MMO-Champion - Ghostcrawler is Now Lead Game Designer at Riot Games
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Ghostcrawler is Now Lead Game Designer at Riot Games
Ghostcrawler left Blizzard last month to pursue a "great opportunity for something new and exciting". He updated his LinkedIn today to list his new position of Lead Game Designer at Riot Games.


Originally Posted by Morello (Source)
His title is the same title as Morello. I wonder if he got replaced?
Nah - League's a huge game and there's a lot to do. GC's actually some MUCH-needed help on the leadership side - it's just too much for any one person to handle and make the progress I'd like to see. We'll be dividing up some of the effort on leading it, but other than making sure more things have support, the teams are pretty unchanged from who's doing want (Statikk and friends are still doing Game Health, Meddler still heads champ development, we just have more expertise to draw on now).

A lot of the things we want to focus on with game health this year (and preseason is a kick-off to this effort) is primarily around fixing a lot of the old problems. After finishing up support (IE the gold item particulars + Annie problem), we want to focus on adding choice and depth by taking a HARD look at "ball of stats" stuff so we can actually introduce interesting stuff with trade-offs.

IF he is able to make league more about playing better then the other team then just picking the more OP team then I think he can be a good asset for Riot.

I am looking at this optimistically in hopes that it will make more champs viable and perhapws even breaking the ADC is a must meta to some degree.

I appreciate the positive thoughts.

I worked with Greg both directly and indirectly for years. He's an awesome guy who took on the impossible task of doing what Morello has done for league for so long on a game where people are incredibly invested in their character and any nerf is an extremely personal offense.

It's a tough, tough job. Greg tanked it like a champion.

I'm excited to see how helps bolster our ranks.



A while back we asked if you still wanted to see occasional Ghostcrawler Tweets and the majority did.

Keep in mind that he is no longer is speaking for Blizzard in these tweets.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
I am no longer working on WoW. You should consider any Blizzard comments I make my personal, if educated, opinions. (Source)

Dev Feedback
I dunno, you guys manage to sound pretty trite and curt and certain on the forums, too.
We're never certain. Game design is very much a crap shoot, tempered by experience, feedback and your gut. (Source)

If you left WoW because of the community I wouldn't blame you, some of the people tweeting and blaming you...
No way. I was just ready to work on something else. Ultimately game developers want passionate communities! (Source)

But most polls suggest the talent changes were liked overall, even if they weren't 100% liked. (Source)
Who was polled and when? the existing community at cata launch? the lost subs between then and now? wtb better metrics
Blizzard has excellent metrics overall, but are also smart enough to know when not to let metrics make the decision for them. (Source)
People distrust metrics they have no ability to see. Is more transparency in some of these cases worth while?
My fear was always that players would swap from giving feedback on what was fun and try to become data analysts instead. (Source)

Game Design
makes me also wonder who in Blizzard ever came up with the idea that grinding was fun? The reward is fun.
Some players enjoy being recognized for commitment and not just raw skill. (Source)

How can an evolving MMO be designed around zero grinding, zero RNG and constant meaningful rewards?
Player made content maybe? (Not a WoW announcement by any stretch.) (Source)

but this is an interesting question: how to deal with frustration. Is it something devs take in account?
Totally. As I said, too much frustration can make players quit. (Source)
But, when rewards come too easily, that can lead to boredom, which can also make players quit. (Source)

Oh, glad you pointed this out, I clicked and saw she cited me and there. Maybe some people would be surprised .
I thought the 275 vs 300 food was perfect. It really let folks decide what kind of player they wanted to be. (Source)
Interesting to see if player behavior changes post-itemsquish, when they're choosing between +24 and +25 food.
Yes! Like that economic study that shows folks will drive across town for cheap gas but not $100 savings on a dress. (Source)

So Greg, what's your thoughts on two vs. three factions in an MMO?
If I was doing a new MMO (I'm not) I would have one. H vs A is good for WoW overall IMO, but is a barrier to playing with friends. (Source)

I think mmo gameplay is fun because for me it taps into desire to optimize, gain much power...and be better than others.
One thing I underestimated as a designer is how some players simply prefer clear power gains to interesting choices. (Source)

