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Magmarashi
May 20, 2009







sharknado slashfic posted:

Imagine releasing an expansion so bad that the domino effect brings down not only Blizzard but also Activision

In no world can I see a bad game expansion being responsible for investigations from allegations of sexual misconduct, what even the gently caress?

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StratGoatCom
Aug 6, 2019

Our security is guaranteed by being able to melt the eyeballs of any other forum's denizens at 15 minutes notice




Floor is lava posted:

https://twitter.com/jasonschreier/status/1440032380564099075

I hate to keep retweeting this dude here. He's a huge rear end in a top hat to indie devs.

::yeshaha:

Ursine Catastrophe
Nov 9, 2009



Rocket jumping?
That sounds dangerous...





Dinosaur Gum

dreffen posted:

If it's anywhere like the places I've worked it's "I've directed you all to destroy evidence, now I'm getting out."

Honestly I would have expected the other way around, "I gave you advice and you thought destroying evidence would be a better look so lol good luck see you when they call me up and ask me about it"

sharknado slashfic
Jun 24, 2011



Magmarashi posted:

In no world can I see a bad game expansion being responsible for investigations from allegations of sexual misconduct, what even the gently caress?

There would be about a quarter of the outcry if this was Wrath/maybe MoP/Legion patch 3 which is what probably prompted anyone outside of the State of California to care about Blizzard. If there was an employee walkout back then most of the public response would have been "What the gently caress are you doing get back to work and stop loving up WoW."

Metis of the Hallways
Aug 1, 2014




That's an incredibly stupid perspective, frankly.

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!
:3:


Magmarashi posted:

In no world can I see a bad game expansion being responsible for investigations from allegations of sexual misconduct, what even the gently caress?
Still a stretch in terms of outcomes (Enron did get destroyed, but would the SEC hit Activision hard enough to bankrupt it?), but the chain of events is something like:

- Blizzard burns through good will at an alarming rate
- It's revealed how deeply toxic Blizzard's company culture is
- The one-two punch of bad games and a worse company culture encourages an exodus
- (Possibly) declining profits plus undisclosed legal liability angers investors
- The SEC gets involved, due to the aforementioned undisclosed legal liability (=fraud)

Right? If Blizzard had a better reputation, the people with money might not have made waves, and thus not caused the SEC to get involved. That's really what the argument hinges around, how impactful investor discontent was in actually causing the case to go forward.

A Buttery Pastry fucked around with this message at 04:27 on Sep 21, 2021

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



Frankly I'd think it's more likely that the OWL team owners being extremely pissed with blizzard more likely led to the SEC getting involved albeit the various shareholder suits against activision probably are probably a more likely the direct cause).

Other major possibility (and probably the one I'd put my money on) is NLRB found violations and referred them to SEC

A Buttery Pastry posted:

Still a stretch in terms of outcomes (Enron did get destroyed, but would the SEC hit Activision hard enough to bankrupt it?), but the chain of events is something like:

- Blizzard burns through good will at an alarming rate
- It's revealed how deeply toxic Blizzard's company culture is
- The one-two punch of bad games and a worse company culture encourages an exodus
- (Possibly) declining profits plus undisclosed legal liability angers investors
- The SEC gets involved, due to the aforementioned undisclosed legal liability (=fraud)

Right? If Blizzard had a better reputation, the people with money might not have made waves, and thus not caused the SEC to get involved. That's really what the argument hinges around, how impactful investor discontent was in actually causing the case to go forward.

Yeah idk about the wc3 led to xyz assertion specifically, but blizzard definitely lost their air of untouchability and repeatedly pissed away any benefit of the doubt people still had for them and no doubt that greased the wheels of the various private, state, and federal investigations.

