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A Message from Mike Morhaime
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Dear Members of the Blizzard Community,

When Blizzard’s founder Allen Adham first invited me to join him in creating Silicon & Synapse (our original name), nothing could have prepared me for the amazing adventure that we would share for the next 27 years. Our original mission and values consisted of four simple words that formed our foundation: “We make great games.” We crafted that statement before we had even released our first game, but we were committed to living up to it.

After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment. I will now serve as an advisor to the company I so love and admire. My duties as president of Blizzard will be assumed by my friend, colleague, trusted advisor, and longtime steward of World of Warcraft, J. Allen Brack.

J. is an inspiring leader who has shown unwavering commitment to Blizzard’s community in his 12 years with the company. His leadership on World of Warcraft leveraged his vision, creativity, and commitment to quality, and together with the rest of the dev team helped deliver an experience that is unprecedented in our industry. I couldn’t be happier for J. and know that Blizzard will continue to make great games with him at the helm.

I am grateful to all of the hardworking and talented people at Blizzard for their dedication and creativity. Their belief in our mission and care for our players has helped Blizzard reach greater heights than I ever could have imagined.
I am also grateful to all of you in the community. We have been through so much together. Not only have you been with me through many of the greatest moments and biggest triumphs of my life, but you have also been there through some of the most difficult. I am fortunate to have been able to meet many of you in person, while the many messages, emails, Tweets, Reddit discussions, and forum posts have provided an unbelievable connection as well. Even Twitch chat. It has always brought me joy, comfort, and inspiration to see the beacons of brilliance, voices of reason, and the passion that exists and evolves every day in all of our communities.

When we started Blizzard we just wanted to make great games. What we realized is that the games we create are really just a framework for communities and human interaction. When we look back, what we often find that’s most lasting and meaningful from our experiences in games are the relationships we create and foster. You have given me the inspiration and drive to pour my heart and life into what I do. I literally couldn’t have done any of it without you. We have created these worlds, but you have given them life, through your passion, fan art, cosplay, videos, and in so many other ways.

I truly believe that this amazing community has the potential to be a shining light to the rest of the industry by setting a positive example of inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance toward others. In the words of one of Blizzard’s core values: remember to always play nice; play fair. I know this community is capable of changing the world.

It has been an honor to serve this community for over 27 years, and I thank you for your many years of support. I look forward to being a member of the community alongside you. See you on Battle.net!

Your fellow Blizzard gamer,
Mike Morhaime

A Message from J. Allen Brack
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard community,

Today has been a swirl of emotions. First, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to Mike. His work on some of our industry’s most iconic games is the reason I came to Blizzard. Not only is he an inspiring leader, but he’s also been a wise and patient mentor to me during my time at Blizzard. And he’s been a good friend. Joining the World of Warcraft team and my favorite game company nearly 13 years ago was an unimaginable dream. Now, to be chosen to lead Blizzard into the future is both a huge honor, and a tremendous responsibility.

To do that, I’ll have the help of dedicated and talented Blizzard employees around the world who all share the same mission we have always pursued—to connect and engage the world through the most epic entertainment experiences, ever. Each of us is influenced by Blizzard’s values and a player-first mindset, which serve as the foundation of our company. With these beliefs at the core of everything we do, we’ve been able to deliver great games across different genres and platforms. And there is more to come—we’re working on more games now than at any point in Blizzard’s history.

As I transition from leading a development team to the entire company, I’ll also have the support of our team of experienced leaders at Blizzard. I’m pleased to announce two additions to our executive leadership team who will be instrumental as we move forward. Ray Gresko, a 10-year veteran of Blizzard who helped create both Overwatch and Diablo III, is now our chief development officer. Allen Adham, Blizzard’s original founder and lead designer of World of Warcraft, will join the executive team while continuing to oversee development of several new games. The knowledge and experience that Ray and Allen bring, in addition to the talent already on the leadership team, will be indispensable in helping move Blizzard into the future.

One thing that won’t change going forward—our deeply held commitments that are core to who we are as a company: to gameplay first, to quality in everything we do, and to listening to and partnering with our community. BlizzCon, the IRL representation of our connection with the community, is just a month away and it’s a time of the year that Blizzard employees look forward to the most. And as usual, we have a few surprises.

I want to close by thanking Mike for 27 years of amazing work: I am looking forward to your wisdom and guidance in your new role. And thank you for everything you’ve done to help create the company and the games we love.

J. Allen Brack

Blizzard Names World of Warcraft Executive Producer J. Allen Brack As New President of Blizzard Entertainment
Mike Morhaime is remaining as an advisor to the company.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced the appointment of Blizzard veteran and World of Warcraft® Executive Producer J. Allen Brack as the new president of Blizzard Entertainment succeeding Mike Morhaime, who will remain a strategic advisor to the company. The company also announced the appointments of Chief Development Officer Ray Gresko and Blizzard Founder Allen Adham to Blizzard’s executive leadership team.

