World of Warcraft: Legion

Blizzard's game director for World of Warcraft, Tom Chilton, has made the tough decision of stepping away from leading the development of the popular MMORPG. While the news might be sad for some gamers, Chilton already has another project lined up.

Chilton made the announcement in a forum post on Blizzard's Battle.net forums, with a thread titled "New Adventures (Just Down the Hall)". Chilton explains that while his time working on World of Warcraft has come to an end, it's still a new beginning for him at Blizzard as he takes his focus and applies it to another unannounced project at the multi-billion dollar company, writing in the post...

My personal journey working on WoW as Game Director is at an end, but my journey with Blizzard isn't. I'll still be here, but will be focusing on another project within the company. However, it's with great pleasure that I announce Ion Hazzikostas will be taking my place as Game Director for World of Warcraft.

Chilton joined the team back in 2004, 12 years ago as a senior game designer. He helped shape many of the game's expansions over the years, eventually becoming the game director and leading the charge in directing the Mists of Pandaria expansion, the Warlords of Draenor update, and the most recent release of World of Warcraft: Legion. The latest release has actually garnered Chilton and crew a lot of positive praise and feedback from the community for sprucing up the gameplay, adding a lot of replayable elements, expanding the quest system in an engaging way, and adding in a new playable class that many felt turned the combat in the popular MMO into something of an action-RPG.

World of Warcraft has received a lot of criticism over the years for making one change or another that made some gamers feel as if Blizzard was making the experience less engaging, but after the Warlords of Draenor, there were some gamers who felt as if Blizzard was getting back on track and rekindling the spark that made the MMO so popular in the first place.

It should come as no surprise that after the high praise for World of Warcraft: Legion a lot of gamers are devastated that Tom Chilton would be moving away as the game director for Blizzard's money-making machine. However, gamers might want it see it as a glass half full instead of a glass half empty. If Chilton and the rest of the crew managed to really turn up the interest in an MMO that's a decade old, just imagine what they could do with fresh resources, more freedom, and higher-end tech?

Given that Blizzard is coming off the huge success that is Overwatch and they've managed to get World of Warcraft back on track, it's not impossible to think that they would likely move Chilton on to something where he could take his expertise and apply it to another project that they would more than likely want to turn into another billion-dollar franchise.

While it may be sad to see Chilton leave the WoW team, it now gives Ion Hazzikostas an opportunity to show his chops and usher in a new era for the game.

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