World of Warcraft News and Raiding Strategies RSS Feed

by Published on 2021-07-24 05:53 AM

Mike Morhaime Response to Blizzard Lawsuit
Mike Morhaime posted a response to the Blizzard lawsuit. He stepped down from his position at Blizzard in 2018.
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
I have read the full complaint against Activision Blizzard and many of the other stories. It is all very disturbing and difficult to read. I am ashamed. It feels like everything I thought I stood for has been washed away. What’s worse but even more important, real people have been harmed, and some women had terrible experiences.

I was at Blizzard for 28 years. During that time, I tried very hard to create an environment that was safe and welcoming for people of all genders and backgrounds. I knew that it was not perfect, but clearly we were far from that goal. The fact that so many women were mistreated and were not supported means we let them down. In addition, we did not succeed in making it feel safe for people to tell their truth. It is no consolation that other companies have faced similar challenges. I wanted us to be different, better.

Harassment and discrimination exist. They are prevalent in our industry. It is the responsibility of leadership to keep all employees feeling safe, supported, and treated equitably, regardless of gender and background. It is the responsibility of leadership to stamp out toxicity and harassment in any form, across all levels of the company. To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.

I realize that these are just words, but I wanted to acknowledge the women who had awful experiences. I hear you, I believe you, and I am so sorry to have let you down. I want to hear your stories, if you are willing to share them. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to help drive positive change and to combat misogyny, discrimination, and harassment wherever I can. I believe we can do better, and I believe the gaming industry can be a place where women and minorities are welcomed, included, supported, recognized, rewarded, and ultimately unimpeded from the opportunity to make the types of contributions that all of us join this industry to make. I want the mark I leave on this industry to be something that we can all be proud of.

-Mike
by Published on 2021-07-23 07:24 PM

Update: Added Frances Townsend's statement on the lawsuit.

J. Allen Brack's Internal Email to Blizzard Staff
Blizzard President J. Allen Brack has sent out an internal email to Blizzard staff, in which he addresses the allegations from the lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Here's a copy of the email, as reported by Jason Schreier.
Originally Posted by J. Allen Brack
Hello Blizzard -

I personally have a lot of emotions coming out of yesterday, and I know you do, too. The allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling.

I know many of you would like to receive more clarity. While I can't comment on the specifics of the case as it's an open investigation, what I can say is that the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.

  • It goes - with saying - it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment.
  • It goes - with saying - that everyone should feel safe working here, whether we are on campus, at BlizzCon, or working from home.
  • It goes - with saying - it takes courage to come forward, and all claims brought to the company are investigated by internal and (when needed) external investigators. We take these claims very seriously. Claims can be made without fear of retaliation, and many times, I attend to them personally, along with our other leaders.

Stepping back - when I talked with Bobby about taking this job, one of the first things I mentioned was a revered saint of the Brack household - Gloria Steinem. Growing up, the value of women as equals, understanding the work that had been done for equal treatment, and the fact that there was still much to do, were common themes. This is just one of the reasons why the fight for equality is incredibly important to me. People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our team, and our player community. I disdain "bro culture," and have spent my career fighting against it.

Iterating on our culture with the same intensity that we bring to our games is imperative, with our values acting as our north star. This is some of the most important work we do, both as professionals and human beings.

A company is more than a legal construct that exists as a piece of paper in a filing cabinet in Delaware. The people that work at the company make it what it is, through their actions and creations. Each of us plays a role in maintaining a place of safety for one other. And it is also up to each of us to continue to craft the Blizzard we want - and commit to doing our part in keeping Blizzard great but always aspiring for more.

The leadership team and I will be meeting with many of you to answer questions and discuss how we can move forward. In the meantime, I want you to know that you can talk to any manager, any HR partner, any member of the legal team, or to any one on the executive team [including, Hey J]. If you feel more comfortable talking to someone outside Blizzard, or prefer to be anonymous, you can contact the Way2Play Integrity Line.

I feel angry, sad, and a host of other emotions, but I also feel grateful to work alongside a set of leaders and thousands of employees who join me in their commitment to continuous improvement.

Thank you Blizzard.

JAB



Edit: Frances Townsend has also sent an internal email.
Originally Posted by Frances Townsend
Everyone,

As the Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women's Network and our Chief Compliance Officer, I wanted to reach out to you. I know this has been difficult for many of us. A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories — some from more than a decade ago.

