Zero Employee Demands Addressed

It’s been over eight weeks since the employee walkout at Blizzard and leadership continues to ignore the demands of their employees:

Activision Blizzard Employee Demands

  • The end of forced arbitration for all employees.

  • Worker participation in oversight of hiring and promotion policies.

  • The need for greater pay transparency to ensure equality.

  • Employee selection of a third party to audit HR and other company processes.

Today’s walkout will demonstrate that this is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore. We will not return to silence; we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.

This is the beginning of an enduring movement in favor of better labor conditions for all employees, especially women, in particularly women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.

We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership on the points enumerated above, and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees.

Today, we stand up for change. Tomorrow and beyond, we will be the change.

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Shanghai Dragons win championship!

Fighting the Atlanta Reign in the Grand Finals, the Dragons made quick work of them and ended the night early for us all with a 4-0 victory.

It was a beautiful moment to see after the Dragons struggled in the inaugural season as one of the least successful professional teams in history, going 0-40 that year, to now dominating in every game of the Playoffs and taking the Grand Finals. #iWasThere

Overwatch 2 at Grand Finals

We watched pro players play Overwatch 2 at the Grand Finals and viewers walked away with mixed reactions.

While it’s safe to say that the community was excited to watch more Overwatch 2 game play and see what pros could do, some walked away feeling, “That’s it?” There were no new heroes for us to see in action, and while both teams tried out the new Sombra and Bastion reworks, they bounced around to other heroes of the limited hero pool available to them.

One of the most common complaints was that the match looked like Overwatch 1 with two less players on the screen. In one way that’s good, the game should look like Overwatch as we know it, but those who felt underwhelmed are not wrong. These looked like balance changes. There was nothing flashy on display. We’ve seen the new Push mode before. It’s cool and I’m excited for it, but by now we are at a point where we want to see new hero and PvE teasers. Reworks are super cool but until we can get our hands on them, they’re just part of the filling of the Overwatch 2 cake.

The talent during the Grand Finals covering the game were probably excited to talk about it, but I would be lying if some of the commentary did not feel like forced excitement or “buzz” that PR told them to bring up during the show. This led to a feeling of faked enthusiasm for the sake of advertising. It may all have been genuine excitement, but it didn’t all feel real which is a bummer. (I have the same complaints about the Critical Role season 3 announcement so maybe it’s just me.)

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Healing In-Combat Reduced?

Those who played at the Grand Finals commented that players were receiving less healing for a brief time after taking damage. Like there was a short penalty for healing received. Lead Hero Designer Geoff Goodman commented that it was only a test and was “unlikely to make it through to the live game, as it [was on stream].” It was later mentioned that it’s common for devs to intentionally go too far with a change to help set a new baseline. As a woman who has played Blizzard games for decades at this point, especially World of Warcraft, I can tell you it’s true and while it’s easy to panic at first, it never stays like that.

Up Ahead for Overwatch 2

All that said, we did get a bunch of information for what is in store. We saw the Bastion and Sombra reworks which are both promising, and we found out that the goal is to have all current heroes playable for the start of the next Overwatch League season. Aaron Keller even teased that a few extra heroes would be available. I’m still excited!

Another Lawsuit. It’s Settled Immediately and Benefactors are Unhappy

Activision Blizzard settled this week with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), compensating eligible claimants with part of an $18 million (USD) fund. The company also made vague agreements to “[upgrade] policies, practices, and training to further prevent and eliminate harassment” and to “[provide] ongoing oversight and review of the Company’s training programs, investigation policies…by appointing a third-party equal opportunity consultant…”

The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE) slammed the settlement, saying that $18 million is a pittance compared to the value of Activision Blizzard which sits at $72 billion, and that, “the EEOC has sent a message that corporate bad actors will not be held accountable for their abuse of workers.” (Axios)

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Miscellaneous

  • Malevento, the new deathmatch map, came out this week. Lead Narrative Designer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie said the narrative team came up with “some crazy details” for the backstory of Malevento, like that it is “turbo-cursed” and that the statue on the map is of an artist named Caterina Pastore who has a tragic backstory. (Twitter)
  • The OWL Rosterpocalypse has begun with teams dropping scores of players
  • Someone noticed that at least easter egg to Jeff Kaplan (Jeph) has been removed from the New York City map. This is in line with Blizzard’s new commitment to remove and make no new references to real people at Blizzard. (Reddit)
  • Bungie has ended its practice of forced arbitration, the practice where employees are forced to waive their right to sue the company. This is common in the US and ending it is one of the demands of Activision Blizzard employees. (Bungie)
  • The skins from watching Overwatch Contenders in October are for Mei (5 hours) and Winston (10 hours). (Twitter)