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tithin
Nov 14, 2003

[Grandmaster Tactician]



Content Warning: Descriptions of sexual abuse and suicide.

Welcome to the Blizzard's Decline & Fall thread.

Before we get into anything else: off-topic chat is strictly forbidden.
This thread was created out of a want and need to have a space to discuss the topic at hand without cross-talk. If you're interested in a more casual environment or simple deathwatch shitposting, the Blizzwatch thread will be happy to have you.

Over the last 5 years, there has been a growing perception of wrongdoing in the videogame industry by big name actors in the development scene. There have been three notable players in this space: ABK, Riot, and Ubisoft.



If you somehow don't know who ABK are, they're a conglomerate of Activision (Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot), Blizzard (Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo), and King (Candy Crush). On the whole, ABK's issues could fill a library, so I'm not going to directly write a blurb on each of them and instead link to a relevant wiki article (given the wiki has links to the relevant news articles directly). However, it's worth noting that for many years, Blizzard was considered to be THE studio to work at to build prestige, having created multiple beloved franchises and generally being considered an industry giant due to its overwhelming cultural influence.

Current topics

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Activision Blizzard - without going into too much detail, the State of California lodged a court case against ABK relating to a culture of workplace sexual harassment, where women were functionally treated like second class citizens and sexual objects.

Additionally covers Blizzard's treatment of staff and fans at Blizzcon (the infamous "Cosby suite" - reportedly not named after Bill Cosby's conduct but because "A rug in the room looked like one of his sweaters").

On a related point, it's just came out today that it looks like the Blizzard case may be moving from State Court to Federal Court

https://twitter.com/josheidelson/status/1437813878461644803?s=20

Blitzchung "Free Hong Kong" controversy - Blitzchung was an esports player of hearthstone from Hong Kong who in October 2019 after winning a round of Hearthstone live on stream put on a mask similar to those worn by those in Hong Kong protesting the Chinese Government's actions and said "Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times".

This specifically lead to the stream being cut, the casters who were hosting it had their contracts terminated, and Blitzchung himself was banned from that tournament and others.

The public outcry to this was swift, brutal, and far reaching to the point that the US Senate ended up issuing a letter to the company, several comentators / streamers chose to no longer stream blizzard products.

During Blizzcon 2019, Blizzard chose to address the controversy without actually addressing the controversy by promising to "do better", and then promptly deleted the apology from the VODs.

ABK hires a literal GWB Era War Criminal as compliance officer - this isn't the only one!
===============================================

The following two topics are specifically relating to Ubisoft (Developers of Assassin's Creed, Rainbow Six Siege, etc) and Riot (League of Legends, Valorant), however I want to specify ahead of time that I am not fully across the relevant allegations here and are included principally because of the proximity of the allegations to ABK - more relevant information can be found in the #metoo thread where people have discussed this in more detail as information has come to light.

Ubisoft Sexual Misconduct - This is a large topic, however similar to the Blizzard allegations, Ubisoft have been hit by several waves of sexual harrassment allegations that have claimed the scalps of several executives. The issue here however is that the allegations have not ceased and are continuing as at time of writing with the Singapore studio currently under investigation indicating that the french studio's problems span company and worldwide.

Riot Games Sexual Misconduct - Similar to Ubisoft, Riot's had extensive issues for several years, which is understandable given the cross pollination between ABK and Riot Games. Specifically allegations of Sexual harassment stemming directly from the CEO, (an internal investigation later found "no evidence" of this conduct by the CEO), as well as ongoing gender discrimination in terms of pay rates. Riot specifically has attempted to avoid government ire here with specific private settlements with individuals that prevents them from speaking to the government.

===========================================

It is specifically worth pointing out as a final note here that the scale of information that's come out over the last few years is staggering in its depth and as such the information presented in the OP is specifically intended as a high level view only and specifically omits information because there's just no way to cover it all in a summary.

If you're eager for reading up on similar subjects outside of this specific thread, there is the #metoo thread and the TG Industry thread.

Mazed posted:

My testimonial as ex-Blizz doesn't weigh as much in comparison to the utterly ghastly anecdotes that flooded social media in the wake of the story breaking, mostly from women impacted directly, which is where so much of the real raw meat of this shitshow lies.

I can, however, vouch for the utter wretchedness of the HR department and how they'd work very diligently to nickel-and-dime us if we needed some kind of accommodation, medical or otherwise, and was very keen on reminding us that we were lucky to even keep our jobs, let alone be given such indulgences as, oh, being permitted to use the restroom as long as we loving clocked out to do it.