The Activision companies of today, the Activision companies that I know, are great companies with good values. When I joined the Executive Leadership Team, I was certain that I was joining a company where I would be valued, treated with respect, and provided opportunities equal to those afforded to the men of the company. For me, this has been true during my time. As a leader, I an committed to making sure that the experience I have is the same as the rest of the organization. We have a leadership team that is committed to these principles in every way.

I am proud to be part of a company that takes a hard—line approach to inappropriate or hostile work environments and sexual harassment issues. Our Speak Up campaign reinforces our zero tolerance for retaliation against those who do speak up. We've made significant investments to foster inclusive behaviors, and to reflect greater diversity within our leadership teams including:

* Investing in and strengthening our DE&I Employee Networks; creating global networks to bring together the efforts in all of our business units and the introduction of Executive Sponsors.
* Introducing learning and development programs, including inclusive hiring training.
* Amplifying internal programs such as the Way2Play Heroes and the recurring Speak Up campaign.
* Reinforcing channels for employees to report violations including the "ASK List."
* Introducing an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns.
* Continuing to require all employees to take Equality & Diversity training including anti—harassment training (and have done so for many years).

We put tremendous effort into creating fair compensation policies that reflect our commitment to equal opportunity. We review compensation regularly and feel confident that we pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take proactive steps to ensure that pay and advancement are driven by merit. We reward performance, and we conduct extensive anti—discrimination trainings, including for those who are part of the compensation process.

We work at a company that truly values equality and fairness. Rest assured that leadership is committed to continuing to maintain a safe, fair, and inclusive workplace. We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees. We aspire in our company to do great things: in our games, in our impact on society, and in our work environment. We continue to hold firm to our principles and invest, as we have in the past, the resources to ensure quality opportunities for all employees. We remain committed as a leadership team to doing what is right.

- Fran



Warcraft III: Reforged Production Backstory
In an article posted on Bloomberg, Jason Schreier goes over how Blizzard botched the Warcraft III remake because of internal fights and pressure over costs.
  • According to newly revealed documents and people with knowledge of the failed launch, Warcraft III: Reforged was a result of mismanagement and financial pressures pushed by Activision.
  • Blizzard originally promised "over four hours of updated in-game cutscenes and re-recorded voice-overs", however the game launched without that. The remake also lacked features from the original Warcraft III, such as a ranked ladder for competitive players.
  • Due to a limited budget, the hiring was restricted to the point where not even employees from other Blizzard departments could come and help.
    • Some employees were tasked to do multiple jobs at once, and had to work many nights and weekends to try and finish the game.
    • Layoffs from February 2019 included some employees working in Blizzard's support departments.
    • The team shared that: "we were missing and/or had the wrong people in certain lead roles" and that "the team structure didn't set up the project for success".
    • By the end of 2019, employees from all across Blizzard were brought in to help finish the game, but even that wasn't enough.

by Published on 2021-07-23 06:29 AM

WoW Patch 9.1 Hotfixes - July 23, 2021
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Classes

  • Demon Hunter
    • Fixed an issue with Hidden Helm and Hidden Cloak transmog options for Demon Hunters not using the correct appearances.

Covenants

  • Soulbinds
    • Night Fae
      • Fixed an issue where Podtender (Dreamweaver) would cause the player to die when accepting a queue.

Dungeons and Raids

  • Sanctum of Domination
    • Remnant of Ner’zhul
      • Fixed an issue that allowed cleave effects to hit his armor pieces on Mythic difficulty.
  • Mythic+
    • Fixed an issue where dying after completing the dungeon in time could cause you to lose the ability to trade your keystone with Ta'hsup.
    • Tormented Affix
      • The spawn location of the 4th Tormented Affix lieutenant in Sanguine Depths has been adjusted to be available before Grand Proctor Beryilla.
  • Spires of Ascension
    • Devos
      • Fixed an issue that would cause Archon's Bastion damage reduction buff to be removed with player immunity effects.
  • Tazavesh, the Veiled Market
    • Fixed an issue where Lethal Force would continue to affect players after Commander Zo’far’s defeat.

Items and Rewards

  • Paragon reputation gains for The Archivists' Codex faction now function properly.

Torghast, Tower of the Damned

  • Torments
    • Raging can now be dispelled by spells that remove enrage effects such as Soothe.
    • Unstoppable is no longer removed from the enemy upon the player’s defeat.
by Published on 2021-07-23 01:31 AM

WoW Patch 9.1 Hotfixes - July 22, 2021
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Achievements

  • Fixed an issue where Horde players who have earned the Hall of Fame: Sylvanas achievement were not granted the Famed Bane of The Banshee Queen title.

