The Devil Cries: Rob Pardo Pardos Ways With Blizzard

By Nathan Grayson on July 4th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

That headline might be confusing for some of you, so allow me to elaborate: Rob Pardo’s been one of Blizzard’s top designers for 17 years, making him – among many other things – one of Diablo‘s many daddies. So when I say the devil cries, I’m mostly referring to that. I’m sure he’s blowing his 666 nostrils into a +44 WIS Hanky Of Wretched Despondency as we speak, the poor primeval force.

That, however, is only the beginning of Pardo’s legendary ledger, which spans everything from the original StarCraft to Warcraft III to World of Warcraft to Diablo III. He’s been everywhere (as lead designer or chief creative officer for a lot of it), worked on projects great and not-so-great. And now he’s leaving.

Pardo wrote a lengthy farewell on the Blizzard forums:

“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.”

Maybe he will Kickstart the spiritual successor to Warcraft III. Yes, I believe that is what he will do because that’s what I want and it’s pretty easy to will yourself into believing something at that point. For instance, Pardo’s going-away post has nine paragraphs. Yeah, that’s right: divisible by three. He also posted in the Warcraft section of the forums.

Oh, and if you do an “inspect element” on the page, the top line of html reads “http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml.” W3? 1999? Warcraft III’s first showing was in 1999 and there’s no way that url redirects to “an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web” called W3C don’t worry I checked lalalalalalalala can’t hear you.

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30 Comments »

  1. XhomeB says:

    Maybe he has finally noticed Blizzard is not the same company they once were. No, it’s not nostalgia goggles, something DID go wrong after they released The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft.
    SC2 suffers from a cheesy, horribly written “love story” plot with tons of unnecessary, stupid retcons. The multiplayer is nowhere near as balanced or cleverly designed as Brood War was.
    Diablo 3 – look above. The story and writing are HORRENDOUS, what a cheese-fest. As for the gameplay…Random dungeons? Gone. Character development? Gone, you can only customize your warrior via equipment. Art direction? Cartoony as hell, it looks nice, but it’s such a disappointing departure from the much more grounded, dark fantasy art Blizzard North came up with.

    There was a time when I would pick up a Blizzard game without hesitation, those days are gone.

    • Revolve says:

      To be fair I think there’s something to be said for them being seemingly the last bastion of releasing actually finished, polished games rather than the buggy mess that is becoming increasingly the norm. As for your gripes with plot and art direction. it’s possible that’s a personal opinion that’s not shared by the majority of their fans, yeah? I for one have no problem with either the story or art of Diablo 3.

      The former is hardly relevant in a dungeon crawler like Diablo 3 past the first run through and setting up either a story or any emotionally charged character progression in such a format would be very difficult I would think just because of the detachment of the player from the camera angle.

      As for art direction and graphical design, I think it looks great and it’s more open visuals are probably a big part of it’s critical and commercial success.

      Blizzard are pretty much the only developer now who I feel comfortable pre-ordering games from. When I buy a Blizzard game, while I may not agree with many of their balancing policies later down the road, I KNOW it’s going to be finished, polished and most importantly heavily supported and patched for a long time after release.

      • Bull0 says:

        Diablo 3 had a really dodgy launch, they removed the RMAH after what, a year?! and the most interesting feature of Starcraft 2 – for me, at least – was the editor and ingame custom game launcher stuff, which took absolutely ages to materialise but had been advertised from announcement on.

        • Revolve says:

          Yeah I actually forgot about Diablo 3′s launch, that was a blip to be sure, although I don’t think it took them long to get it sorted. (Naturally doesn’t change that it shouldn’t have happened but I think they probably just underestimated the amount of players that would be hammering their servers, which is somewhat understandable).

          Removing the RMAH wasn’t a negative imo since it removed the pay-to-win model which was causing many problems with the games economy (a player issue arisen from a rare game design issue from Blizzard).

          And as for you only liking the editor for Starcraft II, let’s be honest, you’re in an extreme minority there which I assume was the reason for it being so late. To be honest you’re probably lucky to get it at all since that’s something that very few companies provide at all anymore so the fact that they did give it to us – albeit late – is another positive for Blizzard in my book.

