BlizzCon 2019’s Q&A Panel Ignites More Controversy: Blizzard VS the World Day 17
- Question submission format raises eyebrows.
- Former Blizzard employee insists it’s been like this for years.
- BlizzCon 2019 is going to be a bumpy one.
Since all of the controversy generated by Blizzard Entertainment began a little over two weeks ago, there’s been one consistently lingering issue to consider. What is BlizzCon 2019 going to be like? Even when Blizzard Entertainment was at the top of their game, it’s a big event with several moving parts going simultaneously. Back in BlizzCon 2008, their big fiasco with ticket sales, or even last year’s Diablo: Immortal backlash doesn’t seem as bad as what they’re potentially facing now, a reign of chaos.
Blizzard’s best interest is to try to keep things going business-as-usual. They are trying to keep everything that’s been plaguing them out of sight and out of mind so that the two-day event can be marked down as a success in the wake of recent events. A quick recap guide before we go further, for those who haven’t been keeping up on just why so many people are upset with Blizzard:
- Hearthstone Player Blitzchung Punished for Pro-Hong Kong Sentiment
- Mass protests, boycotts, inner-company turmoil, and a former WoW dev speaks out.
- More broadcasters quit.
- Blizzard and Blitzchung both speak, community outrage dampened briefly.
- Blizzard cancels NYC Overwatch event.
- Collegiate team that supported Blitzchung punished days later.
- World of Warcraft 15th anniversary gathering in Taiwan postponed.
- Blizzard claims chat bans aren’t deliberately targetting comments on Hong Kong.
- Diablo 4 potentially leaked in a german advertisement for Art of Diablo.
Those are the timeline of major events as they happened so far. If you haven’t read them yet, you can check them out at those links. In the present, though, with BlizzCon 2019 on the horizon and a number of protesters already planning to be in and around the event, it’s not something Blizzard can ignore. That’s not going to stop them from trying, however, given a new way to submit questions for the World of Warcraft Q&A panel that was revealed recently:
Have a question about BlizzCon’s World of Warcraft announcements? Head to the arch in the Darkmoon Faire to submit your question, nearby you will see a gnomish mailbox then just fill out a card and drop it in. We will answer as many as we can!
The wording of the Q&A submissions seems in stark contrast to how things have been handled in the past, although former Community Manager Ythisens had a different view on the subject:
This is how the Warcraft Q&A has been done for years so this isn’t anything new. WoW hasn’t had an “open” Q&A in years. It’s curated for time and content mainly; otherwise it’d be an unorganized mess that was all over the place.
Also FYI, red shirt guy questions are considered every year if he submits one. He’s a cherished staple of the Q&A, unfortunately his question can’t make it every year. I can’t remember the recent reasons and questions he couldn’t ask but it wasn’t anything bad.
Source: I helped with it every year I was there.
Being a former employee of Blizzard, it’s important to note that there’s no incentive for Ythisens to be defending a former employer. Keeping that in mind, it appears that Ythisens isn’t seeing this the same way everyone else is. While the Q&A segments have been curated before, it’s never been to this extent. There have indeed been live Q&A’s, as evidenced last year. We all saw it firsthand during Diablo: Immortal with the crowd backlash questions. In the past, these Q&A events have had questions pre-screened by audience moderators (you can see them shuffling about during presentations trying to pick out people for the Q&A) which is very different from what Blizzard is suggesting now.
This is the first year I’ve ever heard of a “mailbox” system being in place for the live event at BlizzCon, and the wording is crucial here. They want you to drop that question in a mailbox, and they will answer as many as they can. With how many questions will undoubtedly be in there, there is no way to screen them all in a reasonable amount of time. It’s not a moderator picking out someone in a crowd, it’s going through written questions. Until this is clarified, it indeed looks like they intend to keep the microphone out of the hands of the audience, fearing the event being derailed. If the speculation is wrong, Blizzard needs to prove that themselves and not rely on the good nature of a former employee to stand up for them. What do you think of this recent development? A surprise move on Blizzard’s part? Nothing surprising at all? Could it be possible it’s just a poorly worded statement? Let us know what you think down below.