Omar Gonzalez Leaves Blizzard and Joins Dreamhaven
Omar Gonzalez, one of the senior software engineers that worked on the early prototype of Classic WoW has left Activision Blizzard and joined Secret Door, one of the studios owned by Dreamhaven, Mike Morhaime's new gaming company.

This news comes from Kevin Jordan, one of the original designers for World of Warcraft, which replied to a community question: Where is Omar?


Omar Gonzalez started working on World of Warcraft in 2003 and worked his way up to become Principal Software Engineer at Blizzard Entertainment. In an interview with xDrale, translated by Wowhead, this is what Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said about Omar:
One of them, an engineer named Omar Gonzalez, who is on the Classic team, tried the method of taking the modern client, the modern server and teaching it to interpret the old 1.12 classic data. He kind of locked himself away for a few weeks, and came out with something that was a prototype--it was very rough, contained tons of bugs, the world wasn't fully rendered, but it was the original classic world, pre-Cataclysm. It had the original skills and talents, and we knew there's was a ton of work to do, but we felt like we realized for the first time, "we can do this."



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This article was originally published in forum thread: Omar Gonzalez Leaves Blizzard and Joins Dreamhaven, New Battle.Net Avatars started by Lumy View original post
Comments 201 Comments
  1. Mojo03's Avatar
    More top devs leaving Blizzard and going to potentially better companies = good thing.

    People should stop working for this awful company and work for ones with better ethics.
  1. Acidbaron's Avatar
    Reminds me a bit of what took place in EA when they became fairly big, but i suspect it's a bit worse here as monetization of games and the size of blizzard doesn't really allow for experimenting or taking risks with systems or content that haven't been already proven elsewhere.

    I also believe that if you have been with a company that long and are a veteran and seen new leadership enter the fray, it either works or it doesn't. And it doesn't really work for them considering how many people left so far, doesn't really have to be a bad thing. We'll see what Blizzard manages to produce in the future, is it more games directed by people who aren't really gamers and hold business degrees or do we get a game made by gamers for gamers? Proof is in the pudding lately considering how many big game projects never live up to their expectations and how smaller group of developers deliver real gems.

    I am more looking at other games beyond WoW, because MMO's won't ever scratch that itch again as it did the first time. Different times now than it was 20 years ago.
  1. Blackmist's Avatar
    This is what happens when your CEO's ambition is to "take all the fun out of making games" and gets a $200 million bonus for it.

    Fuck everything Blizzard has become.
  1. Kralljin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by otaXephon View Post
    But really, it's not a big deal... it's just meaningless speculation on a fan forum.
    And i reiterate, when you post something, you cannot be surprised that someone will criticize you for it - when you cite you're just "posting a speculation", then i'm just "replying to it".
  1. ek0zu's Avatar
    Is it possible, on average, for Dreamhaven to pay better than Blizzard? For me, the only reason i would leave after such a long time is to get a huge pay raise and possibly an upper role as well. I believe that boredom would have been triggered earlier and chasing something different/more exciting comes earlier in your career.
  1. justandulas's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mojusk View Post
    sadly things just arnt that easy. and its not blizzards faut.
    im no expert, but as far as i understand its just how all the íntellectual properties rules work. if youre too lenient, you risk to lose the ownership your brand.
    What it is... is that private servers infringe upon the copyright of WoW the game and if you don’t protect your copyright, it’s forfeit. So companies legally have to overreact and go hard at every unlicensed image

    It’s why you occasionally read stories about disney having images of its stars removed from public pre schools
  1. huth's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ek0zu View Post
    Is it possible, on average, for Dreamhaven to pay better than Blizzard? For me, the only reason i would leave after such a long time is to get a huge pay raise and possibly an upper role as well. I believe that boredom would have been triggered earlier and chasing something different/more exciting comes earlier in your career.
    You're forgetting about things like creative freedom, which is necessarily greater at a new company that doesn't have any established products yet. There's also greater potential for personal advancement than at a long-established one, specificially because of this lack of established structures.

    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    What it is... is that private servers infringe upon the copyright of WoW the game and if you don’t protect your copyright, it’s forfeit. So companies legally have to overreact and go hard at every unlicensed image

    It’s why you occasionally read stories about disney having images of its stars removed from public pre schools
    Disney could also simply make a licensing agreement with them that is somewhat reasonable rather than simply demanding removal. "Protect" doesn't mean "demand they immediately stop using no-matter-what".

    Not like Disney is blameless for the situation anyway. They had fairly sizeable impact on modern copyright.
  1. Belloc's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by vizzle View Post
    I doubt the OG team rates him, tbh.
    WoW is the king of MMOs and any non-junior developer working on modern WoW can pretty much find a place at their development studio of choice, provided there's an opening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ek0zu View Post
    Is it possible, on average, for Dreamhaven to pay better than Blizzard? For me, the only reason i would leave after such a long time is to get a huge pay raise and possibly an upper role as well. I believe that boredom would have been triggered earlier and chasing something different/more exciting comes earlier in your career.
    Mike Morhaime was believed, at one point, to be worth 1.8 billion dollars. That's a lot of startup capital. Considering their current size, they absolutely could be getting paid more.
  1. dope_danny's Avatar
    Boy leaving Blizzard for "Dream Haven" is about as on the nose as it gets.
  1. RoKPaNda's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackmist View Post
    This is what happens when your CEO's ambition is to "take all the fun out of making games" and gets a $200 million bonus for it.

