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Ghostcrawler and Vaneras on the classes that GMs play


What classes do Blizzard employees play?

This is an often asked question by people on the forums. Sometimes it comes with a finger pointing at such and such a developer or community manager, accusing them of favoritism for a given class because it's the one they play the most.

Over the past few days we've seen two blue responses over this issue. Vaneras over on the European forums makes note to say that the GMs play the game just as "everybody else does." They encompass all classes and all play styles.

This is interesting in that it shows that Blizzard folks are involved in both casual and hard core raiding, and casual and hard core PvPing. I find this particularly interesting, since after a long day of work at WoW Insider sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit down and trudge through some raid content. But then again, sometimes I do.

Ghostcrawler also weighed in on the issue a few days earlier, making several interesting points.

He notes that "you'd be surprised at the ratings people at Blizzard have." Those developing the game have a lot of information about the exact mechanics and the way the statistics and numbers work, so they are able to use that intimate knowledge to their advantage.

However I should point out that's not cheating. There's a good number of people out there that know those things that don't work for Blizzard. Ghostcrawler goes on to even mention that some of the Blizzard employees got their job because they were experts. (Note to self: keep writing guides and apply to Blizzard.)

Ghostcrawler also goes on to give three big reasons Blizzard doesn't talk about their characters.

  • Perception of favoritism
  • Perception of ignorance
  • Perception of double standards
With the perception of favoritism and ignorance, they don't want to let people know what characters they play so they don't get bombarded with comments of "you favor class X" or "you don't know crap about class Y because you don't play it noob! Lolol!!!" The folks at Blizzard are professionals, and develop a professional product. They spend all day long talking about class changes, mechanics, and balance. That very discussion will eliminate any sort of favoritism and any sort of ignorance of anyone with regard to an individual class or issue.

In the perception of double standards Ghostcrawler is talking about how they specifically play the game like normal players on their own accounts. They don't create level 80 characters, they don't fill them up with hundreds of thousands of gold pieces, they don't gear them out with epics. They have to earn and work for everything just like everyone else.

They do not cheat. At all. Ghostcrawler mentions that the original members of the WoW team held themselves to very high standards, and that he's been impressed that they still refrain from abusing the system.

Of course one has to remember that they still have test servers and what not in which they tromp around with level 80 characters in whatever gear they want. They do this in order to test out content, etc... It's part of the normal development cycle. But it's clear that they do not do this on live realms for their own characters.

The insight here into the inner workings of Blizzard's employees is interesting. This is a subject that has come up before, but we've seen some new light shed on the paradigm that Blizzard and the developers have.

Ghostcrawler ends his post with an amusing anecdote:

"It's also fun to be hanging out in Dalaran or in a pug and have someone quote me to me without realizing it. To the ground, baby."

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