“J. has been with Blizzard for over 12 years leading the World of Warcraft team, and it takes vision, creativity and unwavering commitment to excellence to sustain a community of players the way J. has for over a decade,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “J. is an inspiring leader. He has shown unwavering commitment to our community, to innovation and creative excellence and he cares deeply about ensuring the very best of Blizzard culture will be protected.”

“I am also excited to have Allen Adham, Blizzard’s founder, who rejoined the company two years ago and Ray Gresko, Blizzard’s Chief Development Officer, join Blizzard’s executive leadership team. I have known both Allen and Ray for more than 25 years and they are two of the most capable entrepreneurs in the game industry. They will help make certain that inspiration and creativity remains the focus of Blizzard,” said Kotick.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to serve as Blizzard’s next president, and to lead one of the best entertainment companies in the world, thanks to the passion and dedication of our player community and employees,” said J. Allen Brack, president, Blizzard Entertainment. “Blizzard was founded on the promise of making great games, and I plan to continue this fierce commitment to quality, our community, and our purpose. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s next given the strength of our pipeline.”

“Thanks to Mike Morhaime’s wonderful stewardship and masterful job of building a truly extraordinary team, epic games and a global community of beloved players, Blizzard is one of the very best game companies in the world,” Kotick added.

“I want to thank all of the talented and hardworking people at Blizzard for their dedication, creativity and passion. It has been a privilege to lead this team. I’m also very grateful to Blizzard‘s player community for their support,” said Mike Morhaime.

About J. Allen Brack
J. Allen Brack is a seasoned game industry veteran bringing nearly 24 years’ experience to this new role. As president of Blizzard Entertainment, Brack is dedicated to maintaining the high standard of quality that has propelled Blizzard to become an internationally recognized leader in interactive entertainment. Most recently, Brack served as executive producer and senior vice president for World of Warcraft, the #1 subscription-based MMORPG in the world. Throughout his twelve years at Blizzard, World of Warcraft has captivated millions of players worldwide and received a steady stream of high-quality content updates, including multiple expansions that rank among the fastest-selling PC games of all time. Prior to joining Blizzard, Brack held multiple roles at Origin Systems, Inc., working on the Wing Commander franchise, and then at Sony Online Entertainment LLC working on Star Wars Galaxies.

About Ray Gresko
As chief development officer, Ray Gresko will oversee ongoing product development efforts across Blizzard’s iconic franchises, to ensure that the company delivers a consistent high-quality experience across its games. Gresko, a 26-year industry veteran, most recently held the role of executive producer for Overwatch, leading the development team through the creation of a brand-new Blizzard franchise and helping launch the game to critical acclaim. Gresko joined Blizzard in 2008 as production director on Diablo III. Previously, Gresko worked on multiple highly regarded LucasArts titles, co-founded and managed Nihilistic Software, and was director of production and studio design director for Stormfront Studios.

About Allen Adham
As executive producer, senior vice president, and founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Allen Adham is responsible for supporting some of the company’s initiatives around new product incubation. In this role, he serves on Blizzard’s executive team and helps shepherd the company’s vision for the future while setting goals and strategies that support Blizzard’s dedication to creating the most epic entertainment experiences ever. In February 1991, Allen co-founded Blizzard Entertainment with Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce, serving as the company’s first president and later chairman. He provided executive leadership on the company’s first games, helping to build the industry-leading Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo entertainment universes. This included overseeing the creation of World of Warcraft and serving as the game’s lead designer from inception through its first five years of development.
This article was originally published in forum thread: WoW Executive Producer J. Allen Brack is the New President of Blizzard Entertainment started by chaud View original post
Comments 213 Comments
  1. Maudib's Avatar
    You think he can, but he can't.
  1. Walkerbo's Avatar
    Oh great, another blizzard bigwig that pretends to care about WoW other than a vehicle to generate money over quality content.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9L0pUnE1vo
  1. Dvaldin's Avatar
    It's this wording that I find curious from Morhaime, "After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment."

    I'm probably reading too much into it, really. But that particular wording makes me feel like it's not something he really wanted to do. It doesn't feel the same as when Metzen retired. And with the timing of the announcement coming just prior to the con...I feel like it's a choice he couldn't refuse and a ruling from the top down. But still, I'm probably reading too much into it. Damn, I'm gonna miss Morhaime. He always made me feel things were gonna be alright. This really sucks.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that with gold much more limited in BfA and offerring a mount for cash subscriptions, the company lost a sizeable expected (based on previous expansions) sum of money from people buying the expansion digitally through tokens. I think that's a reasonable assumption. Whether that played into what's happened here is questionable. Probably not, but it does make me wonder. Can't help speculating.
  1. Ragedaug's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dvaldin View Post
    It's this wording that I find curious from Morhaime, "After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment."

