After years critiquing World of Warcraft, Blizzard’s recent decision to promote ideologies that are incompatible with the values and beliefs I hold dear, is a bridge too far for me to cross. As a result, I can no longer in good conscience continue to write articles about Blizzard Entertainment and their various video games. While I may include references to Blizzard or World of Warcraft in future articles, this will be my last piece that deals with them directly. I will also no longer purchase or play any product made by Blizzard or Activision.
The final straw came for me in August of 2017, when Kotaku reported that a leaked email memo from Blizzard company president Mike Morhaime who described the launching of a “global diversity and inclusion initiative” which seeks to increase the representation of women and other minorities at Blizzard. The article goes on to detail Blizzard’s efforts to achieve this via various methods.
As a person who has both worked in and covered the video game industry for over 12 years, I find this memo disturbing and chilling but sadly predictable given Blizzard’s recent leftist trajectory which I have chronicled over the past few years on this site. Now we have the smoking gun which proves Blizzard is a company run by virtue signaling leftists who seek to indoctrinate the identity politics/diversity/inclusion agenda upon their staff and the people that purchase their video games.
Blizzard has gone from mere public virtue signaling about inclusion and diversity to taking action with their introduction of a hiring policy that is based on diversity rather than merit. Blizzard is not alone.
The Misguided Drive to Attract More Female Coders
In recent years, there’s been a push in Silicon Valley, the tech industry and in the video game industry to promote the notion of social justice which is a warm and fuzzy euphemism for cultural Marxism. On the surface, the social justice warriors never fail to mention to everyone about how much they care about the seemingly benign and noble causes of equality, inclusiveness, and diversity. But in their zeal to achieve Utopia those who violate the commandments of this pseudo-religion are labeled as heretics to be shunned and ruined by social justice cultists who see racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia everywhere.
One recent thrust of this agenda is the campaign to motivate women to be coders and for companies to hire them. The proponents of this movement claim that women are underrepresented in the industry and they make it seem like they have been the victims of systemic discrimination by a conspiratorial cabal of misogynists. This is silly and absurd because imbalances are not always the result of discrimination.
One way to illustrate this is to discuss a similar imbalance between men and women: the gender makeup of the prison population. Recent statistics from the U.S. Government show that females in the USA make up 18% of the prison population compared to males who make up 82% of the prison population. Using the same flawed logic employed by the cult of equality, we must come to the conclusion that the American justice system, law enforcement, and the prison system must certainly be run by misandrists who hate men so much that they purposely seek to imprison more men than women. The real explanation is that men commit far more crimes than women.
Using the twisted logic of the social justice warrior, the solution to address the problem of females being under-represented in the American prison population would be to reduce the number of male prisoners incarcerated and increase the number female prisoners incarcerated. Of course, this solution is ludicrous. If this were ever attempted, it would be disastrous for American society but the very same logic is being used by social justice warriors in their campaign to promote female coders.
I believe the push for more women in the tech industry is really all about creating a workforce that is more left-leaning in nature. Watch the following video to learn more about how the “women who code” movement is really all about the promotion of leftist ideology.
(Note: this video has been made private)
My central disagreement with Blizzard’s push for diversity within their company is that I believe that people should only be hired on the basis of merit. I believe in equal opportunity instead of equal outcomes. These are time-tested and enduring values that successful cultures have adopted. Unsuccessful cultures wallow in poverty and misery and they often result when cronyism, nepotism, and tribal loyalties are the order of the day. While these problems do exist in varying degrees in our culture, America is largely a culture based on the principle of merit.
Nobody should get special privileges because of their minority or alleged victim status. Just as you should not be able to fire someone because of their gender or race, you should not hire them because of their race or gender.
