Regional FlagGhostcrawlerSource
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Malgorok
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#1 - 2015/06/11 10:09:00 PM
So when exactly is blizzard going to go crawling to Ghostcrawler and beg him to work for them again?

I mean just look at the nosedive the game took after the great ones depature

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Community Manager
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#64 - 2015/06/12 03:12:00 AM
06/11/2015 03:09 PMPosted by Malgorok
So when exactly is blizzard going to go crawling to Ghostcrawler and beg him to work for them again?

I mean just look at the nosedive the game took after the great ones depature

I miss him as a colleague and friend. But he'd also be among the first to tell you that the design process for World of Warcraft is very much collaborative, and that he got most of the attention (good or bad) because of his public presence.

The WoW development team numbers in the hundreds, but only a very small handful are spokespeople plucked for interviews or other public-facing discussions.

People like to paint this picture of Ghostcrawler as once steering the great ship that is World of Warcraft, and Watcher taking the wheel in the wake of his departure. The perception just doesn't match the reality. Both of these gentlemen have spoken on behalf of many designers, but that doesn't mean it has been their individual visions being brought to fruition by the rest of the team.

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#91 - 2015/06/12 04:33:00 AM
06/11/2015 08:30 PMPosted by Mandrel
<span class="truncated">...</span>
I miss him as a colleague and friend. But he'd also be among the first to tell you that the design process for World of Warcraft is very much collaborative, and that he got most of the attention (good or bad) because of his public presence.

The WoW development team numbers in the hundreds, but only a very small handful are spokespeople plucked for interviews or other public-facing discussions.

People like to paint this picture of Ghostcrawler as once steering the great ship that is World of Warcraft, and Watcher taking the wheel in the wake of his departure. The perception just doesn't match the reality. Both of these gentlemen have spoken on behalf of many designers, but that doesn't mean it has been their individual visions being brought to fruition by the rest of the team.


So, you're a collective? Lead designer doesn't really do anything more than bring "order to chaos.". He doesn't actually guide th ship?

Well, no, it's not a development commune either. There are multiple positions with varying levels of responsibility, and developers, or teams of developers, reporting to other developers in a tiered structure.

And there are many lead designers (Greg was a lead designer; Ion is a lead designer). They lead teams like the UI team, software engineering team, class/systems design team, dungeon design team, quest design team, etc.

Using the art team as an example, you have artists and senior artists in each discipline. Then you have leads to whom the individuals on each art team report, such as the lead environment artist, lead character artist, lead dungeon artist, lead concept artist, lead animator, lead prop artist, lead level designer, etc. Overseeing all of these artists is the art director. (Side note: I shared brief, but delightful small talk with art director Chris Robinson in the elevator today. He's a good dude.)

The same is true for the development team as a whole, with Tom Chilton as the game director and J. Allen Brack as the production director.

In the most basic of terms -- not basic for your sake, but for my own :p -- the design teams work together to figure out what they want to do, and the production teams help ensure developers stay coordinated, as well as manage tasks by priority and enforce deadlines. And, during this part of the process, the community team acts in an advisory role to ensure that community feedback is taken into account along the way.

Some things that may seem very simple from an outsider perspective may entail much more complicated work. A designer wants to implement X. Does it need new tech from our software engineers? Does it need new UI elements? Does it need new artwork? Will X need new localization strings for each language version of the game? Is it going to interfere with, or break, something else in the game? If the answer is "yes" to any of those, do the appropriate designers have time to work on it now, or are they already tasked with higher-priority assignments? Producers help sort all of that out and, depending on the situation, assign a milestone accordingly (i.e. for 6.1, 6.2, 6.2.x, etc. development cycles).

At some point, after countless hours of work by hundreds of people, long days, much coffee, and many internal test builds of the game, we prepare to deploy a patch like 6.2. That's around the time that Ion Hazzikostas, Cory Stockton, Dave Kosak, and some of the other leads sit down with press and fansites to talk about 6.2. That's around the time that we publish numerous articles and statements about the new content or evolving design, or to go into further depth about the philosophies behind the new content or evolving design. That's around the time some people latch onto the names of those lead designers and either credit them, or fault them, for just about everything.

It's a big game and a complicated process. We don't get everything right, whether it be in design or communications. But, as someone who gets to see the inner workings everyday, I can tell you that it's a grand machine, finely oiled by the blood, sweat, and tears of all the people working here. :)

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#123 - 2015/06/12 05:42:00 AM
06/11/2015 09:45 PMPosted by Teradan
06/11/2015 09:33 PMPosted by Zarhym
Well, no, it's not a development commune either. There are multiple positions with varying levels of responsibility, and developers, or teams of developers, reporting to other developers in a tiered structure.


would explain why development has slowed down

It has always been this way. Also, remove the word "developer" from my statement you quoted and it describes basically any business organization in the world with more than a small handful of employees.

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#126 - 2015/06/12 05:45:00 AM
06/11/2015 09:53 PMPosted by Ryaskybird
06/11/2015 09:46 PMPosted by Fairaday
...

I question not having a lead system dev anymore. Being integral to just every other team, GC had a big picture view of the over all development. I believe Warlords is missing that deft touch and oversight.


Unless I'm misreading it, Watcher has the same position the Ghostrcrawler did: Lead Designer.

06/11/2015 09:33 PMPosted by Zarhym
And there are many lead designers (Greg was a lead designer; Ion is a lead designer).

In many ways, yes. A while back Ion's title changed from lead encounter designer to lead game designer, because he does a lot more than just oversee what the encounter design team is creating.