World of Warcraft development grinds to a halt following Activision Blizzard's statement

Workers have been left "mad and traumatized" following Activision Blizzard's response to the findings of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

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Activision Blizzard has recently come under fire following a lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. According to one developer, Activision Blizzard’s response to these allegations has caused the development of World of Warcraft to stop.

Senior System Designer Jeff Hamilton took to Twitter on July 25, 2021 to express his thoughts and feelings concerning Activision Blizzard’s response to the DFEH lawsuit. According to Hamilton, the general morale of developers working on World of Warcraft is low, with workers being “mad and traumatized” to the point that they’re “rendered unable to keep making a great game.”

A lot of statements have surfaced over the past few days, though it’s likely the one reported on by Jason Schreier is what caused the most consternation for the workers.

The statement, linked above in Schreier’s Tweet, is from a spokesperson who says the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit includes “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” The statement goes on to claim the DFEH “rushed to file an inaccurate complaint” which Activision Blizzard will “demonstrate in court.” The statement also says, “We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH,” in regards to the firm’s mention of a previous employee who committed suicide.

Hopefully today’s statement by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will help improve the morale of the team, though more work and action will invariably need to be taken. The official Warcraft Twitter account also released a statement claiming that in-game changes will be occurring to “remove references that are not appropriate for our world.” Bryant Francis of Gamasutra writes that it could be the removal of NPC Field Marshal Afrasiabi, who is named after Alex Afrasiabi, a former lead designer on WoW who was named in the DFEH lawsuit.

This will no doubt be a long process, so anticipate updates on this moving forward. You can keep up to date on the situation via Shacknews’ Activision Blizzard page.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

From The Chatty
    • reply
      July 28, 2021 2:11 AM

      “Hopefully today’s statement by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will help improve the morale of the team”

      Are you serious?

      1. Highly doubtful, he cares about shareholders more and only issues that statement when stock dropped 9%

      2. Really not the important thing here either, people’s metal well being and establishing equality matter more than keeping the development gears grinding.

      • reply
        July 28, 2021 3:33 AM

        It's all good...they're renaming an NPC.

      • reply
        July 28, 2021 10:12 PM

        Are you telling me you hope Kotick's statement does not improve the team morale? That's cooked.

        Regardless of his personal motives, I think it's quite reasonable to hope that people's moods lift at any sign of improvement.

        Obviously much more needs to be done, that much is evident.

        • reply
          July 29, 2021 12:15 PM

          No, I’m saying I’m certain it won’t, that it’s a blatantly insincere statement, and thinking otherwise is naive and meaningless to include in reporting. Only real change will “improve morale” here.

    • reply
      July 28, 2021 4:49 AM

      If they want to avoid the grind, next time they should buy a Level 60 Booster Pack.

    • reply
      July 28, 2021 8:03 AM

      The game industry has to change how games are made. Crunch time has to come to an end. I assume this may require more R&D and pre-development work.

      • reply
        July 28, 2021 8:20 AM

        When it comes to WoW, what bothers me is how they release mid-expansion content updates. They typically release 2-3 of those per expansion. The last one (9.1) was released 8 months after the Shadowlands expansion (9.0) release, which was the slowest release of such an update in WoW's history. Now, it seems like this trend will continue and players will end up getting really bored after a few months.

        I think the WoW team needs to transition to releasing smaller updates more frequently. Things like the new M+ rating system or more the more significant class balance updates did not need to be bundled with the 9.1 content update.

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          July 29, 2021 9:00 AM

          I'd rather they do this. Otherwise, we'd wait longer for expansion content. Smaller updates are good, but I doubt that would keep people happy. They have to do a big expansion to pack in all the lore,etc

      • reply
        July 28, 2021 8:20 AM

        Not saying you're wrong but is that actually the issue here at all? Blizzard isn't known for keeping tight deadlines or death marches near as I can tell, the issue here is that a bunch of dudes behaved horribly and the corporate culture allowed it.

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          July 28, 2021 8:31 AM

          I don't profess to know how it all works, but my thinking is that there's a core reason that this happens, and seems to happen across a lot of the larger development studios. Why is there always these pulls of terrible humans? Or, what takes a less terrible human and causes this behavior? One common factor is how long of hours they pull to get these games made. It's especially bad with crunch time since they're almost living in the office. So, the culture of crunch time is driving the behavior.

          The other part that I talked about in a thread yesterday is how hiring practices need to change too. There is NOTHING in game making that specifically requires terrible human males to make a AAA game. Non-male creators, animators, designers, producers, etc. Could have equal talent and skill to produce the same game. If hiring practices are sticking to these candidates because of a false believe that you have to hire these kind of terrible humans to make that kind of game, then hiring practices need to change and that goes back to leadership.

          Either way, it all starts with leadership.

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          July 28, 2021 9:39 AM

          yea i think daggots just piling on

    • reply
      July 28, 2021 8:26 AM

      I canceled.

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