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In a somewhat surprising announcement, it seems David Kim has left Blizzard Entertainment earlier today, as spotted by WRHeronkill. After heading up the Diablo 4 systems team since 2017, Kim moved on to the Principal Game Designer role for World of Warcraft in the latter half of 2020, and has now announced he is leaving the company:
In the comments of the post we can see many employees saying goodbye and wishing Kim luck in his future endeavors.
It seems the WoW job either didn't quite work out or, more likely, was just temporary to help ship Shadowlands and get it through the launch period. Kim has been with Blizzard since 2007 and was one of the main architects behind StarCraft 2, in particular the balancing side of the game. After that he moved on to Heroes of the Storm for a while, went back to SC2, and then Diablo 4 where he spend 3 years. It seems he wasn't quite ready to work on Hearthstone and Overwatch, just to get his "worked on all major Blizzard franchises" ticket.
We wish him well in any future endeavors, and will be checking the roster over at Dreamhaven for any new additions periodically.
It seems David Kim is the Jack of all trades in Blizzard, as he's once again moved to a new franchise within the company! The Diablo 4 Lead Systems Designer, who was very front and center at the BlizzCon D4 announcement, has moved to the position of Principal Game Designer for World of Warcraft:
Kim has been moving around a lot, with his longest stint coming from StarCraft 2, where he started at Blizzard back in 2007, jumping in to Heroes of the Storm, back to SC2 and then Diablo 4 most recently.
On the D4 side of things, we're not quite sure what this means, as it seems unlikely the job was "done" and so Kim could move on, and it's a lot more likely he was needed in WoW due to Shadowlands crunch (as he started the job back in September), since it was all hands on deck to get the expansion out the door. It seems likely that Kim will stay in WoW for a while at least, and it's unclear if he'll be returning to Diablo, which doesn't seem like a good thing for the 4th installment, but as it's still a long way away, it might not be that big of an issue. As spotted by Rhykker, his replacement on the D4 team seems to be Joe Piepiora, who was promoted from within the D4 team.
On the WoW side of things, some players have been complaining about the game having moved towards Diablo systems in the past, with World Quests and especially the RNG nature of loot, so they might not be too happy with this particular move, but Kim has been very good at balance, coming from a very heavy StarCraft background. The Principal Game Designer job title itself means working on the core systems, and if we had to hazard a guess, we'd say classes and their balancing, whether via gear or other systems, might be one of Kim's focuses.
Blizzard Begins Monthly Collectible Series for 30th Anniversary with Lich King Statue & Concept Art PrintBy Staff
Blizzard celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and announced an all-new limited release series called "From the Vault." This month, you can pre-purchase a 26" high Lich King resin statue and a concept art print of Prince Arthas.
The Lich King resin statue costs a whopping $1,099.99 or 1,300 EUR, and you can purchase it here (US region) or here if you're in the EU. It will ship no later than November 19.
The concept art print of Prince Arthas drawn by Samwise Didier will only be available for purchase on the Blizzard Gear Store for 30 days. It costs $29.99 (US) or 32 EUR (EU). The concept art print will ship on or before May 7, 2021.
Each month, new collectibles will become available for purchase.
Omar Gonzalez, one of the "creators" of WoW Classic, has left Blizzard for Dreamhaven.
Omar Gonzalez was a WoW engineer responsible for the early advancements of WoW Classic. Omar locked himself away for a few weeks and created an early prototype of Classic, which had a ton of bugs, as mentioned by Ion Hazzikostas in the Wowhead interview, but the game was in a pre-Cataclysm state and had all the original skills and talents.
This made the team feel confident about re-creating the Classic experience.
According to the latest reports, Omar has now left Blizzard Entertainment and joined Secret Door, one of Dreamhaven's studios owned by Mike Morhaime.
Activision Blizzard apparently plans to lay off even more of its employees and consolidate its EU publishing offices to the UK.
Activision Blizzard's CEO Bobby Kotick is set to receive a $200-million bonus. On the other side of the spectrum, the company recently laid off approximately 190 employees who worked in the Esports / live departments due to the ongoing pandemic.
Further layoffs are imminent as the company plans on consolidating its European publishing functions to a main hub in the UK.
According to Games Industry, the layoffs will affect Activision Blizzard offices in Germany, France, Spain, the UK, and 2 offices in the Netherlands.
The cuts are said to be limited to publishing functions and won't impact development, live ops and customer support representatives.
Source: Games Industry