Knowing that this is the same HR which dutifully shredded incriminating documentation in the wake of the investigation is precisely as unprincipled and idiotic as any of us might've expected.

There's also the way the general philosophy in managing customer support gradually took us further and further from actually having some presence in the wider player community, while piling onto us more and more expectations and strict, demanding KPI-based metrics, but that's mostly just corporate customer support in general...although granted, most tech support types generally deal with people with actual problems than idiots demanding free stuff in a video game that they were mad at.

Oh, and without a single substantial pay raise -- just free blizzbux codes and literal toys.

Zil posted:

KPI talk reminds me of something, were you there for the four boxes thing? Where you had four categories to reach and if you were above the average you were considered epic. Oh and you needed to have four epic boxes three times in a row to be considered for promotion. Also if you had 1 sick day you immediately got a red box for attendance.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.


Heran Bago posted:

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.”

tithin fucked around with this message at 01:45 on Sep 22, 2021

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HonorableTB
Dec 22, 2006

hey bb u want sum fuk?

I SURVIVED THE AWFUL BLOCK, AGDQ 2018



I have seen a lot of people saying there is a correlation between the general declining quality of Blizzard games with the wave of veteran departures over the last few years. Yet, the lawsuit tells us the people most responsible for the harassment and it's uh..it's the veterans that left. The veterans who created a global juggernaut with WoW, redefined the RTS genre multiple times with Starcraft and Warcraft, redefined ARPGs with Diablo, and were widely known for the high quality bar for launching a game. This directly clashes with the bemoaning of "the old blizzard wouldn't have done this" because it was the old blizzard that did the cube crawls and sexpesting.

The entire company must be purged at this point, the rot is just too deep. Blizzard has ALWAYS been this way, as far as takeaways from the lawsuit are concerned. They can be better going forward, but it is clear that they have been this way for so long that it created an endemic culture of frat bro-ism and that doesn't happen overnight, or even in a few years.

Canine Blues Arooo
Jan 7, 2008

when you think about it...i'm the first girl you ever spent the night with



Grimey Drawer

HonorableTB posted:

I have seen a lot of people saying there is a correlation between the general declining quality of Blizzard games with the wave of veteran departures over the last few years. Yet, the lawsuit tells us the people most responsible for the harassment and it's uh..it's the veterans that left. The veterans who created a global juggernaut with WoW, redefined the RTS genre multiple times with Starcraft and Warcraft, redefined ARPGs with Diablo, and were widely known for the high quality bar for launching a game. This directly clashes with the bemoaning of "the old blizzard wouldn't have done this" because it was the old blizzard that did the cube crawls and sexpesting.

The entire company must be purged at this point, the rot is just too deep. Blizzard has ALWAYS been this way, as far as takeaways from the lawsuit are concerned. They can be better going forward, but it is clear that they have been this way for so long that it created an endemic culture of frat bro-ism and that doesn't happen overnight, or even in a few years.

For a lot of reasons, I want to avoid posting in this thread, but I do want to clear something about this particular narrative:

A lot of these old games were good because the swath of individual contributors on the projects were good. In fact, I'd go as far to say that a game like WoW was good *despite* Alex's uh...'contributions'. Most of these people are not famous, but their contributions to the quality of the games were huge. It is my estimation that there has been a higher rate of migration away from Blizzard by a lot of these individuals over the past 5 years. More importantly, the vast majority of these folks are good people. To that end, while there are some prominent sex pests that definitely existed in the past, throwing all of those people under the bus is unfair at best.

thetoughestbean
Apr 27, 2013

It is a good thing that I possess such a high intelligence; otherwise this might easily have led to a very awkward situation

I am hesitant to say the quality correlates with the sex pestery. People still play and apparently enjoy Riot games, and it seems to have all the same problems as Blizz

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



thetoughestbean posted:

I am hesitant to say the quality correlates with the sex pestery. People still play and apparently enjoy Riot games, and it seems to have all the same problems as Blizz

Nah riot has precisely one less problem: riot pays people competitively.

HonorableTB
Dec 22, 2006

hey bb u want sum fuk?

I SURVIVED THE AWFUL BLOCK, AGDQ 2018



Isn't Riot being sued by California because they tried to lowball their own sexual harassment suit victims on the compensation they were owed?

