World of Warcraft game designer Chris Kaleiki explains why he left Blizzard, citing the state of the game and his dissatisfaction with its priorities.
Veteran World of Warcraft game designer Chris Kaleiki has posted an explanation regarding his departure from Blizzard recently, and he highlights a dissatisfaction with the state of the current game as a major reason why. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is set to release next week, and will mark several major changes to the way the MMORPG is experienced by its players, including the vaunted level squish that will make character progression more immediately satisfying and cohesive with each level gained.
While the current version of World of Warcraft is so different from the 2004 version it’s barely recognizable, a solution to that was recently explored when Blizzard released World of Warcraft: Classic. WoW Classic gives players the original base game without any major changes, preserving gameplay design, aesthetic, and even bugs to deliver as close to a similar experience as possible to a title that’s almost 16 years old now. While WoW Classic was a success, it’s also been an interesting experiment for fans, who have come away from the release with a better understanding of what they enjoy out of World of Warcraft and what they disagree with from a design perspective.
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Apparently, that was also the case for Chris Kaleiki, who states in his video that the release of World of Warcraft: Classic helped him identify what he was dissatisfied with when it comes to retail WoW. Kaleiki says that he’s been “unhappy with the state of the game” for “probably too long,” and elaborates on that feeling, stating that the “vision of the game” in Classic is clear, something he feels has been lost in the modern game to a certain extent. Kaleiki gives two different examples of what he feels are strengths that have been lost over time in World of Warcraft: guilds, which forced players to be social and form a community and has since been lost to make the game more convenient for solo players; and World of Warcraft‘s story, which in the modern game is a big part of it that removes a lot of World of Warcraft‘s ability to make the player the main part of the story.
Kaleiki makes it clear in the video that he’s not trying to suggest that World of Warcraft is a bad game, and he’s not shy about praising the talented team behind the game. He points out that millions of players enjoy the game as it is today, and that his issues stem from a “disconnect” between the modern game’s vision and his own desires for the MMORPG. One element of the video that’s certainly going to be discussed by fans is Kaleiki’s suggestion that even some developers on the team aren’t actually clear on what the vision of World of Warcraft is at this point.
Overall, the video is some great insight into how game designers look at what consumers play, and the analysis that goes into the kind of decisions that make or break a game. Kaleiki’s insight is valuable and his reason for departing Blizzard is well-reasoned, and it’ll be interesting to see where he lands after leaving. For now, though, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands releases in just a few days, and it’ll be interesting to see if it helps provide any more of the kind of vision or direction that Kaleiki feels the title is missing at the moment.
Next: Steve Danuser WoW Shadowlands Interview: Good, Evil, & In Between
Source: Chris Kaleiki/YouTube
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