Ursine Catastrophe posted:

Honestly I would have expected the other way around, "I gave you advice and you thought destroying evidence would be a better look so lol good luck see you when they call me up and ask me about it"

Yeah that's much more likely

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 04:48 on Sep 21, 2021

Captain Oblivious
Oct 12, 2007

Right in the Kokoro



Personally I think the correlation between gamers perceiving Blizzard to be untouchable or not and the loving SEC opening an investigation is literally nil but maybe I’m the crazy one here

Buckwheat Sings
Feb 9, 2005


Captain Oblivious posted:

Personally I think the correlation between gamers perceiving Blizzard to be untouchable or not and the loving SEC opening an investigation is literally nil but maybe I’m the crazy one here

Games are a big deal but yeah guessing the numbers dropping spooked shareholders and they want blood.

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



Buckwheat Sings posted:

Games are a big deal but yeah guessing the numbers dropping spooked shareholders and they want blood.

hmm

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!
:3:


Buckwheat Sings posted:

Games are a big deal but yeah guessing the numbers dropping spooked shareholders and they want blood.
Yeah, I don’t see them trying to stir trouble if they believed their money was in safe hands. A Blizzard at full prestige might have been strong enough to weather this poo poo and calm investors, but incompetently scrambling like they’re doing is like the opposite of what you want to instill investor confidence. It’s not investors going “Wow, Shadowlands was bad, let’s destroy Bobby”, it’s “They kept us in the dark, and clearly have no idea how to get us our money back”.

Bemused Observer
Sep 21, 2019



I don't think there's any correlation between Blizzard's output and the lawsuit, but I definitely think the public would care much less if Blizzard games were still as esteemed as they used to be.

tithin
Nov 14, 2003

[Grandmaster Tactician]



A Buttery Pastry posted:

Yeah, I don’t see them trying to stir trouble if they believed their money was in safe hands. A Blizzard at full prestige might have been strong enough to weather this poo poo and calm investors, but incompetently scrambling like they’re doing is like the opposite of what you want to instill investor confidence. It’s not investors going “Wow, Shadowlands was bad, let’s destroy Bobby”, it’s “They kept us in the dark, and clearly have no idea how to get us our money back”.

Incompetent scrambling has been their entire modus operandi since their spiral really started to hit its stride in the last 36 months.

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!
:3:


tithin posted:

Incompetent scrambling has been their entire modus operandi since their spiral really started to hit its stride in the last 36 months.
At the corporate level? They were making record profits and projecting contemptuous dominance over their customers, convincing the investors that they were winners who’d make them money. These panicked attempts at placating their customers on the other hand project weakness, which is not what you want to do in front of investors.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying a single bad expansion did them in, just that their reputation being much weaker wouldn’t help matters. At full prestige, they might have had a shot at burrying the whole affair with some relatively minor payouts, satisfying investors enough to not take it to the SEC.

Blaise330
Aug 13, 2007

GOD'S FAVORITE CHAMPION


Man they gonna need like... WoW2, WC4, and SC3 to make people forget everything at this rate.

Ra Ra Rasputin
Apr 2, 2011


They need a whole Lost Viking trilogy and not a single title can rate below 8.5/10 on meta critic or Bobby Kotick goes to jail, that's how this works.

Double Bill
Jan 29, 2006



Blaise330 posted:

Man they gonna need like... WoW2, WC4, and SC3 to make people forget everything at this rate.

I can imagine them already brewing all kinds of mobile horrors out of their IPs. They're the last thing remaining in that company that have any value, so let's run that poo poo to the ground.

Minera
Sep 26, 2007

All your friends and foes,
they thought they knew ya,
but look who's in your heart now.


Double Bill posted:

I can imagine them already brewing all kinds of mobile horrors out of their IPs. They're the last thing remaining in that company that have any value, so let's run that poo poo to the ground.

just a lil reminder that it's been... 3 years? 4 years? since diablo immortal got announced and never came out

BisbyWorl
Jan 12, 2019

Knowledge is pain plus observation.




Minrad posted:

just a lil reminder that it's been... 3 years? 4 years? since diablo immortal got announced and never came out

It was announced in 2018, was set to come out this year, then got delayed to 2022 just last month.

tithin
Nov 14, 2003

[Grandmaster Tactician]



What, don't you guys have phones?

Double Bill
Jan 29, 2006



For some reason I remembered them already announcing/releasing a mobile StarCraft, but nah... that was EA and Command & Conquer: Rivals. Still, that's the future of RTS.

