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“I like long walks on the beach, drinking gin, and nerfing paladins.”
Greg Street (alias Ghostcrawler ) is the former Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft .  He is now Head of Creative Development for Riot Games. 
On November 27, 2013 he announced on Facebook that he would be leaving Blizzard Entertainment to pursue a "great opportunity for something new and exciting".  It was later officially confirmed on the forums,  and he became Lead Game Designer at Riot Games ,  before moving to his current position of Head of Creative Development.
After leaving, he changed his Twitter handle to @OccupyGStreet on December 5, 2013.  He has recently managed to retake his @Ghostcrawler account.
- 4 References
- 5 External links
He earned a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. 
He got his start in game design (his "foot in the door", so to speak) by designing a scenario for Age of Empires that was eventually included in a shipping product. 
He was previously (1998-2008) lead game designer at Ensemble Studios for the Age of Empires series.  
Greg Street at BlizzCon 2008 .
- During the BlizzCon 2010 Quests & Lore Q&A panel, when asked about the moose, Alex Afrasiabi responded with "Yeah. Yeah, he did. You're gonna have to find him and ask him yourself, 'cause I have no damn idea."  
- Ghostcrawler ended his farewell post on the official forums with "P.S. No, you can’t have a pony. Or a moose. Or a mantis shrimp . Or a tardigrade . Or a crab. Keep trying though." 
- An 85 rare elite crab named Ghostcrawler can be found walking the Abandoned Reef in the Abyssal Depths of Vashj'ir . Its Nerfbat ability is an obvious easter egg to Greg Street's job, the nature of which sometimes leads to claims of unfair nerfing .
- He co-hosted the BlizzCon 2008 WoW Class Panel along with Tom Chilton .
- At BlizzCon 2011 , when asked why Ghostcrawler seemed to hate paladins , Blizzard's staff answered that a ret paladin killed his parents.
- He participated in the September 11, 2012 World of Warcraft Developer AMA on reddit. 
- He posted a lot of blogs for the Developer Watercooler .
- Greg Street about his job: "Systems design specifically is everything that is not level, story, quest or encounter design. My team handles everything from classes to mechanics to items to trade skills to achievements to UI design, and that includes the game balance." 
References [ ]
- ^ Re: No crabs on Tourney Realm seriously? (2009-02-18). Archived from the original on 2010-10-22. Retrieved on 2009-02-18.
- ^ BlizzCon 2010 Class Q&A panel
- ^ a b Linkedin.com . Retrieved on 2011-10-06.
- ^ The Impact of Having A Turtle Make It To The Water . Wowhead (2018-09-13). Retrieved on 2018-09-15.
- ^ Boubouille 2013-11-27. Ghostcrawler to leave Blizzard Entertainment . MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2013-11-27.
- ^ Ghostcrawler is Now Lead Game Designer at Riot Games . MMO-Champion (2014-01-14). Retrieved on 2014-01-14.
- ^ Greg Street 2013-12-05. For the immediate future, this is now @OccupyGStreet, at least until a better name strikes me. .
- ^ 8 year old wants to talk to Blizzard (2013-01-08).
- ^ InsideMacGames . Retrieved on 2009-02-09.
- ^ HeavenGames . Retrieved on 2009-02-08.
- ^ ZOMG RET! (2008-10-15). Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
- ^ Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Server . The Daily Blink. Retrieved on 2011-10-28.
- ^ Scott Andrews 2013-01-18. WoW Archivist: Many memes, handle it . Retrieved on 2016-01-29.
- ^ Elizabeth Harper 2015-10-15. Breakfast Topic: Our moose, as foretold by the prophecy . Retrieved on 2016-01-31.
- ^ MMO-Champion - Blizzcon 2010 - WoW Quests and Lore Panel . Retrieved on 2016-03-23.
- ^ Blizzcon 2010 - Hey Ghostcrawler! Where's Our Moose . Retrieved on 2016-03-23.
- ^ WoW Forums . Archived from the original on 2010-10-22. Retrieved on 2009-02-08.
External links [ ]
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Legendary World of Warcraft designer Greg Street is building a new fantasy MMO
The developer known as Ghostcrawler was the king of class balance during WoW’s golden era
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Share All sharing options for: Legendary World of Warcraft designer Greg Street is building a new fantasy MMO
Gaming giant NetEase has announced that it has recruited Greg Street, an influential designer on both World of Warcraft at Blizzard and League of Legends at Riot Games, to lead a new studio building an original fantasy massively multiplayer game.
Street’s studio is called Fantastic Pixel Castle and the “AAA MMO” game it’s working on is codenamed Ghost. The game is set in a new fantasy universe.
Street, who was known to the WoW community by his screen name Ghostcrawler, worked as a lead systems designer at Blizzard between 2008 and 2013, when the game was at the height of its popularity. His job included evolving the design and adjusting the balance of the character classes — a contentious area, to the say the least — and he was famed for his open engagement with the community in often forthright and funny exchanges on the official forums.
After leaving Blizzard, Street worked at Riot Games as a lead game designer, bringing his talent for online gaming balance first to League of Legends and later to its as-of-yet unreleased MMO spinoff . Street announced his departure from Riot in March of this year.
Street is a hugely experienced technical designer who has worked on two of the biggest online games of all time, so he’s quite a scalp for NetEase. The Chinese gaming giant is increasing investment in its own studios after losing the license to operate Blizzard games in China when its relationship with Activision Blizzard broke down acrimoniously . NetEase has recently founded studios led by Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi and Star Wars MMO veteran Rich Vogel , among many others.
