MMO Week in Review: RIP to the Blizzard you thought you knew

    
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It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that a video game company long-maligned and even boycotted over everything from political censorship and mass-layoffs to labor abuses and excessive executive compensation also apparently fostered a corporate culture of sexism, racism, discrimination, harassment, and sexual abuse that allegedly led to the death of a staffer. But that’s exactly the situation Activision-Blizzard finds itself in, as this week the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lodged a massive discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the company following a two-year investigation. There followed leaked memos, deflective screeds, and crafty apologies from company leadership past and present, which alternately denied, skirted, and atoned for the allegations. Dozens of employees have since come forward publicly and courageously as victims and witnesses to implicate the very leaders seeking absolution.

It goes without saying as we’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: We continue to stand by Blizzard’s blameless workers and specifically its victims here. We are all of us poorer for the suffering that Activision-Blizzard leaders spawned, harbored, and indulged within their walls.

The ongoing conversation rather upstaged what should’ve otherwise been a positive moment for the MMORPG industry, as the New World beta launched with significant retention numbers. Sometimes that’s how it goes. Read on to catch up with the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions today as every Sunday (since 2010) in Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review.

THIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES

WoW Factor: No king rules forever - World of Warcraft patch 9.1 has been out for less than a month, and it is a bad time to be a fan of Blizzard and the game. This column…

THIS WEEK’S CASTS & STREAMS

Every week, get caught up on the MMO genre’s latest news and Massively OP’s best content in our MMO Week in Review! Want more roundups of content? Try Friday’s Betawatch for MMO testing highlights, Saturday’s Make My MMO for MMO crowdfunding updates, and Sunday’s The MOP Up, which mops up all the bits of news we didn’t cover anywhere else.
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Eliot Lefebvre
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Eliot Lefebvre

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Drunk3nShaman

This happened years ago, people are just noticing now.

Stefan
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Stefan

Shame Amazon’s game is being overshadowed considering it is a good new release in this genre, regardless if it is to your liking or not you cannot call it a bad game.

As for Blizzard,
The only game i would still consider playing from then is Heroes of the storm, despite it being gutted as it was not considered e-sports worthy enough, an error on their behalf as since then it focused more on fun rather than e-sports balance and it turned out better.

World of Warcraft, sorry but the game does not reward your time, it rewards how much real money you are willing to spend, everything in game can be indirectly purchased through the tokens, being it achievements, levels, dungeon or raid clears and gear, think about the legendary gear for a moment the base items cause tons of gold, coincidence? unlikely, You only ever need one BiS item and that is your plastic card.

Diablo they are going to do something awful with monetization again just like they tried with 3. RTS games are not selling enough so no new game is coming out there and their remakes are products you cannot trust them on as they will just abandon them.

This case now on top of it that lists the company as a predatory haven will perhaps not have an direct impact but it will make new talent think twice before going to work there, after all you might be better and safer off developing sport games for EA. Current senior staff also does not seem to be that motivated to deliver, which can also show in future content or products.

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Adam Russell

Here’s what we do. Take the company private, sell it to a secret buyer (ourselves), and change the name.

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traja

I think we need to be realistic with expectations. It sucks but Blizzard will likely be just fine. They will keep making the same mediocre games and people will keep buying them.

The saddest thing is that this isn’t even hurting their shareholders right now. The markets don’t seem to think that any of this matters. Most likely Activision Blizzard will settle for some amount that they are far too big to really suffer from.

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SmiteDoctor

.

itsdeadjim.jpg
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Jetra_Virsai

When WotLK classic and Diablo 4 come out, pretty sure this will all be forgiven.

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Bruno Brito

Depends on your concept of forgiven.

I don’t think anyone in the right mindset, even full of rage, is thinking this is enough to destroy Blizzard as a company. Only Activision has that power. The company itself will keep existing.

But Blizzard was already taking extreme hits from all sides by maligning itself as a company that loathes it’s customers. WoW lost 30% of it’s players from 2018 to now. The content drought from SL caused major drop. It was already alienating it’s fans. This happening doesn’t really help much, but actually settles those who were already considering leaving and have strong moral compasses.

