World of Warcraft Job Openings, Diablo Immortal Development Update

World of Warcraft Job Openings
Blizzard has posted over 20 new job openings for World of Warcraft. Highlights include a new post for an Associate Game Director and three new posts on the Combat Team.

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker)
World of Warcraft Job Openings

  • Software Engineer, Engine Tools
  • Class/Combat Designer
  • Game Designer, PvP Content
  • Class/Combat Designer, Tuning
  • Senior Software Engineer, Engine
  • Mid/Senior Encounter Designer
  • Senior Technical Artist
  • Knowledge Manager
  • Software Engineer, Engine
  • Content Designer
  • Sound Designer
  • Quest Designer
  • Principal Game Designer
  • Senior Visual Development Artist, Environments
  • Senior Software Engineer, Tools (Server)
  • Senior Software Engineer, WoW Classic
  • Technical Designer
  • Associate Game Producer, Engineering
  • Associate Production Director
  • Associate Game Director

Brian Holinka, Lead Combat Designer on World of Warcraft, shared that these new positions will be used to grow the team.

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – August 4, 2021

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes

  • Death Knight
    • Fixed an issue with the healing from Death Coil not reducing the cooldown of Apocalypse and Army of the Dead when talented into Army of the Damned.
  • Monk
    • Mistweaver
      • Fixed an issue that prevented Peaceweaver (PvP Talent) from applying to targets in Smoke Bomb.

Dungeons and Raids

  • Tazavesh, the Veiled Market
    • Fixed an issue where players could get stuck under a shipwreck in the Stormheim section.
  • Timewalking
    • Fixed an issue where an incorrect amount of experience was being awarded when completing a Timewalking dungeon.

Burning Crusade Classic

  • Midsummer Fire Festival
    • “A Thief’s Reward” is now available after returning the flames of all major enemy city’s bonfires.

Diablo Immortal Development Update
Blizzard has posted a development update for Diablo Immortal, sharing that several changes will be coming to the game based on feedback gathered from the community during the closed alpha.

Blizzard has also announced that Diablo Immortal is now planned for release in the first half of 2022, which will allow the Diablo team to add substantial improvements to the whole game, provide controller support, as well as make content more accessible and engaging.

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – August 3, 2021

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – August 3, 2021

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Items and Rewards

  • Shards of Domination
    • Shards of Domination can no longer be inserted into an occupied socket.
      • Developers’ notes: We’ve made this change to prevent accidentally losing a shard by inserting another shard in its place without extracting it first. You can purchase a Soulfire Chisel to extract embedded shards from Bonesmith Heirmir in Korthia for 2500 Stygia.
    • Fixed a bug which counted critical overhealing towards Winds of Winter’s accumulated value. Only effective healing and damage are intended to count towards the effect.

Torghast, Tower of the Damned

  • Torments
    • Phantasmic Amalgamation’s spawned with Unstable Phantasma no longer spawn near the party members on a lower floor if there are party members on a higher floor.

Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 Investor Call, Blizzard Employee Letter to Leadership

Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 Investor Call
The Activision Blizzard earnings call is this afternoon. We’ve highlighted some of the written results below.

  • Activision had 127 million MAUs in the second quarter, down from 150 million MAUs in the first quarter, down from 128 million MAUs in Q4 2020, up from 111M in Q3 and 125M in Q2.
  • Blizzard had 26 million MAUs in the second quarter, down from 27 million MAUs in the first quarter, down from 29 million in Q4 2020, down from 30 million in Q3 2020, and down from 32 million in Q1/Q2 2020.
  • World of Warcraft net bookings again grew a double-digit percentage year-over-year, driven by the launch of Burning Crusade Classic.
  • Subscriber numbers and hours played were higher following the release, demonstrating the importance of Classic in enabling more ways for players to engage.
  • World of Warcraft remains on track for much stronger engagement this year than is typical outside of a modern expansion year.
  • The latest expansion of the Hearthstone franchise, Forged in the Barrens, delivered expansion-over-expansion net bookings growth for a second consecutive release following its March launch
  • The team is pursuing additional opportunities to make Diablo Immortal even more engaging for a wider audience, with the launch now slated for first half of 2022
  • Blizzard continues to make strong progress on Diablo 4 and is allocating substantial resources to creating exciting in-game content to drive engagement over multiple years
  • Overwatch 2 development passed an important internal milestone in recent weeks. After a great response to the recent community update, the team is looking forward to revealing more of the game in the coming months as they approach the laterstages of production.