NetEase says Street’s founding team at Fantastic Pixel Castle includes former WoW , LoL , and Guild Wars 2 developers. Street says that the studio is being built on remote working principles, will be recruiting globally, will stay small and nimble, and wants to show the game to fans “early and often” to get feedback. The studio has just launched a new website and will be introducing itself and Ghost on Twitch on Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. ET.
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Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street Returns With New MMO Codenamed Ghost
It's in the name..
Video game designer Greg ‘Ghostcrawler’ Street has re-emerged with a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game codenamed Ghost set in a new fantasy universe.
Street, who worked on World of Warcraft at Blizzard before joining Riot Games to work on its upcoming League of Legends MMO , has formed a new studio, called Fantastic Pixel Castle, owned by Chinese entertainment company NetEase Games. It’s made up of who worked on the likes of World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and Guild Wars 2.
Hello! 👋 We are Fantastic Pixel Castle, a new games studio making an epic AAA MMORPG codenamed Ghost. To learn more about our studio and vision for Ghost, visit our website at https://t.co/34jbooP5JE . 1/3 pic.twitter.com/ZdGYJABs23 — Fantastic Pixel Castle (@FPCStudio) November 2, 2023
Here's the official blurb on Ghost:
"As players, we are deeply in love with MMOs for their promise of social worlds. But we also feel that the genre has lately struggled to provide a community that you care about while still making your character feel heroic or special. We believe MMOs have moved too far toward solo adventuring, where other players often just slow you down. We want to bring back as central pillars of the MMO experience both playing with friends and building a community. We want to bring back the chance to impact the world around you."
And here's the setup of the world of Ghost:
"Imagine standing on the weathered cobblestones of an ancient city. In the sky above you are seemingly endless shards of broken worlds, a cornucopia of biomes that promise unlimited adventure and mystery. You are one of the survivors of an apocalypse lost to memory, and the rebuilding of the world now lies on your shoulders.
"In Ghost, you travel to world shards to power up your characters, bring back resources, and build your fledgling civilization by growing and supporting the city's diverse and ever-changing factions. In turn, you'll see the city grow and evolve over time based on the choices and actions of players just like you, as an epic story unfolds season over season.
"The World of Ghost is an original IP designed from the ground up to create rich and immersive gameplay. It is a fantasy world of heroic adventure, where you seek clues to uncover the mysteries of the world and engage with allies and enemies who have diverse motivations, actions, and secrets. You will fight with axes and crossbows and magic, but we do want to avoid the tropes of fantasy that you've already seen hundreds of times. For example, there are no elves or orcs in Ghost. We are pouring our passion into our IP development early, in order to build something that you can enjoy for decades to come."
And here's information on Ghost's gameplay:
"In our game, you will alternate between private realms that we're calling Blue Shards for you and your friends, and more public Red Shards that deliver a more traditional massively multiplayer experience.
"Blue Shards play a bit like a survival game - you and your friends can gather resources, construct bases, and adventure out into the wilderness. Blue Shards are extremely variable, ensuring a place full of new discoveries and challenges, guaranteeing that you'll never see the same Blue Shard twice. Because the Blue Shards belong to you, your effects on them are persistent and permanent. If you prefer a more competitive experience, you can host or join Blue Shards focused on guild rivalry, or even guild-versus-guild PvP.
"Red Shards are crafted by some of the best world artists and encounter designers to provide a signature massively multiplayer experience with many players at once. Red Shards are some of the most challenging places in the game to survive, so your group will need to band together with other groups to defeat world bosses, collect critical resources, and even open the gates to the end-game raiding instances. We expect some of you may prefer Blue or Red Shards, but the core way to play Ghost is to travel between both regularly as well as to Ghost's central city."
Street left Riot, where he was executive producer on the League of Legends MMO, in May. That departure came just over two years after Riot announced the game. At the time, Street assured Riot fans that the MMO spin-off was still in production .
"The MMO is in good hands and it's the right time to hand over the reigns for the next phase," he wrote. "I plan to stay in game development and I have had a number of exciting opportunities presented to me already. And I will be with you all playing the Riot MMO when it comes out."
Street first joined Riot as the lead gameplay designer on the original League of Legends in 2013, according to Riot's website . He announced the League of Legends MMO in 2020 via a tweet, though in 2022, he said there was "no guarantee" the game would come out .
Fantastic Pixel Castle will livestream an AMA on November 8 at 10am PT to talk more about the setup.
In This Article
Ghostcrawler Leaving Blizzard, Negative Comments Moderated on Wowhead
Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler, has left Blizzard for an undisclosed opportunity. What could tempt someone away from the cash cow of World of Warcraft?
Greg Street, better known to the World of Warcraft forum community as Ghostcrawler, has announced to the public that he is leaving Blizzard. His stated reason for leaving the gaming giant is an opportunity elsewhere and he has cryptically noted that it is unlikely he will be difficult to find.
Ghostcrawler has been a controversial figure at Blizzard for a long time, and for good reason. As their lead systems designer, he was in charge of the team implementing most of the MMO’s balance changes, and those balance changes inevitably upset a lot of people (including myself sometimes back when I played WoW in late Wrath of the Lich King /early Cataclysm days), as did his often even more upsetting explanations for them.
The source is largely free of players debating whether his departure is good or not, however, given the removal of what seems to be all negative commentary on his leaving.
