Rob Pardo departs Blizzard after 17 years

Rob Pardo departs Blizzard after 17 years

rob pardo

This news came out the blue this evening, Rob Pardo has decided to leave Blizzard after 17 years at the company.

Rob was Blizzard’s Chief Creative Officer and has played an important role in just about every Blizzard title released including lead designer on World of Warcraft and StarCraft: Brood War, as well as a designer on Diablo II and III.

Rob said on the BattleNet forums that his decision to leave was “difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting.” Rob has not said what his next move will be but he plans on taking some time out.

Every ending is a beginning and today marks a new beginning for me.

After 17 years at Blizzard, with long and careful contemplation, I have made a difficult and bittersweet but ultimately exciting decision to pursue the next chapter in my life and career.

Before I even joined Blizzard, I was already a huge fan of the company and its games. In particular, I was extremely passionate about the emerging genre of real-time strategy games. It was a dream come true when I was given the opportunity to work on StarCraft, which at the time was being created by a very small team by today’s standards. It was tremendously fulfilling to get to know everyone on the team personally and to contribute our energies toward a shared goal in such a creative and engaging environment.

Blizzard Entertainment has been simply the best place in the world to be a game designer. The best aspect of designing games at Blizzard is that the entire company is passionate about the gameplay within each and every product. From the executive team to customer service to our global offices, every single person is a player and contributes to making the best possible games. It’s for very good reason that the first credit on every Blizzard game is “Game Design by Blizzard Entertainment.”

I’m really proud of the contributions I was able to make to Blizzard’s accomplishments. From building lasting games, to supporting the growth of eSports, to extending the Warcraft world into a feature film, and of course to being able to celebrate our shared passions with the Blizzard community online and at BlizzCon.

The Blizzard community is ultimately the reason why we come to work every day and pour our souls into every world and experience we create. Blizzard’s players are the most passionate in the world and your commitment and dedication are truly awesome to behold. Creating entertainment for you has been an incredible opportunity, and I know that you will continue to grow and become even stronger as a community over the years to come. It has been so meaningful on a personal level to help create joy for all of you.

I’m looking forward to new challenges in my career, but I will always cherish the time I spent with you all and the amazing and collaborative teams at Blizzard. It was both satisfying and humbling, and it made me a better developer and a better person. I look forward to playing Blizzard games as a player for many years to come. Most important, now I have plenty of time to learn how to build a competitive Hearthstone deck.

As to what I will be doing next, I don’t have an answer for you yet . . . but I will “when it’s ready.” My priorities are to enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what’s next. The game industry is such an exciting place right now with PC gaming thriving, the new consoles, mobile games, and virtual reality becoming an actual reality. It’s like having an empty quest log and going into a new zone for the first time.

In the past, I haven’t been the most avid Twitter user, but I’ll strive to do better and keep you updated there—@Rob_Pardo. Please stay in touch!


All of us here have met rob numerous times over the past 17 years and he’s a great guy. It’s a big loss for Blizzard. We wish him all the best for the future and hope he won’t stay away from the gaming industry for too long.

Thanks IncGamers.

Related to this article
  • Fans’ Expectations of Diablo 3 hurt Blizzard says Pardo
  • Rob Pardo forms Bonfire Studios with Josh Mosqueira and other Blizzard leavers
  • Rob Pardo talks candidly about Diablo 3’s design mistakes

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    18 thoughts on “Rob Pardo departs Blizzard after 17 years

    1. “If you still feel the need to dish out blame, then I would prefer you direct it at me,” [Rob Pardo] wrote. “I was the executive producer on the project; I hired Jay and I gave him advice and direction throughout the development process. I was ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result.”

    2. Lead designer on SC:BW is a big thing, and D2 on résumé is nothing less than huge, imo (can't comment on WoW, never touched it…) and his letter really sounds like the words of someone with a serious bright future ahead, (if there isn't some shady story we don't know yet about this decision :p).

      All in all, maybe he has a better than decent+ bank account and want some family time and a career change, plus some challenges. If that's the case, it's a bold and great decision, in order to keep the mind fresh and the ideas flowing. I don't really think the usual conspiracy theories apply in this case.

    3. Kind of insane, like end of an era. Used to watch for him in Blizzcon panels and the guy's my gaming idol. Designer of Diablo 2, Starcraft, Warcraft… that's a drop dead resume. On top of that the guy did what he loved … FOR A JOB! Could you imagine getting to work on these titles and carving out the face of high end gaming daily? I think most serious fans would trade places with him and pay to do what this guy got to in all this time for a nice fat check. I'm sure it's not all wine and roses, of course.

      Whatever happened, he'll land bottom side up. Fairly certain however who will be taking that slot next week.

    4. Carefully written piece with not much indication to the reasons behind. Just a general feeling of someone grasping for an even bigger self in his personal developement. And although the question, how this will affect the further developement of Diablo as a series, burns deep, there'll be plenty of time for analyzation and speculation later.

      Just a thing left to say right now: Thanks, Rob! Thanks for all the work and sweat you've put into delivering to us these countless hours of fun we all had. May your future undertakings, however shape they will take, turn out to be as fruitful as you hope, so that you can look back to this moment in another 17 years and honestly say to yourself: "Yes. It WAS the right decision."

    5. What I got from that long-ass post: \ I got fired for being at it so long I saw myself become the problem.\

      I hope he can bring something new and fresh to another company in another IP.

    6. “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the monster.”

      • And the whole Blizzard North… That is the onlu thing that can saves Diablo from the useless team that has taken over since they left…

    7. World of warcraft was amazing when it first launched. I can't say much about now after they dumb it down for the masses, but classic WoW was genius.

      • WOW moreso than many other MMO’s then and even now had an incredible cohesion to it. The races had character and the areas had very distinct flavors for the most part. All this while integrating a decades previous worth of Lore since Warcraft 1. It did many of the same things a lot of other MMO’s did. It just did them at such a high level of quality. I still fondly remember my first steps into Ironforge 10 years ago almost to the day ( I was lucky enough to be in the Beta for a few months before release and yeah that means we had mages with the level 10 invisibility spell!). It seriously gave me chills. The design team did an amazing job with the art and world building. There still aren’t many MMO’s that you can walk across without a single loading screen. That, my friends, is immersion.

    8. I don’t think anyone can deny that Rob is very very talented. As was said, vanilla WoW (as well as BC and to a lesser extend WoTLK) were terrific games. Blizzard has declined greatly since its acquisition by Activision. I only blame Bobby Kotick for everything that’s gone wrong since BNet2.0.

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