4 posts in this topic
Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
The beloved Hearthstone developer is leaving Blizzard Entertainment to start working on a new company
In a twist of events as shocking as Chris Metzen's departure, Ben Brode - the Game Director for Hearthstone - will no longer be working for Blizzard as of today. Ben was an instrumental member of Team 5 for almost ten years. The team has grown since to 80 members and I am sure it's going to be in good hands from now on.
Where Brode will truly be missed is the commercial part of Hearthstone. Disregarding the usual cynical remark that Ben Brode's only purpose in life is to sell packs, he was the face of Hearthstone - just like Kaplan is the face of Overwatch. Who can forget his epic raps, his iconic laughter, his jolly "Well met!" greeting and the enthusiasm with which he talked about Hearthstone? You will be missed, Ben Brode.
We wish him the very best of luck in his new venture! Hopefully he'll become the face of a brand new popular game!
To my friends, coworkers, and the Hearthstone community,
After 15 years at Blizzard and almost 10 years working on Hearthstone, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to embark on a new journey.
Man, that was a hard sentence to type.
I was 20 years old when I started here. My first role was ‘Night Crew Game Tester.’
Since then, Blizzard has been good to me. I got to cast esports events, announce BlizzCons, play in Rock Bands, write raps, and work with incredible people. But the biggest opportunity came in 2008 when I joined “Team 5.” The Hearthstone Team.
I am very proud of Hearthstone. I think we made an impact on the industry. People tell me that Hearthstone brought their family closer together, or that they became close friends with people they met at a Fireside Gathering. Others tell me they were inspired by Hearthstone to become game developers themselves. It’s incredible to be a part of something that touches so many people.
But as proud as I am of Hearthstone, I am even more proud of the team.
There is no team like the Hearthstone team. People have come and gone over the 10 years Hearthstone has been in development, but there’s something special about the Soul of the Team. We knew our most important product wasn’t the game, but the team itself. A great team can do great things, and I think the Hearthstone team is the greatest. It isn’t just a job. It’s a shared passion. We get to come to work and focus on the game we love and try to make it better every day.
We frequently check the Hearthstone subreddit looking for opportunities to improve the game. I have loved the silly memes, engaging in spirited debates, or even just being held accountable to our shared high standards for the game. We try to be highly available on social media, and I think our team helped push the envelope in this regard. It has been especially satisfying to me to see the team step up over the last few years and help engage in these ways as I became more focused on direction and less on actual design.
I get too much credit by virtue of being a public face, but the 80+ people on the development team are still there, and they are the ones actually making the cards, brawls, events, missions, and features. I am confident the game is in the best possible hands, and I’m excited to see where a new generation of leaders takes Hearthstone from here.
I am very fortunate to be able to take a crazy risk right now in my life, and I’m excited to be scrappy and a little scared. I’m going to help start a new company. We’ll probably make games, but we haven’t figured anything else out, yet. I’m looking forward to designing, programming, and actually creating things again. I’m going to miss the on-campus Starbucks, though. Dang.
Blizzard, thank you for taking a chance on me, and thank you for taking a chance on Hearthstone. I can’t wait to see what you do next.
And to the passionate community of players – I will miss you, and the laughs we shared together. Thank you for making being a part of Hearthstone so much fun for me. I’ve loved every minute.
John Staats was Blizzard's first 3D level designer and worked at the company for more than ten years. He just finished a book about working at Blizzard called The World of Warcraft Diary that demystifies the world of computer game development and the secret sauce behind Blizzard's successful MMORPG.
John is currently looking for backers to fund the first edition on Kickstarter.
About the Author
John Staats spent ten years on World of Warcraft dev team. His Vanilla WoW portfolio includes half of the game’s instanced dungeons, and 90 percent of non-instanced caves, crypts, dens, mines, and hive tunnels. John’s Staats is a regular on the weekly podcast Roll For Combat who got an early preview of his book. The author’s web page is whenitsready.com where there are additional images and excerpts.
The World of Warcraft Diary: A Journal of Computer Game Development
Based on interviews and monthly updates he took throughout Vanilla WoW's dev cycle, The WoW Diary covers the highs and lows of building Blizzard's massively multiplayer online game. Readers will get an inside scoop of one of the gaming industry's most prosperous companies. The WoW Diary is a comprehensive and candid picture of how difficult and messy game development can be, and includes details about the project's improvisations, mistakes, and lucky discoveries. It covers the devs who made the game and describes the secret sauce behind Blizzard's success.
