|This is a /v/ related article, which we tolerate because it's relevant and/or popular on /tg/... or we just can't be bothered to delete it.|
"Imitation is the sincerest of flattery."
- – Charles C. Colton, Lacon: Or, Many Things in a Few Words: Addressed to Those Who Think
|Alignment||Stupid Chaotic Evil|
|Domains||Greed, Falls From Grace, Bad Ideas, Terrible Writing (Formerly: Polish, Execution, Unoriginality)|
|Home Plane||California, The Cosby Suite|
|Favoured Weapon||Exploit worker, Union Breaker, Retcons, Virtue Signal, Weinsteinian culture, IP theft|
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American-owned servant of the PRC and video game developer founded in 1991. Consumed by corporate merger shenanigans in 2008, they are now a subsidiary of parent company Activision Blizzard. They are well known in the gaming community for rising to prominence by shamelessly ripping off a long list of things, the most pertinent to /tg/ being the similarity between its flagship franchises and Warhammer 40k. Blizzard is akin to Apple Inc.: they never really did anything original, and instead took inspiration/borrowed/stole content from other sources, marketing it as though they're pretty much posterboys of the brand, and took the credit for being "pioneers of said genre". Let it not be said they didn't steal their business/creative practices from the best.
While Blizzard does "borrow" other people's ideas, there's no denying marketing spends a lot of time and effort studying those ideas, figuring why they are successful, and what parts of these ideas should be improved or removed to make them better. This leads to creating a few extremely well done and successful games, in turn earning a LOT of money. While other studios may create revolutionary content, Blizzard is more about evolution, with their games becoming golden standards of quality, and "easy to learn, hard to master" learning curves. They are also responsible for creating the game-dev meme "when it's done," which means they could literally spend a decade on mismanagement one game, probably spending too much time doing drugs in the office, and another decade to force the dev team into crunch with a shit-ton of balance patches, while management pisses off to GDC but it's to be expected, given all other major game developers are the same.
There's contention between the legions of GW and the hordes of Blizzard in regards to copyrights, who invented which idea first, and whether any ripping-off in fact occurred. Facts seem to lean in the direction of yes, actually. Blizzard's co founder Allen Adham wanted to get the license to the Warhammer Universe however the business side of the deal fell through, and the team wasn't keen on working for someone else. The exaggerated features and painted art style of the table top minis was adapted for low poly games. It boggles the mind that there still hasn't been legal trouble for this, and leads many to speculate that there's an off the books deal. Fa/tg/uys tend to accuse Blizzard of ripping off most of Games Workshop's content, and they're right. They often write long angry posts about why Blizzard an evil company, what was stolen from their precious settings, and why Blizzard games sucks so much. But this is normal operating procedure for khornporation, Ip for the Ip throne after all. This sounds hilarious when you think about Games Workshop, who does steal all of its content from other settings. Blizzard only concentrates what's awesome about Games Workshop and repackages it after doing minimal rework.
If you ever meet a raging fan, crying about plagiarism,
ignore the fucking troll throw oil on the fire and get a-trolling. Alternatively, keep raging about Necron Flyer Lists/Terran Hellion Drop imbalance.
- 1 Scandals
- 2 Franchises relevant to /tg/
- 3 Blizzard things that aren't (/tg/ related) rip-offs
- 4 An unbiased comparison
- 5 Micro$oft buyout - a new hope
From the late 2010's onwards, the company has experienced a steadily worsening fall from grace; whereas Blizzard was usually the universally beloved grand-daddy of the gaming world, albeit with one skubby exception in the form of Diablo 3, a number of PR-fuckups, shallow cashgrabs, grievances of the developers that actually make the games and the revelation of pervasive sexual harassment of staff have all but crushed their reputation. In a funny twist of fate, when it comes to their products, Blizzard is currently making a lot of the mistakes Geedubs made before Kevin Rountree took over. Here are some of the biggest failures and crimes - yes, really - in recent times;
November 3, 2018: During Blizcon, Diablo Immortals was announced as a mobile game. Gamers were livid, with one asking if it was an out of season April fools joke. The Gamer rage made an notable impact on stock price, taking months to recover afterwards.
