Tom Chilton Switching Projects, Ion Hazzikostas now Game Director
Kalgan is leaving World of Warcraft as Game Director and moving on to another project with Blizzard. Ion Hazzikostas is stepping up as game director!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Greetings fellow WoW players,

It’s been a little over a month since we launched Legion, and it’s been awesome to see players enjoying so many different aspects of the expansion—leveling up their characters and Artifacts, diving into World Quests, taking on the Emerald Nightmare. Legion PvP Season 1 is going strong, and some of the best Arena teams from around the world are competing for a chance to battle on the big stage at BlizzCon.

Soon we’ll be releasing our first new content update for the expansion—Patch 7.1: Return to Karazhan—which opens up the Mythic 5-player Karazhan dungeon, continues the story of Suramar, introduces a new raid, and adds even more World Quests and other content. But that’s just the start of it, as we have what we believe to be an extremely exciting patch plan for the rest of the expansion.

For me, Legion has been more than just another expansion, though—it’s the culmination of more than a decade of work with one of the best development teams I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of. And it’s with a mix of excitement, sadness, and gratitude that I’m saying farewell to the WoW team and moving on to a new adventure within Blizzard.

In 2004, before I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to serve as game director, I started on the World of Warcraft team as a senior game designer. As you can imagine, World of Warcraft was quite a bit different in 2004. Early that year, there were just 60 of us on the team. Around that time in the Friends and Family Alpha, questing was only available up to level 25—for the Alliance only—and the Horde wasn’t playable at all. Some players were even using dial-up modem connections to access the test.

Many on the team still debated on whether the Horde and Alliance should be separated into factions. (We know how that one turned out.) Several other core features of the game didn’t even exist, including raids and PvP. We’ve come a long way since then, with six expansions under our belts to go along with countless raids, dungeons, Battlegrounds, features, and more.

My personal journey working on WoW as Game Director is at an end, but my journey with Blizzard isn’t. I’ll still be here, but will be focusing on another project within the company. However, it’s with great pleasure that I announce Ion Hazzikostas will be taking my place as Game Director for World of Warcraft.

I know that WoW will be in great hands with Ion at the helm. He’s been an integral part of the team for more than eight years and has contributed to so many aspects of the game’s development—from class design to encounter design and nearly everything in between. He also has an amazing team at his side—the same epic crew that brought you all the content you’re enjoying in Legion.

As a member of the WoW team, I can assure you that the future for World of Warcraft continues to be bright—and as a player, I’m excited to discover what’s in store next alongside all of you. World of Warcraft is the product of the passion of both the team and all of its players, so I’d also like to thank each of you for the wonderful journey that working on the WoW development team has been.

Thank you, and may you have many more epic adventures!
This article was originally published in forum thread: Tom Chilton Switching Projects, Ion Hazzikostas now Game Director started by chaud View original post
Comments 228 Comments
  1. skannerz22's Avatar
    WARCRAFT 4 HAS JUST BEEN BEEN CONFIRMED
    TOM CLEARLY IS GOING TO HELP MAKE IT!
    unless of course they plan to finally make starcraft mmorpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    starcraft mmorpg?
    or warcraft 4 confirmed?
  1. VainEldritch's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by innerpartycolt View Post
    It is time for old timers to step down from WOW. This game needs fresh blood.
    This appears to be what is happening, considering all of the recente departures and re-shuffling.

    I'm not concerned - the way Legion is going the future of WoW looks brighter than it has since WotLK.

