Diablo’s David Brevik lambastes Blizzard over elimination of employee profit sharing

    
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Because the franchise is being brought back from the dead, you see.

With the Diablo franchise taking heat from players over its mobile ambitions, Diablo II creator David Brevik decided to add more fuel to the fire. On his wife’s recent Path of Exile livestream, of all places, a somewhat tipsy Brevik blasted Blizzard for eliminating its profit-sharing program in October, which helped employees make up for the sub-standard salaries at Blizzard.

Brevik said that he anticipates a “mass exodus” from the studio over this: “Why would you work at Blizzard? If you’re trying to make a name for yourself, if you’re new to the industry, if you’re a midlevel or below designer, why in the world would you work for Blizzard? You’re not gonna get notoriety, you’re not getting profits now, you’re not getting paid, you’re getting below average wages. What would be the incentive to work there?”

Brevik speculated that Activision is taking over Blizzard while pushing out its executives, including Chris Metzen and Mike Morhaime. “There’s no incentive for them to raise the people’s salaries,” he said. “Everybody at Blizzard considers it a privilege to work at Blizzard. Or at least, 90% plus. Right, because ‘It’s a f**king blessing that I work there.'”

It’s not the first time Brevik has been, uh, excessively candid on a stream; gamers will recall that a year ago, he and his wife streamed while discussing the mess going on with Gazillion right before it imploded.

Source: Bounding Into Comics. Thanks Apparition!

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Rialto
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Rialto

I worked for Blizzard a couple of years ago and can say that Brevik is 100% correct. It’s been a terrible place to work with terrible pay long before they ended the profit sharing. The management there believes employees at nearly all levels are simply expendable because they believe there are so many drooling masses that are aching to even work there for free that you can be replaced in a heartbeat. There’s also no real recognition for employees that do well, so it’s essentially either do your job and don’t get yelled at/fired, and hope you like Blizz’s games enough that the free stuff you get makes up for it, or you get the boot.

I’ve honestly never worked for another company, gaming or otherwise (and I work for another big gaming company now), that appreciates its talent and employees less than Blizzard does. Granted, I did work there after Activision came along, and do believe that Activision is the main reason that Blizzard has gotten so bad in the last few years, but either way, it’s bad and if it keeps going this way, I think Veldara is right and that Blizz will just outsource the jobs to other countries. I just hope they lose enough of their western audience as a result to realize their mistake.

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Armsbend

This story has gone pretty big. It was on Variety magazine on my google news top 5 stories today.

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Anthony Clark

One more reason to NOT buy anything from them. Boycott people! BOYCOTT!

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Weilan

Back when Diablo 3 and WoW Cataclysm released, I sensed a change in direction that I did not like and opted to go back to Vanilla – WoTLk when I have an itch to play WoW and back to Diablo 1 – 2 if I wanted to play Diablo.

Now it’s all becoming clear. Blizzard has lost its way. Now it is all about money and fuck the fans. All the big names and founders are leaving since they sensed it a lot earlier that players.

And if you look at their latest feats, they don’t even have the competence they once did to create a new, original and enjoyable long-lasting game. Even Overwatch – the TF2 clone is bleeding players. Starcraft 2 was less successful than Starcraft 1 so they made it F2P. Heroes of the Storm is just a MOBA game and was free from the start, becaus they knew it was never anything special, so was Hearthstone – another copycat. And then they remaster Starcraft 1 and Warcraft 3, because that’s the best they can do with the little competence they still have left. Abd then they announce WoW Classic, because, fuck it, they have conpletely given up and know that Retail WoW sucks monkey balls and the best they are capable of now is to launch an old version from back when the game was good.

Now we can safely conclude that Blizzard has signed their death warrant.

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PurpleCopper

I thought the profit-sharing program was eliminated years ago for low-level workers?

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Dug From The Earth

I think we need more drunk dev podcasts imo.

Too many restraints otherwise when the industry needs more spoken bluntness.

Veldara
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Veldara

The way I see it this is fine for Activion-Blizzard. A mass exodus is expected and even somewhat welcomed because they were planning to outsource those positions anyway to places like India, China, S-Korea, Singapore, etc. They’ll pay those firms the same lower wage if not lower and get relatively similar quality because those employees would be getting paid less in another job in those countries.

Xijit
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Xijit

.

8ae.gif
April-Rain
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April-Rain

I have no interest in any other blizzard game except wow, which I have played on and off since 6 months after launch.

Anyone who says they has not been a shift in how blizzard operates or shows a lack of understanding of their fan base since activision got involved are either high or look at the world with rose tinted glasses.

I have seen a dramatic change, over the years you don’t notice as it’s a little at a time but when you think back you can see how dramatic the change has been.

Brevick and his wife are correct and this has been a slow take over from the inside out and the big names leaving in the last 2 years this is no coincidence.

We all saw the same at Bioware and we all knew deep down the writing was on the wall when blizzard signed up activision

April-Rain
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April-Rain

The holiday bonus is what it is, a BONUS! It’s a reward for putting another year of your working life into a company and helping that company when they need extra time etc.