While Blizzard – the corporation – will keep existing, Blizzard – the legacy – has died this very weekend. Many of the players will find themselves logging to a game that was build on the top of harassment and suicide. Many of these many will be unable to detach that concept from the game. And many from that many from that many will finally leave. Blizzard was already under major loot by Kotick, and it’s clear that the company now has almost no worth besides the “pocket change” that WoW will bring. The game will grow gradually worse ( if that’s even possible ) and alienate even more players. There’s no recovering here. Kotick won’t change his busines strategy now.

So, no. I don’t think Blizzard will recover from this. The Blizzard’s dream no longer exists, the games are all but shadows of what they used to be, and now that everyone knows the price to pay to achieve what they used to be under this same group of developers, people will move on.

It settles Blizzard as just another irrelevant studio until it’s inevitable demise. It’s relevancy has come to an end.

The king is dead. And it’s reign was long enough.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Ive heard “BLizzard is dead” since like forever. As long as they make good games millions will play them

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traja

It’s probably enough that they make average games. Name recognition seems to matter a whole lot even after the name has been dragged through the mud.

Even personally I have to admit that despite being disgusted by the details of this lawsuit I will buy a good Blizzard game. Not playing their games would be a self sacrifice that has no measurable real world impact on anything. I understand boycotting to feel good about yourself but I guess I’m just not that moral.

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Utakata

Boycotting is much more about “feeling good about yourself” though. Whether it works or not is another debate altogether.

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Bruno Brito

Enjoy yourself. I’m not taking Blizzard’s entire legacy out of my life to feel “good” about myself. I’m doing it so i don’t feel even more awful about it.

Good is a concept that doesn’t exist for me in this history. You do you. I just want to be as far as possible from this crap.

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traja

Good point. I should have said better or not as awful instead of good. It would definitely be weird to feel good about this. Some of the details here are not just inappropriate but stuff that you would only expect from a sociopath.

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Thomas Koren

not saying this isn’t bad or anything, but if you want to live without buying products from companies that do bad things, much much worse things even than blizzard, you’re gonna have to get off the internet, live mostly naked and eat only what you grow yourself….

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treehuggerhannah

I don’t think the fact that a person can’t realistically become invested in addressing every wrong in the world means a person shouldn’t get invested in addressing any wrong, though.

As the saying goes: don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

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Bruno Brito

I’m not the most moral person in the world. I’m extremely prone to outbursts , i’m highly antisocial because of my disorder and i’m terrible at adapting.

Even i can discern between “buying products from companies that support savage capitalistic tendencies” and “playing a game that is forged under a leadership that led a woman to kill herself.”

This moral staircase of nihilism taxes my patience. “Hurr durr nothing has a point, nothing matters” yeah yeah, bite me.

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Sleepy

Yeah…no. I’m not boycotting Blizzard to feel good about myself. I just don’t want anything to do with them because my stomach turns over when I think of what they did. They drove someone to kill themselves.

A boycott isn’t an attempt to take down Blizzard. It’s a small but meaningful message to all the women whose lives they messed up. You’d be amazed at the difference small acts of kindness and compassion can have.

But as Bruno says, you do you.

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Utakata

The question is not whether Blizz will die or not from this – they may likely not. Rather, will they be up to the standards of what they used to be perceived as? Likely not after this. And this is on top already taking hits for the dubious quality of their products of late. So the claim they’ll be all forgiven from the OP here over certain products is patently ridiculous.

…or tl,dr: Their reign won’t end with a bang, it will likely end with a fizzle. /shrug

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Bruno Brito

I don’t think you got my point.

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xagarthadaemonx

“So, no. I don’t think Blizzard will recover from this. ”

Good. I used to be Blizz fanboi for as long as I can remember, but even I can’t stand this bullshit. And even if this scandal didn’t happen… even if it was just about the games… Quality is just not the same as it used to be.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Still waiting for Brack and Kotick to tender their resignations.

Stefan
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Stefan

Brack maybe, but Kotick very very unlikely.

You are talking about the person who openly said he does not care about game or gamers, i doubt he is worried one bit about his name in all of this.

Also are staff asking for his resignation? Seen a few names pop up but he seems to be off that list.

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Sukoa Dokusha

And nothing of value was lost.

Fisty
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Fisty

F