    However I DO FEEL OLD... seeing guys like Tom leave the Project, Chris retire... I'mago sit in ma bathchair...
  1. Trumpcat's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by skannerz22 View Post
    WARCRAFT 4 HAS JUST BEEN BEEN CONFIRMED
    TOM CLEARLY IS GOING TO HELP MAKE IT!
    unless of course they plan to finally make starcraft mmorpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    starcraft mmorpg?
    or warcraft 4 confirmed?
    NEITHER!
    But I wish for War4
  1. ItachiZaku's Avatar
    Legion is one of the worst expansions I've played, seeing everyone leaving the project makes perfect sense. Some given the option to leave on their own, some being reassigned. Kinda cool of Blizz to not throw them under the bus.
  1. Kriixy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ItachiZaku View Post
    Legion is one of the worst expansions I've played, seeing everyone leaving the project makes perfect sense. Some given the option to leave on their own, some being reassigned. Kinda cool of Blizz to not throw them under the bus.
    How could you possibly even say that Legion is one of the worst expansions you've played? We're like a month and a half in! LOL! Even if you've only played since WoD you would still just be plain wrong (yes I'm saying your opinion is wrong, because it is).... By January there will already be just as many raids released as there were in the entirety of WoD! Don't get me wrong, Legion is not without its faults (like how unfriendly it has been to alts), but it is shaping up to be one of the better expansions they've ever released! WoD and Cata are almost universally accepted as being the worst expansions they've released, with WoD even coming in WAY behind Cata. Wrath and MoP seem to be the crowd favorites, with Wrath probably pulling ahead (I personally liked MoP more). BC I think would be the next in line, which is right about where I would put Legion currently. Just looking at all of the content poised to release in the next few months I can honestly see Legion jumping into the upper tiers of the history of WoW quite easily. I, for one, can't wait to see what comes next!
  1. Neviriah's Avatar
    It's really not the end of the world.

    He is not leaving, he's just focusing on another project within Blizzard and it appears everyone has high hopes for what this secret project may be!

    Personally I'm really excited to find out at some point.... Even if it would be like Diablo related thing or something completely new,- doesn't matter. Blizzard always makes awesome games (sure some content here and there could be better but nobody is perfect) <3
  1. ItachiZaku's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kriixy View Post
    How could you possibly even say that Legion is one of the worst expansions you've played? We're like a month and a half in! LOL! Even if you've only played since WoD you would still just be plain wrong (yes I'm saying your opinion is wrong, because it is).... By January there will already be just as many raids released as there were in the entirety of WoD! Don't get me wrong, Legion is not without its faults (like how unfriendly it has been to alts), but it is shaping up to be one of the better expansions they've ever released! WoD and Cata are almost universally accepted as being the worst expansions they've released, with WoD even coming in WAY behind Cata. Wrath and MoP seem to be the crowd favorites, with Wrath probably pulling ahead (I personally liked MoP more). BC I think would be the next in line, which is right about where I would put Legion currently. Just looking at all of the content poised to release in the next few months I can honestly see Legion jumping into the upper tiers of the history of WoW quite easily. I, for one, can't wait to see what comes next!
    My #1 reason: I'm a grinder, not a quester.