The BONUS is not a apart of your wage! Its a thank you from the company at one of the most expensive times of year.

To take that AWAY to GIVE you a PAY rise sucks big time!

FU activision!

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Crowe

Depending on the company you work for, bonuses are sometimes MUCH worse than pay raises. If the company is giving you percentage-based pay raises, then generally that is the best option. In the US, the government taxes the hell out of bonuses. But raises are just the same normal taxes… and the following year your base pay is higher when that next percentage-based raise comes along. If you’re only planning on staying at the company for a year or two, then obviously you’re shooting for the short haul and the bonus would be better. But if you’re trying to put in a real career, the slower-but-steady is going to win that race.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Allow me to insert some fricking reality into the slam fest.

Read this paragraph:

“In December of 2017, Blizzard transitioned 100% of the Holiday Bonus into the base salary of employees. The Holiday Bonus program was implemented to provide a lump sum bonus at year end to make the Holidays special for Blizzard employees. However, when employees expressed that they wanted the flexibility of receiving that extra 10 percent as a part of their regular payroll, Blizzard made that change as part of our overall commitment to fair and competitive salaries. So no employee, including Mike, has lost out on that bonus money.”

That’s a direct quote from Blizzard, from the article linked above.

Factoid: The Holiday Bonus was NOT a profit-sharing bonus. It was flat 10% Holiday Bonus. In the old days before corporate pigging out, many companies gave flat Holiday Bonuses at year-end. In the long ago, these used to be referred to as Christmas Bonuses.

Factoid: The 10% was not based on profits, but on employee salary. This is also very common for year-end holiday bonuses. Hence, the “100%. . . into the base salary of employees.”

Factoid: While it’s a wash in terms of total compensation, it DOES impact employee resumes. When confirming salaries to prospective employers, employers may only look at the salary/rate on which paychecks are based, not the actual annual comp.

Factoid: When giving employees raises, employers normally base them on base salary. If Blizzard follows this common practice, going forward, everyone’s increases will be based on a 10% higher salary.

Who knows what the hell is going on a Blizzard. Whatever it is, this isn’t part of it.

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Armsbend

When people born after 1990 watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation they don’t understand what Clark is griping about missing his Christmas bonus.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

I was born in 1978 and I have no idea what the hell a Christmas bonus is, I’ve never seen one personally and if my parents ever had one they never mentioned it to me.

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Paragon Lost

They “use to” be much more a standard, even by the time you were born. Just because you and your family never experienced it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a pretty common thing in the US at least.

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Armsbend

Usually you have to have a decent white collar job. Not sure what you do – I used to get one in the late 90s through early 2000s.

I’m not implying your job sucks.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

Xmas bonus is just what it says, a BONUS, a thank you from the company and yes its nothing to do with your wage for the year and I think you miss the point!

But to take that bonus away to give you a pay rise pretty much sucks, and in future ensures you will get less than you would from the bonus.

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Edmund Hack

This!

At most companies (outside of things like partnerships at law firms), a profit-sharing plan is a form of retirement plan – there are tax advantages to both the employee and company in doing that.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

As best I can tell from the paragraph quoted, the Holiday Bonus was regular compensation, not profit-sharing. Eligible for a 401(k) deduction, which it still would be as part of salary, but otherwise not retirement money as such so no tax advantages.

If this actually were a profit sharing program with tax deferred advantages, yes, it would actually be pretty slimy of Activision. Since it doesn’t appear to be, it’s a complete wash.

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Crowe

And a 10% raise is a helluva nice raise… especially if it’s regularly occurring. I haven’t worked for a company that paid like that in almost 20 years. (I had to get actual promotions and change positions to get anywhere near that)
I’m not defending Blizzard — I think most of what they’ve done over the last few years has been absolute crap. But because of WoW’s historical success, I try to keep up with what Blizz is doing to try and figure out how whatever their new trend is will impact games I’d actually like to play.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Make that “Diablo franchise creator David Brevik” since he is the guy who started out wanting to make a graphical version of Rogue, which eventually became Diablo and Diablo II.

It is like saying, “Civilization II creator Sid Meier.”

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Adam Maxwell

Right? I thought that was weird too. But then again, I was still stuck on the fact that Blizzard had profit sharing at all. The company as come a long-ass way from when I worked there and we had to complain and threaten action just to get our holiday pay for crunching over the holidays to get Warcraft 2, Diablo, and Starcraft out the door. I can’t even begin to imagine how different my experience in this industry would have been if we’d been sharing in the profits those games created. I probably wouldn’t have left the company.

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Armsbend

Even with the rose-colored glasses of the past – it is really one of the most miserable industries on earth.

At least in 1898 Chicago the 6 year olds working in the textile mill got to go home once the quittin’ time steam whistle went off. Software fellows during crunch?

NEVER LEAVE WHO IS FAMILY ANYWAY