The social justice warriors who have recently invaded the shores of video game world are obsessed with Marxist obsessions of equality. Any imbalance of gender or sexuality is immediately seen as a sin that must be condemned. It is well-known fact that males are predominant consumers of AAA video games and MMOs. Therefore it stands to reason that the industry is staffed by mostly males because a higher percentage of males have expertise as gamers and also because they *want* to be video game designers, engineers, artists, and producers. Despite the stats (skewed by social and mobile games) that women make up the majority of video game consumers, males are the biggest consumers of AAA video games so it is reasonable to assert that the people who actually play video games would be best suited to creating them.
Despite the culture of fun that is portrayed on the careers section of most studio websites, life in the video game industry is not a pleasant walk in the park. As I have noted in a recent article, people who work in the industry can expect to work long hours with little expectation of any semblance of work/life balance. While there may be some woman that may find this abusive environment and drudgery acceptable, most would not and this partly explains why there are so few women working in the industry, not because of alleged sexism and a lack of equality.
For anyone that ever watched Mike Rowe’s popular TV show, Dirty Jobs, it was obvious that men overwhelmingly occupied jobs that no woman in their right mind would ever do. This is as it should be. Men have always taken riskier jobs and occupations than men throughout the history of mankind in order to provide for their wives and their children. The woman’s primary biological role was the carrying and the raising of children and looking after the household when the male was out providing for his family. Survival of the species is paramount and the fundamental biological imperative in all living organism. Any ancient society that would be foolish enough to experiment with the luxury of feminism would soon find itself extinct.
There are other areas where women and minorities dominate yet the left is conveniently silent when their protected groups enjoy over-representation. For example, most primary school teachers and daycare workers are overwhelmingly female. This is because women who have a natural aptitude for raising children are attracted to these types of roles and men aren’t. In the realm of professional sports, American blacks who represent 18% of the population constitute 70% of the player base. But nobody is complaining that we need more men and white in both of these fields because women and blacks– who are both considered a protected group — dominate in this field. As George Orwell noted: everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.
From the standpoint of biology, men and women are clearly different. From a motivation perspective, both genders have different wants, needs, and expectations. It is utterly foolish and infantile to demand the Marxist requirement that every profession should have equal representation of both genders.
Diversity is Not Our Strength
What Blizzard and other companies who extol the false virtues of diversity is doing is engaging in social engineering. It is not based on merit or science, rather it is a form of cultural Marxism that divides and polarizes people and creates problems where none exist. The left is on a witchhunt to find inequality so they can virtue signal to show the world what wonderful people they are. The problem is inequality is in such a short supply in our culture it must be manufactured and invented as a result bias crimes hoaxes are at an all-time high.
The social justice warrior is taught by their leftist college teachers that the world — especially America — is an evil place where minorities are being oppressed and it is up to them to rid the world of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, insert cause of the day here. The recent unprovoked attack by social justice warriors on the video game industry is clear evidence of their crusade.
New convert to the religion of social justice and Blizzard VP Jeff Kaplan revealed in a recent Polygon interview, that he routinely asks job applicants for advice on how they can make Blizzard more diverse. From the article:
“I interviewed one of our artists, a woman, and I asked about how we can improve diversity. She said that what she most cares about is the level of open-mindedness and how much we build a team that is open to exploring other cultures and being respectful of people, no matter where they’re from.”
So now it’s just not enough to be an exceptional candidate with a set of skills and experience, now you must have the correct ideology in order impress Jeff Kaplan to land that dream job at Blizzard.
When identity trumps merit in the hiring process the quality of your product will inevitably suffer.
Recently it came to my attention that a major MMO studio was so desperate to have female representation on their team that they actively went out looking for a token woman so they could virtue signal to the industry about how inclusive and diverse they are. They finally found a woman with no game design experience but she had a blog. They put her in charge of combat and the result was the combat was universally panned by critics and players.
Seeding Your Organization with Ideologues
There’s an old saying in the computer programming world: garbage in, garbage out. Other variants of maxim are: you are what you eat. I believe this also applies to organizations too. The more radical leftists and feminists you bring into your company, the more likely that the content in the video game will reflect their ideology. Similarly, if you only hired old white, Christian conservative Republicans, the end product would most certainly be more likely to reflect their values.