    I play a lot of alts, usually not hitting max level until 2-4 months into an expansion. Yeah, it usually takes me that long to figure out what i want to do. this expansion, I was going with 1 toon. I went to 110, kicked some nuts 7-8 times, tried to level some alts - it's easy to start with the artifact quest, I don't mind that too much, but then having to help Nate not kill Genn another dozen times or watch all sorts of cool druids get corn holed left and right... and BEING FORCED to do it, if you want that alt to have any progression... naw bruh.
  1. Zenfoldor's Avatar
    Frankly, I'm excited. WoW could use a little EJ in the stew maker to change things up a bit.
  1. Morbownz's Avatar
    Legacy realms confirmed!!!
  1. Rolex Snob's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ItachiZaku View Post
    Legion is one of the worst expansions I've played, seeing everyone leaving the project makes perfect sense. Some given the option to leave on their own, some being reassigned. Kinda cool of Blizz to not throw them under the bus.
    Huh? I'd almost put Legion over WoTLK... this is coming from a guy who hated WoD so much I gave up WoW the first time I tried that Ashran abortion...everything about Legion is amazing.
  1. ItachiZaku's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rolex Snob View Post
    Huh? I'd almost put Legion over WoTLK... this is coming from a guy who hated WoD so much I gave up WoW the first time I tried that Ashran abortion...everything about Legion is amazing.
    Ashran was my favorite part of WoD.
  1. Mafic's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ItachiZaku View Post
    Legion is one of the worst expansions I've played, seeing everyone leaving the project makes perfect sense. Some given the option to leave on their own, some being reassigned. Kinda cool of Blizz to not throw them under the bus.
    I don't think it is worse than WoD or Cata, but it is a very average expansion and may suffer the same fate of WoD if it is not supported beyond patch 7.2
  1. K4sk's Avatar
    You guys act like the top bosses never get cycled out of a company. This is hardly "the sky is falling", he's been working on the game for 12 years - We need new blood so the game can evolve instead of continuing the same shit.
  1. mmoc1376ef233f's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tenjen View Post
    Huh? The biggest sub rating was in Wotlk, the first expansion to make raiding accessible to all by throwing out vanilla/tbc design restrictions by balancing multiple difficulty and group tiers towards access right upto the LK by the regular player/casual raider. Its first raid was Naxx, as a benchmark example of this accessibility (since only 1% of players ever got to see the raid in vanilla).
    You probably didn't raid back then, because if you did you would know there was overall dissatisfaction towards the new easy mode. The dungeons were a start, with grouping up and just facerolling everything. But that didn't really bother people because there were still raids. Naxx was relatively easy but still a nice raid to start with, also with the achievements of not dieing you could atleast get some fun out of it and display your skill. Then came Ulduar, with the insane hard modes and probably by far the best raid to be released at that time. It was for everyone but still didn't need to have multiple difficulties to accomplish that. Then came ToC and a lot of the players knew this wasn't going to be the game they wanted it to become. Probably most people waited it out until Lich King, then left when Cataclysm arrived.

    Long story short, more numbers doesn't automatically mean it was in the best state at the time. Look at WoD's spike, you an also point to that and say it was the second best thing to ever happen to WoW, if you look only to the numbers that is. We all know better, as people should about Wotlk. Theme, by far the best. Design decisions, one of the worst.
  1. A dot Ham's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ent0mbed View Post

    Kind of cute... I bet you almost even have yourself convinced. You can sit out with all of those people who say they're fed up and unsub'ing (month after month after month).
    I didn't say I was fed up. I think you misunderstand me. I am REALLY enjoying Legion... I haven't wanted to look for active organized raiding since WotLK and I'm doing it again.

    There are a lot of cool games out there... other MMOs that I think would be really fun. But I play them all for a few levels, and I'm done. My feelings as I close up shop on those games is... "I'm really not interested in investing the time I have invested into WoW." Blizzard has a quality product with WoW... yes there are problems, and we can argue that point to its final stupidity but on the whole, Blizzard games and always have been TOP NOTCH.

    To this day I don't consider myself an MMO player. I play WoW... thats pretty much it.

    The trailer on the WCIII disc got me interested.

    I remember checking Blizzard's homepage what felt like weekly, until the beta came out. I played that I invited a new friend I made to play, (who was big into EQ) he told me if you like MMOs you should try City of Heroes. Which I did (spent waaaay too much time in character creation) but even a fully developed and released game didn't hold a candle to the beta experience I had with WoW. So I stopped playing that. (At this time MMOs still had that EQ, basement dwelling, neckbeard, bathe once a month stigma).

    I played SWTOR to level cap upon launch, and I haven't really played since (did some PvP no real endgame experience). There is truth to what @Yvaelle is saying about new, or even returning players being overwhelmed and intimidated once an MMO gets older. Now I think SWTOR has a superior 1 player experience/story. But I think Legion has really stepped up its game in that regard, I still think SWTOR is probably doing that better, but there are definite design choices there and I see the rationale behind not copying/ripping off or making a direct clone (and that goes both ways).

