Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rob Pardo: More of a Sexist Asshole than I Thought.

The more I think about Rob Pardo's words the angrier I am. I tried to wait a week before I posted my thoughts to see if I cooled down, but I've actually only gotten more angry.

I really can not emphasize how FURIOUSLY ANGRY I am about Rob Pardo's attitude on workplace hiring: Yet in discussing this workplace gender imbalance, he notes "It's not because we don't want more women developers, it's just what the industry is," but then follows this up by arguing that when it comes to hiring women game designers, "I just don't get the applications."

I want to give a big FUCK YOU to Rob Pardo. As a woman who has been in software development for 11 years, this attitude almost seems designed to enrage me. Yes, there are fewer women than men in game development. There are fewer women in general in software development, and where the fuck does he thing they are going to come from if he spouts of sexist shit like that?!?

I am so amazingly angry I am almost in tears. There are very few things that make me angrier than someone telling me I DON'T EXIST. I'm not in the gaming industry, but I still write code for a goddamn living. I look at the Blizzard software job descriptions and there are a bunch in SF that I could qualify for. I wouldn't apply because it's absolutely clear to me that they have a toxic work environment if their Chief Creatice Officer is such a sexist asshole.

"However... today's gaming industry is not very diverse. I see hope with all the students in game programs" -- @Rob_Pardo

Fuck you asshole. How about you try to recognize the existing talent and make some effort to attract them? You know, instead of making the vast majority of women (and men who enjoy diversity) not want to touch your company with a ten ft pole.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rob Pardo is a sexist asshole

It's not a secret that I'm more than a little burned out on WoW. I haven't really raided since mid-March. Being a woman, I'm only vaguely looking forward to the boy's trip (look at Fan #16) of the next expansion.

However there is a big disturbance going on in the internet. Rob Pardo made a presentation at MIT Media Lab. In this talk, Pardo noted that Blizzard games aren't a place for "real world issues", and because they are all boys who grew up reading comic books their representations of women are "offensive to, I think, some women".

He thinks it is offensive for some women!

Just think of Noblegarden and it's terrible Shake Your Bunny-Maker achievement. Think of all the armor that is actual armor on males and bra and panty sets on females. Think of how even though Tyrande is allegedly the leader of the Night Elves Malfurion seems to entirely sideline and ignore her whenever he is present. Think of the quest in Valley of Four Winds where a Pandaren woman is forced to dance for the virmen ogler. I could go on and on and on.

A number of people have pointed out how Pardo's words are sexist and homophobic. Kurn is displeased. Cynwise is quitting. Rades is unhappy. Matthew Rossi at joystiq has an extremely eloquent write up that points out that including diversity doesn't mean you have to make it a focus and doesn't mean you can't keep the story fun. His point that including more people in a MULTIPLAYER game just increases the fun for everyone really resonated with me.

I would like to make the point that Pardo's insistence that "We're not trying to bring in serious stuff, or socially relevant stuff, or actively trying to preach for diversity or do things like that" is perhaps something that Blizzard needs to reconsider.

Something they need to strongly reconsider.

More than a week ago Friday some asshole, who hadn't gotten laid, murdered a bunch of people in Southern California. He played WoW. The juxtaposition of Pardo's remarks about Blizzard's disregard for women and lack of care for "real world" issues with this shooting looks really bad for Blizzard. The shooter this Friday was a racist and sexist and homophobic asshole. However, I have to wonder: if his primary leisure activity (marathon sessions playing....World of Warcraft, "The only thing I have left to live for") hadn't been as sexist in it's representation of women, would he have been quite so likely to go on a murderous rampage?

And this isn't the only mass-murderer to be called out for playing WoW. The Newtown school shooter played WoW. And Anders Breivik, the racist who went on a murderous rampage in Norway, played a lot of WoW as well. I don't think that WoW turned these men into murderers, but I do think it could have helped them not be murderers.

I'm sure that people will jump up to say that there are 7 million people currently playing WoW, so of course there are some people who go on to do bad things among them. To that I'd like to point out that A) there used to be 12 million people playing WoW and B) a lot of the quests that included and empowered women were removed with the revamp of the world during Cata and replaced with ones that didn't include women. Coincidentally Cata was the expansion where Blizzard's subscriber numbers really started to trend downwards.

So perhaps Pardo and the other sexist leadership at Blizzard could get their heads out of their asses and treat women and other minorities like people.

I am seriously considering canceling my own WoW subscription. I engage in a story when I can identify or at least like the characters in it. I'm no longer confident that that characters and story of Warcraft is something that I want to interact with.