Blizzard’s Mike Ybarra clarifies that Ion Hazzikostas is still running World of Warcraft

Don't care, bored.

Ever since Bobby Kotick removed J. Allen Brack from his post atop Blizzard and replaced him with Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal in the wake of the sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit, gamers have wondered who exactly is running the show at World of Warcraft. According to Ybarra himself, it’s still the person who was running it before: Game Director Ion Hazzikostas.

Ybarra clarified the hierarchy in response to player tweets asserting that “Mike’s in charge,” asking for specific features, and shading Blizzard’s communication.

“Ion runs WoW, not me,” he said.

“It’s fine to tag folks, and I love community feedback. I just don’t want people thinking I make decisions, Ion is amazing and he is reading community stuff all the time. He decides on WoW with his team. I’m only input just like all of you! :)”

The implication here is that Hazzikostas and the existing WoW team, not the outside execs brought in last month, are responsible for the “ripcord” changes on deck, but that of course will only make you wonder why these changes weren’t made long ago.

Source: Twitter via Icy Veins
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial company in the MMO and gaming space owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. Most recently, the company was sued by the state of California for fostering a work environment riddled with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which has further compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline.

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Hurray, Spreadsheet “Well, Our Data Says…” Man is still in charge!


Corporate code for: “Yes, we have told Ion to make changes to the current game and they seem to be fairly popular, unlike the earlier versions he led. However, the expansion’s performance as a whole is still extremely poor, so blame for this will still fall on Ion. As a new executive, I support the existing team simply because I didn’t choose them and this provides the right optics. When it comes time to make a change, I will do so without hesitation and Ion will relieved of his duties post-haste.”

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I’m so confused. I thought Ion was one of the ‘bad ones’ who got booted?


Boggles my mind that a lawyer is WoW’s game director.

Bruno Brito

Looking at their situation now, it kinda feels planned lol


In other words, if things go badly he’ll be blamed.

Jeremy Barnes



The upcoming changes are not indicative of an actual change in their design philosophy or even just style, this has been pretty much their modus operandi for the last 3 expansions.

As a few on the internet have already pointed out, do not be fooled so easily by these changes and wait for an actual major content patch that is not full of features and systems that raise red flags of one of the many things we seen before.

It also makes sense as Blizzard and i think not just exclusively them, actually any big software company cannot in the course of a month one filled with scandals and walk outs on top of that suddenly change direction.

These changes were in the pipeline quite some time, maybe not all of them, some might have been moved up from the end of the expansion, where they generally make their game far more enjoyable to play and catch up in.

Bryan Correll

A driver runs the bus, but he doesn’t get to pick the route.


This is a pretty bad analogy since Ion is the one approving the routes.




What isn’t being said is as important as what’s being said. As Ion maybe “running” WoW, does not prevent Acti execs from calling the shots here. Nor does this Ybarra have to elude to the gun pointing at Ion’s head. The charade here is a PR stunt to make it look like business as usual for WoW’s development side of things when it’s probably not…

…or tl,dr: “Run along everyone, there’s nothing to see here!”

Hirku Two

Yeah, right into the ground.