Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

World of Warcraft development paused amid Activision-Blizzard harassment lawsuit

Following an explosive lawsuit filed against publishing giant Activision-Blizzard, development on World of Warcraft has been paused according to a senior designer working on the game.

Taking to TwitterWorld of Warcraft senior system designer Jeff Hamilton didn’t mince words, saying “I can tell you, almost no work is being done on World of Warcraft right now while this obscenity plays out. And that benefits nobody — not the players, not the developers, not the shareholders.”

“Activision’s response to this is currently taking a group of world-class developers and making them so mad and traumatized they’re rendered unable to keep making a great game,” continued Hamilton.

The lawsuit filed against Activision-Blizzard comes from the state of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. A two-year investigation from the department alleges that alongside games, the company had developed a “frat boy” culture in which sexual harassment and discrimination were rampant.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t have all the answers. I can tell you, almost no work is being done on World of Warcraft right now while this obscenity plays out. And that benefits nobody – not the players, not the developers, not the shareholders.

— Jeff Hamilton (@JeffAHamilton) July 25, 2021

Text of the lawsuit paints a much clearer picture, providing specific examples of male employees at Activision-Blizzard demeaning and harassing their female counterparts. “Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, including having to continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped at the ‘cue brawls’ and other company events,” reads a part of the lawsuit. “High-ranking executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.”

Activision-Blizzard has already responded to the lawsuit, claiming it “includes distorted, and in many cases fall, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” The company goes on to state that the Activision-Blizzard depicted in the lawsuit “is not the Blizzard workplace of today.”

However, that statement wasn’t enough for Hamilton, who says “Activision’s statement was terrible, so here’s what I believe. I know many of my colleagues believe this as well: I believe all allegations of sexual harassment deserve to be taken seriously and in good faith, and any perpetrators of sexual harassment deserve both removal from the company and criminal investigation.”

Editors' Recommendations

Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
Warcraft developers lay out a grand vision for the franchise’s future
A still from World of Warcraft The Worldsoul Saga's reveal tralier.

World of Warcraft turns 20 next year, while the franchise itself will celebrate its 30-year anniversary. Ahead of those massive milestones, Blizzard went big with Warcraft at BlizzCon 2023. It launched a new mobile game, teased impending World of Warcraft Classic and Hearthstone updates, and announced three new World of Warcraft expansions that will make up The Worldsoul Saga. To franchise general manager John Hight, the series' strong showing was about demonstrating to players that Blizzard is doubling down on Warcraft.

“We wanted to tell our players that we’re doubling down on [World of Warcraft’s] story. A lot of our players have told us over the last two expansions that story is so important,” Hight told Digital Trends in an interview at BlizzCon 2023. “It is different for us at Blizzard because, normally, we’re a little bit secretive, but we felt like our fans were telling us they want to know more about what’s in store for them. It’s tricky to weave that in such a way that we didn’t spoil it.”

Read more
Everything announced at BlizzCon 2023: Diablo 4 DLC, Cataclysm Classic, and more
A dragon flies through the sky in World of Warcraft Catclysm Classic.


For the first time since 2019, BlizzCon has returned to its traditional form. While Blizzard's convention held an online ceremony in 2021, it has not been hosted as an in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. That changed today with the 2023 edition, which saw fans returning to the Anaheim Convention Center to get all the news on the studio's games.

Read more
Warcraft Rumble devs are ready to learn from their mistakes
Key art for the Alliance in Warcraft Rumble.

Before he worked on Warcraft Rumble, its associate game director, Adam Kugler, did not play many mobile games.

Kugler was lead class designer on World of Warcraft, and at one point during Warcraft Rumble's development, he went to lunch with game director Tom Chilton to get some advice. While Kugler wanted to get guidance on where to take the MMO next, Chilton pitched working on Warcraft Rumble to Kugler and convinced him to check out some mobile games and get a better idea of the space. When he returned on Monday, Kugler had been won over by the idea of a Warcraft mobile game and jumped ship from World of Warcraft to work on a new title shortly after that.

Read more