The controversy of his tenure at Blizzard aside, we are now left with a serious question: what could possibly be a big enough opportunity for someone to leave a job heading one of the main teams for Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely profitable MMO?
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This wiki contains inaccurate and out-of-date information. Please head over to https://wowpedia.fandom.com for more accurate and up-to-date game information.
- View history
- 2 Leaving Blizzard announcement
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Greg Street at BlizzCon 2008 .
Greg Street (alias Ghostcrawler ) is the Lead Systems Designer for World of Warcraft . He describes his role as so, "Systems design specifically is everything that is not level, story, quest or encounter design. My team handles everything from classes to mechanics to items to trade skills to achievements to UI design, and that includes the game balance."  His influence on the game is so pervasive that he is often the target of community wrath, but also very respected for the detailed explanations he gives for his decisions.
He co-hosts many BlizzCon World of Warcraft panels.
He was previously (1998-2008) lead game designer at Ensemble Studios for the Age of Empires series.  
He earned a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. 
From the BlizzCon 2013 US Press Kit:  
Leaving Blizzard announcement
We just came off of a great BlizzCon. We had so many different games to talk about, and we were thrilled at the reception of Warlords of Draenor. It was great to meet or reconnect with so many of you. I love BlizzCon dearly, which makes it so hard to tell you that this will be my last one, or at least my last one up on stage. An opportunity has come my way, and I have made the very tough decision to move on from Blizzard.
I wanted to thank all of you for being a part of this grand quest. I have said a hundred times that having passionate gamers, including the angry ones, is a far better place to be than having a community that doesn’t care. You all care. Like us, you want the game to be the best that it can be. So I ask you to keep on providing your feedback. I promise (and I rarely promise!) that the developers care very much about what you have to say.
I’ll be out there, and I can’t imagine it will be that hard to find me.
P.S. No, you can’t have a pony. Or a moose. Or a mantis shrimp. Or a tardigrade. Or a crab. Keep trying though.
View original post
- ^ Re: No crabs on Tourney Realm seriously? (2009-02-18). Retrieved on 2009-02-18.
- ^ WoW Forums . Retrieved on 2009-02-08.
- ^ InsideMacGames . Retrieved on 2009-02-09.
- ^ HeavenGames . Retrieved on 2009-02-08.
- ^ Linkedin.com . Retrieved on 2008-11-04.
- ^ BlizzCon 2013 US Press Kit included on USB flash drive given to press
- ^ BlizzCon 2013 Warlords of Draenor Press Kit
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Ghostcrawler to leave Blizzard [Updated]
Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street shocked the entire WoW community with his announcement today of his departure from Blizzard Entertainment. After six years with the company, he has decided to move on. We will miss him. More than anything, to WoW fans, Greg was a bastion of community interaction, someone who worked tirelessly to improve the dialog between the developers and the community. His Twitter page has almost 70,000 followers, with whom he interacts on a daily basis, providing a direct line from community to devs. Regardless of the trolls, the criticism and the unpleasant behavior, Greg has kept at it, and done so with a pleasant demeanor and unerring focus on making the world's largest MMO the world's best. He's also been happy to admit when that has gone wrong, taking the often difficult role of messenger for the entire WoW dev team. Even back in 2009, when he'd been with Blizzard just a couple of years, WoW Insider was posting about how he was providing a link between community and developers, and that this "Ghostcrawler Experiment" was something new and refreshing, and good. A glance at our Ghostcrawler tag here at WoW Insider will show anyone just how committed he's being to keeping us informed over the years. Greg has been good for the health of the game, too, whether you like the latest set of changes to your class, to talents, to gear, to PvP, and to anything else where he's had an influence or not, his input as a designer should not be dismissed. But it's his accessibility and belief in the power of community that will be remembered. Now, who's going to get us that pony ? Updated Editor's Note: We've verified this information from multiple sources. Hit the break for the official announcement post.
Ghostcrawler You know that part at the end of raid night when the final boss is dead and you're done handing out loot and everyone kind of goes their separate ways? Yeah, this is one of those times. We just came off of a great BlizzCon. We had so many different games to talk about, and we were thrilled at the reception of Warlords of Draenor. It was great to meet or reconnect with so many of you. I love BlizzCon dearly, which makes it so hard to tell you that this will be my last one, or at least my last one up on stage. An opportunity has come my way, and I have made the very tough decision to move on from Blizzard. I wanted to thank all of you for being a part of this grand quest. I have said a hundred times that having passionate gamers, including the angry ones, is a far better place to be than having a community that doesn't care. You all care. Like us, you want the game to be the best that it can be. So I ask you to keep on providing your feedback. I promise (and I rarely promise!) that the developers care very much about what you have to say. I'll be out there, and I can't imagine it will be that hard to find me. Hugs, Ghostcrawler P.S. No, you can't have a pony. Or a moose. Or a mantis shrimp. Or a tardigrade. Or a crab. Keep trying though. P.P.S. I play a Holy Priest. source
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Cataclysm Post Mortem -- Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street
As part of our World of Warcraft: Cataclysm post mortem series, we sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to talk about his thoughts on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
Q. What were your main goals going into Cataclysm?
A: Westfall was a seven-year-old zone with seven-year-old trees and seven-year-old quests. It naturally felt old. It felt tired for players going back to level up an alt, and it wasn’t inspiring for new players coming to the game. We just felt like it was time to give all of those old 1-60 zones some attention again. Beyond that though, we wanted to update the classes at low level as well. The spell flow, by which we mean the level you get certain spells, just hadn’t aged well. You would get some very group-focused buffs at low level and some powerful leveling tools at high level, which would have made more sense reversed. There were some specs that just weren’t functional at low level before because they lacked the damage abilities or tools to effectively solo. Similarly, we took a look at all of the quest rewards at 1-60 because some specs just didn’t have adequate itemization to support them.