Feburary 12, 2019: Blizzard fired 800 employees after reporting record earning.
October 6, 2019: During a tournament, Chinese Hearthstone pro-player Blitzchung appeared wearing a gas mask and goggles in a live stream and showed support to the Hong Kong Protests. Near the end of the live stream he said “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age”, a recognized slogan in the Hong Kong protest. After the interview Blizzard disqualified Blitzchung and stripped him of his prize money, and banned him for a year. Backlash was immediate, users deleted Blizzard accounts and destroyed games while #BoycottBlizzard trended with thousands retweeting.
October 28, 2019: Blizzard announced a $660,000 prize pool for their annual arena/mythic dungeon world tournaments, after previously releasing a set of promotional in-game toys, promising 1/4 of the sales would go towards said prize pool. Most fans believed the money made from the sales would be added to the $500,000 minimum that Blizzard had promised. However, after competing players confronted Blizzard officials, it was revealed that Blizzard had instead chosen to rely entirely on the sales profit for the prize pool, making off with ~$2 million themselves from the other 3/4 of the sales and contributing nothing out of their own pockets. Nerd rage ensued.
January 28th, 2020: Blizzard released the remastered version of Warcraft 3. The game came out in a notoriously unfinished, buggy and featureless state and used advertisement that borders on being fraudulent (Australian and EU authorities actually filed a lawsuit against Blizzard for misleading advertisements), was missing features the original game had 13 years ago, claimed ownership of any custom content created for the game in the ToS in a really, really stupid move that is also illegal under US and EU law - especially since Blizzard is a US company and even refused to offer refunds, which prompted another lawsuit by EU authorities against them. The game also completely replaced the original Warcraft 3 on the launcher, locking players out of the original unless they have the physical discs plus disc ports and instead prompting them to download the "improved" version.
August 4, 2020: Employees shared a spreadsheet of salaries and recent pay increases showing that few were given raises after crunch, and overtime. Many employees, despite working at one of the biggest video game companies were struggling to pay rent and using the company's free coffee as an appetite suppressant as they cut meals. Apparently that 5 year service sword does not also pay rent.
October 16th, 2020: Blizzard announced that they would put Starcraft 2 into maintenance mode, ceasing any content updates in the future. This has left a lot of players angry and sad, especially since Starcraft 2 is one of the very last remaining RTS with a decently sized playerbase and competitive scene.
November 20th, 2021: Blizzard releases two transmog sets for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands with the Celestial Observer's Ensemble and the Baby Murloc Satch-Shells. While both were praised for their design, this release caused rancor among the community for being hidden behind a paywall. The former has also been considered better made, or at least more detailed, than the raid tier sets in the upcoming patch, causing further complaints.
The toxic workplace lawsuits
A series of 2021 lawsuits against Acitvision Blizzard, though the actions that provoked them go back several years. Due to the severity of the crimes/charges and their effects along with the related investigation being ongoing, they've been given their own section on this page.
July 22nd, 2021: California's Department of Fair Employment filed a civil lawsuit against Activision/Blizzard for sexual harassment of numerous employees - especially female employees, some of the incidents going back years. The final catalyst was the suicide of a female employee who was one of the victims of said harassment. According to the lawsuit, the culprits are from several levels in the company (former Senior Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi and former CTO Ben Kilgore are among them), the charges include unwanted groping and posting intimate pictures without their consent, and that other execs knew of the abuses but did nothing. The situation wasn't helped when several Blizzard employees lashed out at several high-profile WoW commentators and streamers such as Asmongold for criticizing them, trying to shift blame onto them despite those streamers having nothing to do with the company or the abuse. With morale at an all-time low and widespread stress, the development of new projects (or at least World of Warcraft) has been stopped until the situation is resolved.
July 28, 2021: After delivering a open letter to the upper management, a portion of Blizzard staff staged a walkout protest that gained considerable news coverage. There has been increasing support for staff to unionize, with Blizzard's Board of Directors responding by consulting the same legal firm whose lawyers prevented Amazon's staff from unionizing.