          • Bull0 says:

            Wow, hey hey hey. I didn’t say the editor was the only thing I liked about Starcraft 2, I said it was the most interesting feature. And since they featured it very, very heavily in the Starcraft 2 announcement and press and continued to do so until a few months before launch when they realised they couldn’t ship with it, no, I don’t consider myself “lucky” to have eventually got it.

            I also don’t think removing the RMAH was a bad thing but it goes to show just how unfinished and poorly balanced Diablo 3 was, and how long it took them to gradually corral it into a competent-enough game.

        • Brigand says:

          Eh wasn’t the map editor included at launch? I can certainly remember it being there. It wasn’t half as powerful as it is now but i’m sure it was there.

          • Bull0 says:

            The editor was there but not the ability to do it all within the game – share and rate and launch the custom games and use the matchmaking with them, etc. I think they called it arcade? Don’t remember.

      • Myrdinn says:

        Blizzard hasn’t made any single player game for 11 years. Diablo 3 wasn’t really finished (like Bull0 pointed out above) as they had to revamp the entire game like 3 times and back down on the Auction House a few years after release. World of Warcraft has never been ‘finished’ as expansion packs keep rolling out. I guess Hearthstone is a ‘finished’ game but it’s not really in the spirit of ‘classic’ Blizzard games.

        Blizzard died when Blizzard North died, its corpse exploded (necromancer skill) when they merged with Activision.

        • Revolve says:

          I dunno, Starcraft II has a perfectly fun campaign which is all I ever played in it and thoroughly enjoyed. Diablo 3 is fine solo too, albeit not exactly the most efficient way to play and it’s just generally more fun in a group. And WoW is obviously not finished since it’s an MMO and doesn’t really count in that sense. They keep building on it which adds more and more content, but it’s the most polished MMO out there and it’s certainly bug-free in terms of an MMO since you’d be hard pressed to find any major bugs/issues that they haven’t patched.

          Yeah their direction has changed from the old style they used to have, but that’s the nature of all things, everything evolves into something new and Blizzard have evolved to suit the needs and wants of their modern fanbase, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be you. It doesn’t change the fact that their games are extremely polished and finished in a way that most games companies aren’t, which was my original point. (Other than Diablo 3 release which I actually completely forgot about and which I don’t think took them overly long to fix)

        • ramirezfm says:

          I wouldn’t say problems at launch for an always online game count as not finished. I enjoyed D3 after the first week. I did play solo and I did use AH, not for real money tho. Hell, I logged in 200hrs and enjoyed almost every one. Highest difficulty before nerf wasn’t that much fun for a WD tho… But hey, all in all it was a good game.

          • newguy2012 says:

            I would have to say the decline started when they decided to release SC2 in 3 parts. More cash for them and the game will last longer. Bad for the fans as it is just the same game with 3 new units every year.

            Then their biggest turkey was D3. Decent now, but it took them damn near 2 years to get there, when they finally realized their cash grabbing hurted their game.

            They are also a bit of a DRM baddie, all newer games requires you to be online to play. Battlenet is not the most reliable service, and when it goes down it stays down for 3-4 days. Not cool when playing one of their games.

            They still make decent games, but quality and the “passion” of previous games are missing.

          • Frank says:

            @newguy: I disagree. The tripartite release was not a big departure from the normal Blizzard mode of operation and the RMAH was a laudable attempt at something new. I agree with the top post in this thread, the problems started with atrocious writing (in WC3, I’d say), not money-grabbing.

          • newguy2012 says:

            Normally they did 1 main game and an expansion?

      • Distec says:

        “The former is hardly relevant in a dungeon crawler like Diablo 3 past the first run through and setting up either a story or any emotionally charged character progression in such a format would be very difficult I would think just because of the detachment of the player from the camera angle.”

        Umm… Yes. And Diablo 3 kept trying to shove its shit story and dialogue in your face instead of just relegating it to the background entirely. It’s obvious they spent some effort on the terrible narrative. Let’s not excuse it because it’s a monster basher. Blizzard seemed to think their story was important until they started getting flak.

        I don’t even know what “open visuals” means.