A second goal, from the systems design point of view, was to improve the class talent trees. We thought the trees had become bloated with filler instead of legitimately interesting talents. We also embraced the notion of class specialization to a much greater degree, by letting you choose your spec formally at level 10.
We also knew we needed to provide more content to players focused on maximum level, which meant we couldn’t just re-do 1-60, but we had to provide questing zones, class mechanics, and new PvP and PvE content for players who would be at level 85 too.
Finally, we wanted to deliver all of this content more aggressively. We know players can only wait so long for something new to do before they start to get bored. This has been a goal for some time, but it has been a challenging one for us. When you compare the graphic fidelity of a raid like Firelands to an older raid like Molten Core, you can imagine how it takes both more time and more people to make a raid these days. That’s exactly the opposite of what we want to be doing though, which is providing players content at faster rates.
Q. What do you think worked best in Cataclysm?
A. We’re really happy with the 1-60 revamp. Each zone looks amazing, we improved their quest flow, and they all have a story that has a (hopefully) meaningful climax, often with a blue item reward. Zones that didn’t have much going on before have an actual plot now, many of which are related to Deathwing’s return. We also did a better job of integrating the dungeons in a zone into the questing experience for that zone, so you feel like you have a good reason to explore them.
We really like how having players choose a spec at level 10 worked out. I’d say nearly every single design decision we make ends up being at least somewhat controversial in that some players agree with them and some players disagree with them -- that’s just the reality of having such a large and diverse player base. But choosing a spec at level 10 was as close to universally acclaimed by players as anything we’ve ever done. It just works. You get a meaningful choice early on, and powerful, useful, and fun abilities to go along with it. It leads to each spec having a stronger sense of identity, even at higher level.
We’re pretty happy with the level 80-85 content that we offered. The zones looked great and the stories were good. We offered several new dungeons, raids, and Battlegrounds. Late in the cycle of Cataclysm, we introduced Raid Finder, which provided a new type of content to players who historically weren’t raiders. We’re at the part of the lifespan of the game where some original features no longer have the cachet they used to -- you can only roll up so many alts, and by this point you might very well be done with achievements or convinced yourself that that type of gameplay isn’t for you. When we can offer a whole new way to play the game -- in this case provide raids to non-raiders -- it’s a big win.
Transmogrification is another one of those features -- it opened up an entirely new avenue of gameplay. One of the great things it’s done, aside from giving players more tools to personalize their characters of course, is make a lot of old content relevant again. Now players are doing old raids and dungeons looking for Transmogrification pieces, and that’s really cool.
I could name a few smaller features we thought worked out as well. The Justice / Honor badge system in Cataclysm cleaned up the crazy system from Lich King. All things considered, we’re happy with the healing model. We encountered issues with mana being in short supply at lower gear levels and conversely too abundant at the higher levels, eliminating much of the challenge for healers when the content is supposed to be the most difficult, but overall the model did what we wanted, and we’ll be refining it in Mists.
Q. What didn’t work out as planned?
Everything else! Seriously though, we tend to be our own harshest critics, so it’s actually easy for us to point out things that didn’t work out as expected.
While zones like Uldum and Deepholm look fantastic, they didn’t fit together as well as we’d have liked. In the planning phases, we didn’t think that having scattered end game zones would be a big deal. It turned out to feel a lot weirder than expected. Players ended up teleporting to nearly every destination, and it gave Cataclysm a disjointed feeling, detracting from that feeling of exploration and discovery. We learned that giving players a land to explore, a sense of place, is valuable. Ultimately, the scattered zones and the portals both served to kind of shrink the world, when we want to make the world a place you want to go out and be in. We’re definitely looking forward to getting back to a continent in Mists. We underestimated how important that was.
In addition, while we liked that each zone has a story, questing ended up being too linear. It didn’t feel like you could fly into a zone, find some quest givers, and explore. Instead, you kind of had to start at the beginning and follow all the quests to the end, and if you didn’t like a quest, well, you had to stick with it to get to the next one. We want zones to have an identity, flavor and a story, but we don’t want to railroad players through a zone either.
The difficulty at which we pegged our heroic dungeons and raids was controversial. They were designed to be about as tough as the dungeons were back in Burning Crusade, but the game has changed since then. Coming out of Lich King, we’d gotten the message loud and clear from players that they wanted tougher challenges. They liked the convenience of Dungeon Finder, but they missed using their crowd control and survival abilities and having to strategize about how to beat a given encounter. We designed the Cataclysm heroics with that in mind, and the players who wanted challenging content were thrilled.
The problem was that we had this whole group of players who felt like they couldn’t make any progress on their characters. Even if they wanted to end up raiding with their friends, they couldn’t earn the gear they needed to get into those raids (especially in the absence of Raid Finder). I don’t believe that the instances were too hard; it’s obvious there are players who enjoy that content. I believe the problem was that there were no alternatives. With such a diverse community, the goal is to have experiences that players from all over the spectrum can enjoy. We don’t want to shut anyone out. So, we’re addressing that with Challenge Modes in Mists. You’ll have normal and heroic mode dungeons, and then Challenge Modes, for players who are looking to prove their mettle. Likewise, you’ll have normal and heroic raids, and Raid Finder for players who don’t enjoy wiping on a boss week after week until they can master it.
