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Tom Chilton, game director on World of Warcraft and a senior designer since 2004, steps down

Tom Chilton

The exodus from the World of Warcraft development team post-Legion continues as it loses another of its most recognisable faces. Going by the forum handle of Kalgan, Tom Chilton has been a part of WoW – from the forums to BlizzCon to interviews – since 2004, joining the team before the game’s original release. Now he’s moving on from the game, though staying with the company unlike other recent high-profile departures, to work on “another project within the company.” Current assistant game director Ion Hazzikostas will take his place as the head of the world’s largest MMORPG.

For what’s next for World of Warcraft, check our patch 7.1 roundup.

Chilton joins Chris Metzen, James Waugh, Craig Amai, Chung Ng and much less recently Jeff Kaplan and Rob Pardo as long-serving members of the World of Warcraft team to move on. In recent months we’ve also seen Nick Carpenter, previously head of the Blizzard cinematics team, and Diablo 3 director Josh Mosqueira head for pastures new at Bonfire Studios. Previous D3 designer Jay Wilson also recently left the company after working on undisclosed projects for several years post-Diablo.

While it’s easy to start doomsaying for Blizzard in the wake of so many leavers, many of these names had been at the company or on WoW for well over a decade or approaching two. Eventually, you get tired. The exodus from the WoW team especially makes sense after the long delay of Legion.

Chilton’s departure was announced via a post on the WoW forums, in which he thanked players and celebrated the expansion, as well as hinting towards the continuing patch plan beyond 7.1. He also announced the promotion of Ion Hazzikostas, who has clearly been prepping for the job for much of the last year, doing more interviews, more community interaction and being one of the senior faces of the game. He’s doing another Q&A tonight, in fact, on the Warcraft Twitch channel.