The chief creative officer at Blizzard Entertainment has said he is "saddened greatly" after a farewell letter from a developer was engulfed by abuse from fans.
Diablo III game director Jay Wilson, who had been working on the action role-playing game for seven years, said he had "reached a point creatively where I'm looking forward to working on something new" in a goodbye message on the Battle.net forum.
However, soon after the initial well wishes, a number of aggressive messages - some personal - were directed at Wilson.
After more than 100 pages of messages from fans and hecklers, company CCO Rob Pardo stepped in.
"This thread saddens me greatly. I know that the Battle.net forums have earned a reputation for rough justice, but I do not believe justice is being served by how people are speaking about Jay's departure from Diablo III," he said.
He assured that Blizzard has "no intention of stopping work on Diablo III until it is the best game in the franchise".
But, turning attentions to his colleague Wilson, Pardo said: "I'm the only person in this thread who has actually worked with Jay. I hired Jay to head up the Diablo III project and had the pleasure of getting to work with him, both in building the team and designing the game. He has great design instincts and has added so much to the franchise with his feel for visceral combat, boss battles, and an unparalleled knack for making it fun to smash bad guys".
He added: "I've worked with many, many designers at Blizzard and Jay is one of the best".
Pardo said that criticisms should be directed toward him as he was "ultimately responsible for the game we released and take full responsibility for the quality of the result".