While choosing a spec at level 10 felt great, we weren’t very happy with the rest of the talent tree overhaul. We definitely pruned some dead wood from the trees and got rid of some talents that weren’t a lot of fun, but players felt like they weren’t getting anything out of the bargain. Having simpler trees is a good goal, but it would have felt better if players felt like they got something cool in return for losing some boring fluff. Unfortunately, as is the case with many compromises, this one didn’t fully solve the original problems it was intended to solve, while it created new ones.
Fundamentally, taking into account what we’ve learned about talent trees over the years, we’ve come to the conclusion that the talent tree model where you pick up tiny performance increases here and there (and where there’s, mathematically, nearly always a ‘right’ answer and a ‘wrong’ answer) is not a great model. The Mists talent design is a major revamp that should fix this problem once and for all. Talents should be meaningful game-changers. At absolute worst a given talent may be the right one only situationally, and at best, players will have a lot more customization to make their play-style stand out. Furthermore, the fact that you’ll have more flexibility to change your talents should help keep gameplay fresh, even with that character that you play most often.
I feel like I should mention Abyssal Maw again. As with many cancelled features, it somehow took on a life of its own in the minds of players. Believe me, though -- you just don’t cancel things that you think are going to be awesome. It was three bosses inside Nespirah, with no unique art. The reason it was originally appealing to us was because we had so many Vashj’ir assets that we could use. But by the time it was time to do the work, we felt like we (and many players) had Vashj’ir fatigue. Now don’t get me wrong -- I loved Vashj’ir. I was an oceanographer, remember? Vashj’ir delivered on the promise of an underwater zone, but we feel like most players were ready to be done with it by the time they had quested through that. (Individuals will feel differently -- it’s that diverse player base thing again.) Firelands received a lot of new art, from bosses to environments, and we just didn’t feel like Abyssal Maw was going to compete. Who knows, though! We haven’t totally given up on the idea of cool underwater experiences, so maybe there’s potential we’d visit it again someday. (For my money, the zone I am personally saddest about cancelling is not Abyssal Maw; it was the Azjol-Nerub quest zone in Wrath of the Lich King.)
Speaking of raids, we also weren’t particularly happy with how accessible legendary items became in Cataclysm. Multiple characters in a single raiding guild were getting, and worse, expecting a legendary weapon. Legendaries are supposed to be rare and exciting, not a bar you fill up like some reputation grind, and certainly not something you feel entitled to get because it’s “your turn.” Dragonwrath in particular was usable by a large variety of class specs, which coupled with the guarantee to completion, just made them too ubiquitous. In the future, legendaries will be more legendary, perhaps so much so that not every raiding guild will have one. In that model, there might be those who almost, but not quite, complete one, but there will also be those who finish one and feel truly honored.
I have mixed feelings about Archaeology. I feel like it’s a good addition to professions and offers more, and more varied, gameplay than our existing professions. Still, it’s clear that some players wanted more. We wanted Archaeology to be hard to complete. We didn’t want it to be one of those professions you can max out by buying up mats at the Auction House. But random reward systems whose long-term goals are more interesting than the short term ones can feel grindy. Archaeology had too much travel time. It could be punishingly random, especially for players who imagined that it would be a guaranteed delivery mechanism for Zin’rokh (which was never the intention). Players missed a lot of the lore, which was delivered in the Archaeology journal and not as part of the survey or digging experience. We think the Mists of Pandaria expansion will be really good for Archaeology. Players will be focused on a couple of new races on a single continent, so travel and randomness will be reduced automatically, and leveling Archaeology should be a bit more convenient since there will be more opportunities to dig at a single site. We have other tricks up our sleeve too.
Q. What lessons have you learned and what are some of your top goals for Mists of Pandaria?
There are four big goals for Mists:
Get players out into the world. We don’t want to totally eliminate convenience, so it’s fine to queue for some features from capital cities, but we also want players to see other players out in the world, questing, trying world bosses, engaging in PvP, and just travelling from place to place.
Give players plenty to do. It’s a sad feeling, and a real failure on our part, whenever someone says “I want to play WoW this evening, but I just don’t have anything to do.” Like I said above, achievements and alts were great in their time, and we’ll continue to support them, but we understand the need for new ways to play as well. The new expansion will have entirely new systems, like scenarios and challenge modes. We are designing the initial zones to have features similar to the Molten Front daily area, so you don’t feel like questing is something you finish at level 90 (and so you don’t feel like daily quests are synonymous with ‘boring’ or ‘grind’). We want to make the Pandaria factions interesting. We want Exalted to be something you earn for bragging rights, not something every player has. We are adding a lot of mounts that will be hard to get, and awesome-looking armor that you’ll want just for transmogrification. We’re considering ways to let you increase the number of Conquest points you can earn per week or a way to translate questing into bonus loot from instances. We want to hide lots of cool little things all over Pandaria. Some will offer your character more power and some won’t. And if you really like achievements and alts, well hopefully we’ve got you covered there too, with account-level achievements and a new race and class.