Blizzard Employee Letter to Leadership
IGN shared Blizzard employee’s letter to management.

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion

To CEO Bobby Kotick and the Activision Blizzard executive leadership team,

We are The ABK Workers Alliance, an organized group of current Activision Blizzard, Inc. employees committed to defending our right to a safe and equitable workplace. That right remains endangered as the stories of abuse and mistreatment continue to grow in scope, and new accounts of harassment perpetrated by current Activision Blizzard employees have continued to emerge since the publication of the DFEH’s lawsuit.

Last week, we took collective action to demand better working conditions for women and other marginalized groups at Activision Blizzard King (ABK) by writing an open letter signed by more than 3,000 current employees. We organized the #ActiBlizzWalkout at Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine headquarters where more than 500 workers walked out and hundreds more participated virtually around the world.

Our request for action crosses studio lines, including workers from Activision, Beenox, Blizzard Entertainment, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software, and Vicarious Visions. Our goal is for the executive leadership team to address their response to the California DFEH lawsuit, acknowledge the reality of working conditions across our organization, and commit to meaningful change at Activision Blizzard.

We communicated a list of four demands aimed at protecting our most vulnerable workers. These are: (1) an end to forced arbitration in employment agreements, (2) the adoption of inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, (3) increases in pay transparency through compensation metrics, and (4) an audit of ABK policies and practices to be performed by a neutral third-party. Importantly, we demanded that this third party be selected by an employee-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force.

In response to our demands, you wrote a letter to employees expressing a commitment to doing a better job of listening. You said you would do everything possible to work with employees in improving our workplace. And yet, the solutions you proposed in that letter did not meaningfully address our requests. You ignored our call for an end to mandatory arbitration. You did not commit to adopting inclusive recruitment and hiring practices. You made no comment on pay transparency.

One of our demands, a third-party audit of ABK practices and policies, was ostensibly addressed by your decision to hire WilmerHale to conduct an internal review. While we commend the idea of hiring a third-party firm to perform an internal review, The ABK Workers Alliance cannot support the choice of WilmerHale as an impartial reviewer.

We reject the selection of WilmerHale for the following reasons:

  • WilmerHale’s pre-existing relationships with Activision Blizzard and its executives create an unacceptable conflict of interest.
    • Activision Blizzard has already been a client of WilmerHale, who you used to dispute the Diverse Candidate Search Policy proposed by the AFL-CIO Reserve Fund and UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust earlier in 2021.
    • ○ Frances Townsend is known to have relationships with multiple partners at WilmerHale, including former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
  • WilmerHale has a history of discouraging workers’ rights and collective action.
    • WilmerHale states on their public website that their services include “advising on union awareness and avoidance”.
    • WilmerHale used anti-collective action tactics in their work with Amazon & Uber.
    • In media portrayals, WilmerHale is regularly referred to as a “Union Busting Firm”. We are already seeing the effects of this ideology in actions that leadership has taken to restrict our freedom of association since last week, including reducing the size of listening sessions and limiting access to those sessions.
  • The WilmerHale partner leading this investigation, Stephanie Avakian, specializes in protecting the wealthy and powerful.
    • WilmerHale outlined Avakian’s work as: “…counseling and defending financial institutions, public and private companies, hedge funds, accounting firms, investment advisors, boards, corporate executives, and individuals facing regulatory and criminal investigations and litigation with the government.”
    • In Stephanie’s speech highlighting her successes with the SEC, all of her significant examples included achievements in favor of investors, retail clients, and customers, but does not once mention employees or laborers. We need legal representation that centers on the concerns of our current employees, rather than investors.

We call on you and your executive leadership team to do better, and to fully address our list of demands. We will not abandon our cause. Our ranks continue to grow across multiple Activision Blizzard studios. While there are structural problems that only you can address, we are already taking steps to improve our workplace through a number of employee-driven initiatives:

  • Worker-to-Worker Mentorship: We are building a mentorship program where workers can seek career advice, support, and sponsorship from a network of colleagues in a safe external channel outside company communication networks.
  • Open Listening Sessions: We will host listening sessions that will be recorded and disseminated across the organization to facilitate ongoing conversation, education, and emotional support for employees.
  • Community Meetings: We will facilitate monthly employee meetings, in a secure external channel, to discuss our concerns, desires, and progress toward achieving our goals. All current ABK employees are welcome to participate in these conversations.

As these actions show, we love our studios and care deeply for our colleagues. We share your expressed unwavering commitment to improving our company together.