External Organs
Mar 3, 2006

A cheerful person, he is known as the king of vulgarities (cursing?)

tithin posted:

What, don't you guys have cooked books?

Blaise330
Aug 13, 2007

GOD'S FAVORITE CHAMPION


Double Bill posted:

For some reason I remembered them already announcing/releasing a mobile StarCraft, but nah... that was EA and Command & Conquer: Rivals. Still, that's the future of RTS.

imagine getting ling or photon cannon rushed on your phone

Heran Bago
Aug 18, 2006





I can't keep track of what and when Blizzard poo poo went down. Some news sites have their own timeline but it's always missing things. I started my own to summarize each one concisely but there's just so much that it balooned. I also include an out-of-context quote for most to help me remember and contextualize that specific poo poo. Anyone leaving the company I called "quitting" which isn't accurate. I think I forgot a couple employee protests or company-wide emails, so if I missed or misplaced anyting please speak up and I'll edit.


BLIZZARD poo poo TIMELINE

2014
Diablo 3's gold and real-money Auction House closes before the release of its first major expansion. "despite the benefits of the [auction house] system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot."

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor sucks pretty badly. The expansion costs more and contains less content than previous expansions. Subscriber numbers dip to under 6 million for the first time in 9 years. Producer J. Allen Brack issues a public appology, claiming everything has been fixed. "we're very proud of this expansion, so stumbling out of the gates like this was very disappointing for all of us."

2016
World of Warcraft: The Beginning: The Feature Film debuts and bombs. It's a commercial and critical failure. Apparently it did well in China though. "just as it’s ending, 'Warcraft' leaves all kinds of plot threads dangling for the ambitious possibility of a sequel. But you’ll be likely to cry 'Game Over' because this first one is easily a contender for the worst movie of the year."

2018
September
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth sucks really badly. Competitive PvP is removed from the game. Subscriber numbers dip to under 1.7 million for the first time in 12 years. Director Ion Hazzikostas apologizes and pinky-promises to fix it. “We’re certainly not entirely happy with how the system is playing out, and all of these are very valid concerns. We agree that it’s a problem“

October
Co-founder and president Mike Morhaime quits, replaced by former WoW producer J. Allen Brack. “One thing that won’t change going forward – our deeply held commitments that are core to who we are as a company”

November
Diablo Immortal is announced. Fans expecting Diablo 4 are angry about the mobile-only game. “do you guys not have phones?”

December
Heroes of the Storm’s pro scene is cancelled. Game staff is gutted. Employees and casters alike find out via a public announcement. “This is such bullshit and I'm so upset for everyone who has ever put a minute into this scene.”

2019
January
Former Hearthstone eSports employee Julian Murillo-Cuellar speaks out about racial discrimination and bullying. Blizzard releases a statement about its commitment to an inclusive and respectful work environment. “Nobody will ever understand the anger I feel towards Blizzard Entertainment because they drove me to almost take my life countless of times.“

February
Activision Blizzard lays off 800+ employees despite record earnings in 2018. Esports and internal IT are gutted. “It’s a bloodbath here.”

July
Co-founder Frank Pearce quits. “Blizzard is a special place and a special community, and everyone with whom you interact is important to the Blizzard journey as it continues forward”

October
Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai is suspended from pro Hearthstone for saying A Thing about Hong Kong. Two Taiwanese casters who happened to be covering the event are fired. Some large sponsors pull out of Blizzard events, some US politicians finger-wag the company, and some employees stage a walk-out. “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age”

Blizzcon 2019 is swarmed by free speech protests. President J. Allen Brack takes to the stage to confirm that the two Taiwanese casters will remain fired. “We didn't live up to the high standards we set ourselves.”

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is linked to Jeffrey Epstein. His name, two phone numbers, and company email address are listed in Epstein' little black book.

2020
January
Warcraft 3: Reforged is released. Holy poo poo. The new version guts features of the original. The original can no longer be played on battle.net. The EULA states that anything you make in the game, Blizzard owns. Blizzard will not refund the game. “It's incredibly important to us to first get it right for the existing community, and then we want to do things to appeal to more people”.

