During the recent WoW AMA on Reddit, Blizzard outlined the relationship between the Activision executive team and the World of Warcraft development team. Unsurprisingly enough, it's not exactly the nefarious Orwellian scenario many envisioned. There are no grotesque and gravy-stained suited overlords punching quest designers out of their seats and saying "let me do it, I'll make a quest about how much I love money and how I hold your fanbase in contempt", for a start.
The question landed at the feet of game director Tom Chilton, who was asked: "As the people designing the game, do you feel there has been a change in how things are done since the merger [between Blizzard and Activision], either within game development or the company in general?"
Chilton was candid in his defence, stating: "I'll come out and say it. Activision gets an unfair reputation among our players for this, as does Bobby Kotick. We do demos for the Activision executive team about twice per year (sometimes only once). They ask intelligent questions about why we're doing what we're doing, but at no point have any mandates (or even "suggestions") about the game's design been issued."
Straight words, and hopefully a statement that will put paid to some of the anguished cries of those who lay the blame for their World of Warcraft grievances at the doorstep of the game's mighty publishing symbiote Activision-Blizzard.