Classes

  • Priest
    • Fixed an issue where Bwonsamdi's Pact (Runecarving Power) disappeared prematurely if Fae Guardians (Night Fae Ability) lasted longer than 20 seconds.

Items and Rewards

  • Shards of Domination
    • Blood Link's target application has been made more reliable.
  • Using the Silver Shardhide Whistle toy while in a Druid form will now cancel the form and activate the toy instead of failing and putting the toy on cooldown.

Torghast, Tower of the Damned

  • Anima Powers
    • Priest
      • Fixed an issue where Bwonsamdi's Pact (Runecarving Power) was not benefitting from Dreamspun Mushrooms (Anima Power).
  • Torments
    • Avenger will no longer spam sound effects on every kill.
by Published on 2021-07-22 02:18 AM

Update: Added Blizzard's statement on the lawsuit

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes - July 21, 2021
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes
  • Druid
    • Born Anew's (Conduit) primary stat bonus reduces to 20 upon the beginning of a new encounter.
      • Developers’ note: The intent of this bonus is to provide a benefit when using resurrections in combat. But it is best to avoid situations where players might feel compelled to min/max something like this before starting a pull.
  • Priest
    • Shadow
      • Shadow Crash's (Talent) ground visual will now match the area effect.
      • Void Volley's (PvP Talent) ground visuals will now match the area effect and has more defined edges.
  • Warrior
    • Arms
      • Fixed an issue where Swift Patrol (Niya Soulbind) caused the auto-attack timer to reset.

Creatures ad NPCs
  • Players now have a 2 second grace period to keep their vision of targets within the area contained by the Soul Chains between the Soul Cages during the Mor'geth encounter.
  • Reduced the number of Prince Renathals in Sinfall. Press F to pay respects.

Dungeons and Raids
  • Sanctum of Domination
    • Defeating Sylvanas Windrunner on Mythic difficulty will now reward 2 Vengeance’s Reins.
    • Remnant of Ner’zhul
      • Players can no longer cause a second orb to become non-interactable while carrying an Orb of Torment.
  • Plaguefall
    • You must now defeat the first three bosses of the dungeon before the door to Margrave Stradama opens on all difficulties.
      • Developers’ note: The first two bosses of the dungeon were frequently being skipped in lower-difficulty dungeons, typically by groups who were trying to earn Renown much faster than intended. To improve players' Renown earnings, we've also added a chance for Renown to be earned by completing layers in Torghast (see hotfix below).

Items and Rewards
  • Teleporter Repair Kits should no longer have a Unique count and will now stack to 50.
  • Repaired Riftkeys will also now stack to 50.
    • Developers’ note: Early in development, Teleporter Repair Kits and Repaired Riftkeys were only available from the vendor. Based on player feedback of not knowing if they were worth purchasing, we decided to have them drop occasionally as well. Now that these items dropped and became out of player’s control, we should have removed the unique cap on the Teleporter Repair Kits then. Also, since you have access to purchasing the Teleporter Repair Kits or Repaired Rift Keys, we are disabling them from going to mail if you loot one with a full inventory so they will no longer fill up your mailbox.

  • The item levels of Conduits sold by the Rated PvP vendor have been corrected.
  • Fixed an issue where the Salvaged Fusion Amplifier was not dropping for Marksmanship and Beastmaster Hunters.

Quests
  • Fixed an issue during “Nal’ragas” that caused internal text to be visible to users of certain nameplate addons.

Torghast
  • Renown is now a possible reward from Torghast completions, with better chances at Renown coming from higher Torghast difficulties.

Activision Blizzard Sued By California
According to a Bloomberg law article, Activision Blizzard is being sued over 'frat boy' culture after a 2-year investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. For more information, check out the article below, and read the full court filing.



Blizzard provided Polygon with a statement responding to the lawsuit:

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.

The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court. We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family. While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.

The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today. Over the past several years and continuing since the initial investigation started, we’ve made significant changes to address company culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams. We’ve amplified internal programs and channels for employees to report violations, including the “ASK List” with a confidential integrity hotline, and introduced an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns. We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and combined our Employee Networks at a global level, to provide additional support. Employees must also undergo regular anti-harassment training and have done so for many years.

We put tremendous effort in creating fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and we strive to pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take a variety of proactive steps to ensure that pay is driven by non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate employees based on their performance, and we conduct extensive anti-discrimination trainings including for those who are part of the compensation process.

We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people, and we are committed to continuing this effort in the years to come. It is a shame that the DFEH did not want to engage with us on what they thought they were seeing in their investigation.

Site Navigation