A message from Chris Metzen

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[Posted on behalf of Chris Metzen]

A FAREWELL…

I had just turned twenty years old when I started working at Blizzard. Seems like a lifetime ago. Guess it was. Those first few years were the start of a very grand adventure for me, one that would take me around the world, introduce me to thousands of wonderful geeks just like me—and ultimately shape the course of my adult life.

Of course when I started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to make games or build entertainment products.…

But I had an insatiable passion for ideas. For stories. For heroes.

My only real training before joining Blizzard was the long-running D&D campaign I had with my closest friends—Sam, Mike P., Daniel, and Mikey C. (you know who you are, boys…HAMRO!). Building ideas—vast worldscapes, characters, and plotlines with my friends was my first great love. I lived for it. It was a safe space amid the tension and change of some rough teenage years. The grand refuge of D&D was a glorious meeting of minds and imaginations where I felt I truly belonged.

It was a space where friendship and imagination were inextricably linked.

The sharing of ideas on the fly, the crazy, unexpected turns other players would take—it stretched our imaginations in ways we’d never have dreamt of on our own. I loved how roleplaying through adventures taught us so much about each other—and, more often than not, ourselves. Imagining together helped us make sense of the crazy world we were growing up in. It made us stronger together.

I wouldn’t really understand the depth of it for many years, but I had learned an important truth from my friends back then:

Creativity is relational.

Looking back at my years at Blizzard, I see now how profoundly this idea has shaped my career. I see how profoundly my friends and coworkers at Blizzard have shaped me as a person.

For nearly twenty-three years I’ve had the very distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment. I’ve walked with giants (and stood on some giants’ shoulders, too).

In short, I’ve had the time of my life.

I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky. Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and “give and take.” It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens.

It’s not just the decisions you come to—or even the final shape of the product you craft.… It’s bigger than that—and infinitely more important. True collaboration builds trust—and trust is the basis of all lasting relationships. With trust you build more than just a great product.

You build a TRIBE…that can build anything.

A family of craftsmen.

That’s what Blizzard has been for me. My second family, through all of life’s ups and downs, it’s always been there. The great, geeky backdrop of my life. I don’t just mean “the job” or even the creative mission—but the people. The people who over and over lifted me up, believed in me—and pushed me to find my potential as both an artist and as a leader all these years.

To my Blizzard brothers and sisters…I wish I had the words.

Everything just sounds…trite.

All I can think of is…

You helped me believe in myself and achieve every one of my wildest dreams.
I am forever grateful to you.

I love you all with everything I’ve got.

Thank you.

And to all of you out there in Blizzard’s vast gaming community—those of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and all of you around the world I’ve only heard about—thank you.

Thank you all for letting me be a special part of your community. For letting me belong with you. We’ve shared countless adventures together and I’ve always been overwhelmed and humbled by your passion for our games as well your commitment to each other. Thank you for all the BlizzCon hugs, smiles, handshakes, and stories over the years. You will never know how much you’ve all touched my heart and inspired me to give my all into this craft.

With that said, I’ll try to get down to the point, here. I’ve come to a turn in the road. A new, far quieter chapter in my life looms ahead.

I am retiring.

Yup.

Hangin’ up my guns.
Clockin’ out.
Takin’ the last gryphon out of Stormwind.
You get the picture.

Crazy, I know.

It’s a massive change for me, but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It’s ironic given the fact that things have never been better or more energized at Blizzard. Just this year alone has been incredible.

Legion’s arrival.
The launch of Overwatch.
The Warcraft feature film.

I’ve never been more proud of Blizzard and the quality of its products than I am now. It’s remarkable that even after all these years we can still reach new heights and take the world for an amazing ride. I believe Blizzard’s future is brighter than ever.

I won’t lie—it’s going to be really hard stepping away from these worlds that I love. But I’m content that I’m leaving them in the hands of the most passionate, talented, and dedicated craftsmen ever assembled.

I can’t wait to see where Blizzard’s worlds go next—and to experience them first-hand like everyone else does. As a fan. As an adventurer. Right back to the start.

That’s just so cool…

The reason I use the word “retire” is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest. Lay around on the couch and get fat. Well, fatter

Seriously though, I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live…to love my wife with all my strength…that’s my career now.

And I’ve never been happier.

Ever. ☺

Peace out, y’all.

I love you all.

I’ll see you online.

Chris
Well,

I'm one of those 'far' person you touched virtually. (Since I live in Canada and never got the chance to go to a BlizzCon and meet you in person).

But I must say I grew up with those game you started to work on. I started with Warcraft 2, (When I was 14 here) and was playing over a 56k modem that took the phone line when I wanted to play 'via TCP' back in those days.... I am now 33. I guess times goes by for everyone...

Hmm... wait did Lost Vikings was before WC2 ? Because I also remember this very fun puzzle game on PC.

Well, back to you, I wish you all the happy 'slow' time with your family and friends. (And I'm sure you'll keep in touch with your close friends at Blizz too ;-) as a 'partial time' consultant over a beer on a friday night once in a while.

Anyway, thanks for all the game, the lores and what you have given to those franchises. (I remember reading the small bribe of lore in the Warcraft 2 game manual and I think I remember your name once in a while).

I still can't believe... to be the first reply to this post. (As you can see I dont post often on forum).

Well, thanks for this heartly farewell, best of the retirement for you!
Highly Rated
Lok'tar ogar, Warchief.
I'm so sad to see you go from the company I respect so much, I had the honor of interviewing you for a fansite years ago and your passion is always so inspiring, thank you for all you've done and best of luck with everything you are doing. Enjoy the time off and I hope we will cross paths again at some point!
Much love to you Sir from this great community! I've had the joy of playing Blizzard games since Warcraft 2 when it released and I haven't stopped playing these amazing adventures since then. You are your team have had a huge influence on my interests in life, and I wish you and your family the best!
God speed Warchief. Best wishes and thanks for creating worlds and stories I'm so thrilled to be a part of
This makes me so, so sad. I hope you come back for BlizzCons - maybe not as a presenter, but around.
But...

who is going to voice thrall now?
Your work has impacted so many lives, though I can only speak for myself.

Without the worlds of Azeroth and Sanctuary, the Koprulu sector, and other universes I would not be the person I am today.

Not a podcaster. Not someone with such a diverse number of friendships across the world.

It's kind of mind-blowing to imagine what my life would be like without the worlds you helped create. Thank you for being a part of my life, and so many others'.
It has been an honor, Warchief. Lok'tar!
RIP Blizzard? In all seriousness, Metzen was a significant part of the genius behind Blizzard universes. You can't just out Tolkien from LotR, hire a replacement, and expect it to still be LotR. I hope he hand picks a successor.

In the end, Blizzard is its people, and a big big part of Blizzard is Chris Metzen.

If this were Japan, you might have chosen to continue the larger work of the company which benefits billions and perhaps neglect your personal family. But you're choosing your family over the giant creative work which could have continued to be great for generations. It's the same choice I'd make.

Best wishes Chris Metzen, thanks for the awesome universes, and RIP Blizzard.
F
Wish you well! Thanks for your hard work!
Thank you for the games. I can't believe its already been 20 years. #WC2
It's so bittersweet. We wish you the best; your presence will be deeply missed.
We Will Miss You Chris !
MAY THE ELEMENTS GUIDE THEE INTO ANOTHER GREAT LIFE OLD WARCHEIF
So Green Jesus aka Thrall can die now, right?
Bye.
Pretty sure Blizz will miss this guy.

Maybe join Bonfire instead retiring? Bit less stressful job I imagine..

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