RNG sucked on items like trinkets, etc it will suck even more on gear. RNG != fun
RNG is a challenging philosophy for designers to explain. Players typically want to minimize it, but there is risk in doing so. (Source)
RNG is a challenge for players to overcome, but that sometimes gets turned into pleas to overcome it by removing it. (Source)
We *think* we want to minimize it. But the other side of that hill has a lot less grass on it than we claim to see.
Being able to reliably predict outcomes makes games boring. Even chess has a form of RNG in the actions of your opponent. (Source)
Calling bullshit. Chess is pure strategy, no RNG at all. RNG would be if pawn takes queen had an 85% chance.
Perhaps you could say games need unpredictability, which can be provided by RNG or lack of complete information. (Source)
In the internet age, it's hard for games to have incomplete information (you Google everything) so RNG has grown as a tool. (Source)
Back when I played Wasteland or Wizardry 6, you had to "solve" boss encounters and BiS lists on your own. (Source)
You are conflating random behavior with strategy, which is... wrong. Very much so.
Same is true of gear. "Should I take this upgrade?" (RNG) is more interesting than "Just 3 more Immerseus kills and I'm done." (Source)
What if I'm just -really- sick of Immerseus? I don't want to spend a year trying to get one item. :-\
Immerseus is there regardless. Would you rather have a shot at gear or know 100% of it will be sharded? (Source)

I understand the good RNG does but getting screwed by it feels REALLY bad. We don't like feeling helpless.
Yeah, and we implemented some very bad luck protection systems. With millions of players, someone is going to be the 0.01% dude. (Source)

PvE
This makes me sad. Cata heroics at launch were so much fun with friends.
I agree. There was just no alternative for solo players. Maybe that problem is fixed now. (Source)

I know why they wouldn't come back, but I miss the days of 2hr dngns because of the sterility.
I am totally a big, long dungeon customer. But I recognize not everyone is. (Source)
How did 5M end up in its current state? It went from being the most important part of the game in Classic to the least in MoP
Overall, I think zerging dungeons just became more popular, which meant dungeons had a shorter lifespan overall. (Source)
Not blaming players for that trend necessarily, and as I said, I like orchestrating pulls and CC personally. (Source)

what happened 5 mans, used to be so many in BC/Wrath, also not very rewarding. Used to love spamming them for badges.
Keeping dungeons (or any content) relevant when you start to outgear it is a big challenge for WoW. (Source)
Players would exhaust them quickly. Few want to run the same dungeon 6 times a night, 2-3 nights a week. (Source)
It's more scenery though than same raid instance 7 nights a week in several difficulties on several characters...
Just depends on what you're into, but the WoW biz works best when players have things to do for weeks rather than come and go. (Source)

the lack of new 5 man's is why I stopped playing. No <60 min content for tanks. I'm not gonna drop mid raid & strand a group.
Adding new dungeons is challenging. Players tire of even 3 new ones in a patch pretty quickly. You need a steady drip of them. (Source)

What's your stance on Challenge Modes? Did they accomplish what you guys wanted?
I think they were a big success. They didn't of course scratch the itch for players who want hard but not necessarily fast. (Source)

I don't know how the trend was interpreted by devs, but at times it had felt a bit like "Players do X therefore X is good"
No, that's the Mechanar Syndrome I talk about frequently. Few were running Mech every day because it was their favorite dungeon. (Source)
Personnaly, i found chain running mech more fun than dungeons zergfests we have now.
Hopefully it doesn't have to be one or the other, but I agree with your statement. (Source)

LFR and LFD is why WoW is doing as bad as it is right now You chew up content fast plus people no longer make friends
Before LFD, many players just never ran dungeons. I think it's a myth that it forced everyone to find friends. (Source)
While I agree with you Greg I wish it was more rewarding to do with friends.
We were worried LFD would not catch on. We were wrong. Now we need more incentives to play with friends. Some announced at B'con. (Source)

A large portion of the players on my server use it almost exclusively... getting rid of it is getting rid of them.
Yeah, LFR brings a lot of benefits for sure. I'm just not sure it's enough to keep players engaged for months. (Source)

Do you think LFR was better or worse for burnout? Personally I could stand 2-3 runs of a LFR vs 10-20 of a dungeon.
Maybe, but that LFR might "last" 2-3 weeks and the dungeon 2-3 days. (Source)
Because of loot cap. Real life time vs /played time. Which one should a dev be more concerned with?
Ultimately whatever keeps someone playing. Folks who only run new dungeons for a week or two might not come back next time. (Source)

Why isn't it? Healers and DPS have roles; why can't tanks? Let them play a tank in PvP if they want to.
Other players tend to not have fun when facing a character who takes little damage and has a lot of control. (Source)
Why do tanks have this much control? Control use to be DPS's job. Now all DPS do is spam buttons for big numbers.
Tank control grew out of a need to keep everyone safe by controlling the mobs. I agree that it has taken away from the DPS though. (Source)

Min/maxers have for too long hijacked the gearing narrative. I hope this ends the player driven madness.
Sadly, it won't. You'll still see flex raids that demand heroic gear. Being labeled suboptimal is the worst of sins online. (Source)

