Game Designer Chris Kaleiki Leaves Blizzard After 13 Years - Worked on Shadow Priest Revamp
Chris Kaleiki has left Blizzard after 13 years
, publishing a video detailing his reasons for leaving and his thoughts on the state of the game. His focus was on class and PvP design, most recently working on Shadowlands Monk Legendaries and the
Shadow Priest revamp
. He also really enjoyed creating Monks, especially Mistweavers, back in Mists of Pandaria. We wish him the best of luck!
Around six minutes in, he details his reasons for leaving, expressing unhappiness with the state of the game and, in his opinion, what is the muddled modern vision for WoW.
He felt vague dissatisfaction for a while, but when Classic came out, his feelings crystallized and he figured out why. To him, Classic WoW has a clear vision built upon strong MMO game design pillars. In contrast, the vision in the modern game feels muddled, where the pillars exist but to a lesser degree.
The two main pillars he feels have been muddled are the guild and story emphasis. In Classic, your guild is a big deal to create cohesion, but as WoW emphasized the solo experience more as time went on, that socialization element was lost. As for the story, in Classic players created their own narratives and drama, injecting a human element into the world like the
Ahn'Qiraj War on Sulfuras
. The narrative in modern WoW is great, but it marks a shift in storytelling that de-centers the player from the in-game narrative, focusing instead on external conflicts between NPCs. In a virtual world, the players should be the story.
He also believes that modern WoW design spends too much time on progression systems vs core systems such as guilds and other features that only an MMO can specialize in. To this point, he revealed that developers on modern WoW have conflicting visions for the game, and it will be a challenge to figure out what it should be.
He closes by saying that WoW and Blizzard will persevere as the IPs are very strong, he's looking forward to Shadowlands, and he knows millions of players enjoy WoW in its current state. While he doesn't have a new place of employment currently lined up yet, he always wants to work on a virtual world so he's hopeful he'll find another game studio that scratches that itch!
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