Mazed
Oct 23, 2010

:blizz:


This wouldn't hurt as much if Blizzard hadn't been the reigning champion of online, social gaming for well over a decade straight.

But it was, and people have a deep fondness for Blizzard properties, which even outside their inherent charm and appeal have served as the foundation for numerous interpersonal relationships; friends made, bonds formed, experiences had. Lateral thinking skills honed due to RTS play; organizational skills acquired from raiding with your guild. The number of married couples who met thanks to WoW are at the very least in the triple digits.

As such: As grotesque and damning as these allegations are, no one should feel bad for having been a fan of those games. Your good times with them aren't invalidated because their makers are exploitative creeps who think they're literal rockstars.

Dreylad
Jun 19, 2001


didn't Blizzard North do Diablo 1 & 2, which was a completely separate studio? then again, not sure if they also had allegations in their studio that's long since disbanded

Zil
Jun 4, 2011

I kind of want it.
Good Enough!




Mazed posted:

This wouldn't hurt as much if Blizzard hadn't been the reigning champion of online, social gaming for well over a decade straight.

But it was, and people have a deep fondness for Blizzard properties, which even outside their inherent charm and appeal have served as the foundation for numerous interpersonal relationships; friends made, bonds formed, experiences had. Lateral thinking skills honed due to RTS play; organizational skills acquired from raiding with your guild. The number of married couples who met thanks to WoW are at the very least in the triple digits.

As such: As grotesque and damning as these allegations are, no one should feel bad for having been a fan of those games. Your good times with them aren't invalidated because their makers are exploitative creeps who think they're literal rockstars.

For me its this. Having been a fan for years and actually working there for a time, it hurts to see what has become of the place. It also really stings to know that this stuff was going on while I was working there. All I care to type up about it now, but I really do hope this thread gets people really talking about this issue in the gaming software industry.

Klaus88
Jan 23, 2011

Violence has its own economy, therefore be thoughtful and precise in your investment

Warcraft 3's custom mapping scene was the apex of entertainment per dollar spent for me.

That's it, that's all I've got, I really loved diving into custom maps because of their insane diversity, something new and entertaining with almost every map.

I've genuinely never seen anything like it before or after and that fact that its attached to such a height of scumbags hurts. It hurts real bad.

tithin
Nov 14, 2003

[Grandmaster Tactician]



Dreylad posted:

didn't Blizzard North do Diablo 1 & 2, which was a completely separate studio? then again, not sure if they also had allegations in their studio that's long since disbanded

They are a separate studio yes, no allegations have been made against blizzard North that I'm aware of.

The man responsible for that studio has been extremely open with his disgust. Can't remember his name but he came up in the other thread when the news broke of the California case.

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



tithin posted:

They are a separate studio yes, no allegations have been made against blizzard North that I'm aware of.

The man responsible for that studio has been extremely open with his disgust. Can't remember his name but he came up in the other thread when the news broke of the California case.

David Brevik, who has been publicly extremely at odds with blizzard irvine for, uh at least a decade now, if not substantially longer.

He was also one of the early people who was yelling about how rotten blizzard was years before it was common knowledge and on that note, he was one of the main inspirations for the original blizzwatch thread (back in the days when it was all blizz chat still, lol).

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 00:16 on Sep 15, 2021

Rexicon1
Oct 9, 2007

A Shameful Path Led You Here

blizzard can kiss my rear end!

The United States
Jul 18, 2004

Please grab the extinguisher


Melman v2

Ubisoft Summary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_0eWpWncdc

Grayshift
May 31, 2013


It's a sad business. I've enjoyed a lot of Blizzard games, but they're not a company I can support anymore, even if they still made good content.

Milkfred E. Moore
Aug 27, 2006

The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.


Firstly, thanks for this thread, Tith. Nice to have a place to talk about this stuff that isn't drowned in someone complaining about his Kickstarter or their anime MMO characters.

Klaus88 posted:

Warcraft 3's custom mapping scene was the apex of entertainment per dollar spent for me.

That's it, that's all I've got, I really loved diving into custom maps because of their insane diversity, something new and entertaining with almost every map.

I've genuinely never seen anything like it before or after and that fact that its attached to such a height of scumbags hurts. It hurts real bad.

