WoW Classic dev exits Blizzard, protests employee review system
The Writing on the Wall for Blizzard
Due to a recent staff shakeup, it looks like World of Warcraft Classic team lead Mark Kern has decided to set sail from Blizzard. We’ll all miss the #MarkKernatizm on Twitter, where he never failed to provide a unique perspective on matters of the game development world.
Now it looks like a developing story that may have led up to his departure. Apparently, an employee review process put in place by Blizzard has been the talk lately among former and current employees. Employees who choose to remain anonymous have expressed concerns about the system and have launched a petition to amend the process and make it more transparent.
An Unpopular System, Indeed
Employees reportedly feel that this controversial review system has a way of appearing subjective and unfair. For instance, they allege that they were seen as favoring one group of people and demonizing another. And with the withdrawal of Kern, whose own dissatisfaction with the review process and its lack of transparency has been made public on Twitter, it looks like the sentiments expressed by current and former employees run along similar lines.
The employee review process seemed destined to cause waves in the workplace, as it apparently stressed too much productivity. Employees reportedly felt that this was too far of a step, as it created an environment full of competition and anxiety. It does not look as if Blizzard found a way to rectify the situation and help navigate the waters, because a knot of disgruntled employees are seemingly trying to untie it for them.
Paddle Onward in Protest
Things have gotten so out of hand that a petition was drafted and signed by upset employees. It proposed some bold changes to the system and asked that Microsoft move away from their strict review process and manage a more humanistic philosophy that would foster ideals of respect, cooperation, and transparency.
Currently, the petition has already gained a whopping 3,648 signatures! Some of these signatures were from former Blizzards too, so it looks like the tensions are high. We hope that better resolution is reached soon and looks like we’ll be seeing the following soon:
- New policies and procedure that better reflect the values of Microsoft and their commitment to fairness.
- A more transparent employee review process that prioritizes collaboration and respect.
- A softer yet more impactful attitude toward feedback from managers that would better serve employees.
We’re not sure what the future holds for Blizzard, or for World of Warcraft for that matter, but at the center of all of this seems to be a moral and ethical debate. It looks like employees may be fed up and not willing to put up with unfair systems, and as such are making waves in pursuit of truth and justice. Here’s to hoping that rumble doesn’t become a roar.