      • socrate says:

        Im pretty sure “the majority of their fan” were pissed off at the overall quality of Diablo 3 who is still just an non MMO WoW experience even today…

        In Diablo 3 there is almost no difference in look from low lvl to high level really you look epic from the start which is kind of dumb really it remove the entire progress of the thing and thats how it is currently in WoW at this point also…the flashy attack that does almost nothing also don’t help this…in D2 you kill 100 monster in a single room with a really cool flashy attack and you feel powerful….in Diablo 3 still today you can mash that damn skill that look like a blow from Chronos itself but you end up doing next to nothing and have to repeat it and bash on 1 monster over and over again…it make no sense.

        The entire experience of Diablo 3 is about pleasing that 12 year old mentality that people seem to have these days and that dumb don’t stand in the fire,there you go have a cookie you’re the best player ever mentality..people saying there was no skill in D2 compared to D3 never actually played the game cause D2 had don’t stand in the fire before WoW.

        Oh and one last thing just checking the current player on D2 and D3 and you can see that D2 still as TONS of player creating game and doing run while D3 is in comparison a desert,should tell you alots about the state of the game.

        Blizzard lost alots of its talent and as been bleeding for a long time now…its sad(or actually good) to see people that did good(and horrible thing) go away…but i hope they are going for a better future

    • Turkey says:

      They’ve never been the same since they quit making SNES games.

    • mvar says:

      Warcraft 3 story was a huge letdown too and one of the reasons i never ever bothered with WoW. The second blow came with their intention to milk our wallets dry by seperating SC2 into 3 episodes of a laughable soap opera. The final blow came with the atrocity that is D3. Blizzard’s golden age which produced games with great gameplay, writing, atmosphere died with the second Diablo. Or perhaps I’m getting too old and nostalgic

  2. kael13 says:

    Hmm.. This is interesting. Also, did you know that one of their executive producers, Alex Mayberry, also left recently to join Cloud Imperium (Star Citizen). Maybe people really are starting to jump ship.

    Although Blizzard has been branching out in the number of concurrent projects they’re doing, you could certainly argue their output has become a bit stale. Expansions and add-ons and that’s it. Not to mention going back to the drawing board on the Titan project.

    A few months ago, I did a bit of investigation into what was going on with the great void in announcements regarding Legacy of the Void and on the Blizzard jobs board, they were essentially looking to build an entire team for the game. When Dustin Browder and his team got moved over to Heroes of the Storm, development on SC2 basically stopped.

    On the one hand, it sucks that such talent is leaving a company I’m still deeply fond of, but on the other, these people given creative freedom is definitely a good thing. I’ve started having the impression that the executives over at Blizzard are a bit up themselves after their success with WoW; Metzen, Frank Pearce and whathaveyou are probably too content to sit on their laurels.

    • MkMax says:

      development on SC2 basically stopped

      yep, the wonders of releasing the game in 3 parts never ceases to amaze

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        The team that makes Starcraft is currently working on Heroes of the Storm. Once that’s out of the way they’ll return to Starcraft again. Nothing to do with being a threeparter.

  3. Frank says:

    Buh.

    Nathan allows comments on the notorious D****o series now, but Microsoft and gender are now entirely taboo? Since when is MS a touchy subject?

    Here’s hoping Pardo has more tricks up his evil wizard sleeves than just ARPGs, which Blizzard vets have made enough of already.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The sad thing about Blizzard vets seems to be that they just keep making the same things. A lot of the Guild Wars people are ex-Blizzard as well, for example. Makes you wonder why they leave in the first place…

  4. Shuck says:

    “one of Diablo‘s many daddies”
    You mean Diablo 3‘s many daddies. I know Blizzard South like to take credit for the Diablo series, but they had nothing substantial to do with Diablos 1 and 2. They can’t even entirely take credit for Diablo 3, even though they threw out the almost finished game Blizzard North had done in favor of starting over – there were still a few elements from the original game that they retained in the new design.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I actually think Diablo is his own daddy. Since, you know, a guy with Diablo inside him got Adria pregnant, so that Diablo could rise from the child so created.

      He’s a lot like Christian god, like that. Like extrovert Jesus, one might say, what with all the sacrificing himself for himself so that he can become another version of him.

      Hmm. On that note, doesn’t Christian god also seem a lot like a pre-alpha version of Steam trading cards? There’s a bunch of ‘em, but they’re all the same in that if you have all of them, you get a badge. But you have to destroy the cards first.

      And stuff.

  5. anonzp says:

    yeah, starcraft 2.

