Page 1 of 173
1
2
3
11
51
101
... LastLast
  1. #1

    Mike Morhaime replies to open letter over diversity in Blizzard games.

    Originally Posted by Mike Morhaime
    Dear [starcunning],

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns about your experiences with our games. I appreciated the points you made, so I shared your letter with others on our teams here and included it as part of the ongoing discussions we’ve been having on the subject.

    I want to start by saying that we’re grateful to have such a diverse and passionate player base, and we want everyone to feel welcome, safe, and included in our games and communities. We have made some mistakes in how we’ve communicated about this and how we’ve reflected it in other ways, but we are working to improve. As Dustin mentioned in his apology for the comments you called out, we take the topic of inclusiveness seriously, and we don’t want any of our players to feel we are being insensitive in how we portray our characters.

    There have been times when we’ve been seen or painted as being uninterested in hearing feedback or making changes. I want to be clear that this goes against the philosophies and core values on which Blizzard has been built and continues to operate. We will always listen, and we will always work hard to make games that appeal to as many people as possible.

    We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible. Blizzard’s employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content. We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented. We’ve always believed that positive, lasting change comes from examination, discussion, and iteration, and this applies as much to story as to gameplay. There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience.

    I speak for everyone at Blizzard when I say that we will always remain open to feedback and discussions to help us improve. This will be an ongoing process for us—it’s likely that we will make mistakes again in the future, but we will continue to listen, learn, and grow. We care very much about what you think and what you’re getting out of our games, and we’re committed to reflecting our core values in our words as well as our actions.

    I just want to close by saying thank you again. It’s clear that you care very much about your experiences in the games you play and that you believe our games can again deliver experiences that you value. We recognize how fortunate we are to have players who believe in us.

    Sincerely,

    Mike Morhaime
    Original Open Letter by [starcunning]

    4 July 2014

    Michael Morhaime
    President
    Blizzard Entertainment
    P.O. Box 18979
    Irvine, CA 92623

    Dear Mr. Morhaime,

    Recently I received an email inviting me to participate in the alpha test of the forthcoming Blizzard game Heroes of the Storm. This is my first alpha invitation in almost ten years of playing Blizzard games, but I have chosen to decline that invitation. My World of Warcraft subscription has also lapsed, my Warlords of Draenor preorder has been cancelled, my Diablo 3 auction items have been allowed to rot away with the closing of the game’s auction house, and I have uninstalled Blizzard’s games from both my home computers and my tablet. I am writing to you to elucidate on why I made this decision, and in the hopes that change may be effected that will mend my relationship with Blizzard Entertainment as a gamer and a consumer.

    I am aware that Rob Pardo has recently departed his post as Chief Creative Officer at Blizzard, but while he was still with the company he gave a talk at MIT Media Lab. The message he sent during that talk was that Blizzard’s priority in developing games is engaging gameplay and mechanics, rather than focusing on the story. That’s a valid decision to make, and the company has made some of the most fun games I have ever played and earned their laurels the world over.

    Those fun games have increasingly poor storytelling, but my problems with the narrative of Diablo 3 took a backseat because I always played it with my best friend and we babbled our way through the game anyway. I came to Diablo 3 to enjoy the experience of clicking things to death and collecting loot with my friend. When I originally came to World of Warcraft it was with a keen interest in Warcraft 3’s story and a desire to see it continue. I played on roleplaying servers throughout my subscription and enjoyed the community of likeminded lore enthusiasts, but as the cohesion of Warcraft’s storyline deteriorated, my focus turned toward my friends and the community of role-players. As my friends left the game—and I left my guild over an incompatibility of personalities—the shine came off of World of Warcraft, though I still expected to return for the expansion. It seemed that all at once I had fallen out of love with Azeroth, because my friends were elsewhere.