It really is remarkable what people could do with StarEdit and WorldEdit. One of the biggest tragedies of the absolute disaster of Warcraft 3: Reforged was that a lot of custom maps were rendered non-functional and custom campaign support was removed. I'd love to know what happened with Reforged behind the scenes because I don't think there's ever been an in-depth account. But as someone who kept one foot in the custom campaign/UMS scene, it was tragic to watch Starcraft 2 make it difficult to distribute campaigns (there were some very interesting projects that died very early) and then watched Reforged just kind of break the Warcraft side of things... It's not quite vandalism but it's really insensitive to one of the pillars that maintained interest in the game and world. The very first custom campaign I ever played was about Raynor un-zerging Kerrigan even.

Personally, I think Blizzard's decline began as far back as Starcraft 2. Whatever bright ideas they had that led to Brood War and Warcraft 3 were no longer there. One thing I've always been curious about was how much of a role James Phinney played in Starcraft's writing. He worked on the original but not on Brood War or anything later. He also worked on Sacrifice which has some incredible writing and when you compare it to Starcraft I think you can see how much of an influence Phinney was. I've always wondered how much he brought to it, because I think one can argue that even Brood War represents a departure from Starcraft's tone and style and characters.

Kith
Sep 17, 2009

You never learn anything
by doing it right.




^ lol

Klaus88 posted:

Warcraft 3's custom mapping scene was the apex of entertainment per dollar spent for me.

That's it, that's all I've got, I really loved diving into custom maps because of their insane diversity, something new and entertaining with almost every map.

I've genuinely never seen anything like it before or after and that fact that its attached to such a height of scumbags hurts. It hurts real bad.

I'm in the same boat. Hell, I started my entire career in game development because of Warcraft III and Starcraft II's editors, and honestly watching all of this unfold has been heartbreaking. Tons of connections that I spent years building are just gone now because of all of this poo poo.

MH Knights
Aug 4, 2007



And now ABK employees have filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board! Specifically union busting and employee intimidation.

quote:

[The company] told employees they cannot communicate with or discuss ongoing investigations of wages, hours and working conditions; maintained an overly broad social media policy; enforced the social media policy against employees who have engaged in protected concerted activity; threatened or disciplined employees on account of protected concerted activity; engaged in surveillance of employees engaged in protected concerted activity and engaged in interrogation of employees about protected concerted activity.

It should be noted that the law firm representing ABK, WilmerHale, has a history of union busting and is the former employer of WoW lead Ion Hazzikostas!

Gwaihir
Dec 8, 2009



Hair Elf

Milkfred E. Moore posted:

He also worked on Sacrifice which has some incredible writing and when you compare it to Starcraft I think you can see how much of an influence Phinney was.

Minor aside, but Sacrifice is one of those games from ready back in the day that was an absolute loving Gem and more people should at least watch a video about it. The characters and writing in particular were incredibly memorable with fantastic personalities.

Kith
Sep 17, 2009

You never learn anything
by doing it right.




Lazy Fair
Sep 23, 2019


One of the common reactions I've seen to the continuing saga of Activision-Blizzard news is "It's just as bad everywhere else" and I just want to say no! it's not! Whats been going on at ABK is so shocking because it goes far beyond the general norm of game companies acting like scumbags.

It's not normal for game companies to have an employee sexually harassed into suicide on a business trip after she had co-workers sharing pictures of her genitals around the office and her direct supervisor brought a bunch of sex toys with him on the trip.

It's not normal for game companies to ban a pro player for supporting the Hong Kong protests, then terminating casters for talking to him, and subsequently being condemned by the highest ranking members of the US government of all things.

It's not normal for game companies to be hiring into c-level positions a Bush administration person involved with torture authorization & abu ghraib prison, and a Trump administration fixer who threatened the state department's inspector general to call off an investigation into misuse of government resources.

It's not normal for game companies to be taken to court by state (and now maybe federal as well) labor agencies over violating worker rights laws. Unless I guess you're Riot games, the company down the street from Blizzard known for poaching as many former Blizzard people as possible.

It's not normal for game companies to respond to said lawsuits with insane political rants about how the government doesn't have the right to investigate them for crimes, and subsequently the government amending their case against them to include destruction of evidence.

It may be normal for game companies to be bad but none of this is normal! It's really weird!

Lazy Fair fucked around with this message at 19:50 on Sep 15, 2021

Kortel
Jan 7, 2008

Nothing to see here.


It's not retaliation. See here in these reviews that the outspoken members of our staff had shows a sharp decline in work ethic and teamwork. We don't need those kinds of people here in Activision Blizzard..