August 3rd, 2021 Sponsors have started to turn on Blizzard and executive-level employees, such as J. Allen Brack and Jesse Meschuk, have been leaving the company (unclear whether it's voluntary resignations or firings as per the standard sugar-coated dismissals for top level business execs). Brack and Meschuk are both among the executives named in the lawsuit, and Brack is succeeded by "co-leaders" Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra following his departure (with further accusations leveled that Brack left to deliberately avoid being confronted over knowing about the abuses but not stopping them).
August 25th, 2021 The California Department of Fair Employment leveled charges of obstruction via witness tampering - requiring employees to speak with Activision Blizzard execcs ahead of contacting the DFEH, amending the complaint and even destroying evidence by shredding records from the HR archives. This was added to the lawsuit, and could take the case from a civil lawsuit to a criminal lawsuit.
August 26-27, 2021: Characters and places named after developers, especially those from the lawsuit, are renamed or removed from Overwatch and World of Warcraft. Examples include the Overwatch character Jesse McCree and World of Warcraft's Draenei city Mac'aree - both named for former lead level designer for WoW Jesse McCree, being renamed.
September 14, 2021: A lawsuit is filed against Activision/Blizzard accusing them of union-busting and worker intimidation, the latter in particular based on company executives responses to the sexual harassment lawsuit.
September 20, 2021: Activistion Blizzard is subjected to a federal investigation as the Securities and Exchange Commission gets involved over how the company has handled employee allegations of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. Bobby Kotick and several other senior executives were given subpoenas, with the court date pending.
Franchises relevant to /tg/
- WarCraft: A real-time strategy (RTS) series; initially Orcs vs Humans but then later games added more races. Then it became a MMORPG with all kinds of crazy shit. Particularly notable to /tg/ because it spilled over into multiple genres: There were two separate editions of a D&D campaign setting, a physical trading card game and has its own board games too.
- StarCraft: RTS IN SPHESSSSS!
Space MarinesTerrans vs Zerg vs Protoss. Beyond being the national sport of Korea, the StarCraft franchise has its own board game and has its own unique version of Risk which alters the rules just enough so that it isn't merely a re-skinned version of Risk.
- Diablo: Grimdark Dark Fantasy setting involving the wars between Angels and Demons, and also not actually made by Blizzard. It was made instead by an outfit named Condor, which got bought out by Davidson & Associates, which also bought out a little outfit named Chaos Studios. Then, Chaos Studios got renamed Blizzard, and Condor was renamed Blizzard North, which is why Diablo ended up being playable on battle.net. Meanwhile, another group of guys named Synergistic Software got bought out by Sierra On-Line, which was in turn acquired by CUC International, which gobbled up Davidson & Associates, which was how the job of making Diablo's expansion pack, Hellfire, got farmed out to Synergistic. However, Condor and Blizzard both had veto power over Synergistic's ideas, and Condor, which was already working on Diablo II, didn't want anything to be in Hellfire that was also going to be in D2, which is why the Barbarian and secret cow quest had to be cut and why Hellfire couldn't be played over Battle.net even though the code totally worked. There was a short-lived attempt to port the Diablo franchise into both 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons, though the results were not particularly successful or well-remembered.
- Hearthstone: A digital collectible card game. Think MtG but all the depth and complexity got replaced with RNG bullshit. Also it only costs you one kidney to gather a good card collection rather than both, one leg, one testicle, and the soul of your firstborn child , but Blizzard seems dedicated to catch back on that missed profit by adding more content that cannot be bought with in-game currency (gold) and going the way of the battlepass...wait, what do you mean they have two passes?