February
Blizzard changes its policy and begins issuing refunds for WC3:R. President J. Allen Brack offers the players a non-apology, insisting that the game will continue to be updated and patched. “Our community has come to expect really amazing things from us, and we've heard from them that we did not achieve that bar.”

June
Hearthstone pro Savjz, spouse of former employee Christina Mikkonen, is blacklisted from esports because she said unfriendly things about the Blizz on Twitter . Blizzard claims that he’s not blacklisted, just not invited to events. “Are you loving serious right now Chris”

July
WoW Creative Director and NPC Alex Afrasiabi quits. There is no public announcement; people only notice this on LinkedIn at first. It later becomes very clear why: “Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite was nicknamed the ‘Crosby Suite’ [sic] after alleged rapist Bill Crosby [sic].”

August
Employees share spreadsheet documenting pay disparity. “Our goal has always been to ensure we compensate our employees fairly and competitively.”

November
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands sucks badly at first, and even worse as it goes on. Over the next year, prominent streamers put down the game and there is a player exodus. "There has to be an absolute f$#king idiot at Blizzard designing and deciding these things."

2021
March
Activision Blizzard hires Trump administration members Frances Townsend and Brian Bulatao. These people may or may not be torture advocates or war criminals. “Brian’s unparalleled success in the business world and distinguished career as an Infantry Captain in the US Army make him an excellent addition to our leadership team.”

April
Vice President and Overwatch Lead Designer “Papa” Jeff Kaplan quits. “Never accept the world as it appears to be.”

July
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing files a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. The lawsuit alleges “constant sexual harassment, including groping, comments, and advances due to a frat boy workplace culture.” 2,500+ employees sign an open letter condemning the leadership. Some employees stage a walkout protest. A spokesperson denies all the accusations. “groping inebriated female employees at company events and was known for making hiring decisions based on female applicants' looks”

The Cosby Suite is put under the spotlight. “I am gathering the hot chixx for the Coz.”

Chief Compliance Officer Frances Townsend holds a Zoom meeting with exactly 500 women at Blizzard. Women who don't join quickly enough are promised a video of the meeting afterwards. Later that day, Townsend steps down as executive sponsor of the Activision-Blizzard-King Women’s Network. The video is never made available to anyone.

CEO Bobby Kotick emails staff an awful non-apology statement, and apologizes for the tone-deaf apology a few days later. Some employees do a walk-out protest and #ActiBlizzWalkout trends hard. 2000+ employees sign an open letter in support of the lawsuit. “Today, we stand up for change. Tomorrow and beyond, we will be the change.”

All work on WoW halts pending the active lawsuit. References to Alex Afrasiabi are scrubbed from WoW, marking the best content update the game has seen in years. “Those of us in leadership understand that it is not our place to judge”

August
Shareholders file a class-action lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over withholding info on all the harassment. They allege that false or misleading statements, including S.E.C. filings from as far back as 2016, lead to artificially inflated stock prices. Current CEO, current and former CFOs are named. Blizzard brushes off all accusations. “such routine claims and lawsuits are not significant and we do not expect them to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or liquidity.”

Senior HR Vice President Jesse Meschuk quits. "anyone found to have impeded the integrity of [Activision Blizzard's] processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated."

President J. Allen Brack quits. Executive VPs Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal (of Xbox and Vicarious Visions respectively) take over as studio co-leads. “they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special."

Director Luis Barriga and Lead Director Jesse McCree quit. All references to Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree, and Jonathan LeCraft in Overwatch and WoW are removed or planned to be removed. The next Overwatch update is delayed as a result. “we believe it’s necessary to change the name of the hero currently known as McCree to something that better represents what Overwatch stands for."

September
Employees file a charge with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Activision Blizzard of illegal union busting. “management is using coercive tactics to attempt to prevent its employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace”

Former Disney Vice President Julie Hodges takes over as new Chief People Officer. Former Delta Airlines Vice President Sandeep Dube takes over as Chief Commercial Officer. “A workforce where everyone feels valued is critical to the success of our business, as is a trusting, engaging and safe environment”

The S.E.C opens an investigation on Activision Blizzard. CEO and other executives are subpoenaed. "While we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace issues, we also continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work."

