Field Marshal Afrasiabi is one of several NPCs named after Alex Afrasiabi mentioned in the Activision Blizzard proceedings. Screenshot: Blizzard / Kotaku
Yesterday, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a proceeding against Activision Blizzard over a company allegedly endowed with a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.
Content Warning: Description of Sexual Harassment
The proceedings allege that the company has a toxic work culture that enables and protects abusers. In response, Activision Blizzard issued a statement denying the claim that California contained distorted, often false statements of past Blizzards.
But how long ago was this past?
When the horrifying allegations against Activision Blizzard came to light, some of the proceedings stood out as particularly terrible. According to complaints, World of Warcraft creative director Alex Afrasiabi is notorious for his actions, so his office is associated with the suspect’s rapist Bill Cosby, with a seemingly misspelled Crosby Suite. Was called. It reads:
During a company event (an annual convention called Blizz Con), Afrasiabi attacked a female employee, said she wanted to get married, tried to kiss her, and turned her arm around. This was a clear view that other male employees, including their boss, had to intervene and separate female employees. Afrasiabi was known to be engaged in harassing women, so his suite was called the Crosby Suite after the alleged rapist Bill Crosby. Afrasiabi will also call women derogatory at company events. The act of Afraciabis was known to Blizzard Entertainment executives who did not take effective corrective actions. Blizzard Entertainment’s president, J. Allen Black, had many discussions with Afrasiabi about his drinking and was too friendly to female employees at company events, but in response he slammed Afiaciabi on his wrist. (That is, oral counseling). Incident.
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Activision Blizzards’ response to the allegations alleges that the case described does not reflect the company’s recent values.
According to the statement, the paintings DFEH draws are not the workplace of Blizzard today.
However, Afrasiabi worked in Blizzard in June 2020. He seems to have left the company with seemingly minimal mention of the confusion of a few fans who noticed his resignation. In contrast, Jeff Kaplan, whose time at Blizzard had the same length and trajectory as Afrasiabi left the company, publicly acknowledged his departure.
And Afrasiabi is gone, but his presence remains in World of Warcraft. Kotaku was able to confirm the existence of at least two NPCs that continue to name him, in addition to some items that directly refer to him.
The second identified Afrasiabi NPC is Lord Afrasastrasz from Wyrmrest Temple. Screenshot: Blizzard / Kotkau
The NPCs in question, Field Marshall Afrasiabi and Lord Afrasus Tras, are located in the capitals Stormwind and Limerest Temple, respectively. In addition to NPCs, there are many items named after Afrasiabi, such as the rare ax Fras Siabis Cigar Cutter and common quest items such as the Siabis Premium Tobacco. Players are more likely to encounter these things. Stormwind inclusion is unobtrusive, and temple references belong to the quest provider, but for Rich King’s old wrath content.
Since the news was reported, fans of the World of Warcraft forum have been advocating removing or renaming references to Afrasiabis. There is precedent for Blizzard to remove NPCs that refer to people in question. In 2020, Blizzard removed two NPCs named after the popular WoW streamer Swifty shortly after a former Swiftys partner accused him of abuse. In the case of Afrasiabis, the forum has a thread in-game calling Afrasiabi dirty in the WoW community, with players leaving a Go Away sign in front of one of the NPCs.
Afrasiabi started in Blizzard in 2004 and worked as a quest designer for World of Warcraft. Among his many achievements, he designed the quest to create the infamous WoW memes, Thunderfury, and Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. In 2014, he was credited as the creative director of Warlords of Draenor, WoWs’ fifth expansion pack. He has also been a creative director of Battle for Azeroth and an additional leadership of Shadowlands.
Kotaku asked Blizzard for comment, but didn’t respond in time for the release.
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