In 1992, they made Battle Chess for the Commodore 64 & MS-DOS, and also a Lord of the Rings RPG for the Amiga. The LotR game was supposed to be just the first book, with two sequels, but they never got around to finishing it. They made RPM Racing (allegedly the first American-made SNES game) and Rock n' Roll Racing for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Megadrive but that's /v/ shit. They also made a side-scrolling Superman beat 'em up and a shitty Justice League fighting game for a dose of /co/ crap too. There's also their game The Lost Vikings, a platforming puzzle game where you control three vikings, each of them with their own special abilities (Erik the Swift can run faster and jump higher than the other two and also bash through walls with his horned helmet, Baleog the Fierce can shoot an arrow and kill enemies with his sword and Olaf the Stout can block with shield which he can also use like a hang-glider.) Since the game has vikings in it, /tg/ might be interested in it due to their viking fetish. A sequel was also made, The Lost Vikings 2, which added two more characters, a werewolf named Fang and Scorch the dragon, but it's kind of a rarity. Fast forward to more recent times, trying to cash in on the growing MOBA-craze, Blizzard developed Heroes of the Storm by throwing all their decent franchises into a blender to make one mediocre new game, which is ironic considering highly customized user-made StarCraft and WarCraft III maps pretty much spawned the MOBA genre in the first place. Blizz's most recent success is the first-person shooter Overwatch. Though hilariously similar to Team Fortress 2 and drawing upon various sci-fi and fantasy sources, it presents a somewhat unique (albeit poorly fleshed-out) noblebright setting and characters that are mostly fapbait/schlickbait.
Games Workshop and Blizzard Entertainment, or more specifically Warhammer 40k and World of Warcraft respectively, exhibit similarities and differences that can be factually assessed without any real bias. Click the Expand button to the right to see a
comprehensive tiny list of the comparisons between popular topics of much debate.
TL;DR: Each product has an emphasis on quality and world-building (usually), responsible for both awesome and terrible things. If you really want to know what's what, go look it up yourself from a better source than 1d4chan.
As of July 2021, the comparison of companies is now moot, as Blizzard has sunk from its once-soaring heights to a depth far, far lower than GW ever has. For all of GW's many flaws including money grabbing and litigation (which Blizzard is also guilty of), GW at least never had a corporate culture that fomented sexual assault or induced a suicide. And unlike WoW, Warhammer is growing more and more popular and GW revenue is rising. Oh 90's and 2000's Blizzard, we miss you so.
Micro$oft buyout - a new hope
It was a cold January morning in the year 22.M3 when the gaming community was awoken to the news most unusual and surprising. As it turned out - big daddy Microsoft (or more specifically it's CEO Phil Spencer) decided that Blizzard's portfolio of IPs looked mighty fine and that they should take it, and so they did for about 68 billion dollars. To put that into reference, this cost close to ten times as much as their acquisition of Zenimax (Owners of Bethesda alongside a few other major studios) last year. The news media went crazy about this and the rumour mill began to churn almost immediately at this shakeup. While the transfer of assets and ownership is still not done as of the time of this writing (23.01.2022) and will be finished at the latest by 20.06.2023. We can try to surmise a few things that are known from the technical side or the interviews with Spencer.
Firstly, it has been made clear and in no uncertain terms that the gaming industry's most despicable scumbag Bobby Cocktick will be getting the boot as soon as the deal finalizes with Spencer taking over - a mighty cry can be heard ringing out across the land~ -khm- so that is an immediate plus since the guy presided over the aforementioned scandals while basically not giving a shit about the victims or the conduct plus, you know, he stole his mother's vintage ashtray and sold it so that tells you all about his character that you need to know (and in his last interview with the workers he basically tried to save his face and protect the corporation instead of manning up and admitting to the wrongdoings, yeah...good riddance asshole). Unfortunately, he'll still get his artificer golden parachute to allow him to live out his life by either starting up his own company built upon skinner boxes or (ideally) living on the fringes of society, feeding upon the tons of money he made off his bullshit.
Secondly, Microsoft could finally put a stop to the batshit bro-culture and sexual harassment that appears to have become a regularity at Blizzard if for no other reason than good optics post-acquisition. But hey, if it solves the issues all the better. Also, if one is to believe an interview with Spencer, many studios that have been sent to slave in the CoD mines may be liberated and allowed to go work on their own games (Singularity, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro) while also making sure that Blizzard's own original stuff like Warcraft, Starcraft and others get proper attention.
