Recorded Sunday, October 31, 2021 2200 and Monday, November 1, 2021
Ctrl Alt WoW Episode 726 - 9.1.5 And The Earnings Call
Aprillian, Constraxx, Grand Nagus and guest hosts discuss another week of playing World of Warcraft, Blizzard's greatest MMORPG. The show features audio segments and email submissions from our lovely listeners. Guild Round up from Constraxx.
If you want to join the conversations on the show, we have a live chat room with in-game giveaways moderated by chatroom-guru Constraxx. We record Live on our Twitch.tv page twitch.tv/ctrlaltwowpodcast
We also have an ongoing contest. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us how you play WoW, either as an altoholic or dealing with it in your family life to be placed in a drawing for a WoW Pet or an Authenticator.
This week in WoW:
ONGOING : Darkmoon Faire
Hallow’s End ending Nov. 1st
MICROHOLIDAYS: Day of the Dead: Nov. 1st - Nov. 3rd
ENDING Tuesday (reset) : Arena Skirmish Bonus Event
PvP Brawl: Gravity Lapse
BEGINS Tuesday (reset): Torgast: Beasts of Prodigum
World Quest Bonus Event
PvP Brawl: Comp Stomp
Name Reservation Details
WoW Classic Season of Mastery name reservations will open on November 11! Players with an active subscription or game time on their World of Warcraft account will be able to create one character per WoW account.
Season of Mastery Release Date
WoW Classic Season of Mastery releases worldwide on November 16 at 3:00 p.m. PST.
Will we have a BlizzCon in the foreseeable future?
I speculated about this before and “reimagining” BlizzCon can mean so much, but I guess we might not really see another BlizzCon for at least a couple of years, depending on how the internal issues will be dealt with, and how that handling will be received by fans.
Ahead of the launch of 9.1.5 and Q3 earnings call on Nov. 2nd Bobby Kotick released a letter to employees. I talked about this in one of the last shows. Don’t fool yourself, this is all corporate strategy, all the timeline and the dates of release of most of the statements and content, specially in this difficult time for Blizzard.
I don’t want to suggest a bad intent from Bobby’s side, but it’s awfully timely, the release of his letter is, regardless of the content and the substance of the statement.:
CEO Bobby Kotick Outlines Progress and Commitments
Today, CEO Bobby Kotick shared the following email with our employees:
A few weeks ago, I reiterated our commitment to become the most welcoming, inclusive company in our industry. Today, I want to update you on some initial progress and important, additional steps we are taking to advance our commitment with greater impact, transparency, and urgency.
First, I want to offer my sincere gratitude for your continued focus and dedication to our players – and to each other. You’ve shown incredible resilience throughout the pandemic, exceptional care for colleagues and communities, and the relentless commitment to excellence, creative independence, and purpose that always sets our company – and our franchises – apart. During a tremendously challenging time for so many people, you’ve continued to bring joy and connection to our players and communities around the world.
My goal – and the goal of our Board, our entire senior corporate team, our business unit leaders, and their teams – is to make sure you have the resources, culture, and commitment from leadership you need to succeed in our collective aspiration to be the model workplace in our industry.
Over the last decade, as we’ve brought in new companies, grown our workforce, and expanded our business, we believed we had the systems, policies, and people in place to ensure that our company always lived up to its reputation as a great place to work. Clearly, in some vitally important aspects, we didn’t.
The guardrails weren’t in place everywhere to ensure that our values were being upheld. In some cases, people didn’t consistently feel comfortable reporting concerns, or their concerns weren’t always addressed promptly or properly. People were deeply let down and, for that, I am truly sorry.
Being welcoming and inclusive, in the context of our workplace, is crystal clear. We will still passionately debate ideas, employ healthy skepticism when appropriate, and demand excellence and rigor in all of our pursuits – but we will always treat each other with dignity and respect. And regardless of differences, voices will be heard, perspectives welcomed, and contributions valued.
We are a business fueled by passion and performance. These are cornerstones of our creative excellence but we must constantly recognize, embrace, and celebrate that the very best ideas, the most rigorous execution of those ideas, and ultimately our responsibility to our players and each other are best served by a culture that recognizes and respects that true excellence comes from diverse views, voices, and talents.
We’ve made progress over the last few years fostering that diversity and creating a better work environment – a commitment that has improved in scope and speed in recent months. We’ve tripled our investment in anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training; we’ve made meaningful organizational changes; and we’ve substantially increased resources for reporting and carefully investigating improper behavior.
The EEOC’s investigative process, public discussion on discrimination and harassment, and your reports and suggestions helped shine a light on practices we need to improve, policies that need to be strengthened, and resources we are now adding. The EEOC’s review was a catalyst to sharpen our focus on the ways we can become a company others emulate as a model for workplace excellence and one with an unwavering commitment to its values.
