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A Message from Mike Ybarra

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Blizzard lead Mike Ybarra shared a message to the community, talking about the Microsoft deal, actions taken at Blizzard to regain trust, priorities in 2022, and more. He also mentioned "exciting announcements" coming next week. Patch 9.2 release date, anyone?

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I’m humbled to be part of Blizzard Entertainment–the rich history, the incredible talent, the best player communities, and of course, the amazing games we’re so fortunate to create. I’ve been leading Blizzard for a couple of months now, and in addition to the exciting news this week, I want to share some initial thoughts as we strive to put our team and players at the forefront of everything we do.

2021 was challenging for all of us. As individuals, we care about treating everyone around us with respect and dignity. As professionals, we care deeply about our crafts, and we want to work in the most supportive and safe environment possible.

Our top priority—now and into the future—is the work we are doing to rebuild your trust in Blizzard.

Watching Blizzard work as creatively and diligently as we have throughout this challenging time (on top of an ongoing pandemic) has been inspiring. Navigating these challenges, evolving our development processes, and being introspective and looking at how we can improve our culture shows incredible strength and commitment to one another, our work, and to the player communities.

I also was encouraged in reading forums, social posts, and emails from people within and outside of Blizzard, standing up for what is right and lending us your guidance. I want you all to know we are listening, and we are committed to change. As a first step toward improving communication with the community, I wanted to highlight some of the initial actions we are taking to improve our culture:

  • We’re measuring our executive and management teams directly against culture improvement. This means their (and my own) success and compensation will directly depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and creative work environment at Blizzard.
  • We’re dedicating more full-time roles and resources to improving our culture. All too often, this important effort falls to employee resource groups, filled with people who already have full-time jobs. A few of the leadership positions we’ve established for this new team include:
    • a Culture leader who will help us maintain the best aspects of what we have today, and change and evolve where needed to ensure everyone brings their best self to Blizzard
    • a new organizational leader for Human Resources who will build trust, empower our teams, and help foster a safe, positive work environment for everyone
    • a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) leader solely focused on our progress across multiple efforts in this area
    We are committed to staffing these teams as a priority.
  • We tripled the size of our compliance and investigation teams and have articulated clear accountability for unacceptable behavior. This applies to all employees at Blizzard, including leadership and management.
  • We have shared representation data internally with our teams and have set goals around improvement across thesemetrics.
  • We’ve put in place an upward feedback program so that employees have confidence in evaluating management, and we will use this to measure the quality and effectiveness of our managers.

These actions are just the beginning of the work that lies ahead for Blizzard. I’m motivated and excited to work directly on building the best environment for our teams, to allow them to bring their visions to life.

We also know we need to deliver content to our players on a more regular basis and innovate both in and beyond our existing games. We have some exciting things to announce, and I’ll be sharing more next week.

I want to thank our communities and our incredible teams for your dedication and guidance, which will always be our north star.

Here’s to an incredible 2022 and beyond.

- Mike "Qwik" Ybarra

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1 hour ago, Staff said:

He also mentioned "exciting announcements" coming next week.

"Hey folks boosting has now 85% discount if you choose to run with my group!" 😄

Haha just joking, i dont care about this stuff. I would guess 9.2 release date and new expansion announcement.

Edited by Baharok

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I'm wary of any body that starts with "I am humbled" as a rule, they generally are not really. sounds like a lot of corporate speak.. sales team hype, mission statements etc. (waffle and-chaff) ... I am more interested in the release date of Diablo 4 ..want the nuts and bolts.

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6 hours ago, Staff said:

Our top priority—now and into the future—is the work we are doing to rebuild your trust in Blizzard.

Having one of the most important people at Blizzard personally advertising boosts for sale pretty much burned that bridge to the ground.  It's the most utterly tone deaf and irresponsible thing that anyone in his position could have done. 

Is there someone, anyone in a major position at this company who is actually likeable and worthy of our respect and trust?  Anyone?  

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Increasing the size of the regulatory and compliance offices does not equate to providing a product of increased value. These positions are held solely for the purpose of mitigating any legal action against the company. More HR does not make a company better. The inverse is seen to take effect. More bloated corporate jobs held by people who have no place being in a GAME company. Then again, this is America where you can be sued for anything and firms will protect their bottom line in the court room even if it means cannibalizing their own agenda. The more of an office that HR takes up the less potent it is within its industry. Their focus on making innovating changes and comping up with fresh ideas is out the window. They are in damage control, but they don't realize they've been in a downward death spiral for years. Go woke, go broke. RIP Blizzard. May a new company spring forth in your place. Decay of the game industry is in full swing thanks to the Hart-Cellar act.

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9 hours ago, Calysia said:

9.2 announcement I can see. New expansion not so much.

