Zero Employee Demands Addressed

It’s been over eleven 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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McCree Renamed to Cole Cassidy

This afternoon Blizzard unveiled the replacement name for McCree: Cole Cassidy. It is set to launch in-game next week on Tuesday, October 26.

It looks like Cole’s story is that he was using the McCree name as a cover to run from his own past.

The first thing a renegade loses is their name, and this one gave up his long ago.

Running from his past meant running from himself, and each passing year only widened the divide between who he had been and what he had become. But in every cowboy’s life, there comes a time when he has to stop and make a stand.

To make this new Overwatch better–to make things right–he had to be honest with his team and himself. The cowboy he was rode into the sunset, and Cole Cassidy faced the world at dawn.

cole.PNG Twitter image of fantastic quality.

(Most) References to Cole Cassidy’s Old Name Removed

This was written before the announcement of the new name today. Some of it has been reworded with the new name and much of it has been deleted for irrelevance. I’ve kept it here because I still find the process interesting.

Most voice lines that specifically say Cole’s old name, Jesse McCree, have been removed from the game.

Redditor DoctorDeadeye noticed in the game’s files that all but a few voice lines needed to convey critical gameplay information, such as Echo announcing who she’s duplicated, have been deleted. This goes in line with Blizzard’s announcement back in August that the cowboy would be getting a name change.

Activision Blizzard Requests to ‘Pause’ Harassment Lawsuit

On Wednesday lawyers representing Activision Blizzard asked the Court to “stay,” to stop or suspend, the harassment suit against them so they may investigate what they say are potential conflicts of interest from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). (Verge reporting.)

In short, Activision Blizzard’s lawyers are telling the judge that California’s lawyers working on this case shouldn’t be allowed to work on it because those same lawyers used to work for the federal government. While working for the federal government, the laywers already worked on a similar suit against Activision Blizzard.

If successful, Activision Blizzard’s lawyers can call into question the integrity of the case and potentially get it dropped. You know, instead of doing something like address employee concerns. This also completely ignores the conflict of interest Activision Blizzard leadership has with the third-party, anti-union law firm they hired to arbitrate matters with employees.

20 Activision Blizzard Employees Fired; 20 More Reprimanded

Employees of Activision Blizzard were notified this week that a total of 40 people were fired or reprimanded due to behavior.

In an interview with the Financial Times this week, former US Homeland Security adviser and torture defender Fran Townsend told the paper that this affected “several game developers and a few supervisors, adding that none of the firings were from the company’s board or senior management team.”

In an email to employees, Townsend mentioned the disciplinary action against the 40 people, and outlined the company’s plans and progress regarding restructuring the company which included promotions within the Ethics & Compliance Team, adding 19 full-time positions to the E&C Team, and improved training.

Townsend also told employees, “[Leadership] will work hard every day to earn your trust and confidence,” still not addressing employee demands from the walkout almost three months ago, and “Together, let’s ensure that we always have a safe, inclusive, and ethical workplace that makes us all proud,” possibly unaware of the irony of this statement compared with her past.

Kotaku has the full text of the letter here.

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Experimental Patch Buffs McCree, Moira, Torbjörn; reworks Junkrat’s Damage

A new Experimental Card hit the servers this week, buffing three heroes and it tries to make Junkrat his most deadliest at close range. As with all Experimental and PTR changes, these may or may not ever reach the live version of the game. For example, this is not the first time they’ve put one of Cowboy’s changes on the Experimental Card.

Torbjörn

  • Cooldown on Overload reduced from 10 seconds to 8 seconds. This is intended to help him be more aggressive with the ability rather than only defensive.

  • Alternate fire consumes 2 ammo per shot instead of 3, allowing him to shoot nine times before reload instead of six. This is meant to help him be more of a threat at close ranges.

Cowboy

  • The initial ramping up of damage for Deadeye has been reduced from 0.8 seconds to 0.5 seconds to make him deadlier 0.3 seconds sooner after pressing ult.

  • Combat Roll can be used while in mid-air. This was attempted in the past but never made it through. We’ll see if it makes it this time.

Moira

  • Biotic Orbs now slow down even more when attached to a target, allowing the orbs to use up more of their potential before flying off.

Junkrat

  • For his primary fire, impact damage has more than doubled, from 40 to 90, but explosion damage has been decreased from 80 to 60; effectively making him damage per grenade at short range increased from 120 to 150 damage. Yep, he can one-shot close range Tracers.

  • With that in mind, they have reduced the amount of knockback from these grenades and have added falloff damage on impact for beginning at 15 meters, down to 18 damage on impact and 60 explosion damage.

These changes are an attempt to make Junkrat deadlier at close ranges, while keeping him not as much of a threat from his long range spam.

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