We are doing what we can, and we call on you to do what we cannot.

Sincerely,

The ABK Workers Alliance

Twitter: @ABetterABK

New Leadership at Blizzard

New Leadership at Blizzard

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker)
To all members of the Blizzard Community,

We want to let you know about an important leadership change at Blizzard Entertainment.

Starting today, J. Allen Brack will be stepping down as the leader of the studio, and Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will co-lead Blizzard moving forward.

Jen joined Blizzard in January as executive vice president of development, where she’s been providing senior development leadership and support to the Diablo and Overwatch franchises. Jen is the former head of Vicarious Visions (which is now part of Blizzard Entertainment).

After many years at XBOX, Mike joined the company in 2019 as the executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology, where he’s been overseeing the evolution of Battle.net and our development services organization.

Jen and Mike have more than three decades of gaming industry experience between them. Moving forward, they will share responsibilities over game development and company operations.

Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion, and a dedication to excellence. You’ll hear more from Jen and Mike soon.

The following is a message from J. Allen Brack:

“I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”

Finally, thank you all for being a part of the Blizzard community, and for your passion and determination for safety and equality for all.

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – August 2, 2021

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – August 2, 2021

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes

  • Priest
    • Fixed an issue that caused the Courageous Ascension conduit to grant a low amount of damage while it was at 252 item level.

Dungeons and Raids

  • Sanctum of Domination
    • Fixed an issue that caused Hollowsoul’s Gaoler’s Chains to hit targets not inside the area-of-effect.

Items and Rewards

  • Shards of Domination
    • [With weekly maintenance in each region] Shard of Rev now also has a chance to drop from Sylvanas Windrunner.

Torghast, Tower of the Damned

  • Anima Powers
    • Sweet Dreams should no longer teleport players to unintended locations.

Upcoming Shards of Domination Set Bonus Buffs, Spit Emote Removed on TBC Classic PTR

Upcoming Shards of Domination Set Bonus Buffs

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Hotfixes – July 30, 2021

Items and Rewards

  • Shards of Domination
    • [With weekly maintenance in each region] Blood Link – The damage and healing amount has been increased at all ranks by 20%.
    • [With weekly maintenance in each region] Winds of Winter – The amount of damage and healing stored by the Winds has been increased at all ranks by ~45%.
      • Developers’ note: The difference between the three Rune Words for the Shards of Domination system is bigger than we want it to be. We have identified and fixed a bug in Winds of Winter which was preventing some damaging and healing abilities from counting towards its total, and we have retuned Winds of Winter and Blood Link so that the relative power between Rune Word bonuses is more balanced.
  • Jotungeirr, Destiny’s Call will now reset its cooldown at the end of boss encounters.
  • Fixed an issue where Ticking Sack of Terror could trigger more than intended in the presence of multiple trinkets.

Spit Emote Removed on TBC Classic PTR
The /spit emote has been removed on the Burning Crusade Classic PTR. Players can no longer target others with the emote, however they can still spit on the ground.

It is speculated that this change is a result of people spamming /spit on players riding the Reawakened Phase-Hunter mount, the reward for purchasing the Burning Crusade Deluxe Edition.

Lead Game Designer Jeremy Feasel tweeted that he’s having a look at cleaning up toxicity in the game, so this could be one of many changes to come.

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – July 29, 2021

Patch 9.1 Hotfixes – July 29, 2021

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Classes

  • Druid
    • Fixed an issue where Lone Spirit (Kyrian Ability) was not providing Kindred Affinity (Runecarving Power).
  • Hunter
    • The silence effect from Rae’shalare, Death’s Whisper will now show an enemy nameplate UI debuff when an enemy is silenced by the ability.
    • Using Tar Trap on an enemy will no longer break the effects of Camouflage.
  • Shaman
    • Fixed an issue where Hearthstone and several PvP talents were usable while under the effects of Hex.

Covenants

  • Soulbinds
    • Necrolord
      • Fixed an issue where Undulating Maneuvers (Plague Deviser Marileth) would break crowd-control effects.
    • Night Fae
      • Fixed an issue where Dream Delver (Dreamweaver) would not increase the player’s pet damage.
      • Fixed an issue where Field of Blossoms (Dreamweaver) had an inaccurate duration for Mages.