    Because if what I was seeking was community, then the gameplay—excellent as it was—mattered less. My playthrough of Reaper of Souls ended up on hold because my best friend and I made a sidebar to Mass Effect to play in parallel and swapped tales of our exploits every night. That didn’t happen with Blizzard games anymore—the drive to discuss what I’d been up to in the game and how it made me feel. He was still raiding and should have had things to say about Siege of Orgrimmar; we should have had something to talk about where Reaper of Souls was concerned. Occasionally there was a nugget of greatness, but even talking about my own avatar it was rare that the vignettes I related were about a character I felt resembled me. And while I can empathize easily with characters who have nothing of me in them, it wears a little thin to see the same themes emerging in Blizzard’s writing.

    Mr. Pardo, when asked specifically about diversity in Blizzard games, commented “I wouldn’t say that’s really a value for us. It’s not something that we’re against either, but it’s just not something that’s … something we’re trying to actively do.”
    Dustin Browder, game director of Heroes of the Storm also espoused a similar viewpoint. When he was pressed about some of the costuming decisions for the female heroes, he brushed it off, saying “We’re not sending a message. Nobody should look to our game for that.”

    When Blizzard’s emphasis is on engaging gameplay over engaging story, it’s easy to dismiss these concerns as unimportant or even to see them as a political or social issue. What Pardo and Browder fail to recognize is that by not acknowledging these issues, they are in fact sending a message: that somehow, including a wider variety of portrayals of women or incorporating diversity in other aspects is politicizing their game. I don’t think that’s true. I certainly don’t believe it’s truer than the notion that excluding these groups doesn’t send a message.

    Women and people of color are present in Blizzard’s player base, and are underrepresented as the heroes of Blizzard’s games. When they are represented, there often seems to be a catch—the characters in World of Warcraft who are black are black dragons and often turn out to be villainous. Diablo 3 had the mother-daughter team of Adria and Leah, but Adria was a manipulative villain and Leah’s life and perhaps even soul was sacrificed to make way for the coming of Diablo.

    Blizzard’s team is incredibly excited for the upcoming Warlords of Draenor. It’s going to be cool, they’ve promised enthusiastically. It’s going to be nothing but cool, really, but the trouble is that what the development team thinks is cool and worthy of inclusion in Warlords comes across as juvenile. It’s all very comic-book, down to the time traveling alternate-reality premise of the expansion itself.

    And comic books and time travel and building motorcycles are all cool. I won’t deny that. They’re cool like cupcakes are delicious, but sometimes I don’t want another cupcake. Sometimes I’d settle for another flavor of cupcake, and we were promised one in Yrel, the female draenei who has been compared to Joan of Arc. However, this seems to a lack understanding of Joan of Arc’s narrative; she is martyred by more powerful men. I hope Yrel’s story ends differently. In an alpha build, it was revealed that we first meet her while she’s imprisoned by orcs and rescue her. There was dialogue written that insinuates she may have been raped during that imprisonment. Maraad uses the word “defiled.” She contests the usage of the word, though not, specifically, the insinuations of what happened to her, and we are meant to accept he’s being wrongheaded and leave it at that. We have been told over and over that orcs value their females no less highly than their males, but we really don’t see many women among the eponymous Warlords.

    It’s a little hard to appreciate the cool bits when the scaffolding to hold those up is increasingly distasteful to me. These tropes aren’t new, either; comic book fans would recognize them in a heartbeat, and there’s a reason for that, which Pardo explains: “most of our developers are guys who grew up reading comic books.” There is nothing wrong with enjoying comic books. However, as adults they should be able to look at the properties they enjoyed, and probably continue to enjoy with a critical eye. That analysis should go beyond saying the representation of women in comics is “offensive to, I think, some women.” There are three words in the middle of that statement that probably should get the axe: comic books are offensive to women, and their poor representation has begotten more poor representation, but in neither case is that excusable. The comic book community is going through its own coming of age now, because like video games they have demanded to be taken more seriously and must also accept that they are subject to more in-depth criticism if they are to be considered as an artistic medium. The comic-reading audience, like gamers, have grown more sophisticated. If comics and games do not also grow more sophisticated to keep pace with the taste of their audience, then that audience will turn to other avenues of entertainment.

