This week, one of Alex Afrasiabi’s Facebook friends and ex-Sony Online Entertainment developer named Doug “Eidroth” Cronkite alleges that the former Blizzard employee named in a state of California lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard, has left the woketopia of California and is now residing in the tropical paradise of Hawaii. He shared this news on the Fires of Heaven forums, which was the official MMO guild website of Afrasiabi’s EverQuest and World of Warcraft guild from 1999 and on.
For many years, Afrsaibi’s brash gaming persona “Furor” was admired by hardcore MMO players who felt marginalized and disenfranchised by apathetic video game studios. He was the Asmongold of his day speaking truth to power and he publicly called out Sony Online Entertainment’s CEO John Smedley who was in charge of the EverQuest MMO which won him the respect of the fans.
Cronkite goes on to claim that Afrasiabi left on his own accord and wasn’t forced out by Activision-Blizzard:
Perhaps Afrasiabi knew about the ongoing State of California investigation, saw the writing on the wall, and knew his career at Blizzard would be untenable going forward and fled to Hawaii before the WoW tokens hit the fan. Another forum poster reasoned that he probably moved to Hawaii as he had put his $2.5 million home in Newport Beach up for sale. Eventually, he may need the proceeds from the sale to pay for his legal defense.
Jeff Kaplan another ex-EverQuest guild leader and high profile Blizzard personality who helmed their Overwatch franchise, left Blizzard earlier this year. Incidentally, Jeff’s EverQuest character was named Tigole Bitties, which is anagram of Big ole Titties. Unlike Afrasiabi who left without even as much as a “goodbye” to WoW players, Kaplan publicly announced his departure on the Overwatch forums then abruptly vanished like donuts in in a police station.
One might speculate that Kaplan knew what was coming and decided he didn’t want to be collateral damage in the ensuing firestorm. Since leaving he has maintained strict radio silence and unlike some of the other top former management at Blizzard who have issued apologies to save their skins in the highly politicized video game industry, Jeff has yet to release a statement on the scandal.
Cronkite goes on to reveal that apparently Afrasiabi is quite wealthy after years of working on Blizzard’s World of Warcraft which entitles him to royalties:
While rank and file Blizzard employees are barely surviving living in outrageously expensive Orange county, old guard Blizzard employees have amassed fortunes that allows them to live like kings. Some have even purchased interest in NFL football teams with their Warcraft gold.
Despite all of the allegations made against Blizzard and Afrasiabi by the State of California and the media, it’s worth mentioning that in the United States everyone including Mr. Afrasiabi is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Since the troubling news of this lawsuit hit, I have been following various news and opinion sites with great interest. I have written a few articles on Alex Afrasiabi over the years and am currently working on a new opinion piece.
This will be an interesting investigation.
Kaplan and Afrasiabi would have been banned as toxic on their very own forums already years ago, the way they behaved and talked was just terrible.
Over the years they seem to have grown older and more relaxed though. Early Blizzard is not unlikely to have been a frat society type of games studio.
The misbehavior seems to have happened already before the merger with Activision. Bad pay and exploitation are common in the games industry, as far as I was told. Nowadays sexual exploitation becomes reported as well, Ubisoft had the creative director Ashraf Ismail fired for supposedly using his fame or influence to have sex with young women.
Afrasiabi might have done the same. If he was “just” a terrible person or a mobbing rapist, that’s quite a difference.
It might be damn unpopular, but I think he might be guilty of being Alex Afrasiabi in Furor style, which is not professional or acceptable. But the mass outrage about a person that actually has to be presumed innocent till charged, a nowadays long forgotten legal practice, that’s more likely to be a clash of cultures thing.
It would also be total in style and give bonus points to rise to a position by sleeping with influential men to use the fact against them later to the type of gamer girl nowadays calling themselves game developers while serving as community manager, there was an article about this particular type a while ago.
I am afraid to be successful Blizzard had to be a frat society kind of game studio. Nowadays they are too big for that and nothing is working out anymore, be it treating employees correctly or actually making good games.
Prediction: In a few months we see articles about the women who actually made Warcraft a success. You know, just like for the moon landing and the related movie.
This is basically all about about telling the quite brash and aggressive old guard of Blizzard that they were wrong all along and no longer fit into this time. And see how many of them left the sinking ship already before, some got the idea way earlier that this is no longer the company that created worlds.
I am afraid everything that Kaplan, Afrasiabi, Pardo, Morhaime, Brack etc. ever said, even dozens of years ago, will be used against them. I hope law gives them justice and will detail what accusations are wrong and over the top and do both the accused as well as the accusers justice.
Where will you post your opinion piece?