Dungeons and Raids

  • Sanctum of Domination
    • Sylvanas Windrunner
      • Fixed an issue where players could get stuck in the Stage 1 arena when releasing after she’s been defeated.
  • Mythic+
    • Tormented Affix
      • The spawn location of the 2nd Tormented Affix lieutenant in The Necrotic Wake has been adjusted.
      • Anima Orbs dropped by Tormented Lieutenants should now be easier to interact with when they’re near other players or NPCs.
      • Resolved issues where several spells cast by Lieutenants could target and damage pets.
      • Biting Cold can now be defended against with Spell Reflection.
      • Carnage can now be dodged and parried.
      • Resolved and issue that caused the pre-cast effect of Scorching Blast to not appear on specific graphic settings.
  • The Necrotic Wake
    • Fixed an issue where player immunity effects could cancel the effects of Discharged Anima.

Torghast, Tower of the Damned

  • An anvil to repair your gear is now available at the start of each combat and boss floor.
  • Anima Powers
    • Hunter
      • Fixed an issue where the Deathdealer’s Scope anima power was not correctly enabling the use of Kill Shot when Flayed Shot (Venthyr Ability) was applied to and removed from your target.

Burning Crusade Classic: Overlords of Outland Now Live on the PTR

Burning Crusade Classic: Overlords of Outland Now Live on the PTR

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Bring down Illidan Stormrage’s lieutenants in the upcoming patch, Overlords of Outland! Starting now, you’ll be able to test all the patch has to offer on the PTR. Simply copy your character over and explore what awaits before the patch goes out later this year.

Serpentshrine Cavern

Slay the twisted Lady Vashj and her vicious fiends in her watery lair—Serpentshrine Cavern.

Raid bosses: 6
Level: 70
Location:Coilfang Reservoir, Zangramarsh

The Eye

Infiltrate the heart of a crystalline fortress to end the madness of the corrupted Kael’thas Sunstrider and his warped loyalists.

Raid bosses: 4
Level: 70
Location:Tempest Keep, Netherstorm

Arena Season 2

Brutalize your faction’s enemies on the battlefield with the advent of Arena Season 2! Victorious players will earn Arena Points to exchange for better gear so they can fight against other similar-skilled opponents.

Ogri’la and Sha’tari Skyguard Daily Content

Make new allies in Outland with the Ogri’la and Shatari Skyguard factions. Complete daily quests to earn these factions’ favor and in turn receive lucrative rewards.

Guild Banks

Share raid and dungeons spoils amongst your guildmates with the Guild Bank! This in-game storage allows guild members to withdraw and deposit items and currency, making it easier to determine at glance what consumables you have available (or need to make!) for your next group activity.

Group Browser Tool

Find like-minded players and make new friends with the Group Browser Tool. Simply list your class and specialization so group leaders on your realm can invite you to their party or raid.

All of this content is now live on the PTR so you can explore first-hand what awaits you in Overlords of Outland.

Employee Response to Bobby Kotick, Additional Information on Cosby Suite

Employee Response to Bobby Kotick’s Statement
The Verge has posted an employee response to Bobby Kotick’s letter.

Originally Posted by MMO-Champion

On the evening before our employee walkout, Activision Blizzard leadership released a statement apologizing for their harmful responses to last week’s DFEH lawsuit. While we are pleased to see that our collective voices — including an open letter with thousands of signatures from current employees — have convinced leadership to change the tone of their communications, this response fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns.

Activision Blizzard’s response did not address the following:

  • 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 particular 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.

Additional Information on Cosby Suite
Kotaku published some additional information about the Cosby Suite. It also confirms that Afrasiabi was terminated for his misconduct in 2020.

Reddit users have also posted about related tweets that aren’t in the article.

An employee brought these 2013 events to our attention in June 2020,” a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard told Kotaku when asked about the “Cosby Suite” images and allegations against Afrasiabi. “We immediately conducted our own investigation and took corrective action. At the time of the report, we had already conducted a separate investigation of Alex Afrasiabi and terminated him for his misconduct in his treatment of other employees.

A Letter From CEO Bobby Kotick to All Employees

A Letter From CEO Bobby Kotick to All Employees

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker)
This has been a difficult and upsetting week.

I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.

It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions, and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my highest priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind. We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels for reporting or to reach out to Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at ATVI@wilmerhale.com or 202-247-2725. Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to long-lasting change. Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions:

  • Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
  • Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.
  • Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.
  • Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.
  • In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.
  • Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company
in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Bobby

Blizzard Offers Paid Time Off For Employees Participating in Walk-Out
Jason Schreier tweeted today that Blizzard has offered paid time off to any employee participating in tomorrow’s walk-out.