Zarhym on why Blizzard didn't do an April Fools joke

Zarhym talks April Fools

The observant among the WoW community will have noticed that, on the Warcraft side at least, Blizzard didn't put out an April Fool's joke this year. There was a little confusion surrounding this, as Crabby made a reappearance on the official forums, back for another year, and a really excellent piece of fan-created art depicting a Dark Ranger was doing the rounds. The Starcraft team documented the apparent return of the Warhound, and even implemented it in-game, re-skinning all your workers as Warhounds.

And while some of the WoW community were happy to amuse themselves with ElvUI's Harlem Shake, or Wowhead's PTR patch notes, others grew increasingly angry that the WoW team hadn't put together a prank for this most foolish of days. Blizzard Senior Community Rep Jonathan "Zarhym" Brown took to Twitter, and to the official forums, to attempt to explain the absence of any seasonal folly.

All his posts are after the break, but the long and short of it is that, firstly, while some ideas had been bandied about, nothing had really stuck, and secondly, the team who usually work on the April Fool's jokes had been rather busy with other things. What other things could possibly have taken priority? Maybe Hearthstone itself, the Hearthstone website, or the recent revamp of the shop page, given how Zarhym explains the teams' roles.

It seems like Blizzard can't win: last year there were complaints that they wasted Developer time on April foolishness, this year, complaints that they didn't. What's your take on it? Did you wish they had done something? Or would you rather they spent time designing real content? Hit the break for Zarhym's posts.

Based on all the interesting replies I've been receiving on Twitter, I just want to specify here that I was primarily referring to website content and the priorities of our Web and Community teams. These are the teams that tend to put the most focus on April Fools jokes on our websites. People are extrapolating a lot of strange conclusions out of what I said... or, I guess more accurately, what I didn't even say.

And, as I said in the first of those tweets listed on MMO-C, we DID work on ideas for this year's April 1, but they didn't really pan out. We decided we couldn't justify spending MORE time on it this year with everything else going on. This doesn't mean we had more time to kill in previous years, or that we'll never do gags on our website again. It was a matter of priorities and time investment.

It's awesome that people enjoy when we do fun stuff. We like fun too. I'm sure we can all continue to have fun together, even if we didn't fool people on the day everyone not only expects it, but apparently demands it. :p


yah... that would be awesome, if last year they didn't say "the team that works on april fool's jokes, aren't part of the development team" nice try, nice try.


This thing on? Check Z. Check. Check!


Zarhym, I hope you remember that tweet the next time you're inclined to give the canned "Doing X doesn't take away resources from Y, we have independent teams" response we've been treated to for years. I'm glad you guys are finally admitting something we all knew and decried for many, many years now.

This is the problem with pulling things we say out of context and using them as blanket statements to justify why we didn't meet your expectations.

Here's an example:

Very rarely does website development interfere with game development. There's communication between the teams so that we have a shared vision, obviously, but each team has its own resources specific to their respective design focuses.

Here's a counter example:

The Web & Mobile team, unlike the WoW development team, is a shared-resource team. Not only does the scope of the projects they work on extend far beyond what most people are assuming in this thread, they support all Blizzard websites.

The point:

Context matters. We can say that developing April 1 jokes doesn't require pulling resources from game design, while it CAN ALSO be true that Blizzard's continued expansion in the web, mobile and social media spaces to support increasingly more games DOES put more strain on our Web & Mobile and Communications departments.

I've experienced it first-hand during my six years with Blizzard Community Development. The way I work with WoW's game designers hasn't changed all that much over the years (although we've evolved our relationship with them and try to be as efficient as possible when we ask for their time). That said, the scope of my job, as well as the functions of the Blizzard Communications department as a whole, have grown and changed quite dramatically.

Sometimes I'm still surprised by how difficult it is to maintain a rational public dialog about anything we're doing or saying. April 1 is what it is, and perhaps we'll have cool things to share on future occasions. But, the fact that this is even a part of the WoW discussion beyond 12:00 am April 2 seems like folly to me. I don't intend to spend anymore time on it. :)


I love how he said "yeah that's the web site team" and people are like "well it's be awesome if he'd tell us it's not the dev team or something."


Yea, people don't deserve to be able to reply to this thread anymore. If it's a waste of anything, it's a waste of everything.