Tech companies and video game companies — most based in the most leftist state in America, California — have been trying to increase female representation in their studios for the past few years. Qualified white heterosexual males who apply to work at Blizzard will suffer the most from this as they will be bypassed for minority status non-male applicants who will be token employees.
I think Blizzard should lead by example. Every male on the executive team should voluntarily resign and be replaced with a minority female or LGBT person. Let’s see if they really believe in diversity if it actually impacts them and their families personally. The old saying: Do as I say, but not as I do immediately comes to mind.
In the Kotaku article, it was also brought to light that Blizzard has established separate LGBTQ and female advisory councils that meet monthly and gives Blizzard guidance. What is troubling to me is that I believe that these councils will inevitably end up influencing the content of Blizzards video games as they attempt to justify their existence. Blizzard’s recent reveal that Overwatch’s Tracer is a lesbian is a good example of the council’s growing pernicious influence. Expect to see more pandering and virtue signaling from Blizzard as more LGBTQ characters and stories are included in your favorite Blizzard video games in the future.
What was not included in the leaked Blizzard memo was any information about other minority advisory groups that advise Blizzard on Christian and conservative issues in their workplace or their video games. Seemingly, the only minorities that matter to Blizzard are the ones that are the current darlings of the progressive and left-wing tech and media establishment.
BlizzCon 2017 Opening Ceremony Diversity and Inclusion Propaganda
As I was finishing this article, I realized that BlizzCon 2017 was in progress. In predictable fashion, Blizzard opened the event with a cleverly scripted and slick propaganda video montage of gamers with the clear intention of virtue signaling the values of the new and improved Blizzard 2.0. The montage starts off with a sampling of seemingly average Blizzard gamers who exude an aura that they are just like you and me. I believe this was done to show that Blizzard games facilitate a sense of community with the intent of cloaking Blizzard with an aura of moral righteousness.
As someone who has long argued that MMORPGs are essentially about community, I agree with many of the sentiments and some of the stories are touching.
But all the propaganda aside, does Blizzard really care about community?
I don’t believe it for a second as the evidence shows the opposite. Over the years Blizzard has done all they can to reduce player interdependency which erodes community in World of Warcraft in order to broaden their demographics in order to earn more profits. Blizzard games — especially WoW and now Overwatch — are notorious for some of the most toxic communities in the video game world.
While bragging about how global Blizzard is, some of the players also talked about their friends all over the world but the fact that Blizzard’s WoW servers are region specific easily contradicts this.
As the opening video proceeded, you see a lot of geeky, nerdy, body positive, awkward people and some who I suspect are representatives of non-traditional gender expression and lifestyles. Somehow we are supposed to believe that the people in the video represent average Blizzard gamers. I’m not convinced at all. Who selected them? Was the new Blizzard LGBTQ and female advisory board involved in the making of this video? How were they selected? Who actually made this video? Who directed it? Who scripted it?
After watching the video, I got the feeling that Blizzard wants it known that they have provided a safe haven for the “marginalized” gamers of the world. Somehow we are supposed to believe that Blizzard are the white knights for the downtrodden geeks and bullied nerds around the world. This is a 10 on the virtue signaling and moral sanctimony Richter scale.
At one point, one of the gamers in the video says: “Blizzard is an open, inclusive, positive wonderful community.” Finally, we come to the real point of the video: the promotion of the inclusion and diversity agenda. Very clever Blizzard but we are not fooled by your sleight of hand. The devil uses a sea of truth to disguise a drop of poison.
I take great exception to this propaganda video. MMORPGs have always been inclusive and open to everyone. Anyone who’s played MMOs for the past 20 years already knows this. MMOs and virtual worlds have always had a level playing field designed into them from the start. Everyone starts out as a level 1 character. You are free to forge your own destiny and reputation for better or for worse.
