doing style and the “Oldschool” folks.

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2Ton Gamer

I cannot speak to retail, but I have been playing Classic lately and I am digging the old school feel of needing guilds, especially for PvP. It’s been nice to feel connected to people again and from what I have heard, people who played vanilla way back when are enjoying the community feel as well and say it’s even different from what they remember with people stopping out in the middle of nowhere to give buffs or food/water. Also just people asking for a hand taking on an elite in an area. I did that yesterday. Someone needed help with that spider boss in Stonetalon so I was running past and even though I had done it already, popped in there and helped. LOTRO had that feeling at one time, but they made it so easy to solo most things you rarely need to bother and something is missing because of it.

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Utakata

The only things I seem to agree here is that his position on that socializing shouldn’t really be about raid/Mythic + progression. And that WoW focus on big features that shouldn’t be about borrowed powers, rather things we can take to the next expansion. Or something like that…

…anyroads, I wish this person the best of luck in his career pursuits.

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FailingToComply

DPS meters and GearScore destroyed the game for me. In the old days you could be a really good player without the highest level gear possible, vs now, where people may have zero clue how to play their class (or in groups), but BIS across the board.

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Loopy

I thought the video was good, objective and fair towards everyone – whether you’re in the retail “camp” or the classic “camp”. He acknowledges that a lot of the changes he views negatively are from his own perspective, and he doesn’t seem to speak for the gaming community as a whole. He echoes a lot of my own thoughts about the state of the current game, while also emphasizing that the retail version of the game still has a strong following that is clearly scratching the itch for a lot of people.

The important fact to recognize here is that there has clearly been a massive shift in philosophy between classic/vanilla and the current game. The game has evolved into a completely different game, which i would argue should be named WoW 2 for all intents and purposes. It’s the next iteration of the game, which looks, feels and plays very differently from what it used to be. And that’s ok.

Games should not be stagnant, and i applaud the fact that we have options based on our personal gaming styles and motivations.

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Vincent Clark

He is easy on the eyes so he had my attention…for about a minute and thirty seconds. He lost me after that. I mean, I get some of what he said, but the delivery was…he came across like he just smoked a blunt before he hit the record button.