Past Blizzard Employees: Ghostcrawler on Death Knights, Metzen on Leaving Blizzard
Recently several prominent former Blizzard employees have been speaking out to the community: Chris Metzen on his retirement and Ghostcrawler on the original design for Death Knights.
interviewed newly-retired Chris Metzen on his work at Blizzard and what's next. However, one of the most striking parts of the interview was Metzen opening up about work anxiety and bluntly talking about the fear of failure.
As a creative, passionate artist, he realized he was susceptible to a need for validation and constantly worrying about failing which put constant tension on his body and mind. The disappointment of Titan shutting down 3 years ago was very rough for his morale: creating Overwatch felt like his one last rally. He describes having a powerful emotion that he owed this new creative game to his friends and Blizzard.
Throughout the interview Metzen returns to this topic frequently, detailing his panic attacks, the contrast between public and private personas, and the gradual realization that while he loved working for Blizzard and seeing projects come to completion, he needed to avoid burnout and take care of himself.
This is a topic you don't usually hear discussed in interviews and definitely worth a listen. Thank you for everything you've done over the years, Chris Metzen, as well as honestly and openly talking about an issue many people struggle with but don't talk about.
Ghostcrawler on Wrath Death Knights
Ghostcrawler has written up his thoughts on the original Wrath Death Knight over on his
is worth a read; here are some of the highlights:
All three specs were originally designed to not have a specific role--they were all meant to tank, DPS, and PvP in some form. Ghostcrawler still has mixed feelings about stepping back from this idea; the reason for more traditional specs was that the team was essentially designing many specs-within-specs. For example, every spec would need a version for Tank, DPS, dual-wield, PvP, etc.
Blood was intended to be the "easy" melee spec, Frost the "min/max" spec with some casting abilities, and Unholy the "pet-based" class.
Death Knights were a catalyst for revisiting the system of buffs in parties or raids, because there was a fear that groups wouldn't "have room" for another melee if a group already required certain specs for party-wide buffs.
The developers had a lot of experimentation with creative spells to hook players and encourage them to try a new spec; eg Xelnath designed Death Grip. One unintended downside was that these new types of spells had some buggy behavior for players.
Part of the success of the Wrath DK was credited to the Acherus starting zone quest, which was led by Alex Afrasiabi, and the initiative to engage the community of alpha and beta testers.
At one point in the design process, abilities scaled with disease count and Death Knights could have a huge number of diseases--something like 16 different types.
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