However - it must also be noted that 'ol Microsoft also has a raging boner for making money that is somewhat tempered with business pragmatism which did not prevent them to jump onto lootbox bandwagon or engage in microtransactions since the existence of GamePass has made them enough money to alleviate the need. Also worth remembering that while Spencer may love Blizzard's oldie games, not only are all of the staffers who made those classics long gone by now, he is still a CEO of a corporation whose primary goal is to please investors by making that green arrow go up. If a franchise does not seem like it will generate much money it will be thrown back into the dustbin.
All that being said - this may represent the best and last hope Blizzard has to get itself out of the gutter and get halfway decent again. A good indicator of this will be how Bethesda will fare with Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI, but a cautious optimist may surmise that we may get games that will, at worst, be merely fine which after the debacles of the new 20s would alone be a big fucking improvement to boot. It should be noted to that the deal will only be finalized in July 2023, and until then may be blocked by antitrust laws or compromised by other factors.
While it is true that the light green skin, angry porcine face with lots of tusks, and heavyset jawlines are traits shared across the two species of Orcoids, that's about where the similarities end. While Orks are brutal, fun-loving homicidal maniacs who love Dakka and only momentarily hesitate to shoot something if it's sufficiently green and orky, orcs in Blizzard's universe actually eventually filled the unique role of being good guys. For the most part, anyway. Back when they were first through the portals they were extremely bloodthirsty but as time has gone on they've settled down nicely. This is actually a first, as few fictional settings are really known for having Orcs who can be described as friendly (Strike Legion and Elder Scrolls being two other notable examples). In fact, the Orcs of Blizzard's universe are the glue of their faction, serving as the lynch-pin by which the other races come together as one Horde.
Similarly, Orkzes iz da biggest an' da strongest.. A lowly Ork boy is far more buff and much heavier than your standard human, and he only gets bigger as he ages. Orcs, while significantly physically imposing, are roughly the same height as average humans, and are dwarfed by their Tauren allies.
In addition, Orcs spawned a total of three BBEGs of the setting, including the first Lich King himself, while most other races, except dragons and (technically) Draenei, have their count on one or zero. The Orks, on the other hand, are the BBEGs.
Terran Marines vs Space Marines
This should be somewhat obvious. Space Marines, as imagined by GW, are one-man armies, raised from a young age to be killing machines and then augmented to become superhuman monstrosities. Terran Marines, by comparison, are pitiful. If we're being very generous, they're an analogue for the Tempestus corps., but with a worse track record. They are literally a case of the government or rebel faction finding every hick and criminal they can and shoving them in a brainwashing tank, slapping power armor on them, pumping them with drugs, handing them a gun, and telling them to keep shooting until it stops moving. And, considering everything in the StarCraft universe can pierce through tanks and giant mechs, not to mention some power armor, those marines aren't likely to survive their first deployment. So, to put it simply, Terran Marines are really closer to Guardsmen or Penal Legionnaires, except with better equipment and even more drugs. Although like the Guard, they do have really nice tanks and fantastic artillery.
Both are races of ravenous, rapidly evolving beasts under the control of a distant supreme intelligence, both use biotechnology instead of tools, most of their units are fast, deadly, fragile and numerous, and they even look almost the same. The last part is no accident, since GW all but copy-pasted the Zerg appearance into Tyranids in 3rd edition, mostly to capitalize on StarCraft's financial success (yes, they were that greedy and shameless even back then).
Secondly, while the Tyranid hive mind is their collective consciousness, the Zerg have actual physical entities with emotions and personalities to rule them - from the lowly Overlords, to the Cerebrate, and even to The Queen of Blades after Kerrigan took over control. With that they also get some actual character development and political struggles in their ranks - something 'Nids solely lack as individual organisms are simply tools of the Hive Mind, whose only motivation is to feed. Even though most Cerebrates merged into the new Overmind and were subsequently killed by Kerrigan (and her puppets) during Brood War, the real reason that they never showed up again was that their hierarchy was similar enough to the 'Nids that the Cerebrates were killed off off-screen and cut from StarCraft II as a way of Blizzard playing nice with Games Workshop.