Chief Legal Officer Claire Hart quits. “The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns”

Overwatch Executive Producer Chacko Sunny quits. “has been an absolute privilege and one of the best experiences of my career.”

Heran Bago fucked around with this message at 20:29 on Sep 21, 2021

Disargeria
May 5, 2010


Other pre 2018 hints/flags/cracks:

-SC2 could not get its arcade or store off the ground for a long time.
-WoD was unfinished.
-WoW movie wasnt great.

Probably the biggest one that I would submit as the other beginning of The Fall:

-D3 was incredibly successful and fixed a lot of issues in its expansion, then all development stopped because they removed their scummy and profitable real money auction house. This is the point where it really clicked that profits made the decisions at Blizzard.

Horizon Burning
Oct 23, 2019
:discourse:


i feel like 2012-2013 is when there were the first big rumblings of people being dissatisfied with blizzard's games. you had diablo 3 in 2012, and then heart of the swarm in 2013. i think that was about when you started seeing people saying that the only thing blizzard knew how to write was WoW, corruption memes, etc.

Grondoth
Feb 18, 2011


D3 was bad at launch. It also had awful writing and it was clear that Blizzard did not understand the tone or themes of the story.

Kith
Sep 17, 2009

You never learn anything
by doing it right.




Heran Bago posted:

BLIZZARD poo poo TIMELINE

this is a real good post and deserves to be part of the OP imo

Furism
Feb 21, 2006

Live long and headbang


Blaise330 posted:

Man they gonna need like... WoW2, WC4, and SC3 to make people forget everything at this rate.

They don't need WoW2 to be honest. When it comes to WoW, they just need to get their poo poo together by listening to their players. They have a ton of quality feedback on how to fix the game and what to do (or not do) in the future. The issue seems to be they don't really seem to listen, and a lot of people are putting that on account of Senior Game Designers (or whatever their title is ; basically the people who call the design shots). Is it ego? Is it "we know better" ? Who knows. But numbers and, ultimately, money talks.

We know they know because in the next patch they're going to make a lot of things go smoother, and make the grind a lot more easier by cutting out a lot of the bullshit. It feels like it was ready to go. "In case of emergency, release that patch" ; and maybe we just reached the emergency? Who knows.

But my point is, they could totally salvage WoW, they don't have to release a whole new game. Releasing a whole new game but repeating the same mistakes would not salvage poo poo. They need to change their attitude, and if they do, they could do it in WoW.

Of course, releasing a kick rear end WC3 or SC3 wouldn't hurt. Or maybe a smaller scale, turn-based RPG in either universe. They have a lot of options besides releasing new "seasons" for existing games.

External Organs
Mar 3, 2006

A cheerful person, he is known as the king of vulgarities (cursing?)

Grondoth posted:

D3 was bad at launch. It also had awful writing and it was clear that Blizzard did not understand the tone or themes of the story.

For all it's quality of life stuff, yeah. The D3 story was and still is...terrible in every way.

Also imo the music is bad and completely forgettable.

Arzachel
May 12, 2012


Horizon Burning posted:

i feel like 2012-2013 is when there were the first big rumblings of people being dissatisfied with blizzard's games. you had diablo 3 in 2012, and then heart of the swarm in 2013. i think that was about when you started seeing people saying that the only thing blizzard knew how to write was WoW, corruption memes, etc.

If they knew how to write WoW, the story wouldn't gone to poo poo after they wrapped up the leftover plot lines from WC3

Heran Bago
Aug 18, 2006





Disargeria posted:

Other pre 2018 hints/flags/cracks:

-SC2 could not get its arcade or store off the ground for a long time.
-WoD was unfinished.
-WoW movie wasnt great.

