About Arenanet Firing Two Employees


#1

Well, that was outrageous. In case you don’t know, Arenanet, the developer of Guild Wars 2, very recently fired Jessica Price and Peter Fries. Essentially because Price, who was NOT a community manager or PR person decided she didn’t like some dude telling her how to do her job better and Fries for having the GALL to defend her. https://www.pcgamer.com/amp/guild-wars-2-writers-fired-following-heated-twitter-exchange-with-streamer/?__twitter_impression=true

This response from Arenanet, to throw two employees under the bus because they’re apparently on the clock 24/7, and to immediately give in to the hurt feelings of reddit is straight up embarrassing and shameful. They couldn’t even wait a few days to get a sense of the actual mood.

And I’ve already seen a few comments along the lines of “We have a hand on their throat and we can squeeze whenever” which really goes to show the disastrous effect this will likely have.

UNIONIZE THE GAME INDUSTRY


#2

Hi, all. The Waypoint mod team are aware that this is a developing story and wish to intercede with some ground rules for this thread.

In our view, harassment of developers by fans is an ongoing problem in the video games industry. We view this story through this lens & are not interested in being a space in which harassment of this sort is tolerated, praised, or not recognised for what it is. We would ask that people consider this, and what they may be defending by equivocating on this issue, when posting in this thread.

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#3

It’s absolutely aggravating to see two talented members of the team get fired for this kind of trivial matter, it truly speaks to why we need the game developers to unionise and set precedent for the industry.

What’s almost more aggravating is the gleeful responses from the game’s reddit (this screencap in particular: https://twitter.com/ChrisHanel/status/1015138194939973632). The studios on-a-whim decision sends a dangerous message to the mobs who can’t wait to take advantage of their now emboldened voices.

I hope Price and Fries finds a new place to work that respects them.


#4

Oh my god, I totally missed the “We know how to do their job better but lack the mechanical skill.” How does that statement just totally fly by the brain’s QA department?


#5

girls can’t code, dummy, everyone knows this. only white male stemlord master race can write shitty pseudocode based on speculation. Multiplayer will only take two days to add.


#6

-Jonathan Blow, 2018

In all seriousness, I hope this company gets bought by a women run studio and all of the people involved with this god awful decision lose their jobs.

It goes to show how bad the larger gaming world has become with dealing with our own garbage. I’m still mad at every single outlet who said nothing in 2014.


#7

Even outside of a gamergate/women in games context. A company firing 2 members of staff because of self defence is abhorrent. What a disgusting knee jerk reaction that legitimises mob rule


#8

I’ve got two friends who work at ArenaNet, both of whom are great folks and have a low tolerance for horseshit like this so I’m worried about them!


#9

This seemed worth sharing here.

Price adds that she believes her firing was an emotional reaction on the part of ArenaNet co-founder Mike O’Brien. “He fired me personally, and the meeting was mostly him venting his feelings at me,” she says. “I understand being afraid when you see the Reddit mob coming for you, but if people with less power can weather it — and we do, regularly — so can he.”

Price says that prior to being fired, the company had never discussed her social media presence with her or issued a warning for anything she had posted. “If it was covered in orientation, I wouldn’t know. I got pulled out of orientation to jump into rebreaking the story arc for this season of Living World.” Furthermore, ArenaNet was not only aware of her outspoken approach to discussing similar issues on social media but encouraging of it. During a job interview with the company, she had told them she was “loud about these issues on social media and had no intention of shutting up. They reassured me that they ‘admired [my] willingness to speak truth to power.’”


#10

“That’s how it works at my dads restaurant.” Ugh.

You’d think a developer that makes something as community focused as an mmo would know how to spot the good groups from the bad. Immediately firing one employee for saying something that could maybe, at the very worst, most disingenuous reading, be considered mildly rude AND firing another for defending them is bizarre. The speed of the firings over such a non-issue is a clear message from Arenanet about who they’d rather listen to.


#11

I was just about to share this. The second quote especially is very appalling, encouraging being outspoken on social media and then throwing your employee under the bus when things get ugly is a horrible thing to do.

EDIT: If I was an employee at ANet I would be very hard at work to find a different job right now, because they basically opened the floodgates to the most toxic sorts of people.