Additionally, one of the great things about MMOs is that anyone can create a character, male or female, choose any race, and leave their real-life identity behind and create an entirely new persona. This is called role-playing and it’s the “RPG” in the MMORPG acronym. Nobody cares what your real-life age, race, gender, religion, sexual proclivities or occupation is. As a player, it’s your duty and responsibility to come to a virtual fantasy world to fit in and be a part of it. Whether it’s the virtual worlds of Azeroth, Norrath or Middle-earth, you do this by leaving your real-life baggage and politics behind you.
We don’t need to be told by Blizzard that MMOs are open to everyone, we players have always known this. Those of us who log every day to our favorite virtual world, we live it. This video comes across as patronizing and insulting. And in reality, it’s just more shameless virtue signaling to pander to the progressive and LGBTQ communities. And it’s not even original or courageous because Blizzard are robotic lemmings — doing precisely what every other California tech and entertainment company are doing.
BlizzCon did have some good news in that they finally announced the introduction of classic WoW servers. At this point, it’s too little too late for me.
A Personal Note From a Christian, a Gamer, and a Developer
Many years before our culture was obsessed with politics and the social justice warriors started complaining about video games, I worked with some amazing people in the industry who just happen to be non-white, women and others who were known to have same-sex attraction. They were outstanding artists and designers and valued colleagues. Their sexual proclivities and gender while sometimes obvious and sometimes hidden, were never part of the equation. They were hired because of their merit, their experience and they were well-respected because of their talent and contributions — not because of their gender or who they sleep with or the color of their skin and not because they looked good on our company’s recruitment website.
Back then, the concept of ideological neutrality was an unstated rule in the industry. Our publishers would expect no less from us. We realized that every gamer who purchases the video games we made had their own political and religious beliefs and that should be respected. Back then, before the social justice fad devoured the industry, it was just common sense to operate this way. Our goal as developers was not to lecture or indoctrinate people but to create the best possible video games we could.
In my bio to every post, I state that I am a Christian. Despite that, I have never proselytized my Christian faith in my articles. But now I can no longer keep silent. As a gamer and designer who is also a Christian, Blizzard’s policy to openly promote and normalize lifestyles that are immoral both within their company and in their video games is utterly incompatible with my religious beliefs. As long as this is the case, as stated at the outset, I will not be purchasing, playing or promoting any Blizzard products. I will not cooperate with evil. My allegiance is to God, not a company like Blizzard Entertainment.
I have received emails from other Christian gamers who are alarmed that they and their beliefs are being marginalized by the recent ideological crusade that has beset the video game industry.
As I take my leave of Blizzard once and for all, I will give them one final tip of the hat for their amazing accomplishments in the MMORPG genre. WoW was the thousand pound gorilla in the room that changed the MMO industry. While Blizzard did many things right but they also did many things wrong. But in the end, as Raph Koster has said so brilliantly, the stratospheric success of Blizzard with WoW destroyed the MMO genre by endless refining until it became something unrecognizable. Even as the crowds cheered Blizzard’s success, I felt compelled to point out the warning signs along the way but Blizzard in their swagger and arrogance refused to listen. They giddily marched onwards toward their goal of increased profits by ensuring that WoW would appeal to the lowest common denominator and as a result, the dumbed down WoW of today is a mere shadow of its former self.
Blizzard was once an amazing company that achieved great things. The highlight of my reverence for them was when I got a chance to speak to Blizzard developers at the Blizzard Burning Crusade pavilion at E3 in Los Angeles in 2006. Back then, Blizzard was the real deal. They broke the rules and had fun doing it. They were a video game company that cared about gamers. You felt that they were on your side. They weren’t promoting any kind of political or social ideology — they just made great games.
Today, studios that promote and seek to indoctrinate progressive ideology into video games making a terrible mistake. They are violating one of the central reasons why people play videos: escapism. Video games are a sacred oasis where players pay their hard earned money to escape the cares and troubles of the world free from the yoke of the 24-hour news cycle of social media outrage, real-world politics, ideology, and religion. Regrettably, the concept of ideological neutrality has been completely discarded by the tech and entertainment complex.
