If I were asked to make a list of the people at Blizzard Entertainment that helped shape the company into the powerhouse generator of "concentrated cool" that it is today, the fourth name on my list (behind Morhaime, Metzen, and Didier, in order) would undoubtedly be Rob Pardo. The original Lead Designer on World of Warcraft, Pardo has also had his influence in just about every one of Blizzard's main franchises somewhere along the line. Less than a year ago, it was revealed that he was returning take WoW's Lead Designer reigns for the latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Which is why his announcement of departure today came as a bit of a surprise, at least to me.
I remember way back at the first ever BlizzCon in 2005, our very own Mandifesto stood in line after the final panel had concluded, waiting for a chance to talk to him about how an aspiring writer would approach making a career in writing for Video Games. This was well before either of us had even dipped our toes in the waters of Game Journalism, so I distinctly remember being very proud of her for having the courage to suppress her social anxieties and approach the Rob Pardo. I can only imagine what advice she recieved that day, as they talked for nearly half an hour, and even if she had then related his tips on to me I have long since forgetten what they might have been. It was nearly 10 years ago, after all.
The complete public announcement he wrote up is included after the jump.
Every ending is a beginning and today marks a new beginning for me.
After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career.
Before I even joined Blizzard, I was already a huge fan of the company and its games. In particular, I was extremely passionate about the emerging genre of real-time strategy games. It was a dream come true when I was given the opportunity to work on StarCraft, which at the time was being created by a very small team by today’s standards. It was tremendously fulfilling to get to know everyone on the team personally and to contribute our energies toward a shared goal in such a creative and engaging environment.
Blizzard Entertainment has been simply the best place in the world to be a game designer. The best aspect of designing games at Blizzard is that the entire company is passionate about the gameplay within each and every product. From the executive team to customer service to our global offices, every single person is a player and contributes to making the best possible games. It’s for very good reason that the first credit on every Blizzard game is “Game Design by Blizzard Entertainment.”
I’m really proud of the contributions I was able to make to Blizzard’s accomplishments. From building lasting games, to supporting the growth of eSports, to extending the Warcraft world into a feature film, and of course to being able to celebrate our shared passions with the Blizzard community online and at BlizzCon.
The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard’s players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.
I’m looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard. It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck.
As to what I will be doing next, I don’t have an answer for you yet . . . but I will “when it’s ready.” My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what’s next. The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It’s like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time.
In the past, I haven’t been the most avid Twitter user, but I’ll strive to do better and keep you updated there—@Rob_Pardo. Please stay in touch!