#12

It’s baffling to me what ANet expects to gain from this. At best they placate some angry nerdlings for a few weeks (who probably wouldn’t have left the game anyway), at the cost of two employees and placing the crosshairs directly on the rest of their employees. Not exactly a great message to send to your staff.


#13

Or a good message to send to the people who got mad about this in the first place. From now on those people think(or know) that Arenanet is going to cave to their demands. The second they don’t like something they’re going to call for blood, and it’ll just spiral from there. Then when they decide not to comply anymore they’ll lose anyone who was a party of that group, and be unable to get back those who left because of them giving in in the first place (Players and Employees.)


#14

I’m not sure that firing Price or Fries was called for but I also don’t think that Price’s responses to Deroir on twitter were warranted by Deroir’s messages. Especially since in response to Price’s messages Deroir apologized for offending and left it at that. It feels like a large overreaction from Price, maybe her response was inspired more by the harassment that she’d been received from other sources rather than this specific exchange?

For context, here’s the twitter thread: https://twitter.com/DeroirGaming/status/1014564971416518656

I have a hard time buying into the argument that Price is the wronged party, she was uncivil to a member of her game’s community when it didn’t seem to be called for. I can understand her employer being unhappy with that and taking action (though I would have guess that a warning would be issued rather than dismissal unless there were aggravating factors).

However, the resulting harassment that came in after this incident gained traction on reddit is abhorrent and is a great example of the kind of stressful interactions that probably contributed to Price’s lapse of judgement (and that she seemed to be referring to in her tweets). It’s awful that anyone receives such vileness and I’m sorry Price and Fries were subjected to it.


#15

I am totally aware of that original twitter thread and I don’t think it matters at all. Price has the right to be short-tempered on her personal twitter when someone who does not do her job tries to instruct her how to do it. That’s a really gross overstep I can 100% relate to having worked in the Hell that is food service and comparatively, what I’ve experienced is likely just a fraction as bad as merely being a woman in games.

At the very most Price should have maybe, MAYBE, stepped back from twitter for a bit, but no, she was fired because ANet’s CEO was personally terrified of a reddit backlash.


#16

This also makes me think of the toxicity of the idea that all creatives must at all times be beholden and deferential to even potential consumers of their work. That somehow all creatives must always be in customer service mode.

I couldn’t tell you how many different harassing jerks I’ve had on twitter or here on FB turn to rhetoric like “you’ve lost a reader” or “don’t alienate your readers!” when attacking me or close friends (mostly writers, some artists, etc.).

It’s a really terrible side-effect (IMO) of personality-based promotion and the monetized and branded self. A lot of people view creators as all always already Just Their Brand and that they must be beholden to consumers at all times no matter what.


#17

I agree that maybe a caution suggesting that she step back from twitter for a while would have been more appropriate than being fired but I’m not surprised that Arenanet acted this way.

But I also don’t think it’s unreasonable for game studios to care about what devs say on their personal twitter, especially when talking about the game and talking to members of their community. I also think it should be expected that a studio head cares about community perceptions, especially when talking about a MMO that’s looking for continuing engagement from players.

The situation sucks and I hope Price and Fries land on their feet.


#18

Dude, there is a strong-ass difference between being aware and empathetic of community desires which, again, was not in Price’s job description and giving in to a hate mob that might not have actually involved that many active GW2 players

The reactionary hate machine is a full time grift.


#19

Also the backlash seemed less rooted in genuine umbrage at the response from an ArenaNet representative, and more a factor of Jessica Price being a longtime target by reactionaries, who saw a smoking gun to take advantage of and spread around to maximize outrage.


#20

I don’t think it matters that Deroir wasn’t explicitly hostile. Telling a woman with more experience “You should do [obvious thing that was already considered].” is totally worth replying with

thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9

That sort of “polite / I’m just trying to help” sexism is the same as regular old discriminatory sexism just with a nicer tone. There’s nothing “uncivil” about calling that out.

The bigger point here is that what lead up to Price’s firing almost doesn’t matter because, whether you think she overreacted or not, nothing she said was even remotely close to justifying the backlash. She was targeted by a hate group who already had their knives out and Arenanet sided with them instantly.