I do hope "some exciting things to announce" is something more than the release date of a patch that has been in the PTR since before the holidays.

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I hate to say it but I think after 9.2 we're in for a LOOOOOOONNNNGGG content drought.

1) Blizzard has been plagued by things that will all combine to slow down progress.    Covid.   The employees that have left (for many reasons).   The walk outs, the strikes while totally justified will still have slowed development.     And the cherry on top is the reports of overall dissatisfaction and chaos in the WoW team that even preceded all of this mess.     The end result is I doubt the new expansion will be ready till Christmas holiday season at best, meaning a late feb 9.2 followed by up to a year or more of waiting for it.    We might get "mage tower-esque" releases of old content like with timewalking or such but it's going to be a slog regardless.

2) Blizzard knows they need to knock the next one out of the park.    BFA was bad.    Shadowlands was bad.     They desperately need to show they can release a good expansion again and that will take more time.

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4 hours ago, Migol said:

I hate to say it but I think after 9.2 we're in for a LOOOOOOONNNNGGG content drought.

1) Blizzard has been plagued by things that will all combine to slow down progress.    Covid.   The employees that have left (for many reasons).   The walk outs, the strikes while totally justified will still have slowed development.     And the cherry on top is the reports of overall dissatisfaction and chaos in the WoW team that even preceded all of this mess.     The end result is I doubt the new expansion will be ready till Christmas holiday season at best, meaning a late feb 9.2 followed by up to a year or more of waiting for it.    We might get "mage tower-esque" releases of old content like with timewalking or such but it's going to be a slog regardless.

2) Blizzard knows they need to knock the next one out of the park.    BFA was bad.    Shadowlands was bad.     They desperately need to show they can release a good expansion again and that will take more time.

while i think you are right i also think thats something blizz cant do. they somehow need to make the next xpac a burner without a drought wich is simply imposssible

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13 hours ago, wetsocks said:

Increasing the size of the regulatory and compliance offices does not equate to providing a product of increased value. These positions are held solely for the purpose of mitigating any legal action against the company. More HR does not make a company better. The inverse is seen to take effect. More bloated corporate jobs held by people who have no place being in a GAME company. Then again, this is America where you can be sued for anything and firms will protect their bottom line in the court room even if it means cannibalizing their own agenda. The more of an office that HR takes up the less potent it is within its industry. Their focus on making innovating changes and comping up with fresh ideas is out the window. They are in damage control, but they don't realize they've been in a downward death spiral for years. Go woke, go broke. RIP Blizzard. May a new company spring forth in your place. Decay of the game industry is in full swing thanks to the Hart-Cellar act.

"Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" is a nifty term for describing a more aggressive form of affirmative action than the one that already exists and is legally enforceable. Diversity of thought is the only diversity that matters and that has little or nothing to do with ethnicity, equal pay for equal work is the only equity issue that makes any sense (but good luck defining what counts as equal work in a creative environment), and inclusion is just thrown in to give unthinking donkeys a buzz-word to feel virtuous about. Literally none of it makes Blizz a better gaming company, and will almost certainly have the opposite effect. And you're absolutely correct about HR staff. The fewer the better, because their only real skill is creating mountains of rules and paperwork that are impossible to keep up with and they will trample any and all creativity that they come into contact with.

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7 hours ago, Migol said:

I hate to say it but I think after 9.2 we're in for a LOOOOOOONNNNGGG content drought.

They really need to show something. More corporate speak just won't cut it. They are already late with announcing next expac, usually we had announcement every two years. Now it has been 2 years and a couple of months since Shadowlands announcement and still nothing. Perhaps this is a sign of things slowing down or they might even abandon traditional formula of expansions in favor of simply releasing some larger patches? Now, what they are going to invent for the lore? Hopefully no more characters like Zovaal.

Edited by Arcling

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HR is a response to the greater issue; regulatory compliance. Legislation increases each year and HR is there to keep the company up with whatever woke legislation gets passed. Interpretations are vague and require a wide breadth of compliance lest the company gets sued under these vague legal terms. HR is definitely an issue, but is merely a symptom of the root of the problem.

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On 1/21/2022 at 8:44 AM, wetsocks said:

Go woke, go broke.

Is this true though? Why are so many companies doing it? Not saying I like it, but surely it's doing something positive for them. They are a profit incentivized private company after all.

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On 1/21/2022 at 2:55 AM, Vodster said:

Diablo 4 ..want the nut

Come on, this is a family friendly website.

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On 1/28/2022 at 2:36 AM, Yridaa said:

Come on, this is a family friendly website.

Well, when you cut off half of what he said, you make it unfriendly.  He said "Nuts and Bolts". Nothing nasty about that. 

Edited by roo

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