Probably the biggest one that I would submit as the other beginning of The Fall:

-D3 was incredibly successful and fixed a lot of issues in its expansion, then all development stopped because they removed their scummy and profitable real money auction house. This is the point where it really clicked that profits made the decisions at Blizzard.
I always forget that the warcraft movie exists. Adding all of these except SC2, can't find hundreds of articles on it being a huge shitshow with player backlash. D3 continued development and came out with more expansions after killing the marketplace to my knowledge.


Kith posted:

this is a real good post and deserves to be part of the OP imo

Thanks, I'm flattered. If you want to tithin, please wait like a day for edits.


E: vvvv “The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns” lol yeah no poo poo

Heran Bago fucked around with this message at 15:15 on Sep 21, 2021

The 7th Guest
Dec 17, 2003



"uh gently caress this poo poo, laterrrr"

https://twitter.com/Kotaku/status/1440330613622407183

Orv
May 4, 2011


Heran Bago posted:

I always forget that the warcraft movie exists.

WARCRAFT - because of course they stylized it that way - is an hour and a half of the writers desperately wanting to say "corruption" and not being allowed to. I'm not even really making a joke, but it's been bad times for writing at Blizzard for a long time.

Only managing to piss off the people who still deeply care about WoW lore for the past six years and everyone else just nodding along with whatever blindingly obvious, extremely bad twist crops up next is almost kind of impressive.

Double Bill
Jan 29, 2006




I'll have to do actual legal stuff? gently caress this job I'm out

SubponticatePoster
Aug 9, 2004

Every day takes figurin' out all over again how to fuckin' live.


Slippery Tilde

Double Bill posted:

I'll have to do actual legal stuff? gently caress this job I'm out
That or "you people have hosed this so badly from front to back that there's no salvaging it and I would like to work in something other than retail the rest of my life."

Rogue AI Goddess
May 10, 2012

I enjoy the sight of humans on their knees.
That was a joke... unless..?


Blaise330 posted:

imagine getting ling or photon cannon rushed on your phone
I can easily see a Starcraft-themed Clash of Clans/Clash Royale being an efficient way to extract money, but Blizzard would gently caress it up trying to make it into an esport.

Arrrthritis
May 31, 2007




Rogue AI Goddess posted:

I can easily see a Starcraft-themed Clash of Clans/Clash Royale being an efficient way to extract money, but Blizzard would gently caress it up trying to make it into an esport.

Executor! You must remember to log in every day for 7 days in a row, or you will lose your weekly Khaydarin Crystal bonus and we will fall to the zerg!

Horizon Burning
Oct 23, 2019
:discourse:


Heran Bago posted:

I always forget that the warcraft movie exists. Adding all of these except SC2, can't find hundreds of articles on it being a huge shitshow with player backlash. D3 continued development and came out with more expansions after killing the marketplace to my knowledge.

yeah, SC2 was odd. i'm fairly sure it sold well and was generally well-regarded in that sense, but everything about the single-player stuff was just a long list of people making fun of it or not believing the story was going in that direction. wings of liberty had a lot of 'maybe it'll be good, this is part 1' energy, but even that had a lot of criticism of the overall plot, the removal of kerrigan's agency, the bizarre retcon of the overmind, the perculiar ignorance of brood war, doctor "narud", and so on. heart of the swarm continued the trend but it was also clear that blizzard had no idea of SC2's greater story arc and what is there is very uneven and not told well -- we spent a whole campaign deinfesting kerrigan so she can... reinfest herself? amon's servant told us to steal the artifacts from amon's people do to the plan amon wanted to do... but didn't do himself? then you've got the planet zerus and primal zerg. CORRUPTION. infestation setting stukov on fire...

i remember that shortly after WoL released, the final cutscene of HotS was leaked on youtube. no textures, placeholder music and animations, but full dialogue. everyone thought it was an elaborate hoax, but then it was real. by the time of legacy of the void, i don't think anyone expected anything good from the story, so, the cavalcade of bizarre decisions and retroactive continuity were greeted with a resigned shrug.

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Clarste
Apr 15, 2013

Just how many mistakes have you suffered on the way here?

An uncountable number, to be sure.


The primal zerg stuff was the dumbest poo poo ever.

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