    Gaming in general—and Blizzard Entertainment in specific—would be well served in the pursuit of retaining a diversified base by diversifying their development and writing team. Games development seems to be like a walled garden, tended by groundskeepers who come overwhelmingly from the same background. When asked why Blizzard didn’t hire more women, Mr. Pardo responded “I just don’t get the applications.” It is difficult to believe that women are not pursuing games development, and even more difficult to believe that the women who want to tell their stories through the medium of games have not put their names out to offer to a company as large, visible, and well-respected as Blizzard Entertainment. That they don’t want to work on the world’s most successful MMO. Women and people of color are asking for access to the garden so that they, too, may sow the seeds of their ideas.

    While Blizzard has recently chastised the IeSF, leading them to overturn a ruling that barred female players from entry to a Hearthstone tournament, the company still has work to be done. The comments made by Mr. Pardo and Mr. Browder, speaking as employees of Blizzard Entertainment, seem to imply that representing people like me will never be a priority to the company. They seem to be suggesting I go elsewhere. I have sought other avenues of entertainment, but if Blizzard makes the choice and commitment to reflect the diversity of their fans in the worlds and games they create, I will happily return to that fanbase.

    Sincerely yours,
    [starcunning]

    CC: C. Metzen; D. Browder; CM team D3/WOW/HS
    Source: http://starcunning.tumblr.com/post/9...-mike-morhaime
    FREE Gold Making Tips
    14,800,000g+ Made Since January 19, 2012
    @Elvinelol | Twitch Stream

  2. #2
    Lovely.

    He replies to idiots who create issues out of thin air in an environment that has nothing to do with them, and ignores his actual customers who are angered over changes like Capital city changes and are consistently ignored with no line of communication.
    Last edited by Elysia; 2014-07-10 at 09:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Could we get a TL;DR for that letter to Morhaime? I don't really want to sit through and read all of that.

  4. #4
    The Lightbringer Valyrian Stormclaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    World's End Tavern, listening to the ETC.
    Posts
    3,949
    So...he's complaining because a video game in an industry biased towards men heroes has a larger men-to-women hero ratio?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by WarlordsofDraenor View Post
    Lovely.

    He replies to idiots who create issues out of thin air in an environment that has nothing to do with them, and ignores his actual customers who are angered over changes like Capital city changes and are consistently ignored with no line of communication.
    They haven't ignored anyone about the capital city change. I am pretty sure they have commented on why they made the decision to change it.

  6. #6
    Scarab Lord ViridianWRA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rainbow Road
    Posts
    4,304
    This garbage comes in the wake of all the other controversial decisions Blizzard has been making? This is the one that's an 'issue'?

  7. #7
    Is this another one of those artificial controversies that twats like to bring up just so they can make them feel smart and important?.

  8. #8
    seem to imply that representing people like me will never be a priority to the company. They seem to be suggesting I go elsewhere.
    Absolutely nothing wrong with this. What special snowflake syndrome. I would never cater to people like this. EVER.

  9. #9
    Legendary! Anarch Son of Gods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Center of the Internet
    Posts
    6,452
    Quote Originally Posted by WarlordsofDraenor View Post
    Lovely.

    He replies to idiots who create issues out of thin air in an environment that has nothing to do with them, and ignores his actual customers who are angered over changes like Capital city changes and are consistently ignored with no line of communication.
    The letter written to Blizzard was quite well constructed and touched upon some very serious and interesting issues. It was thoughtful and rather constructive too in the reasons given as to why he or she didn't agree with some of the design choices that have been made over the past years. The writer certainly is insightful and managed to write something elaborate and constructive enough that it deserved an official reply. Don't be disrespectful, that is the only true sign of idiocy.
    ♦ "It is easy to take insolence from those who are below you." ♦

  10. #10
    The Lightbringer Zoaric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    The United States of America, Rapture, or Orgrimmar
    Posts
    3,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Tedstery View Post
    Could we get a TL;DR for that letter to Morhaime? I don't really want to sit through and read all of that.
    In a very general sense: "I got HotS Beta, but I won't play it. I have deleted all of my
    Blizzard games and let my sub lapse as well. They will stay this way until women and
    minorities get better representation in video games, particularly those made by Blizzard.
    On that day I will rejoin the fanbase."
    Quote Originally Posted by Yvaelle View Post
    You can't fight porn on the internet, you may as well declare war on something overwhelming like water on Earth's surface - or something ephemeral like "terror" (lol sorry, had to do it) - or something both overwhelming and ephemeral... like porn on the internet.
    #GamerGate

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by WarlordsofDraenor View Post
    Lovely.