    Fuck everything Blizzard has become.
    If anything Blizzard needs more corporate oversight.
  1. Skylarking's Avatar
    I can't wait for WoW to reach critical mass and the end result being either put the game in maintenance mode like hots or probably shut down

    But I doubt that won't be for a while still
  1. kaintk's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ek0zu View Post
    Is it possible, on average, for Dreamhaven to pay better than Blizzard? For me, the only reason i would leave after such a long time is to get a huge pay raise and possibly an upper role as well. I believe that boredom would have been triggered earlier and chasing something different/more exciting comes earlier in your career.
    i would ask you then : why is people leaving a better paid job for another job who paid less ? because being in a shitty job with better paid is less fun than being in a more pleasant job with less money
  1. Kralljin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Belloc View Post
    Mike Morhaime was believed, at one point, to be worth 1.8 billion dollars. That's a lot of startup capital. Considering their current size, they absolutely could be getting paid more.
    Doubt it.

    Dreamhaven is still a Startup and unless Morhaime intents to turn into a charity organization funded by his own wealth, starting off by paying everyone good wages puts you on the financial backfoot right off the bat.
    Let's not forget, Dreamhaven is still years off from even launching a single game, that means no real income for some time.

    Disregarding, Omar was part of the Senior Staff and on top of that quintessential in releasing a product that had massive success - if he didn't get a decent raise or payoff for his involvement in Classic, then the internal business structure of Blizzard is just fucking broken.
    The idea of leaving a huge corporation for a startup because of pay just makes no sense, unless you intent to start your own business, you're better off sticking to a big corporate job as far as payment is concerned.

    Also makes little sense from what Dreamhaven is supposed to be, they're pretty much saying: We're passionate about games and don't want to place profitability above everything - yet then are supposed to snipe people with the promise of a higher pay.
    People that leave their jobs solely for the promise of a higher paycheck usually aren't the people that are exactly passionate about products but about their paycheck, which would be better suited for a corporate enviroment found in public traded companies.
    Not a wise move as far as company culture is concerned.
  1. Mic_128's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Wangming View Post
    Everyone's jus trying to contradict you without appreciating your poetry so at least here, take a like from me for your Queen cover.
    Thanks! It's very much appreciated :3

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertMugabe View Post
    Usually when someone leaves due to some "drama" or is dissatisfied with the company or something else, those are almost always people that aren't as much involved in the company and have rather normal jobs.
    No idea where you're getting that from. I know a number of people who have left jobs who were quite involved, but were fed up with decisions or the actions of their bosses, and so quit and found jobs elsewhere, doing basically the same thing just in different locations. And these were people who were quite high up in the chain, and had been working there for years. Rank or "involvement" doesn't preclude them from having to deal with "drama".

    Also, saying they want a "normal" job makes absolutely no sense. What is a "normal" job?
  1. Deferionus's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FelPlague View Post
    dude remember when ghostcrawler did that and the absolute confusion over that, he was the most hated person ever, and now everyone sees him as a saint. it be how it be.
    A lot of people villianized Ghostcrawler, but I enjoyed his explainations and insight. 95% of what he said I agreed with from my own experience playing the game. I didn't always agree with the solution either, but he was overall a very good developer making solid design decisions in his time. I can't say the same about Ion, he hits the mark a lot less of the time, but I also am not raiding the top end content nor am I playing at a 2500+ MMR in arenas and RBGs anymore either, so I may just be less insightful than I was during the Ghostcrawler era.
  1. Scrod's Avatar
    There’s a lot of nuance here that’s obviously not public and sitting here judging it is a waste of time.

    As far as I can tell this has no impact on me. Retail will stay the same and classic will keep pumping out new expansions until it’s not profitable (possibly cata).
  1. Littleraven's Avatar
    Man I really can't wait to see what Dreamhaven does once it is fully up and running. Seems like it is going to be Blizzard 2.0 and I am here for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by relaxok View Post
    Blizzard has been owned by another company and publicly traded and beholden to shareholders since 1996.

    The merger with Activision started in 2007 during TBC.

    This idea that things are ‘different now’ is bizarre.
    It is different though. WoW changed that company and there is no denying it. Blizzard has even said this themselves. For better or worse is up to each individual person but the Blizzard of today is not the same Blizzard as back then. Companies grow and change and that is just part of the beast. Even though they were owned back then they still had a lot of the old feel because most of the original people were still there. Once they started to leave though you saw a clear shift.

    You can still love Blizzard and all they do but to stick your head in the sand and act like they haven't changed in the last 10 or so years is just silly.
  1. TheRevenantHero's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by justandulas View Post
    What it is... is that private servers infringe upon the copyright of WoW the game and if you don’t protect your copyright, it’s forfeit. So companies legally have to overreact and go hard at every unlicensed image

    It’s why you occasionally read stories about disney having images of its stars removed from public pre schools
    I really don't think that is true at all. Because if it was then a lot of companies would have lost most of their IPs by now since fan games are everywhere.
  1. Littleraven's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Skylarking View Post
    I can't wait for WoW to reach critical mass and the end result being either put the game in maintenance mode like hots or probably shut down

    But I doubt that won't be for a while still
    As long as people keep showing up in the millions to expansion launches I don't see it ever happening. It seems like each expansion gets bigger and bigger and that is probably why we haven't seen all that much change. They make a ton up front and then even when people drop off it doesn't matter because they know they will be back.
  1. Graeham's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Echorausch View Post
    I see it completely different. You make it sound like Blizzard isn’t hiring, but that’s not the case.
    New people are always good, they bring fresh ideas and see things from another perspective.
    Eh, I disagree.

    I don't think new people are always good, since not all 'fresh ideas' are worth the time of day and can risk ruining what came before and proved popular and successful. That's especially true for the core target audience, who are more likely to have a higher degree of loyalty to a product than those who are convinced to check it out later on.

    Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, WoW is a pretty old game at this point so a lot of employees leaving can be attributed to age and/or burnout.

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