Following yesterday’s revelation that the state of California is suing Activision-Blizzard in a 29-page complaint that alleges a serious pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination that led to the death of a Blizzard staffer (among many other things), you might be wondering what you can do about it. If you’ve been reading our comments, you know that many MMO players are finding that it was Blizzard’s very last straw for them, particularly since a well-known longtime World of Warcraft developer was named in the complaint; some of our readers are abandoning the game, hunting for other games to play, deleting the game, canceling their subscriptions, or even cancelling Diablo II Resurrected preorders. (My spouse is currently shopping around for an Overwatch replacement, so I feel you.)
But if you’ve already prepaid a subscription and you feel strongly about it, you could join in a protest inside WoW itself. As first reported by Polygon, roleplaying guild Fence Macabre of Moon Guard and Wyrmrest Accord organized a sit-in this afternoon in protest of the “unethical treatment of employees at Activision-Blizzard.” The guild is also fundraising for the non-profit Black Girls CODE and invited “sub-locked players” – that is, people who have prepaid their sub anyway – to join them. We’re guessing it’ll neither be the first show of player anger over the allegations in the lawsuit. If you’re gonna make trouble, make good trouble.
Meanwhile, over on the Blizzard game subreddits, the moderators have issued a blanket statement condemning Blizzard’s behavior. A single message currently visible, signed by the mods of r/wow, r/Overwatch, r/hearthstone, r/starcraft, r/heroesofthestorm, r/Diablo, r/warcraft3, r/classicwow, r/woweconomy, r/competitiveHS, and r/blizzard. Here’s the quote from the WoW sub:
“As moderators of the subreddits for Activision Blizzard’s games, we vehemently condemn the sexual harassment and hostile working environment alleged in the recent lawsuit between Activision Blizzard and the state of California. We will not be censoring this topic on our subreddits. We do not serve Activision Blizzard; we are unpaid volunteers with no affiliation to the company. Above all else we serve our individual communities and we believe this is an important discussion to be had.
“Having said that, discussion surrounding this topic still needs to adhere to the rules of our subreddits. Victim blaming, sexism, and harassment of others will not be tolerated. We will try to keep the discussion consolidated to the existing main thread for convenience and visibility.
“We stand by the victims of this situation, and we hope that this lawsuit is resolved in such a way that justice is met for those who deserve it.
“We call for these issues to be addressed by Activision Blizzard appropriately and exhaustively. As a group of moderators, we are deeply saddened about these events and the hostile work environment created by them. We strive to make our communities inclusive and safe for all, and urge Activision Blizzard to take steps to demonstrate that they are doing the same.”
While our article yesterday referred to public statements from several women who observed or were victim to abuse at Blizzard, the WoW subreddit has compiled an even bigger list of Blizzard developers who’ve issued testimonials on the topic. I count 28 current and former staffers.
Fence Macabre encourages all sub-locked players to join us on Thursday July 22nd at 9AM PST at the Idyllia Steps, Oribos.
Alliance Anchor: Vicaire-WyrmrestAccord
Horde Anchor: Loira-WyrmrestAccord
— Fence Macabre Caravan (@fencemacabre) July 22, 2021