    Remember when you could turtle in your base, build defenses, build a powerful upgraded army, advance tactically and slowly towards the enemy base while taking all the time you need? Well Blizzard doesn’t! This horses**t of a campaign is nothing but timed missions, it’s all rush rush rush. No more experimenting with awesome new units and playing around with them, no more playing at your own pace and formulating attack and defense strategies, now you have FREE and UNLIMITED units and all you have to do to win a mission is select them and press “A” at the enemy base; and even if you don’t want to do this, you have no choice since every mission is a race against the clock and is annoyingly scripted. I can’t even remember building a single base defense in the entire campaign. “This is how you are supposed to play the zerg” Blizzard says, well in that case please don’t call this piece of fecal matter an RTS game because it has absolutely no relation to classical RTS games (especially starcraft 1). It plays more like Call of Duty.

    And that’s not even the worst part. The story looks like it was written by a ten year old. There are no more plot twists, everything is predictable and cliche, and the dialogue is cringe inducing (example: “My queen, your hatred is burning like a star”). The days when you would play a mission for hours and then near its end start to foam at the mouth while you await the awesome revelation in the story, they are gone. You feel more and more boredom as you click “next mission”, and your only motivation to finish is a feeling that you just want to get this s**t over with. There is absolutely nothing to like about this story, it’s all about the angry girlfriend on a quest for revenge. How the heck can anyone even relate to her? Who cares about some hysterical b*tch and her love driven rampages?
    And why the heck are zerg humanized? Why do they spare civilians? What happened to the mindless swarm that ravages human populations across the galaxies? Now they feel like nothing but a tool for some b*tch’s personal vendettas.
    And speaking of the star of the show, do you remember when Kerrigan was a cynical badass “Queen b*tch of the Universe” who cared for nothing but power, expansion, and the glory of the swarm? Well now she’s a sensitive Queen heroine who cares about saving humanity, and of course her paramour Jim Raynor. Here’s a summary of the game’s dialogue without giving away spoilers:
    “O Raynor, Raynor! wherefore art thou Raynor?”
    “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, where Char is burning.”
    And even this incredibly simple story managed to have more plotholes than Swiss cheese. I can’t even call them plotholes since they’re absolutely nonsensical and serve nothing but to advance the story to the predictable and hurried ending.

    If you are a fan of the original series, then do yourself a favor and stay away from this game.

  6. KenTWOu says:

    Video game industry is lazy and not risky enough, they’re focusing on doing more sequels after sequels after sequels… They don’t want to innovate, they don’t want to be creative, they want our money, by the way, I’m buying every game shortly after release for $60… I hate CoDs and Ass Creeds. What? Ken Levine is shutting down Irrational? Where is my spiritual successor to System Shock 2? What? Rob Pardo is leaving Blizzard? Where is my spiritual successor to Warcraft 3? Man, don’t you see? We’re hating sequels here! Lalalalalalalala can’t hear you…

  7. shagen454 says:

    Diablo 3 is the only disappointing game they have ever made. Especially, due to the fact that I find Path of Exile better than it.

    All of their newest games have been fantastic, The Heart of the Swarm was fantastic on many levels, Mists of Pandaria (I passed it on for a year or so) is also, fantastic, Heroes of the Storm is awesome and Hearthstone is awesome.

    I’m sick of people talking shit on Blizzard almost just for the sake of doing it; yeah not every game is going to be as great as Warcraft III; but Blizz has it’s own thing going on, their own way of dealing with their franchises and I am completely down to give them my wallet because they always deliver but moreso the two latest games Hearthstone (YES it does feel like a Blizzard game) and Heroes of the Storm are really a lot of fantastic fun and show a fantastic and varied future for the company.

    Sure HoS is not DOTA 2, it’s no where near as complex (or competitive as of yet) but that is just the thing, just like Hearthstone – they are inspired by something but made into their own, Blizz does more than a great job creating something new & fresh out of older standards.

    Hopefully, soon… with all of those billions of dollars they will make something completely unique and original. I feel that probably most of their developers and designers are drooling to get their unique ideas – so maybe Blizzard should unleash their hounds and if they did they would probably blow all of this weak shit (ehem Watch Dogs, Wild Star, etc etc) we see constantly away, forever.

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