But for now, the titans of the video game industry do not care. As they wallow in their zealotry and self-righteousness, they will continue to shovel their leftist propaganda down your throats anyway. They will follow the well-trodden path of Hollywood who discarded the golden age of films and replaced it with subversive films imbued with leftist propaganda.
The lords of the new entertainment medium are also alienating half of the population who does not share their leftist ideology. Gamers aren’t as docile as the average American TV watcher and someday it will come back to haunt them.
Blizzard, I can not overstate this: you are making a grave error here. Cultural Marxism is a deadly cancer that will consume your company. Once it gets a foothold, it’s only a matter of time before the workplace will become an unbearable place of fear and the products you create will become riddled with leftist propaganda.
No area of endeavor is safe from these fanatical busybodies. These twisted social justice warriors have infiltrated almost every hobby and pastime in order to spread their cult of equality and identity politics. Even America’s favorite sport of professional football is seeing their viewers and spectators rebel against this madness by their refusal to attend and watch. Nothing is sacred to these virtue signaling fanatics. This will only get worse and eventually, they will drive out most of their fans and impact advertisers and drive the NFL out of business. Marxists and their ilk never build or create, they only destroy and vanquish, then they move on to another target.
Regarding Blizzard’s new diversity hiring practices. Be careful of what you wish for Blizzard. If you don’t already, someday you will have sons that will eventually apply for positions in college and in the workplace. How will you feel when a less qualified minority or a female applicant gets the position over your son? How will you be able to look them in the eye and tell them that you supported a similar policy that discriminated against heterosexual white males? What goes around, comes around.
I have spent hundreds of hours thinking about virtual worlds and MMORPGs and putting my thoughts into words here on this blog. While I have been very critical, I have also offered solutions. I have aggressively campaigned for more MMORPGs that appeal to a wider and more diverse group of player archetypes. I care deeply about role-playing and finding ways to make virtual worlds more alive and dynamic. I have written at length about the importance of community and player interdependency in virtual worlds and MMORPGs when most of the social justice warriors were still in diapers. I have advocated for non-combat activities for players to engage in like player housing. It’s not just me asking for these things. Many WoW players have also wanted Blizzard to care more about these things as well but they have been mocked, marginalized and ignored at various BlizzCons and by Blizzard in general.
It is now clear to me that Blizzard has passed the point of no return and finally gone over to the dark side. This once unashamed male-dominated company of rugged individuals that created games for predominately for males has fallen from grace and become feminized and hipsterized beyond the point of recognition. As a result, many veteran employees have left seeking companies that offer more artistic freedom and less political correctness. My heart goes out to those that remain at Blizzard. They are afraid to speak out lest they lose their prestigious jobs. I get it. However, life is short and life presents us with choices. We can choose good or we can choose evil. What we choose will echo throughout eternity. Choose wisely.
In closing, I never wanted to write about politics, ideology or religion on this blog. I started this website as a way share my thoughts about MMORPGs and virtual worlds. But the war waged against this industry by the vocal minority of radical feminists and the cultural Marxists has given me no choice but to defend the genre that I love. I am a reluctant soldier, conscripted into a war I never wanted to fight. I believe that things are so bad at Blizzard Entertainment that they can no longer be redeemed or saved. They are a lost cause.
I’ve said my piece. I fought the good fight. But now, I need to move on from the disaster that is Blizzard and World of Warcraft. So in the future, I fully intend to start writing again about the things that really matter to me: MMO design and virtual worlds. The MMO genre has lost its way and ended up in a dead end of mediocrity, banality and predictability. It’s like that kid you remember back in school who had so much potential but dropped out of school and somehow ended up in prison. Something needs to be done to take it off life support and to put it back on track to the glorious future it deserves.