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Watcher's avatar
Role Game Director
Ion Hazzikostas

Ion Hazzikostas

"Sometimes, we are literally watching. Sometimes, you could be fighting a dragon, and there could be an invisible gnome flying in mid-air, overhead, looking down at you. ... Gnomes. Specifically - only gnomes, actually. No other races, just gnomes ... watching your every move, and laughing at you when you wipe."[1]

Ion Hazzikostas, alias "Watcher", is the Game Director of World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment.[2] Before his current position he was Lead Game/Encounter Designer.


The following information was released for BlizzCon 2014, when Ion was Lead Encounter Designer.

As a lead game designer on the World of Warcraft team, Ion’s primary responsibilities include contributing to the overall vision of the game and overseeing the creation of the game’s dungeon and raid content.
Hazzikostas joined Blizzard Entertainment in the summer of 2008 as a game designer, and his responsibilities have included raid boss design and implementation, class design and balancing, and maintaining the World of Warcraft achievement system. Prior to arriving at Blizzard, he worked as an attorney at a law firm in Washington, DC.
In his spare time, Hazzikostas enjoys exploring Southern California in search of craft beer. Having grown up in New York City, he is a lifelong Yankees fan.[3]


Before joining Blizzard Ion was an associate in the Litigation Department at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, a Washington, DC based law firm.[4] His areas of expertise included white-collar criminal defense and large-scale internal investigations. As of 2013, his license to practice law is still active.[5]

Ion joined Blizzard just before Wrath of the Lich King launched and has worked on all raids and dungeons since then.[6] In 2015 he rose from Lead Encounter Designer to Assistant Game Director, under Tom Chilton, and in late 2016 was promoted to Game Director when Chilton left the team for another Blizzard project.[2]

Notes and trivia[]

  • During his earlier time at Blizzard, Hazzikostas did some work with class design and encounter creation, but now mostly oversees and guides the encounter design process. [7]
  • Hazzikostas worked on the Faction Champions boss in Trial of the Crusader, and wrote Thorim's infamous "I remember you... In the mountains…" quote, as well as the "Suffer, mortals, as your pathetic magic betrays you!" line used by Sindragosa.[7]
  • His first post was in the Beta Dungeons forum on June 22, 2012.[8]
  • Hazzikostas initially chose the name "Watcher" because he needed a name for his character to watch Ulduar raids on the PTR.[7]
  • Hazzikostas' least favourite fights include Rhyolith and Amber-Shaper Un'sok, due to the mechanics in these encounters not working as well as they might have.[7]


  • Participated in the September 11, 2012 World of Warcraft Developer AMA on Reddit.[9]
  • Participated in the September 14, 2018 Developer AMA on Reddit.


  • "We have the ability to piece together pieces of individual animations, and when this was shown off to designers, there was like a couple of examples, and an example of "Never ever do this, or an animator will come to your desk and punch you". …Pretty much that third example is what we do exclusively."[10]
  • Ion: "One of my favourite moments from [Spring 2014 (approaching the Warlords of Draenor friends and family alpha)] was explaining to [Brian Holinka, senior PvP game designer] exactly how the Multi-Strike stat was going to work on Elemental shamans, in conjunction with the Echo of the Elements talent, and Elemental Overload, all of which have a chance of duplicating, replicating your spells… such that sometimes as a shaman you could push Lightning Bolt once, and theoretically, like 9 could come out."
Brian Holinka: "I curled up into the foetal position…"
Ion: "Random Death Touch is fun! What's the problem there in PvP?"[11]


External links[]