    I'm probably reading too much into it, really. But that particular wording makes me feel like it's not something he really wanted to do. It doesn't feel the same as when Metzen retired. And with the timing of the announcement coming just prior to the con...I feel like it's a choice he couldn't refuse and a ruling from the top down. But still, I'm probably reading too much into it. Damn, I'm gonna miss Morhaime. He always made me feel things were gonna be alright. This really sucks.
    I would guess you are right, based on his choice of words. I've seen that happen a few times in my career, managers choosing words like that when we knew behind the scenes it wasn't their choice to move on.

    I've always felt Morhaime seemed a little disconnected though - not really getting the vibe from the player base, so I'm looking forward to see what J. does. I was saying the stuff J. was saying about Vanilla before he said his infamous "you don't want that". Otherwise, I felt J is less transparent than most and can appreciate him saying what he did, versus the rest of the development crew only saying that when we can't hear them. Basically to say, if he disagrees with me, he's more likely to be open about it and I'll know where he stands.
  1. Dvaldin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ragedaug View Post
    I would guess you are right, based on his choice of words. I've seen that happen a few times in my career, managers choosing words like that when we knew behind the scenes it wasn't their choice to move on.

    I've always felt Morhaime seemed a little disconnected though - not really getting the vibe from the player base, so I'm looking forward to see what J. does. I was saying the stuff J. was saying about Vanilla before he said his infamous "you don't want that". Otherwise, I felt J is less transparent than most and can appreciate him saying what he did, versus the rest of the development crew only saying that when we can't hear them. Basically to say, if he disagrees with me, he's more likely to be open about it and I'll know where he stands.
    True. I'm going to do the usual and take my "wait and see" approach. It'll take a couple of years before I get an idea of how this affects the company as I am not really familiar with J.
  1. Kuja's Avatar
    I think Beta for Azeroth was not great enough for Mike's goals. Blame Activision for getting rid of "it's ready when it's ready" and turning that into "it's ready when the deadline says so"?
  1. Mindark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhru View Post

    NEVER FORGET, NEVER FORGIVE!


    I hope this guy had some problems and Activison has to remove him because we will have huge problems if this "I KNOW EVERYTHING" guy starts to lead the whole Blizzard...
    "I disagree with his reasoning, FIRE HIM! He thinks he knows everything!" - some random mmo poster that, apparently, knows everything
  1. Impersonal's Avatar
    And so the pleebs went on believing that J. Allen Brack was anti-Vanilla...

    His terse "No." shifted the audience's minds away from the idea that Blizzard may indeed be doing exactly what an audience member asked about in the future. So that he himself, could return and deliver the earth shattering news that was World of Warcraft : Classic thus setting up one of the biggest coups in gaming history.

    After toiling and plotting the demise of el jefe, he has finally made his master stroke and taken the reigns from the warm, cuddly, one size fits all, accessible hands of Mike Morhaime.


    Attunement quest chains for dungeons announced?
  1. therealbowser's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by torish View Post
    None of the people in this thread know why he retired. Still some act as if they know.
    It's just a logical assumption.

    Mike didn't really reveal why he was quitting, and made a big deal about how we should make World of Warcraft a great place with a great community.

    Honestly, if I were to guess, he is taking it somewhat emotionally. It isn't unlikely that he didn't want to quit. The question is, then, why did he? Was he burned out, or was he pushed out? The former I'd understand and he'd have my utter respect for lasting this long, but the possibility of the latter is highly disturbing. I hope that's not what happened, but I'd prefer not to make wild assumptions on such things.
  1. mvaliz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MoanaLisa View Post
    There's hardly a better time to introduce the new President of Blizzard Entertainment and say au revoir to the former President than at Blizzcon. It's not a matter of being savvy. It's a matter of allowing people the time to say hello and farewell. I'm sure that both of them will have things to say in the opening ceremony. Torch will be passed in a very public way.
    A clever way to also observe it, I will admit - but there's another thing that both you and I didn't take into consideration, and it took a RL friend of mine to point it out.

    Not sure if anybody else pointed this out yet - but this happened, quite literally, 1 day after the end of the third fiscal quarter.

    So, it would also suggest to me that this was a pre-meditated decision - and the date of his announcement was probably chosen as to not effect the stock sales, but still make it happen ASAP.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Impersonal View Post
    And so the pleebs went on believing that J. Allen Brack was anti-Vanilla...