We have a lot more to do if we are to be the company that others emulate.
I want to share five new changes we are implementing, but recognize being a model for workplace excellence will be a dynamic process requiring additional changes and an unrelenting commitment to improvement.
1. We are launching a new zero-tolerance harassment policy company-wide – In the past, when we discovered and substantiated harassment, we terminated some employees and provided verbal or written warnings or different disciplinary actions to others. In retrospect, to achieve our goals for workplace excellence, this approach is no longer adequate. We need tougher rules and consistent monitoring across the entire company to make sure reports are being handled correctly and discipline is appropriate and swift.
As a result, we are implementing a zero-tolerance policy across Activision Blizzard that will be applied consistently. Our goal is to have the strictest harassment and non-retaliation policies of any employer, and we will continue to examine and tighten our standards to achieve this goal everywhere we do business.
Any Activision Blizzard employee found through our new investigative processes and resources to have retaliated against anyone for making a compliance complaint will be terminated immediately.
In many other instances of workplace misconduct, we will no longer rely on written warnings: termination will be the outcome, including in most cases of harassment based on any legally protected category.
Future employment contracts and equity awards will be clear: termination for these reasons will result in the immediate forfeiture of future compensation.
We also want to ensure that employees who file reports are encouraged, protected, and heard. For all reports of harassment and retaliation, we will investigate the allegation and whether the Activision Blizzard personnel who received the report of such behavior took the appropriate steps to protect the integrity of our compliance processes.
There may be some places around the world where local law may restrict some of these measures. In those cases, we will apply the highest permissible standards and the strongest possible discipline.
2. We will increase the percentage of women and non-binary people in our workforce by 50% and will invest $250 million to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent –Today, approximately 23% of our global employee population identifies as women or non-binary. Building on the success that King and other business units have achieved, we will seek to increase our percentage of women and non-binary professionals by approximately 50% – to more than one-third across the entire company – within the next five years and hopefully faster. Each franchise team, business unit, and functional area will be expected to have plans to help fulfill this ambition.
With respect to diversity, while we perform better than our peers with 30% of our U.S. workforce from diverse or under-represented communities, broadening this progress will continue to be a significant focus of mine as well as company, business unit, and franchise leadership.
To further this commitment, we’ll be investing an additional $250 million over the next 10 years in initiatives that foster expanded opportunities in gaming and technology for under-represented communities. This commitment includes inspiring diverse talent to pursue career opportunities in gaming through an ABK Academy that includes partnerships with colleges and technical schools serving under-represented communities, mentorships for participants, and a rotating apprenticeship program that leads to game development jobs, similar to the programs we began with the United Negro College Fund and Management Leadership for Tomorrow. We will also provide learning, development, and advanced degree opportunities for current employees to increase the number of women and those from under-represented communities in leadership positions across the company and in our industry.
In the coming months, Brian Bulatao, Julie Hodges, and I will share details about how we are operationalizing these goals and implementing and measuring this expanded investment.
3. Based on feedback from employees, we are waiving required arbitration of (ONLY) sexual harassment and discrimination claims – For any Activision Blizzard employee who chooses not to arbitrate an individual claim of (ONLY) sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, or related retaliation arising in the future, the company will waive any obligation to do so. (why not get rid of required (mandatory) arbitration?)
4. We will continue to increase visibility on pay equity – As described in the recent note from our President, Daniel Alegre, and our Chief Administrative Officer, Brian Bulatao, the company continues to focus on pay equity for employees. In fact, our U.S. analysis showed that women at the company on average earned slightly more than men for comparable work in 2020. To ensure transparency on our continuing commitment to pay equity, we will report these results annually.
(Preach said something interesting, in his reaction, regarding titles/positions within the company and that it’s easy to just make a new position to “combat” equal pay guidelines. You get a title and you have your own pay bracket.)
5. We will provide regular progress updates – We will be monitoring the progress of our business units, franchise teams, and functional leaders with respect to workplace initiatives and we will provide a status report quarterly. We also will be adding a dedicated focus on this vital work in our annual report to shareholders and in our annual ESG report with information on gender hiring, diversity hiring, and workplace progress.
Specifics on how these measures will be implemented and tracked will be forthcoming.
Lastly, I want to ensure that every available resource is being used in the service of becoming the industry leader in workplace excellence. Accordingly, I have asked our Board of Directors to reduce my total compensation until the Board has determined that we have achieved the transformational gender-related goals and other commitments described above. Specifically, I have asked the Board to reduce my pay to the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary, which this year is $62,500. To be clear, this is a reduction in my overall compensation, not just my salary. I am asking not to receive any bonuses or be granted any equity during this time.