Theorycrafting for me is about understanding how the game works, not about min/maxing.
I think it's useful to know a potential max target. It's unhealthy to assume that is obtainable. (Source)

Items
what is the design goal behind making fun items with very long cds?
The idea is the "fun" quickly turns annoying when they are spammed. (Source)

i'm confused, does Gold have a reason to exist now or doesn't it? This is more exciting than repair bills, yet those stay?
Repair has a role in the game - giving you the occasional reason to visit towns and providing a small penalty for dying. (Source)
Reforging is little different from "push button -> get stat buff." (Source)

Equipping bracers feels mandatory, why don't you remove that too?
You have to actually earn the bracer by accomplishing something. Reforging is just a button. (Source)

Werent you just tweeting about minmaxing only 4 a fraction of the playerbase + huge stat value difs being your prob?
Yes. The idea is removing the burden of players feeling like they must do unfun things for trivial stat gains. (Source)
Problem is: Your team is shit at itemizing stats for certain specs. Enhance reforges almost every part (PvP)
Their goal is not to put everyone's best stats on everything.... (Source)
Because without reforging, some specs would be so bad that they would be unviable. Fix that issue, then we'll argue.
We balanced around the gear that actually existed not theoretical gear. (Source)

That comment essentially kills the desire to have alts.
If you can gear your 10 alts in a reasonable time, then I gear my 2 alts instantly and get bored. How to solve? (Source)
More account bound gear would help with that a lot IMO. Timeless isle was a good step.
Solutions like that are nice because then you're actually playing some character instead of just having all the alts caught up. (Source)

Have they considered making a tier item for all slots, but still only having 2/4 set? Might solve the breaking the set prob.
Yeah I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago. You could also have different ways to complete a set, or a transferable bonus. (Source)

Races
Are you happy with how the Worgen turned out? I personally was disappointed with the females after the drafts seemed cool.
When game art is very controversial, it's hard to call it a victory. (Source)

."Slam dunk new race"? (Maybe someone else can enlighten me what does that mean)
The team was very excited about goblins and worgen. That level of passion doesn't (yet?) exist for say ogres and arrakoa. (Source)
I always thought back in vanilla that overs would be playable before anything else, including goblins.
I personally have always been a huge ogre fan. I think they're cool with a decent amount of lore. (Source)
If WoW truly was my fiefdom as the forums would have you believe, the ogre, centaur and nerubian player races would be OP. (Source)

Classes
Do you think WoW could ever have room for a bard based class/spec? Blizz is the only dev I would trust to make them cool.
I think it could be done. I'm not sure it's very likely. (Source)

Now that youve moved on from Blizz, what truly was the design intent for Ret in pvp?
I don't think it was a mystery. They have a lot of utility and some ability to heal in a pinch but at the cost of mobility. (Source)

mostly you say how in pve it will be/it is. i feel like you still dont care about pvp at all
Most players want spec diversity in PvE. In PvP more of a mixed bag - some players are happy with few but balanced spec options. (Source)

So now that you're out, I have just one question...Arms. Why?
We nerfed Arms too hard trying to solve the early Shockwave + TfB problems. We buffed them in 5.4, but it was too much. (Source)
TfB was flat out bad design. Lazy. It was a slap in the face. All of the tropes, because it could 1 hit. F that.
Our thought was that very rare occurrences don't have much balance impact because they are so rare. (Source)
im assuming that that has changed inthe devs minds, considering the backlash from community over tfb
Yeah I admitted that in a second tweet on that subject. (Source)

and, why has it persisted as a pve stepchild for so long, especially when fury can do it all too?
But overall the design goal for "Why have multiple DPS (or healer) specs in one class?" has proven difficult to answer. (Source)
Maybe WoW would be better if rogues had 1 spec, warriors had 2 and so on. Shrug. (Source)
I don't follow.
Maybe warrior should be Fury and Prot (no Arms). Maybe hunter should be Hunter (no MM, BM or SV). (Source)
We always struggled to define reasons for players to play both warrior DPS specs or all 3 mage specs, etc. (Source)

I'm a believer that content should follow lore. But new classes are fine. I'm trying to think of a new class that isnt dumb
I feel there is a lot of untapped class design space. D&D, Pathfinder etc. still come out with clever new ideas. (Source)

i'm on the side of stopping wow being dumbed down personally
Based on your previous tweet, do you feel like removing mandatory choices is dumbing down? (Source)
Because that is an argument I hear. Knowing that DK = Strength may not be a choice, but it is something you have to learn. (Source)
I also wonder how much of the "dumbing down" discussion is because players themselves are much more sophisticated now. (Source)
In BC, folks wondered if an item or talent was good. Now that knowledge is readily available in seconds to most of us. (Source)

