In what I suspect was a surprise to pretty much everybody, Brian Holinka no longer oversees PvP at Blizzard. What’s more interesting is the fact he’s not leaving the company, but simply moving internally. I could write a whole blog post on this revelation but as I covered that possibility brilliantly in a single tweet, what’s the point?
Putting aside a new IP (mobile focussed, I’m not sure anyone really wants another first person shooter) we look now at the reaction to this announcement, which is as much of a road traffic accident as you would expect to be the case, considering this is an individual who’d receive death threats pretty much on a daily basis. I’m not going to quote any of those tweets or comments here. The fact remains: if this guy’s not being sacked, but moved to another project, his employers consider him a valuable and worthwhile part of the company. All the bile and vitriol matters not one jot. You can scream and cry into the void forever, but you guys were wrong. EVERYONE who decided to diss this bloke for the state of PvP didn’t have a single justified argument that would stick, if all they did was attack the man first.
However much you wanted it, the state of PvP in Warcraft was never just one person’s fault.
However, and this is where I need to be quite careful, that is not the whole story. I have my own issues with how the last couple of years panned out with this guy as ‘spokesman’. I watched exchanges where I think that maybe it wasn’t just one side who was being inappropriate. That however is only my opinion, from a distance. Everybody says and does stuff they regret sometimes, and occasionally some can mock others without fully thinking through the consequences. Needless to say, I’ve seen the man posting since his announcement and I wouldn’t have said what he did in public. That simply comes down to personal preference and believing that sometimes, it’s just better to walk away for good. There are stories too, but after the events of the last 24 hours, I know better than to blindly accept everything I see on Social media as truth.
The future is a constantly shifting set of possibilities. Whoever is given the task of becoming Warcraft’s PvP spokesperson at least inherits a system that seems more popular than it was, if the number of people I see grinding levels is any indicator. It might seem like a thankless task, but the right person could go a long way to making that interaction considerably less antagonistic. Or, as I suspect might be the case, they’ll simply not give anyone that title any more.
If there’s no-one to point a finger at, then the blame’s far easier to spread and control.