(Bellular rightly said that his other income will not be affected, like his dividends from ABK stock, so he’s gonna make a lot of money there too.)
There’s a tendency when companies face challenging moments to lose sight of what makes them special, what makes them great. You are a truly special group of people who – through passion, conviction, drive, and determination – keep accomplishing extraordinary things. While the critical work ahead won’t be easy, I am confident our collective commitment to workplace excellence will be achieved.
I truly wish not a single employee had had an experience at work that resulted in hurt, humiliation, or worse – and to those who were affected, I sincerely apologize. You have my commitment that we will do everything possible to honor our values and create the workplace every member of this team deserves.
I am grateful for how much people care about this company, and I appreciate that many past and present employees have reached out with their thoughts, concerns, complaints, and suggestions. Your experiences, so courageously shared, serve as reason and reminder for why it is so important for us to do better. And we will.
With thanks and deepest gratitude,
Classic Against Cancer Event - October 29th to November 14th
From October 29th and running through November 14th, many of the largest WoW Classic communities, realms, and streamers will be teaming up with the GameTheory Community and St. Jude PLAY LIVE to raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
There will be no hard-structure or event schedule. Guilds, communites, and streamers are encouraged to host their own events and challenges to help the cause!
Malygøs, founder of the event, said "Our goal is to unite the entire WoW Classic community against a common enemy, under one battle-flag, and do something amazing...something never done before."
If you want to support the campaign, you can do so here or by clicking the banner below!: >> DONATE NOW <<
New In-Game Shop Mount Live - Sunwarmed Furline
The Sunwarmed Furline mount is now live in the Battle.Net shop for $25 or €25.
That means that the mounts have become more expensive in the EU i believe, previously, if i remember correctly, the mounts cost €20
Here is the link to the promo video on YouTube
Patch 9.1.5 PTR - Lightforged Paladin Mount
Lightforged paladins now have a unique Talbuk paladin mount with the Summon Lightforged Ruinstrider spell.
Sylvanas Novel Seemingly Delayed Again
The Sylvanas novel that was delayed until February seems to have been delayed again until March 29th, 2022.
Changes in 9.1.5:
New character customization options for Highmountain Tauren, Lightforged Draenei, Nightborne, and Void Elves.
Lightforged Draenei Paladins now have a unique class mount – the Lightforged Ruinstrider.
The dungeon quests for unlocking Kul Tiran humans, Mechagnomes, and Dark Iron Dwarves are no longer required. After accepting the dungeon quest, speak to the NPC again to choose to skip the quest.
Flawless and family-specific Battle-Training Stones now provide a flat 2,000 experience (was the amount required to gain one level).
Fel-Touched Battle-Training Stones now provide a flat 10,000 experience (was the amount required to gain five levels).
Ultimate Battle-Training Stones now cost 35 Polished Pet Charms (was 60).
Battling wild pets with a team of comparable-level pets now provides double experience. Pets on your team are eligible for this bonus if no pet on your team is more than two levels higher than any pet in the wild team.
The experience penalty for a pet dying has been reduced to 50% (was 100%). Pets still need to be active for at least one round to be eligible to earn experience from a battle.
All pet experience earned in battles is increased by 50%.
To compensate, the Pet Battle Bonus Event buff Sign of the Critter has been reduced to 100% (was 200%). The net effect of this is that pet experience gained during the Pet Battle Bonus Event will remain unchanged from current values.
We have a date for 9.1.5. It will be out Nov. 2nd.
Once before I talked about business oriented decisions. I bet this date was one such decision, simply because the earnings call comes on the same day, Nov. 2nd, and there simply had to be some good news somewhere in WoW.
Flood the world with “good news” just before the earnings call and people will see the company in a somewhat more favorable light.
Add to that the timely announcement Blizzard released about the firings in the company and the letter from Fran Taunsend. All that will add to a favorable light shining on Activision Blizzard.
Also, now that we are on the topic of 9.1.5, I feel like we have a timeline for 9.2, kind of.
Late Nov. maybe early Dec. first overview of content.
Late Dec. before New Year we’ll get more substantial info
Mid Jan. should be the launch of the PTR
Late Feb to mid March launch of 9.2
Again, that would be my guess if I don’t include the corporate aspect of things. It might be that business people in the company tell devs to rush 9.2 for early Feb. release, due to the same issues I mentioned regarding 9.1.5, being the mid quarter earnings call, that being in Feb. as well.
The delay of “World of Warcraft: Sylvanas'' might be another indication as well as to when 9.2 releases.
The book “Exploring Kalimdor” has been delayed as well, its release being pushed back to
If there is content in the patch that impacts the story of the book, you better believe they will delay the book's release.