Appeal to a broad audience. I’m always surprised by the number of players who want the game to be easier and the equal number who want the game to be harder (and can’t understand why anyone would disagree with them!) We approach the issue in a different way -- we think that what all of those players are really saying is that they want content for them. Message received. We’ll be offering Raid Finder versions of all of our raids going forward. We’ll be offering brutally difficult challenge modes of dungeons for players who thought the Cataclysm heroics were too easy. We’re experimenting with some tricky boss encounters for players who loved the hard-mode Ulduar achievements. We want to provide more cross-over between PvE and PvP, for those who are interested, so that it doesn’t feel like you have to play two different games to progress your character. We want to continually add new Battlegrounds, so those players have fresh experiences to look forward to. We’ll provide players with ways to upgrade their gear incrementally, while reserving tier sets for actual boss kills.
Get great content out faster. Enough said.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this entry in the Cataclysm post mortem series and that this has proven to be an enlightening opportunity to take in our perspective on what worked, what didn’t, and some of what’s coming. If you missed the chance, you can join us in looking back at Cataclysm by checking out the other entries in the post mortem series with Lead Encounter Designer Scott Mercer and Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak .
Now it’s time to look forward, since we have more to share about World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria coming on March 19. Stay tuned! Discuss the latest Cataclysm Post Mortem here.
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Amid Balmy Winter, Moscow Trucked in Heaps of Fake Snow. A Blizzard Ensued.
Lacking snow to complete the holiday atmosphere, Moscow bought fake snow from skating rinks. “It will all create a festive mood, I am sure,” one Muscovite said.
By Ivan Nechepurenko
MOSCOW — The authorities in Moscow had spent millions on Christmas trees, sparkling lights and other holiday decorations, but the festive mood was still missing something: Winter weather.
As the warmest December on record drew to a close, little snow had fallen, so the city made artificial snow and trucked it to parts of the city center — and much of it quickly melted into slush. Images of trucks unloading snow spread fast on social media, as observers ridiculed the government for spending money on something that usually just falls from the sky.
“With the Moscow budget, you can buy anything, even winter,” one user wrote on Twitter, pointing to the vast wealth disparity between the capital and the rest of Russia. “Let’s install freezing machines along the Tverskaya,” another one wrote, referring to the city’s main thoroughfare, where the authorities said the snow would be used to build a hill for snowboarders.
Many Muscovites on the streets appeared to be less scornful. They said they had missed the snow and welcomed the decision to bring it ahead of New Year’s Eve, the main family holiday in Russia, when the country stops for a week to celebrate. At a time of year when temperatures usually stay well below freezing, Moscow has had some highs in the mid-40s Fahrenheit in the past two weeks.
As if to mock the artificial scene, a blizzard enveloped Moscow on Monday night, leaving a natural snow cover on city streets — but forecasts say that, too, will melt away before the New Year.
“Yes, they brought the snow, and of course when they did it, a snowfall began, too,” said Larisa B. Artamonova, 70, a retired engineer. “It will all create a festive mood, I am sure.”
Muscovites have a difficult relationship with snow. While many like it as a sign of the holidays, others complain that snowfall produces traffic jams, the salt spread on roads ruins shoes and the mixture turns into a dirty, gray muck.
Last week, Moscow City Hall blocked many central streets around the Kremlin for the holiday season, which will last into the next week. Apart from the snowboard hill on the Tverskaya, a stash of snow was also spotted on Red Square, surrounded by a fence — as though to keep people from stealing any — and another appeared in the new Zaradye Park nearby.
The artificial snow was produced by cutting ice at skating rinks around the city, the authorities said.
“The machines there cut ice, producing ice crumbs, so we brought it,” a city official, Aleksei Nemeryuk told Govorit Moskva, a local radio station.
As the climate has heated up in recent years, Russia, like much of the world, has experienced record-breaking heat, with 2019 being the warmest year since observations began, according to meteorologists.
Many northern communities in Russia are built on permafrost that no longer merits the label, melting steadily and forcing people to relocate. Hunters and fishermen have had to change their routines as animals shift their migration routes.
The ice that polar bears traverse to hunt at sea has receded so far that the hungry animals are scavenging on land; in February, dozens of them roamed around a settlement in the Far North in search of food. There have been reports of brown bears, too warm to hibernate, out looking for meals, too.
Ski resorts in Sochi, a city on the Black Sea, said Sunday that they would limit the number of ski passes sold during the holiday season because the dearth of snow meant that only 20 percent of trails could be opened.
“Winters have turned much warmer over the past 30 years,” said Yelena Morenko, 55, walking with her husband, Aleksandr, along Petrovka, one of Moscow’s most elegant streets. “The season has shifted for at least one month.”
Russia could also reap benefits from global warming. Gas and oil companies are expected to benefit from easier access to raw materials in the Arctic and eastern Siberia. Russia is currently building a fleet of icebreakers to take advantage of the warming northern sea route.
Keeping Muscovites in a festive mood has been among the top priorities of the city’s ambitious mayor, Sergei S. Sobyanin, who presides over the country’s richest and most contrarian city.
The government has invested heavily in improving the city’s infrastructure and has held various festivals that at times keep Moscow’s main squares and streets busy with something other than anti-Kremlin protests .
“I don’t think there is much to see here, we came to Moscow to celebrate,” said Angelina Amelina, 25, who came to the capital from St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.
Walking with her boyfriend, Pavel, along the red walls of the Kremlin, Ms. Amelina said, “With or without snow, it is hard to create a Christmas-like atmosphere here; there are too many people and the people are so stressed.”