    His terse "No." shifted the audience's minds away from the idea that Blizzard may indeed be doing exactly what an audience member asked about in the future. So that he himself, could return and deliver the earth shattering news that was World of Warcraft : Classic thus setting up one of the biggest coups in gaming history.

    After toiling and plotting the demise of el jefe, he has finally made his master stroke and taken the reigns from the warm, cuddly, one size fits all, accessible hands of Mike Morhaime.


    Attunement quest chains for dungeons announced?
    ...I have no idea what anything you said right here means. =/

    also, I'm assuming you're a burner account for somebody that got banned, since this is apparently your first post?
  1. MoanaLisa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mvaliz View Post
    A clever way to also observe it, I will admit - but there's another thing that both you and I didn't take into consideration, and it took a RL friend of mine to point it out.

    Not sure if anybody else pointed this out yet - but this happened, quite literally, 1 day after the end of the third fiscal quarter.

    So, it would also suggest to me that this was a pre-meditated decision - and the date of his announcement was probably chosen as to not effect the stock sales, but still make it happen ASAP.
    Of course the decision was premeditated. Morhaime didn't just come into the office the other day and tell everyone "I think I'll hang it up now. Allen, take over. Everyone OK with that?"

    As for stock sales: People have a very inflated idea about the effect of World of Warcraft on Activision's stock price which is much more dependent on what's going on with the tech sector than any division management changes.
  1. mvaliz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MoanaLisa View Post
    As for stock sales: People have a very inflated idea about the effect of World of Warcraft on Activision's stock price which is much more dependent on what's going on with the tech sector than any division management changes.
    Morhaime was the CEO of Blizz... not WoW. That definitely effects stock sales. But yes, you're right that WoW doesn't effect Acti/Blizz's stock like it used to. CEOs stepping down/changing, however, do. ;P
  1. Impersonal's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mvaliz View Post
    A clever way to also observe it, I will admit - but there's another thing that both you and I didn't take into consideration, and it took a RL friend of mine to point it out.

    Not sure if anybody else pointed this out yet - but this happened, quite literally, 1 day after the end of the third fiscal quarter.

    So, it would also suggest to me that this was a pre-meditated decision - and the date of his announcement was probably chosen as to not effect the stock sales, but still make it happen ASAP.

    - - - Updated - - -



    ...I have no idea what anything you said right here means. =/

    also, I'm assuming you're a burner account for somebody that got banned, since this is apparently your first post?
    Apologies, I should have quoted the "think you do, but you don't" video. That's what im referring to in the second paragraph and finishing it up with some fan fiction drama imagining J. Allen Brack secretly loving vanilla and deposing Mike Morhaime to deliver it.

    As to your other comment, well, you know what happens when you assume. Believe it or not, it is my first post on MMO-Champ but like most, i've always followed it. Well, I think the first WoW forum I actively followed besides the Official ones were EJ and also AJ. Either way, getting OT here.
  1. sam86's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by HordeFanboy View Post
    This makes no sense at all
    he is filthy rich with more money he can spend for his entire life from wow peak days (seriously wow during wrath era probably generated more money than any other game that ever existed), first was Metzen who is literally warcraft itself (and probably sc and diablo too) dropped because he was 'under stress' (can u name a single living human who doesn't work under stress and still suck it because he needs to eat?), now Mike with how every blizzard game going (overwatch nowhere near its high, died very fast, diablo blizz hate it nowadays, RTS genre again is nowhere like the early 2000s/late 90s, and current exp has 2nd most hate after WoD) he probably taking his rest too since nothing force him to work
    I'd dropped working way earlier too myself with how much cash i'd have from just wrath era
    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpbladez View Post
    I guess the good part about this is that J Allen Brack knows more about & cares more about WoW than Mike Morhaime ever did. Hopefully he takes things in a different direction, but Im not gonna get my hopes up.
    i doubt someone who joined way late in warcraft history care about it more than someone who was literally in company since wc1 days
  1. zenocide's Avatar
    Hopefully that stupid WoW Classic project will get canceled.
  1. Stealthyjake's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zenocide View Post
    Hopefully that stupid WoW Classic project will get canceled.
    Yeah, totally gonna get canceled....lol
  1. OPLIX's Avatar
    Morhaime was fired for BFA failure
  1. mmocfa012da614's Avatar
    Seems Mike Morhaime left because he crashed the WoW franchise along with Diablo 3.
  1. metzger84's Avatar
    brack as director seems like a very random decision
  1. McNeil's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by zenocide View Post
    Hopefully that stupid WoW Classic project will get canceled.
    I'm very curious to know why you would want that. How does WoW Classic affect you in any way?

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