The Zerg also do not consume entire worlds like Tyranids do. They only conquer and colonize them, which automatically lowers their Eldritch Unstoppable Evil level by half.
There's also a variant of Zerg called the Primal Zerg, which have a strictly more reptilian/mammalian aesthetic and are notably individuals that operate in Packs. Despite being individuals, some with marked intelligence, they're all basically just focused on eating strong prey and surviving and have no ambitions or desires beyond that one dimension.
Burning Legion vs Daemons of Chaos
Both are evil demons, who came from the dimension of magic and want to destroy everything. The Burning Legion, however, is highly organized and structured. Even after their dark god Sargeras got himself killed, they managed to keep their shit together. Moreover, unlike Chaos Daemons, who are the manifestations of emotions and magic, creatures of the Legion are mostly normal sapient biological beings, transformed through overuse of fel magic, or artificial constructs, enlivened by said fel magic. Unlike Chaos Gods, who want the eternal conflict just for the sake of it (which makes sense, given they are empowered by emotions, and conflicts stimulate more emotions), the Burning Legion have clear goals, which are: 1) Gather all the magic, 2) Use it to destroy the Creation, 3) Hope a new, better one comes along. 4) ???, 5) PROFIT!
You fucking kidding me? OK, both are psychic race with small numbers and long lifespan, both have tech, superior to everything in their setting (save Necrons and Xel'Naga respectively), and both are quite arrogant about their superiority. And that's it. Protoss are tough as adamantium bunkers, can warp in infantry almost instantly any place with an energy field, are fast as a slime, hit like every fucking one of them is armed with a tank cannon or a Power Fist and tend to move in big unkillable all-destroying deathballs of doom, while Eldar are fast as hell, can be killed by a mean look, and tend to zoom around in small groups at mind-blowing speed, surgically shooting/cutting down priority targets before retreating to the safety of cover. Culture-wise Protoss are closer to Tau than to Eldar, with a rigid caste system and hierarchy, and the highly collectivist ideology of the Khala, which is actually almost the same as the Tau's Greater Good. From this perspective Dark Templar are basically the Farsight enclave, who told the Khala and its Ethe... I meant Judicators to fuck off and left to build their new home without that brainwashing
pheromones psi-internet bullshit. Oh, wait, the Tau Empire was introduced 3 years after the release of StarCraft... OOPS!
Both the Protoss and Eldar also fell out of their golden ages pretty hard, though that's about where the similarities end. The Eldar caused their empire's fall entirely on their own, between all the murder-fucking and general debauchery that was getting out of hand, to such a point that not only did it reduce their species' population to a pitiful fraction of what it once was, but also damned each and every Eldar soul that exists (or has yet to exist) by creating one of the four Chaos Gods responsible for a shit ton of the Grimdark in 40k. Even though the Eldar are fighting against all odds, and making some progress with the birth of Ynnead, the chance of them actually ever returning to a semblance of their former glory is about as likely as the God-Emperor of Mankind leaping from the Golden Throne and declaring the Imperium of Man a Xenos-inclusive democracy. The Protoss, on the otherhand, are only partially responsible for their fall from power, as the internal strife between the Judicator Caste and Templar Caste didn't exactly help prepare them for when the Zerg invaded their homeworld of Aiur. The surviving Protoss as a whole had to evacuate to Shakuras, where their Dark Templar kin granted them sanctuary (in that kind of arrogant "look at how cool and caring we are despite you exiling our kind" mindset). Also unlike the Eldar, the Protoss are notably reclaiming their former glory. Having made buddies with the Dark Templar, Purifiers (sentient Protoss AI), Tal'Darim (to the Protoss the way Dark Eldar are to the Craftworlders), the collective Protoss race took back Aiur and is currently rebuilding a unified homeworld for all Protoss.