How do you personally feel about the new talents? Did it resolve issues from the old one? Did it present any new issues?
Overall, I vastly prefer the new model, as a designer and player. (Source)
Old issues: Things like respecing at key levels to get gold medal talents you were expected to have. (Source)
Old issues: "Your X has a 20/40/60/80/100% to cause Y, and BTW it's crippling if Y doesn't happen so you better spend 5 points." (Source)
Old issues: designers always moving powerful talents deeper in trees to stop players from getting broken "hybrid" builds. (Source)
New issues: Not every spec gets a true choice at every tier yet. That feels possible to design though. (Source)
New issues: Some players just like more choices, even if the choice is an illusion, or can't actually be designed. (Source)

Past
now that u have left? Do you think theyll ever update silvermoon to flyable? Or is it a NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN situation?
I doubt it will ever happen. The time investment is just too great. (Source)
I don't get how a zone in the xpak that introduced flying was designed unflyable...
Those buildings in Silvermoon aren't there. They are all ugly facades like a Hollywood backlot. And even that SM took months. (Source)

Just how complicated was it to make the capitals flying friendly ?
Very. The original cities were all fake. There were several SW Cathedrals, and the castle was kind of a skybox. (Source)
Buildings in WoW are hand-crafted by dungeon artists, and cities have a lot of buildings. It took months. (Source)
Blizzard employs X artists. If some of those work on Silvermoon, then something else isn't going to get made. (Source)
Even hiring more artists still makes the choice between working on something old or something new. (Source)

I feel Blizz did the Cata revamp in a wrong way, and now will be afraid of any revamps.
What would you consider the right way? (Source)
Restructure 1-60 quests without altering timeline of those quests. Phase Azeroth zones for level 80+ players.
Isn't that twice as much quest content though if we had to make 2 versions of say Badlands? (Source)
There was some hope that BC and LK could be updated as well, and maybe that can still happen some day. (Source)
We caught 1-60 up to "modern" time so that Deathwing and the Cataclysm could be front and center. (Source)
The revamp was nice and needed, the problem was that Blizzard tried to swallow more than it could chew.
Doesn't Blizzard always? (Source)

Why was Path of the Titan scrapped and will they ever introduce it?
It wasn't in a good enough state yet. I still like the idea of power progression that isn't related to gear or character levels. (Source)

Why was there never again an event like the Ahn'Qiraj gate opening and quest line?Were there ever plans to do smth similar?
Concept was cool. Reality was grinding linen and Silithus lag. I'd love to see the team try again knowing what they know now. (Source)


Misc
Can you clarify this? A few months ago you said the WoW team was getting bigger which would result in more freq content, yes?
The team has grown with the hope of delivering content faster. It has taken time, and they aren't quite there yet. (Source)

but I think MMO devs should aim to inspire. it's not always about the outcome, but adventure.
I agree, and it's easy to get caught up in mechanic and number tuning and not the grand adventure that it is supposed to be. (Source)

I think the biggest thing that explains WoW sub losses is the diversity in the mmo market now. I think tmmos are more niche.
Is that true though? My prediction (sans data) is that fewer players are playing any MMO today relative to say 5 years ago. (Source)

Greg, record subs in Wrath. All since then has been dumbing down, making the game easier. Subs now 1/2 max. Why?
I tend to think because the game is 10 years old and not exactly easy to get back into, esp. if your friends move on. (Source)
I really don't think it has much to do with game features or direction at all, but that is my opinion and not a Blizzard statement (Source)

24% of customers left under and he "quit" on his own
WoW was never "under" me, so I wouldn't be the right person to can. Personally, I would get my facts straight before I trolled. (Source)

Why did MoP do nothing but bleed subscribers throughout its life cycle? Besides the game being old.
I say this frequently, but players vastly overestimate the degree to which design changes cause sub loss. Vastly. (Source)
The guy who quits because his work schedule changes tends to not broadcast that fact. (Source)
The rage quits so often cited on forums seem more common than they are because they're on forums. (Source)
It's more likely to be an issue when a player returning after 2-3 years can't recognize the game any longer and leaves again. (Source)
Number of players coming and going has always been fairly high. Fewer new players are trying the game these days. (Source)

Was driven by YOU saying so. Be4 that players didn't remotely consider change velocity when proposing/complaining abt changes
Pretty sure I've never said that specific changes cause a lot of players to quit. Too much change overall can and does. (Source)
coming back after 2 years, I'm surprised at the faction change rate for the top Alliance guildsAlli needs buffs
My opinion is that Horde racials are too raid friendly, but my opinion doesn't count for much. (Source)