    He replies to idiots who create issues out of thin air in an environment that has nothing to do with them, and ignores his actual customers who are angered over changes like Capital city changes and are consistently ignored with no line of communication.
    Mike Morhaime has nothing to do with game design...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tedstery View Post
    Could we get a TL;DR for that letter to Morhaime? I don't really want to sit through and read all of that.
    it is none + sense = problem, just skip the whole thread.

  13. #13
    Legendary! Anarch Son of Gods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Center of the Internet
    Posts
    6,452
    Quote Originally Posted by Zoaric View Post
    In a very general sense: "I got HotS Beta, but I won't play it. I have deleted all of my
    Blizzard games and let my sub lapse as well. They will stay this way until women and
    minorities get better representation in video games, particularly those made by Blizzard.
    On that day I will rejoin the fanbase."
    This is why there shouldn't be a TL;DR. The writer touches upon several other issues too. Such as pointing out that too many tropes are being repeated across the lore and storytelling of different Blizzard games lately, as well as within the games itself.
    ♦ "It is easy to take insolence from those who are below you." ♦

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Netherspark View Post
    Mike Morhaime has nothing to do with game design...
    Mike Morhaime has everything to do with Blizzard.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by WarlordsofDraenor View Post
    Mike Morhaime has everything to do with Blizzard.
    He runs the company. He doesn't decide what the devs put into the game.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by WarlordsofDraenor View Post
    Lovely.

    He replies to idiots who create issues out of thin air in an environment that has nothing to do with them, and ignores his actual customers who are angered over changes like Capital city changes and are consistently ignored with no line of communication.
    ...if you think your issues are worse then inequality concerns then I worry for you.

    But hey, if you think people are 'idiots' for making a constructive open letter rather then screaming abuse non-stop on forums...

  17. #17
    The Lightbringer Zoaric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    The United States of America, Rapture, or Orgrimmar
    Posts
    3,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarch the Subduer View Post
    This is why there shouldn't be a TL;DR. The writer touches upon several other issues too. Such as pointing out that too many tropes are being repeated across the lore and storytelling of different Blizzard games lately, as well as within the games itself.
    Notice the "in a very general sense" bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yvaelle View Post
    You can't fight porn on the internet, you may as well declare war on something overwhelming like water on Earth's surface - or something ephemeral like "terror" (lol sorry, had to do it) - or something both overwhelming and ephemeral... like porn on the internet.
    #GamerGate

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by WarlordsofDraenor View Post
    Absolutely nothing wrong with this. What special snowflake syndrome. I would never cater to people like this. EVER.
    Ahahahaa ahahah ahaha... oh you're serious.

    Considering your previous statements, this is rather hypocritical of you wouldn't you say?

  19. #19
    Blademaster captainkanji's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carbondale, IL
    Posts
    27
    Ah the racist card. If you don't get what you want, they must be racist. Doesn't seem to realize the effort it would take to make a skin for every nationality on the planet. The amount of time it would take to write lore for every nationality. PC kills productivity everywhere it is implemented. World of Warcraft is a fantasy game. If I wanted a realistic game with political correctness, I'd just watch the news media and go back to college. I play games to escape this garbage. Everyone at Blizz must be a klan member? Hardly. I think they just want to make the best games possible. They must make many cuts and sacrifices in order to polish game content. We still don't have dance studio or Path of the Titans. I wish they were in the game, but understand the deadlines they must meet. Hmm, they must all be man haters. Gimme my stuff now!!!! T_T

  20. #20
    Mechagnome
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    8.6 LY away from home
    Posts
    700
    if you want a 'diverse' game. get off your fucking ass, learn programming, and make one.

    quit forcing your social justice bullshit onto other people.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •