How much Activision does it take to change a Blizzard?

From Blizzard’s harassment (or anti harassment?) training

That seems oddly specific!

But everyone answered correctly, so clearly there was no wrongdoing. During the settlement with the state, they’ll agree to add “A manager brings toys on a company trip with intent to use on a coworker” so they’ll be covered there next time too.


Want to throw up a bit? from J. Allen Brack -the 3 bullet points are good but…

Things to note:

  1. First of all he knew this would be leaked, so this is a “press release”, not an “internal memo”.
  2. This entry is some of most egregarious bullshit I have ever seen:

Right so when he was trying to get a job instead of talking about qualifications, job role, or a host of other things, he immediately brought up Gloria Steinum instead (#2 hit in Google for feminist icons).


  1. He knew what was going on, and knew his boy Alex Afrasiabi was doing all the things he was implicated in. He let it happen.

  2. Feel free to talk to the manager who will not escalate your issue. Talk to HR who will side with the company over you as that’s their job. Or talk to me, the guy who made sure this continued to happen in abundance. Feel free to talk to any of us so we can make sure your career is stunted and nothing really gets fixed and you’re left out to dry.

Brack is the guy who called Blitzchung a “tough eSports moment” IIRC.

What’s your definition of a “Trumper”?

Someone who unabashedly supports Trump, exactly like this woman did.


Also somewhat anecdotal, years ago when EQ was still in development I was out at what was then 989 Studios in San Diego working on a preview story I think. One of the things they made sure I got to do was visit the art department, where I chatted with female artists who discussed the “princess” or whatever the lady on the game box was called, the one who was sort of iconic for the game and who resembled any number of buxom elf maiden types IIRC. The artists discussed how women artists made most of the decisions about how the character would look, based at least in part on their own fantasies of what they’d want to look like in a world with actual elf princesses or whatnot. They certainly seemed quite sincere.

That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of male-gaze dominated objectification and juvenile frat-boy “yay boobies!” stuff going on of course. Just that each individual case can be complex. I know I rarely pick avatars that look like old squat bald men.

Yeah, the timeline is pretty damning here. Brack took over as President of Blizzard in October 2018 and Afrasiabi quietly “left” Blizzard in June 2020. Even if Afrasiabi was pushed out for his behavior (which seems likely given the circumstances of his departure), that’s still more than 18 months of Brack letting him stick around while knowing what he was up to.

When an organization is rotten all the way to the top, I’m not sure how it gets fixed without replacing the person at the top. So the only thing that matters is if Activision’s board of directors thinks they can wait this out, or if they decide change is necessary. The lawsuit will get settled and Activision will pay a lot of money - the only question is if anything will actually change internally.

So far, investors don’t seem to think this is a big issue.

It will be forgotten by Monday.

The only way a change happens is if players cancel their subs. Which they won’t. If it’s a slow bleed, as it has been, like people waiting out their 6 month subs, they’ll chalk it up to existing trends.

The only way to affect change is with economic pressure. It’s the only power we have. Corporations, shareholders, they don’t give a single fuck about ethics or morality. They care about quarterly earnings. If Activision’s projections show they’ll make more money by treating women like humans, they’ll do it and be super loud about it. See: every brand and Pride Month.

And this lines up with the dates of the investigation. He left because investigation focused on him, not because of his actions.

I cancelled when I didn’t care about 9.1 when the release date was announced. The hard thing with this is it is so industry-wide, and the video game industry isn’t known for its stellar treatment of employees, who knows what it like at the next company I decide to support.

Blizzard needs a complete overhaul for a lot of reasons, but as long as they “create value for their shareholders” nothing will change.

Alex Afrifuckface or whatever his name is, he’d still be working there if WoW wasn’t on the skids. If they were growing and putting up record revenue numbers they’d be behind him 100%. I guarantee it.

Just as a counter-anecdote: I am female. I played WoW since launch and then for many years on and off. I primarily played Horde. My main was a female orc hunter. My favorite secondary characters were a female undead mage and a female troll shaman. I had a max level everything across all races. I think the only blood elf I ever had was a paladin because at the time they were the only races that could be a paladin, and I wanted to make a paladin. (And I wanted to experience the blood elf content, not because she was “pretty”.)

Which isn’t to say that perhaps many female players want pretty characters, but my suspicion is that women that play WoW (or indeed are gamers at all) are probably not going to be turned off by “ugly” characters as much as women that are playing just because their boyfriends talked them into it.

I don’t buy the cheesecake art is bad line. Plenty of women like pinup art too. Just like plenty of men hang pictures of Arnold in their gym. You can aspire to or admire a certain look that you know is not realistic for yourself, and it doesn’t have to be toxic.

You can draw big titty wizards without being a sex offender.

The cheesecake wasn’t the problem, the dismissive answer was. And really that wasn’t a big deal either, although it’s become increasingly poor optics. The allegations in the lawsuit, those are the problem.

I agree with that, he was a dick.

I’m not sure I agree with all this. You expected this guy to walk into his job and fire this guy within a week? Six months? A year? What’s the statute on that? What if it actually never got back to him until they forced this guy out?

Many of us work in companies where it takes a very long time for the bad eggs to smell so badly that they end up out on their ass (or quit). Some never leave. Upper management across the board everywhere works like this. It’s not restricted to Activision-Blizzard IMO.

I’m not saying this is the way it should be. I’m saying this is the way it is. Change will not happen overnight and expecting it, especially from a new hire, is probably not going to get you any satisfaction… ever.