But those who have lapsed may have done so because the game was getting boring and wasn't changing enough.
Yeah, like I said, that may cause current players to lapse. But too much change can make it hard for others to return. (Source)

I dont get that. I've been here since 04 and quit and came back more times than I can count. Ive never been lost due to it =\
Would be awesome if more players were like you, but we also know many do come back and quit again quickly because they feel lost. (Source)

End of WoW for me was watching my server die and Blizzard doing nothing to resolve the problem.
What do you think they should have done? Free moves have limited effect and forced moves are very unpopular. (Source)
Should combine servers and if people cant get the name they want, well that sucks but itd be the price to pay. Just IMO
As I've said, WoW gets a lot of returning players. It's not a great experience when you can't find your friends or guild or name. (Source)

MoP has done a lot of damage to WoW. Lot of those people that have left will not be back.
You seem to be linking business data with an opinion on content, which is tenuous. (Source)
it's also an accurate representation of how content is perceived by the community.
Now both can be subjectively right, but how does that become a measurement of community views? (Source)
you once said fallout from talent changes was anticipated. Too many choices like that slowly ate away at subs over years.
The conclusion from your tweet seems to be that no design should be changed ever because someone won't like it and might quit. (Source)
No sir, not at all. But there should be a better reason than "someone complained on forums" Wrath/BC were very good models
Blizzard would never radically change a design because of just a few isolated complaints. (Source)
I didn't think so, but that's often the official explination. "this was too complicated, so we're changing/removing X".
There is complication because something is confusing for new players, which is legit, but understandable that vets don't agree. (Source)
early wrath, I tanked in fury once. I enjoyed experimenting with talents even if it wasn't "optimal" for patchrk situations
The game supports a fair amount of that, but whether fellow players tolerate it is a different story. (Source)
This article was originally published in forum thread: Ghostcrawler is Now Lead Game Designer at Riot Games started by chaud View original post
Comments 280 Comments
  1. Banzubie's Avatar
    Wow, did not expect him to go there.
  1. Kohari's Avatar
    THAT is quiet the move of companies Ghostcrawler has decided to make... I'm too curious now.
  1. Belenus's Avatar
    GG Riot...
  1. Hellal's Avatar
    Time to quit LoL
  1. Avutu's Avatar
    He just had to go to ruin another popular game.. XDD Ohwait, CONSPIRACY?
  1. Zephre's Avatar
    God help anyone playing LoL.

    The changes will be subtle at first and extremely noticeable later.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.
  1. AeneasBK's Avatar
    Good read
  1. CosmicGuitars's Avatar
    Good for him. Not sure if he's working on League of Legends or a new project entirely, but good for him.
  1. wartank's Avatar
    Good of him to still answer questions about WOW.
  1. Isheria's Avatar
    What makes you think that he works on LoL and not some other game that Riot is developing and haven't announced yet?
    Last time i heard that game studios can actually develop and support more than 1 IP if they're willing to do so.
  1. Eruner's Avatar
    lol...

    10char
  1. Vasht's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kohari View Post
    THAT is quiet the move of companies Ghostcrawler has decided to make... I'm too curious now.
    Maybe LoL also need some item squish
  1. Ovaldo's Avatar
    Good for him, interested to see what he brings to LoL like he did to WoW, maybe Riot is working on a F2P MMO or something based on the champions, I'd play that.
  1. Fleugen's Avatar
    Whether he's working on LoL or a new project entirely, I can't wait to see it succeed and watch all the whiners who thought he was the end of the world (of warcraft) cry because they want him back as they blame the new guy over at Blizzard for fucking things up even more.
  1. Naztrak's Avatar
    So a dude that has 0 understanding how an asymmetrical pvp scenario works is now working for a company that does just that. Indeed, LoL.
  1. enchanted's Avatar
    Nothing to say but laugh... Good luck LoL players.
  1. Mkgego's Avatar
    He is still working for Blizz !!!

    Destroy the enemmy from within, then release Heroes and Greg returns to Blizzard

    Great move !!!
  1. Descense's Avatar
    Next week inc nerfs for paladin LOL classes .


    And so on....
  1. Haxlax's Avatar
    Haha, absolutely hilarious - Me and some friends were joking about this - Hey, maybe he goes to Riot or something! But for real?
  1. Meldon's Avatar
    The thing that i liked the most about WoW was that i could finally move my warcraft favourite race, in first person...

    RIOT could be doing the same...from a click to move game (LoL - Wacraft) to an MMO game (WoW - ???)

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