So if we get the patch at my predicted time, mid Feb. to early March people will have had the chance to play the content before the release of the book.
If the content is time gated, we might see yet another delay to early April.
World of Warcraft-Community Council:
Greetings, citizens of Azeroth –
The World of Warcraft community is second to none with the passion, love, and excitement you all show to the game. Player feedback impacts all aspects of the game, and with such a wide range of opinions, playstyles, and interests out there, gathering and understanding feedback is more important than ever.
To help further our efforts in this area, we’re introducing the WoW Community Council. This program will add another venue for communication between players and WoW developers. Our goal is to gather more detailed feedback on all aspects of World of Warcraft from players around the world with a wide range of backgrounds and interests.
Here’s how it works:
· Submissions are open to any player interested in taking part in the program.
· Once players are selected, they’ll be given the ability to post in a new discussion forum that is publicly visible to everyone.
o In this new forum, we’ll ask members to share their experiences and perspectives on anything in the game, and some topics may be started by Blizzard developers and community managers.
o Responses and updates from Blizzard will be posted there so they can easily be discussed by the entire community.
· A private discussion will also be setup for Council members to encourage direct interaction between members.
· Separate conversations between smaller groups of members and Blizzard developers will be encouraged to ensure players with differing perspectives are being heard.
These may take the form of live chats between Council members and WoW devs.
One of the key goals with this program is to encourage discussion with players from a wide variety of different playstyles. To help ensure this, part of the application process will involve sharing your areas of interest and expertise. Whether it’s cutting-edge raiding, playing alts, completing achievements, accessibility, or collecting transmog, we want to know your perspective and ensure you’re heard. Therefore, after one year in the program, we plan to unflag Council members and open the application again. All WoW players will be free to apply at that point.
Please note: this program is focused on sharing current and past game experiences; it will not provide access to unannounced game information.
If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in, here is the submission link: https://forms.office.com/r/2BfVmv2d44 133
Please share this with any player who may be interested in this program and if you have any questions, please let us know.
Thanks for your time and feedback.
-The World of Warcraft Community Team
Now what does this mean? I hope that there are things out there that Blizzard will not give us, as much as we want it, some things just shouldn’t be in the game. It doesn’t matter what specifically, just be mindful that just because it’s something you want as a player makes it a thing that should be in the game.
What We've Been Doing:
The Light won, Halloween is on, new skins in Population: One
Resident Evil 4 out for Quest 2
I canceled my last active WoW sub.
As of Dec. 31st I will not be subbed to WoW for the first time since I started playing back in 2005.
I wanted to move my install of FFXIV to my SSD drive but couldn’t use the “move install” option in STEAM, since it wouldn’t show up for the game.
I checked with other games and they showed the option.
So I tried to copy it over, but that wasn’t enough, so I uninstalled the game in the STEAM client, or what was left on the old drive, and reinstalled it on the SSD.
Now if you were thinking that the installer would use the already present files and just add to it, the same way it would work had it been a Blizzard game and had you used the BattleNet app, you are sadly mistaken. The entire install process took little over 1h 30 mins. to finish.
But i must say that boy was it worth it, the loading times are so much shorter now.
So my advice for people thinking that they can use a HDD drive for other games too, so FFXIV is fine too, yeah, think about that one more time or two, it makes sooo much of a difference.
I reached level 70 on my Miqo’te Bard and I'm into the second zone of the Stormblood expansion, 3.0 content. Remember 3.0 is technically 2.0 since the 1.0 version of FFXIV was scrapped and reworked into ARR or 2.0 so 1.0 AND 2.0 are BOTH base game content.
One last thing about patch cycles: I totally forgot the competition of content releases between WoW and FFXIV.
I haven’t played the currently last expansion of FFXIV yet, but the patch number 5.58 tells me that there are 5 content patches in FFXIV Stormbringers and Heavensward, the first expansion and the one I just finished, had 5 content patches too.
Sorry for the long stretch of silence. It has been an exhausting month to say the least -.- I got around to making another Blast from the Past (yay!) and this one is from episode 444. Enjoy!
Each week GrandNagus takes a closer look at some of the most useful World of Warcraft addons out there.
You can find GrandNagus on Twitter @GrandNagus1, or by email at email@example.com
Guild Updates: No new updates this week
Last week’s 120’s:
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun:
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun:
Guild Chat App - Discord
Trying a 24/7 chat app for guildies to join and just keep in contact and have chats with during IRL :) Also has a voice channel just like vent/mumble! And very easy to use! :)
The App is Discord - https://discord.gg/0gr8ON8GpXJQrJHy
And we have a CtrlAltWoW Server - so check out the link above for invite.