Ra Ra Rasputin
Apr 2, 2011


Kortel posted:

It's not retaliation. See here in these reviews that the outspoken members of our staff had shows a sharp decline in work ethic and teamwork. We don't need those kinds of people here in Activision Blizzard..

They did not fit in well with the company culture.

Chillgamesh
Jul 29, 2014

I JUST CAN NOT FUCKING SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT BUNNYBOYS!!!!!!!! hOLY SHIT TAILS!!! THATS WHAT I CALL POGGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FUCK


You guys joke, but I'd like to make it absolutely clear that anyone in the United States can be fired at any time for a bullshit non-reason like "bad culture fit" and as an employee your only option is to sue your employer. Obviously, this isn't realistic due to the massive resource disparity between an individual and a company, as well as the extreme difficulty of proving wrongful termination. This is part of the reason why corporate interests have spent decades upon decades and millions upon millions destroying worker's unions - collective action was one of the few effective options to protect against abusive behavior like that by large companies. I know this is widely understood but I think it's worth saying anyway

Kortel
Jan 7, 2008

Nothing to see here.


Chillgamesh posted:

You guys joke, but I'd like to make it absolutely clear that anyone in the United States can be fired at any time for a bullshit non-reason like "bad culture fit" and as an employee your only option is to sue your employer. Obviously, this isn't realistic due to the massive resource disparity between an individual and a company, as well as the extreme difficulty of proving wrongful termination. This is part of the reason why corporate interests have spent decades upon decades and millions upon millions destroying worker's unions - collective action was one of the few effective options to protect against abusive behavior like that by large companies. I know this is widely understood but I think it's worth saying anyway
I joke because I was middle management and had HR training. In most American companies HR is just there to make sure unions don't start. Also to figure out how to terminate without getting sued. It's pretty bad.

sharknado slashfic
Jun 24, 2011



I learned how useful HR was when I gave a "confidential" statement to support a female coworker who felt like she was being harassed, and a little while after I left a friend talked to the guy in question and got a bunch of poo poo about how I sold him out and screwed him over (obviously didn't lose his job though). I can't figure out how he could have known I said anything, let alone was involved, unless someone in HR had told him. Even the woman didn't know I had said anything to HR as far as I know.

Heran Bago
Aug 18, 2006





It's a drop in the ocean, and I don't have any skin in the game, but the way Blizzard shuttered Heroes of the Storm was some bullshit.
They announced publicly that they were shutting down the eSports scene and taking developers off the game. This public announcement is how professional players and casters found out they were out of a job.

Kith
Sep 17, 2009

You never learn anything
by doing it right.




Heran Bago posted:

It's a drop in the ocean, and I don't have any skin in the game, but the way Blizzard shuttered Heroes of the Storm was some bullshit.
They announced publicly that they were shutting down the eSports scene and taking developers off the game. This public announcement is how professional players and casters found out they were out of a job.

This also came immediately after a Blizzcon presentation where they talked about how excited they were for the next HGC season. It wasn't just the players and casters, but the developers too.

Robo Reagan
Feb 12, 2012



One important lesson the layman can take away from this is that HR will never help you and is only there to cover the company's rear end. Pls unionize :(

Wanderer
Nov 5, 2006

our every move is the new tradition


HonorableTB posted:

I have seen a lot of people saying there is a correlation between the general declining quality of Blizzard games with the wave of veteran departures over the last few years. Yet, the lawsuit tells us the people most responsible for the harassment and it's uh..it's the veterans that left. The veterans who created a global juggernaut with WoW, redefined the RTS genre multiple times with Starcraft and Warcraft, redefined ARPGs with Diablo, and were widely known for the high quality bar for launching a game. This directly clashes with the bemoaning of "the old blizzard wouldn't have done this" because it was the old blizzard that did the cube crawls and sexpesting.

From what I've been hearing out of a few ex-Blizzard people I've spoken to in the last couple of years, they're separate issues.

The picture that was painted for me was that the Activision end of the partnership was actively trying to wring as much money out of every facet of the business as possible, which created issues with the ongoing games like Overwatch's lootboxes, the mismanagement of Heroes of the Storm, and the general malaise of World of Warcraft. That pressure eventually resulted in a years-long talent drain that only made the problems worse, and now here we are.

That was happening on top of the sex-pesting and general rot, not because of it.