Ivan Nechepurenko has been a reporter with the Moscow bureau since 2015, covering politics, economics, sports, and culture in Russia and the former Soviet republics. He was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. More about Ivan Nechepurenko
Explore Our Weather Coverage
Much of the United States will continue to grapple with a mixed bag of unsettled weather — snow, rain, strong winds, flooding and freezing temperatures — that has upended daily life for millions of people from coast to coast.
The heaviest rain from a widespread storm that drenched the eastern United States appeared to have ended in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, but meteorologists said the risk of flooding had just begun .
Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York cautioned residents about two major storm-related problems that were likely to linger after the system moved on: widespread power outages and the risk of flooding in certain parts of the state .
Extreme Weather Maps: Track the possibility of extreme weather in the places that are important to you .
Tornado Alerts: A tornado warning demands instant action. Here’s what to do if one comes your way .
On the Road: Safety experts shared some advice on how snow-stranded drivers caught in a snowstorm can keep warm and collected. Their top tip? Be prepared.
Snow Tracker: Want to know how much snow will fall where you live? Search the full range of possibilities for your community .
Is It Safe to Go Outside?: Heat, flooding and wildfire smoke have made for treacherous conditions. Use this guide to determine when you should stay home .
Climate Change: What’s causing global warming? How can we fix it? Our F.A.Q. tackles your climate questions big and small .
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A History of Moscow in 13 Dishes
Featured city guides.
Columbia University in the City of New York
Miriam and ira d. wallach art gallery.
- Visitor Information
Moscow: City, Spectacle, Capital of Photography
April 30–june 21, 2003.
Moscow: City, Spectacle, Capital of Photography , an exhibition of 20th-century photographs of Moscow, opens at Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 and remains on display through Saturday, June 21, 2003.
Moscow has been a powerful magnet for many Russian photographers of the 20th century. Moscow: City, Spectacle, Capital of Photography presents the work of 31 photographers, whose images have defined the visual experience of Moscow from the 1920s to the present. Diverse in form and strategy, the 90 photographs chosen for the exhibition trace the history of Russian documentary photography and offer insight into individual practices. From Aleksandr Rodchenko's constructivist visions and Evgenii Khaldei's humanist landscapes to Igor Moukhin's scenes of urban spectacle and alienation in the works of Russia's key 20th-century photographers, Moscow ventures beyond the expected image as a site of famous landmarks, architectural treasures and dramatic lifestyles.
Early 20th-century photographers Boris Ignatovich and Arkadii Shaikhet saw themselves in the vanguard of an emerging mass-media culture, defining with their cameras the visual experience of Soviet modernity. For nearly 70 years, Soviet photography was assigned the duty of maintaining the ideological rigidity of the Soviet State. Yet, as examples of the work of Iakov Khalip, Anatolii Egorov, Mikhail Savin, and Mark Markov-Grinberg show, Soviet photographic practices were much more complex than has been previously acknowledged. The works of these photographers remain intensely compelling to a modernist eye.
Contemporary Russian photographers, such as Lev Melikhov, Valerii Stigneev and Sergei Leontiev, engage with the legacy of the Soviet documentary photography. But for them the documentary is a complex and multivalent genre, which incorporates subjectivity, ambiguity and reflexivity and comments on social and cultural issues without losing sight of the position from which that commentary is made. In the recent photographs by Vladimir Kupriyanov, Igor Moukhin, Anna Gorunova and Pakito Infante, the "real" space of Moscow is replaced by an imaginary and optical spaces of virtuality.
The works in the exhibition are on loan from Moscow's Cultural Center Dom, and many are being shown outside Russia for the first time. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Wallach Art Gallery is publishing an illustrated catalogue with a scholarly essay by the exhibition curator, Nadia Michoustina, a Ph.D. candidate in Columbia University's Department of Slavic Languages. The essay presents a nuanced history of Russian photography of the 20th century, and contributes to an interpretation of extraordinary images.
Past Blizzard Employees: Ghostcrawler on Death Knights, Metzen on Leaving Blizzard
Metzen interview, ghostcrawler on wrath death knights.
- All three specs were originally designed to not have a specific role--they were all meant to tank, DPS, and PvP in some form. Ghostcrawler still has mixed feelings about stepping back from this idea; the reason for more traditional specs was that the team was essentially designing many specs-within-specs. For example, every spec would need a version for Tank, DPS, dual-wield, PvP, etc.
- Blood was intended to be the "easy" melee spec, Frost the "min/max" spec with some casting abilities, and Unholy the "pet-based" class.
- Death Knights were a catalyst for revisiting the system of buffs in parties or raids, because there was a fear that groups wouldn't "have room" for another melee if a group already required certain specs for party-wide buffs.
- The developers had a lot of experimentation with creative spells to hook players and encourage them to try a new spec; eg Xelnath designed Death Grip. One unintended downside was that these new types of spells had some buggy behavior for players.
- Part of the success of the Wrath DK was credited to the Acherus starting zone quest, which was led by Alex Afrasiabi, and the initiative to engage the community of alpha and beta testers.
- At one point in the design process, abilities scaled with disease count and Death Knights could have a huge number of diseases--something like 16 different types.
Comment by Arraya
Oh, hearing this is sad. But I'm happy he's looking out for himself. Still, Metzen will be missed.
