World of Warcraft producer claims Blizzard is bleeding talent and creating ‘crisis maps’ for feature releases


It would appear that another bout of brain drain is afflicting Blizzard as a whole and World of Warcraft in specific. One of the MMORPG’s game producers took to Twitter to bemoan losing another employee and remark aloud that upper management is to blame.

“Blizzard is losing amazing talent because someone in power doesn’t listen to the game directors who make his products,” Glaxigrav writes. “We are creating crisis maps of what we can or cannot ship. THAT is the loss of capacity we’re facing. I literally have a schedule I strike out as people hand in notice.”

Word of the studio seeing its employees leave en masse is probably not surprising. Last month year an annual report from Blizzard claimed the company was facing a higher turnover rate when compared to last year and “labor shortages, increasing competition for talent, and increasing attrition” spurred by its unearthed legal scandals, worker mistreatment revelations, and the “related media attention” these problems cause.

The hits to morale caused by president Mike Ybarra’s full-on villainous proclamations in a company meeting and lead dev Brian Birmingham being fired for not using a toxic stack ranking system while calling out ABK for putting the WoW team under pressure to release expansions early are also likely recent factors, to say nothing of all of the previous problems that still infect the studio, leading to a pitiable but not altogether shocking turn of events.

sources: Twitter, Axios, thanks to Megan for the tip!
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees unionize and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2023, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
A Blizzard spokesperson made this statement: “The employee referenced in the article was not let go, they voluntarily left the company. The annual report referenced is from last year, and Blizzard’s retention is up since then. World of Warcraft is a large, massively talented team that has been shipping more content than ever before to the community. We remain committed to listening to player feedback and will continue to strive to exceed their expectations.” Our original article referred to a producer bemoaning “letting another employee go,” which was ambiguously worded on our part; we have clarified our language to avoid the unintentional implication that the worker was fired, which as the rest of the article already made clear was not the case. Our readers will be the judge of whether Blizzard’s claim that it has been “shipping more content than ever before to the community” holds up.
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