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



crossposting

Blizz is clearly trying and hoping for a pr blitz starting in a few days. Gonna be the d2r release, owl finals, and then ow2 announcement during the owl finals. I really do not expect much from the ow2 announcement. They obviously have jack poo poo to show or they would've already been showing it off. There's some speculation that they ***might*** have multiple new heroes ready to go but lmao I will enthusiastically take the under on that every single time. Especially on the 'ready to go' part. Tbh the ow2 info release probably is aimed as much at the currently very not-happy owl team owners as anything else. Generating some buzz to distract from the various lawsuits and scandals is a plus.

D2R is another big can of worms. At the moment, d2r is still on a corporate mandated release deadline, but if they're going to blow it as badly as WC3 Reforged did, then there aren't a lot of indications of it yet. That said, we still have seen nearly nothing past the first 2 acts and still no sign of the assassin or the necromancer. Basically I believe that we've only seen the stuff the d4 team finished and everything else that VV has been working on hasn't made it out at all. As it stands, d2r is releasing with features removed from d2 and with no ladder and with an extremely bizarre patchwork of bugs fixed and bugs ignored (next hit always misses is still in, they ''''fixed'''' the beloved eth armor bug and the weapon swap animation cancel ''''bug'''' that was used in pvp, but hey! they fixed assassin traps counting as uniques!

The no ladder on release is concerning. WC3r promised a ladder 'soon after release' too and 2+ years later and there's still no ladder. The only evidence of a ladder system even being in is, strangely, a mockup? I do think it'll get a ladder because even for all their faults I can't imagine they'd be stupid enough to repeat the wc3r thing of just pulling all support the day after release (and then firing/disbanding the team that worked on it). But, with that said, I don't think d2r gets much support after release either beyond what one or two people can do. The other bizarre thing about launching without a ladder is that they only have a few days, maybe a week before people get bots running in d2r and then the entire economy is just another huge botfest.

If I was putting money on it, d2r will probably come out in a fine/playable state. Who tf knows how much support it gets after release though. They're obviously going to pull nearly all resources from it after it comes out, but just out of sheer self-interest you'd expect them to keep it supported at least long enough to get a ladder season going and to patch out the first rounds of economy wrecking glitches and exploits. I would be very hesitant to put money on any features actually getting added after it releases tho

Wanderer posted:

From what I've been hearing out of a few ex-Blizzard people I've spoken to in the last couple of years, they're separate issues.

The picture that was painted for me was that the Activision end of the partnership was actively trying to wring as much money out of every facet of the business as possible, which created issues with the ongoing games like Overwatch's lootboxes, the mismanagement of Heroes of the Storm, and the general malaise of World of Warcraft. That pressure eventually resulted in a years-long talent drain that only made the problems worse, and now here we are.

That was happening on top of the sex-pesting and general rot, not because of it.

Yeah they're separate issues. The loss of veteran developers and project managers has impacted blizzard's productivity. And by impacted I mean cratered it. All the activision poo poo has been around for ages at this point and has been something of a constant. Similarly the layoffs of veteran employees has also contributed to the massive morale problem that has further undermined their ability to get anything done and, especially after the lawsuit, has been disastrous for their ability to even hire new people.

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 22:33 on Sep 17, 2021

30.5 Days
Nov 19, 2006


FWIW a friend of mine got a call from their recruiter and it seems like their hiring pipeline is still in "gently caress you, we're blizzard" mode. If there was even a basic attempt to make the job attractive they might still be able to hire right now. The recruiter was like "yeah the salary isn't attractive, and there won't be any bonuses because our revenue is down 60% from our target for this point in the year, so don't come here thinking you're going to make a lot of money." Like, drat, at least sugar coat it.

30.5 Days fucked around with this message at 00:02 on Sep 18, 2021

Dreylad
Jun 19, 2001


Milkfred E. Moore posted:

Personally, I think Blizzard's decline began as far back as Starcraft 2. Whatever bright ideas they had that led to Brood War and Warcraft 3 were no longer there. One thing I've always been curious about was how much of a role James Phinney played in Starcraft's writing. He worked on the original but not on Brood War or anything later. He also worked on Sacrifice which has some incredible writing and when you compare it to Starcraft I think you can see how much of an influence Phinney was. I've always wondered how much he brought to it, because I think one can argue that even Brood War represents a departure from Starcraft's tone and style and characters.

Brood War reads like there were 14 writers, 5 who had recently watched Starship Troopers.