Comment by Alecino
They need to completely redesign each class and spec from the ground up, not just the DK's; they were at some point stable during wrath but that just made every other class feel unbalanced. Then comes to question of raiding, I personally see an average of 4 DK's within a typical raid (even less if you count world bosses). I've seen my Healers leave if one or both tanks are DK's, because, they are so unpredictable to heal and can survive on their own while the stressed out healers spend their cd's on healing the wrong player and letting the strong dps die due to that can't heal themselves. I feel like we already experienced this in other expansions. At the end, you can clearly see how one class/spec can and will affect everybody. Just a little food for thought!
Comment by perculia
Oh, hearing this is sad. But I'm happy he's looking out for himself. Still, Metzen will be missed. I was expecting a regular chat when I first clicked on the audio, but I was very moved listening to the full thing.
Comment by Baatmaan
It is so weird seeing a legend, an icon, and in a lot of ways, a role model of mine to be as gullible as me - or you know, a regular person. I hope he "recovers" and starts to create again, if even as a hobby. Without pressure.
Comment by Vaeku
It is so weird seeing a legend, an icon, and in a lot of ways, a role model of mine to be as gullible as me - or you know, a regular person. I hope he "recovers" and starts to create again, if even as a hobby. Without pressure. Same here... but at the same time I'm glad that he did this interview because it's good to see that he has the same problems as everyone else.
Comment by SilverDragon234
He'll still be a voice actor, regardless.
Comment by kodora1316
I miss the original death knights. I had such fun with the come-back-as-a-ghoul ability.
Comment by tatsuran
Best wishes to Metzen
Comment by Pelontir
Respect to Chris Metzen for talking so openly about this and the fact that he is looking out for himself! Thanks alot for all the great stuff you created and take care!
They need to completely redesign each class and spec from the ground up Geez they just did MAJOR redesigns. How is that not enough?
Comment by Snowy6
Oh, hearing this is sad. But I'm happy he's looking out for himself. Still, Metzen will be missed. I was expecting a regular chat when I first clicked on the audio, but I was very moved listening to the full thing. Sorry but I do not see a link to the audio in the article.
Oh, hearing this is sad. But I'm happy he's looking out for himself. Still, Metzen will be missed. I was expecting a regular chat when I first clicked on the audio, but I was very moved listening to the full thing. Sorry but I do not see a link to the audio in the article. Is the soundcloud embed not loading for you?
Comment by Mightyena5875345
I wish Metzen would be like Blizzard's hype man at Blizzcon still though. Like why can't he just stop working on their games and just come out of retirement every Blizzcon to hype up the audience. He is so good at it! He can just be informed of all the new stuff coming up and be told what to tell the audience about. Would be a fun way to still be involved in the community and not have all that stress! He is such an awesome guy and I missed him at Blizzcon this year.
Comment by Winfree
Christ Metzen thank you for several decades of joys & creativity you brought upon millions. For opening yourself up stating that we all got flaws & stress is no good. Once again thank you for sharing this with us.
I wish Metzen would be like Blizzard's hype man at Blizzcon still though. Like why can't he just stop working on their games and just come out of retirement every Blizzcon to hype up the audience. He is so good at it! He can just be informed of all the new stuff coming up and be told what to tell the audience about. Would be a fun way to still be involved in the community and not have all that stress! He is such an awesome guy and I missed him at Blizzcon this year. Towards the end of the interview he addressed BlizzCon a bit - he admitted he was generally a private, homey person and that the public persona of him as a hype man wasn't him on a day to day basis. He did love genuinely interacting with fans at BlizzCon, but discussed a past convention in which he got an anxiety attack and needed some quiet space before heading back to meet with fans.
Comment by bbt13843
Being a young man of twenty-one with a hard exterior this broke me down into tears twice. I feel a wholeness with the world after hearing Chris talk about his life. I felt many of these emotions before and to hear a grown man talk about needing help makes me feel alright about my own problems. This helped more than my own vocabulary could ever explain. Thank you Chris and Perculia for sharing this.
Comment by Taraezor
Hmmm... around the 6 to 7 minute mark he said he hadn't been into work for several months. At most just touching base every so often. Then he fronts up and retires. Around the ten minute mark he delves into his personal psychological situation. Anxiety. Around the 11 minute mark he cites Titan as the tipping point. The incredible disappointment that the development team of which he was a part just could not agree on how to push the project forward. (I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be to have a group of driven creatives, heels dug in, committed with all their heart to their own way to push forward a project. Recipe for failure) A little more insight into his situation, the response from his employer and the incredible space he needed to be able to make a decision. By the 14 minute mark I can see that he has really had a chance over the months of downtime while he was still employed at Blizzard to really analyse the situation. I think we can all agree that on the basis of all the very personal details he revealed, he had to leave Blizzard for the sake of his sanity and his family. Great decision Chris. Don't hurry back. And I mean that in a really nice way! (By the 17 minute mark you can see he wanted to go out on a high and after the failure of Titan. You succeeded many times over Chris!)
Comment by Organthrone
Such a frank and honest interview, really brought a lot home, and just bolstered my respect for Chris even higher.
Comment by Faoil
Metzen was an excellent, charismatic hype man at Blizzcon, but I also think Ion Hazzikotas does a great job of it too. He's certainly less socially awkward seeming than a lot of other Blizzard employees. Not that's a bad thing, they're game designers, not orators or comedians.
Oh, hearing this is sad. But I'm happy he's looking out for himself. Still, Metzen will be missed. I was expecting a regular chat when I first clicked on the audio, but I was very moved listening to the full thing. Yeah, it was a very deep conversation, sad hearing his story, considering how much of an amazing and fun guy he is.