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The Rise and Fall of Blizzard

Blizzard is no stranger to pumping out cult classics, but this gaming company has landed too many controversies for some people to continue their support.

Blizzard
Courtesy of Blizzard

Blizzard has been a household name for many fantasy fans since ‘94 thanks to their Warcraft: Orcs and Humans game. The influence here is clear: companies used to port games to other studios, and you have LOTR to thank. Warcraft wasn’t just a hit, it was the hit of the gaming industry year after year. Multiple WoW titles were pumped out and the market ate up every last one of them. Blizzard rose to a deistic status in the fantasy genre off their WoW and Starcraft success, even going down in the Guinness World Records for most MMORPG subscribers for W.O.W. Add in the success of Hearthstone, and it really looked like Blizzard couldn’t do any wrong.

Then, they forced their forum users to use their real names when signing up, angering many over privacy violations. When the community was in this enraged state, a dev decided the right thing to do was to drop his own real name on a thread with over 11,000 replies. It took absolutely no time at all for the users to track down the man’s address, phone number, and email.

Then, when Hong Kong faced major protests, an online player from Taiwan known as “Blitzchung” showed support during a brief segment of a live interview. He was disqualified from Blizzard tournaments, forced to give up his winnings, and banned for a year. After a major backlash from the community, the CEO would later apologize and reduced the bans for Blitzchung and the casters down to only six months.

And it goes even further; they’ve even shown that they can hold a serious grudge against not only their own employees, but also against their employees’ families. When Christiana “ZerinaX” Mikkonen was fired alongside over 800 employees, she decided to give the company a piece of her mind and insulted one of the community managers. This led to the company completely blacklisting her husband, professional Hearthstone player Janne “Savj” Mikkonen, from competing in any events. Their reason? He was a liability due to his marriage with Christiana. They later backtracked and stated that the reason was that he did not agree with their ideas of privacy.

It’s sad to see a huge titan drum up so much negative controversy. Sure, it’s not a plentiful as other companies out there, but Blizzard, a Shadowland release doesn’t make you immune to some pretty toxic behavior. Hopefully, Blizzard is able to steer itself away from their increasingly controversial rep so that, the next time you hear their name, you don’t have to determine if you’re grabbing a wallet or a pitchfork.

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