The WoW Diary is 336 pages long, and while the book's 130+ images are used with Blizzard's permission, it is an independent publication. After the Kickstarter campaign, the book will be available only on Amazon.
Table of Contents
Here are a few excerpts from The WoW Diary taken from John's website.
If you ever wondered what it really takes to make great computer games, this is the book is a must! The first edition of The WoW Diary: A Journal of Computer Game Development will be available after the Kickstarter campaign. Subsequent editions will be available only on Amazon.
The StarCraft franchise turns 20 years old this month and Blizzard is celebrating with rewards in all of its titles!
It only seems like it was a few years ago, but StarCraft was first released on March 31, 1998. Since then, it's made a breakthrough in the real-time strategy genre and, in my opinion, it has one of the most compelling and well-written storylines of all Blizzard games. StarCraft II, a sequel with three expansions, followed many years afterwards, with Wings of Liberty being released in 2010. We've recently introduced a brand new StarCraft II section here in Icy Veins.
Anyway, back to the 20-year StarCraft anniversary celebrations, on March 30 and 31 there will be an anniversary live stream on Twitch with multiple StarCraft personalities. A special documentary called StarCraft Is Life: A Celebration will also be released on YouTube on the last day of March.
Moreover, rewards will be given away in all Blizzard games. Starting with StarCraft: Remastered, which was released six months ago, you can get a new commemorative 20th Anniversary UI skin from March 6.
Log in between March 6 and April 3 in StarCraft II to receive special UI skins for each race, a Portrait and Decal.
Diablo III players will get a nice-looking pet. Simply log in after March 6 to receive the monstrous Dominion's Revenge!
Overwatch's Widowmaker already has a Nova skin and now it's time for her to receive a skin from another icon StarCraft heroine. From March 6 until April 3, you can claim the Sarah Kerrigan Ghost skin.
Play Heroes of the Storm between March 27 and April 7 to receive three original StarCraft themed portraits for Protoss, Terran and Zerg. There are also heavy rumours of a new StarCraft hero and a new StarCraft-themed Brawl coming in HotS near the end of the month.
Hearthstone players will get a special StarCraft Tavern Brawl during the week of March 21 - March 25. Playing this Tavern Brawl will secure 3 packs from the most recent expansion, Kobolds & Catacombs.
Lastly, World of Warcraft seems to have the most obscure and perhaps disappointing reward. Between March 31 and April 6 there will be multiple StarCraft companion pets (Zergling, Grunty, Mini Thor, Baneling, or Zeradar) strolling around in WoW. Simply /salute one of these pets and you get a Feat of Strength. I wonder: could these pets become available in the Shop at some point or could we get at least one of them for free?
Warcraft III streamers have been invited to a secret Blizzard event held at the end of the month in the US. While there are no official information available at this time, streamers are rushing to get their US Visa just in time for the announcement.
The full list of attendees remains unknown, but we know that attending the event are HawK (RU), Foggy (UA) and Grubby (NL). Participants have signed a NDA and cannot divulge any further information. If you're a fan of Blizzard games, chances are you've come across Warcraft III. It all boils down to a single question; what's the announcement about?
Will Warcraft III get remastered or does the event have something to do with the unannounced MMO RTS project? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Quarterly results of the Activision Blizzard Earnings call are here and the company reached its highest operating income in Q4 2017 in a year without any major game releases.
Q4 Earnings Call Highlights (Slide Presentation)
Blizzard reached their highest operating income in a year with no major game releases thanks to delivering continuous content across franchises including Overwatch, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. 2017 was an important year in which Blizzard prepared for their future growth initiatives, including the launch of the Overwatch League. The inaugural season of the Overwatch League started on January 10 with 12 world-class team owners from across the globe, multiple league and team-level sponsors, a premium viewing experience, and a robust distribution strategy. In its first week, the Overwatch League reached more than 10 millions unique viewers across the world with an average audience of more than 280,000 on a per minute basis. Audience Reach: 385 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the quarter across the company (up from 384 million last quarter). (Source)