It's National White Wine Day! That means it's a day to unwind, have a glass, and relax. Does white wine pair well with gaming? We think so!
Today's Drop is a ~5 min read!
Blizzard President Walks Out, Employees Form Workers Alliance Coalition
The president of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, has exited Blizzard following the recent California sexual harassments lawsuit (in which his name was listed.) The ex-president stated that he was leaving to 'pursue new opportunities', though many are skeptical of that statement. In lighter news, Blizzard will now have its first woman co-lead of development, Jen Oneal. A message from Blizzard stated that her and her co-lead Mike Ybarra "are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust."
In tandem with this change, the workers of all branches of Activision Blizzard have all formed a worker's alliance coalition. Now known as the ABK Worker's Alliance Coalition, the alliance has written a joint letter with multiple different concerns they'd like addressed. Among these concerns are the choice of law firm used by Activision Blizzard. Members of the coalition are demanding the use of a third party auditor for the company rather than the law firm WilmerHale, which has long been notorious for union-busting in massive companies like Amazon.
This turn of events will likely not bode well for the company if they don't start to change their ways in a way that creates a good environment for their employees. We hope to have more on this story as the week develops.
Minnesota RØKKR Wins Call of Duty League Stage 5 Major
Minnesota RØKKR won against Toronto Ultra 5:4 in the grand final of CoD League 2021: Stage 5 Major. This tournament turned out to be full of sensations, one of them was the early departure of Atlanta FaZe, who had previously won three major events this season. First, they lost to future champions in the person of Minnesota RØKKR, and then in the elimination match they lost to Seattle Surge 2: 3, taking only 7th-8th place. On their way to the championship, the team from Minnesota beat Dallas Empire and Toronto Ultra, which they later played in the final.
What happened in the final will be remembered by the Call of Duty fans for a long time. Toronto Ultra won the first four games with no problems at all. That is, their opponent did not even have any chance of winning on these maps, so everyone was expecting a dry 5:0 victory. But looking at the final result, we can say that that day was a happy one for the Minnesota RØKKR. They confidently win the next three cards (6:2; 3:1; 6:2). The score is then compared, thanks to the Apocalypse 250:165 win. Toronto Ultra were shocked and devastated after these games that they could not find strength on the last map. Minnesota RØKKR won the 6:3 Raid map and became champions.
Call of Duty League 2021: Stage 5 Major Finalists:
1. Minnesota RØKKR - $200,000
2. Toronto Ultra - $120,000
3. OpTic Chicago - $80,000
4. Dallas Empire - $40,000
5-6. Los Angeles Thieves - $20,000
5-6. Seattle Surge - $20,000
7-8. New York Subliners - $10,000
7-8. Atlanta FaZe - $10,000
9-10. Florida Mutineers - $0
9-10. London Royal Ravens - $0
11-12. Los Angeles Guerrillas - $0
11-12. Paris Legion - $0
The CDL Championship 2021 will take place from 19th until 22nd of August. Top 8 teams of Regular Season will fight for the main prize of this season in the amount of $1,200,000.
A Game to Die For
Death's Door is an indie Zelda-esque dungeon crawler that's deathly addicting. The game is an impressive display of story-telling combined with world-building and design. The expanse of areas in the game are masterfully woven together to create a unique, adventure-filled world that seems endless. The writing is engaging with just the right amount of humor and seriousness to give it a nice balance. The characters themselves are also complex, interesting, and well written, to the point where it's almost as though you care for them as you get to know them. If there was ever a time where you wanted to totally submerge yourself in a game world, this one would be a great place to start.
The gameplay is rather simple and easy to grasp. You play as a grim reaper crow given the task of collecting souls from the afterlife. You may need to kill in order to obtain some souls, while others will require an extensive amount of searching and investigation. The world of the afterlife is a mysterious place, after all. Will you be able to uncover the hidden truths behind the deathly grim world as you complete your soul gathering mission?
The game is currently only on Xbox and Microsoft Windows, though the developer has acknowledged the want and need for a Switch version of the game, so that may very well arrive soon.
Unionization in Video Games
As the video game industry continues to rapidly grow, the question of working conditions are constantly being pushed to the forefront. With the lawsuit Activision-Blizzard is facing, the idea of unionization continues to be brought up in conversation. Former Blizzard Senior Programmer, Jeff Strain wrote a letter to his employees that was available to the public to show his support and need for unions.
Recent events have shown a need for change. After Strain left Blizzard he became the founder for both ArenaNet and Undead Labs. Strain worked at Blizzard in the 90s, and his memories of his time there echo what the lawsuit claims. Seeing how this has been a problem for over 25 years, a call for unionization seems as the necessary next step to avoid abhorrent and cruel work conditions that many of these developers faced. Strain points out that the industry giants need to make these changes, not just small indie developers. He ends his letter with an endorsement for his and other companies to adopt unionization, because if they run the companies there is nothing to hide.
There have been developers who push for unionization. In other places of the world we have seen some form of unions. EA’s Dice and Paradox Interactive are two Swedish studios with some unionizations. In 2018, Game Workers Unite was created as an advocacy group with a call to game makers to organize.
If you are interested in reading the letter in full, IGN has access to it. In the wake of all the new with Activision Blizzard such as the Blizzard President leaving and a second lawsuit from the shareholders, one cannot help but think if there are more ways to help create a safer environment and more ethical standards for the industry.
It's hump day everyone, keep on chugging!
Daily Drop Credit: Anam, Carmine, Mark, and the Founders.