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I've found it kind of hard to put into words how I feel about this aside from sad.
Metzen is directly responsible for a lot of the ills of Warcraft. Too many times he would exercise dictatorial control over creative matters and writing. Which is how we ended up with Orc Jesus and (ugh) Med'an. Thrall's not just a Gary Stu, that's Metzen's D&D character. He also is directly responsible for Knaak getting to waste way too much paper. Sure, things started solid, but ended up where nobody was allowed to touch Orc Jesus or do anything but make him the perfect hero and savior of everything. (He also said flat out in several panels they didn't want to be one of those 'neverending' MMOs, and the plan was to never exceed level 100.)
I guess when I saw what was going on there in Legion, the hint was there. We always knew the only way Thrall would go to the background was if Metzen left.
But I also had the privilege to actually meet him in person once. And have an actual conversation. Regardless of all the problems that can be laid at his feet? He's an amazing guy. Period. And when he talks lore, you know he's passionate about it. Not just Thrall, but all of it, right down to the mechanics. He has an incredible emotional investment in WoW that is downright infectious. He's the person who insisted on actual historians and librarians. And he doesn't just tell; he listens and insists others listen. People are always looking for the obvious shout-outs to folks in game; the truth is that those are vastly outnumbered by the subtle ones buried in the lore and the quest texts. Chris is the person who fostered that culture. There is a ton of stuff in lore that actually originated with the players. Thrall was his baby, but he clearly understood that our characters and our classes are just as precious to us if not moreso. Without that, World of Warcraft simply isn't - it never would have worked.
Things are never gonna be the same.
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