Never accept the world as it appears to be. Always dare to see it for what it could be. I hope you do the same.Jeff Kaplan
UPDATE: My thoughts on the most recent developments at Blizzard can be found here.
After 19 years, Jeff Kaplan has left Blizzard Entertainment. I know this probably won’t mean much to most of you, and I’m sure there are a ton of people wondering just who Jeff Kaplan is. If you’re a PC gamer, you’ve probably at least heard the name as he has been the drive and passion behind Overwatch since its inception. I have no affiliation with Blizzard, but want to get this off my chest, so please bear with me.
It was 1995; I was 18 and standing in the middle of a Circuit City. That day I financed my first PC with a 33mhz Pentium processer, 500 megabytes memory, and 4 MB of ram. Back then internet wasn’t widely used, so that wasn’t even a thought in my mind. Its main purpose was for school and writing, but I decided to also buy a couple games to go with it, because why not? In front of me was the best-selling games of the past year, and I saw this cover. Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. I would never have guessed how much this franchise would eventually shape my life when I picked up that box.
I played through Orcs & Humans, Tides of Darkness, and Reign of Chaos, including all the expansions. I also have a lot of fond memories of playing through Diablo on the PlayStation. However, by the early 2000s, I was firmly entrenched in Everquest. Although I played on a separate server and never crossed paths with any of the legendary raiding guilds, there were quite a few names that stood out to me in the community. Tigole (Jeff Kaplan) was one of them, but mostly because he merged together my two favorite franchises when he joined Blizzard before the release of Reign of Chaos.
Then came the announcement of World of Warcraft, and I was so excited to know that someone with deep knowledge of the MMORPG genre would be working on the game. I started playing the game while it was in beta, and have pretty much stayed up to date with everything since 2004. I made a lot of friends I still talk with daily, as well as my now husband. Then, Kaplan shifted to a new project within Blizzard, and was named the game’s lead director. This game was Overwatch, and with it, Kaplan’s popularity with the gaming community grew.
I respect and appreciate how much Chris Metzen and Jeff Kaplan put into their games. It was that care and passion that made me love and enjoy those games as much as I have. Since Metzen retired from Blizzard in 2016, Warcraft took a sharp decline. With Kaplan gone and Overwatch2 right around the corner, this does not bode well for the release of the new game. Kaplan’s leaving was abrupt and full of community speculation, but we’ll never know what really happened unless Kaplan speaks out. My friends and family were really looking forward to Overwatch2, and now we’re hesitant about the game. I feel—more like know—we have lost something great. It’s a dark day in the Overwatch and Blizzard fandom as a whole.
Jeff, all your hard work and dedication you put into the games you’ve worked on are greatly appreciated. You helped to bring enjoyment to my friends and family, and I will eagerly be watching your next steps, if any.
As for Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch and Warcraft, I am in ‘wait and see’ mode, but now my eyes are firmly fixed on Dreamhaven. This company was started by veteran Blizzard employees who were pushed out after Activision bought out the company.
Dreamhaven, please take us back to the time when directors and game designers could create games with passion and foresight for the players, instead of corporations draining the souls of our beloved games for the sake of micro-transactions.