Gabe Amatangelo, Diablo III’s Community Manager, has a long thread on the Blizzard forums where he details how his experiences working at Blizzard led him to decide to leave the company.
Recently I was talking to a friend that works in the video game industry about how much money and power video game developers have, and how they will often cut corners when it comes to everything from pay to safety. He told me about a recent incident where a Blizzard community manager was asked to remove a Diablo logo from a shirt that said “Diablo” on it. Now, that may sound like something that happens at a casino, or maybe it’s just some office kids goofing around, but it is actually a common experience for many employees.
In her blog post, the Diablo community manager goes into detail about the pay for community managers at Blizzard in the Diablo III era, and how she was mistreated. She says that she was being treated like a “slave” and that she received very low pay compared to other community managers at Blizzard. Her blog post is reproduced in full below.. Read more about alex afrasiabi and let us know what you think.
We reported on Diablo III community manager Brandy “Nevalistis” Camel’s resignation in March 2020, and she said in her statement that she was departing “for no bad reasons.” In a personal blog post about her experience at Activision-Blizzard, she has now joined a chorus of others in criticizing the business for its well-publicized culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.
While Camel specifically says that she was never sexually abused or assaulted while working at Blizzard, there were plenty of issues throughout her 2.5 years as a customer care representative and almost seven years as a community manager. She observed a “very strong drinking and partying culture” at CS, where senior employees routinely made approaches on colleagues — none of which could be reported to her boss at the time since he expressed “interest” in her.
She also pointed out inequalities in treatment, recalling how she was placed on a closely watched remedial coaching program known as a Performance Improvement Plan for accessing the internet without previous verbal or written warning. “My job was to actually search the internet (including social media) to assist people who had written proactively about their problems but had not yet filed a ticket,” she explains. “My colleagues regarded me as one of the finest writers and communicators on the team, and this sham penalty severely devalued my work.”
Her tenure as a community manager was not much better, as she recalls only getting promoted twice because she was promoted by departing female managers, while male team members with less experience got numerous promotions. Furthermore, when she expressed her concerns to HR, she was informed that there was nothing that could be done.
Camel also claims wage discrimination, remembering how male coworkers were able to purchase homes in southern California while her income — which should have been comparable — was instead used to pay off debt in a three-person rental. Camel offered to remain if Blizzard would match her new job’s starting salary, which was 18 percent more than what she was getting at Blizzard after nearly a decade. According to Camel, Blizzard’s reaction was… “I think you should go.”
Camel also wrote about how the backlash to Diablo Immortal was “something that took a very deep, very personal toll” on her, recounting how she was ganged up on by angry fans at the BlizzCon where the game was announced with no company support or security to help her, leading her to seek therapy to deal with the abuse.
“Developers were able to securely leave through backstage; I was exposed on the exhibition floor, in the middle of the audience. I anticipated this response and felt profoundly for them, but I hoped for the best and attempted to be accessible to a hurting and dissatisfied community. Instead, I was hounded until I enlisted the help of friends to get me off the show floor. I went behind the scenes to our community HQ (a space where we work on all of the event’s social media and can take breaks from the show floor) and sobbed for at least an hour. Then I picked myself up and went out onto the exhibit floor, where I would continue to deal with the same venom for the rest of the weekend since that was my job. I needed to put on a brave front and be available to the fans.”
Camel eventually confesses that she quit Blizzard because she felt she couldn’t further her career there. She also points out that developer ego and a lack of humility contribute to the company’s poisonous culture, and that these issues are not unique to Blizzard. “This is an issue that affects the whole business. […] My colleagues in the business have all had similar experiences. She adds, “This is particularly true when it comes to dismissiveness surrounding community, influencer, and social media management.”
• Activision-Blizzard: Frances Townsend steps down from one studio position, Jeff Kurtenacker leaves • Diablo community manager describes poor pay, a sexually hostile atmosphere, and abuse at Blizzard • Activision-Blizzard sexism scandal day 17: More esports sponsors contemplate leaving Overwatch League • Activision-Blizzard sexism scandal day 18: More esports sponsors consider ditching Overwatch League Blizzard may live on, but it will never be Blizzard again, according to the patch notes. • Activision-Blizzard Day 14: Exit interviews with Brack and Meschuk, a fraud lawsuit, a proto-union, and Q2 financials • In the second quarter of 2021, Activision’s sales are up, while Blizzard’s MAUs are down due to a sexism controversy. By not working at Blizzard, the gamer in the notorious BlizzCon video claims she “dodged a bullet.” J. Allen Brack, the CEO of Blizzard, is stepping down ahead of today’s investor call. Jeff Strain, a former co-founder of ArenaNet, has called for gaming developers to form a union. • Has Blizzard’s sexism lawsuit altered your gaming plans? • Massively Overthinking: Has Blizzard’s sexism lawsuit changed your gaming plans? • Blizzard Day 9: Ubisoft stands with Blizzard, Ashes of Creation buys Blizzard workers lunch • Activision-Blizzard walkout organizers respond to Kotick, Kotaku exposes ‘Cosby suite’ attendees • Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick: ‘The leadership team has heard you loud and clear’ • Casually Classic: Deciding whether or not to leave World of Warcraft The sexism issue at Blizzard continues, with 2500 developers signing a letter criticizing Acti-reaction. Blizz’s MMO Week in Review: The Blizzard You Thought You Knew Has Passed Away • Blizzard’s culture of “abuse, inequity, and apathy” has been apologized for by Chris Metzen. ‘I am very sorry that I failed you,’ Mike Morhaime says to female Blizzard employees. The World of Warcraft Factor: No monarch can reign forever Activision pushes down on deflection as J Allen Brack confronts Blizzard employees over sexism controversy Furious World of Warcraft gamers conduct a protest against Activision Blizzard • California has filed a lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard for discrimination and a misogynistic, poisonous workplace atmosphere.
Alongside the release of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, we’ve been bringing you stories about the state of the Diablo community. From our ongoing series with Diablo co-creative director Josh Mosqueira to our interview with the Diablo 3 community manager, we’ve been sharing perspectives from those who’ve experienced the game that way.. Read more about blizzard lawsuit death and let us know what you think.
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