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Blizzard Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo announces his departure

Rob Pardo, the chief creative officer at Blizzard and former lead designer of World of Warcraft, has announced that he is leaving the company.

Pardo joined Blizzard in 1998 to work on StarCraft, but he made his biggest impact as one of the lead designers on the massively-popular MMO World of Warcraft . He also served as the design director on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the Executive Producer of Diablo III and Hearthstone .

"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," Pardo wrote in his farewell message on . "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."

Pardo added that he has no immediate plans for the future, writing that his priorities are to "enjoy the summer with my family, play plenty of games, and think about what's next."