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



30.5 Days posted:

FWIW a friend of mine got a call from their recruiter and it seems like their hiring pipeline is still in "gently caress you, we're blizzard" mode. If there was even a basic attempt to make the job attractive they might still be able to hire right now. The recruiter was like "yeah the salary isn't attractive, and there won't be any bonuses because our revenue is down 60% from our target for this point in the year, so don't come here thinking you're going to make a lot of money." Like, drat, at least sugar coat it.

tfw even the recruiter isn't feeling it

Ra Ra Rasputin
Apr 2, 2011


From what I heard mods aren't going to work on D2R and my understanding is that anyone still playing diablo2 after 20 years is only playing it with mods or is a bot.
There's only so much rose colored glasses can do for a 20 year old game with less functionality then the game that released 20 years ago.

What are the player numbers like on WC3 reforged? did it ever recover from gutting their custom games and constant crashes?

Sorta glad I never played Broodwar or WC3 or diablo2 as a kid so that I wouldn't be attached to them and feel bad for their fall and decline, good time to be a age of empires fan though.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Ra Ra Rasputin posted:

From what I heard mods aren't going to work on D2R and my understanding is that anyone still playing diablo2 after 20 years is only playing it with mods or is a bot.

They're allowing mods for single player. Can't play multiplayer with mods.

Shooting Blanks
Jun 6, 2007

Real bullets mess up how cool this thing looks.

-Blade





Herstory Begins Now posted:

tfw even the recruiter isn't feeling it

I kinda respect the honesty. I've had so many recruiters blow smoke up my rear end (entirely different industry) that I'd be pretty happy if one were to just lay out expectations bluntly - good or bad - and let me make a decision to move forward. Let's not talk about ownership or passion, let's not talk about creativity or work/life balance. Tell me what the pay is, what's expected of me, what the metrics are, let me meet the group I'd be working with to understand team dynamics and let's go from there.

Edit: At the same time, the recruiter almost certainly said that because they will get dinged if they have too many new hires that quit within X months for any reason, and it's easier to just say "Hey, we interviewed, bad fit/they've seen the news/whatever, let's move on."

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



Shooting Blanks posted:

I kinda respect the honesty. I've had so many recruiters blow smoke up my rear end (entirely different industry) that I'd be pretty happy if one were to just lay out expectations bluntly - good or bad - and let me make a decision to move forward. Let's not talk about ownership or passion, let's not talk about creativity or work/life balance. Tell me what the pay is, what's expected of me, what the metrics are, let me meet the group I'd be working with to understand team dynamics and let's go from there.

Edit: At the same time, the recruiter almost certainly said that because they will get dinged if they have too many new hires that quit within X months for any reason, and it's easier to just say "Hey, we interviewed, bad fit/they've seen the news/whatever, let's move on."

Yeah I'm not saying they're horrible, it's just more of the same poo poo with blizzard, where, if they really wanted to attract people, they'd be making competitive offers. Lord knows they can afford to. Hell even riot figured out that you can just pay people enough money that they will put up with some of your bullshit.

Instead, it's basically the same 'you can't put a price on prestige' hiring script, minus the promise of prestige lol, which, particularly in Irvine, you definitely can put a price on because you need to actually make some money to not be living paycheck to paycheck there

Cythereal posted:

They're allowing mods for single player. Can't play multiplayer with mods.

I don't think even plugy (the only singleplayer d2 mod that I am even aware of?) will be compatible with d2r. All the multiplayer mods are going to be unsupported

or was that :thejoke:

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 01:13 on Sep 18, 2021

Jaytan
Dec 14, 2003

Childhood enlistment means fewer birthdays to remember

MH Knights posted:

It should be noted that the law firm representing ABK, WilmerHale, has a history of union busting and is the former employer of WoW lead Ion Hazzikostas!

I dont believe any allegations of misconduct have been offered for Mr Hazzokostas, but I will take this opportunity to point out prior to him joining Blizzard he was a member of Elitist Jerks which started as an offshoot of the beta Goon Squad guild. Its full circle yall.

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Fister Roboto
Feb 21, 2008



Buglord

thetoughestbean posted:

I am hesitant to say the quality correlates with the sex pestery. People still play and apparently enjoy Riot games, and it seems to have all the same problems as Blizz

Yeah I don't think it's a stretch to say that the old guard were really good at making video games and were also horrible sex pests.

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