Blizzard Entertainment lost Brian Birmingham, who had been with the team since 2006 and most recently served as one of the two lead developers overseeing the work on World of Warcraft Classic. The veteran developer left in protest against the introduction of an employee ranking system.
The email was never supposed to get out of the company, but Bloomberg editors received it from an anonymous source, so Brian Birmingham commented on the whole situation on Twitter. He explained that the decision to introduce a ranking system was not made by Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra – it was supposed to come from a higher position in the publisher’s hierarchy.
Managers at the studio tried to stop the introduction of this system, and for a long time it seemed that they would succeed. Eventually, however, these solutions were forced upon them. Birmingham commented on the actions of ABK (Activision Blizzard King, the company that controls all the studios that make up the publisher) as follows:
“I hope that Blizzard’s positive culture is able to overcome ABK’s poison, but so far it has not succeeded.
Activision Blizzard King is a problematic parent company. It puts pressure on us to release the last two expansions for World of Warcraft earlier. It is deeply unfair to deprive the employees who worked on them of their due share of profits. The ABK team should be ashamed of themselves.”