    So like I said I don't really play MMOs I play WoW. I really love Blizzard products, so the likelihood that I would pick up WoW 2 is strong. My feelings about that commitment again are really that maybe I shouldn't. I feel like that would a lot easier to do if I didn't have a connection to a character/account that I enjoy playing.
  1. mmoc8f293e6e58's Avatar
    He left the wow dev team to work on legacy servers, makes sense, he has worked on wow almost since the begging of it.
  1. mmoc78e9842c0f's Avatar
    Fuck yes, this is expeptional good news! Ion Fuck Fluying Hazzikostas will make WoW Great again. The Raids were the only good thing in WoD (and have been really good in Cata and MoP), I am really hyped to see what greatness he will bestow upon all of WoW.

    Maybe now we get finally some challenging Solo Content again?
  1. xhisors's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmbringe View Post
    WoW is not a Democracy [Credit: Greg Street]

    If it was left up to you and yours to vote for a Game Designer, you'd vote in a Kung Fu Panda who's into k3teenz and rides Pon33z (after My Little Pony) anyway.
    Not sure what this has to do with someone who is leading a department and is responsible for the decisions his team has made. Also having been in lead positions myself, I can 100% assure you that you get more freedom to do what you want and your team has to do what you say... more than you might think. As a lead you are responsible for your team and how holinka has lead his team and found the designs hes responsible for, and he thinks its "the best pvp experience" is laughable.

    This is the same guy who said it was acceptable that tanks be in top rated PvP(four 15+ minute games with a Prot pally at ~50% dampening in the NA regionals tourny)
    This was the same guy that said mages have a heal, and considered blink a heal because it avoids damage so they have to consider mages and their healing potential.
    This is the same guy who rarely shows up to PvP events, and when he does he is a complete ass to the players and doesn't even talk to them.
    This is the same guy who said Ashran was the most amazing PvP experience that has ever been created in WoW

    This list can go on and on.. but i think you get what I'm saying.

    I can't tell you who I would put as game director, i don't work at blizz. I can sure as hell tell you it wouldn't be Holinka(again hired in 2012 coming from working on random small FPS games) who has zero experience leading any MMO design outside of WoW(which was his first MMO and had zero MMORPG, MMORPG PvP, and even MOBA design experience to begin with).


    TL: DR - Lead designers get more say than people think. Holinka isn't qualified to be in the position he's in based on his background experience, much less to be a game director.
  1. Demoncrash's Avatar
    Tom might also be leaving to take the reins of the next Diablo title.
  1. f0nZi3's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by xhisors View Post
    Not sure what this has to do with someone who is leading a department and is responsible for the decisions his team has made. Also having been in lead positions myself, I can 100% assure you that you get more freedom to do what you want and your team has to do what you say... more than you might think. As a lead you are responsible for your team and how holinka has lead his team and found the designs hes responsible for, and he thinks its "the best pvp experience" is laughable.

    This is the same guy who said it was acceptable that tanks be in top rated PvP(four 15+ minute games with a Prot pally at ~50% dampening in the NA regionals tourny)
    This was the same guy that said mages have a heal, and considered blink a heal because it avoids damage so they have to consider mages and their healing potential.
    This is the same guy who rarely shows up to PvP events, and when he does he is a complete ass to the players and doesn't even talk to them.
    This is the same guy who said Ashran was the most amazing PvP experience that has ever been created in WoW

    This list can go on and on.. but i think you get what I'm saying.

    I can't tell you who I would put as game director, i don't work at blizz. I can sure as hell tell you it wouldn't be Holinka(again hired in 2012 coming from working on random small FPS games) who has zero experience leading any MMO design outside of WoW(which was his first MMO and had zero MMORPG, MMORPG PvP, and even MOBA design experience to begin with).


    TL: DR - Lead designers get more say than people think. Holinka isn't qualified to be in the position he's in based on his background experience, much less to be a game director.
    Agreed 100%! I saw this announcement and was like WHAT??? Ion's an arrogant assclown that screws up everything he touches! And yet he gets a promotion??

    I don't know if Blizzard doubling down on this idiot is the right direction... unless they are looking to kill WoW off.

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