Two writers for the popular MMO Guild Wars 2 were let go due to disparaging comments made against fans of the game on Twitter.
On July 3rd, Jessica Price, a recent hire to the Guild Wars 2 staff and prolific writer in both video games and tabletop, posted a long discussion on how to write a player-character in a MMO.
Price is well known in the gaming world as a outspoken writer, editor and project manager for several companies, including Microsoft Game Studios from 2010-2011, and Go Go Kiddo/Hairbrained Schemes for seven months in 2012. She is best known as the Project Manager of Paizo Publishing, the team behind the popular Pathfinder series of role-playing games, from 2012 to 2017. Price worked on several projects for Paizo, including the Inner Sea Races, Planes of Power and Adventurer's Guide books, and was named a Gen Con industry leader in 2016 and 2017.
The post, which can be found transcribed on the official Guild Wars 2 reddit or on twitter, had a notable reply in user Deroir. Deroir is a well known YouTube personality who is a part of ArenaNet's content creator program. He brought up a few critiques of Price's post. On July 4th, Price, in response, felt Deroir was purposely attacking him.
"Today in being a female game dev: 'Allow me--a person who does not work with you--explain to you how you do your job.' " wrote Price in one of her first replies. She goes on to say that "Since we've got a lot of hurt manfeels today, lemme make something clear: this is my feed. I'm not on the clock here. I'm not your emotional courtesan just because I'm a dev. Don't expect me to pretend to like you here."
Deroir to his credit was calm and respectful in the exchange, but on the Guild Wars 2 reddit it was another story, with many attacking Price for her behavior and apparent bias against Deroir and his comments. It was so bad at one point, the reddit mods removed several comments specifically targeting Price with sexist language.
Another writer for the game, Peter Fries, also jumped into the conversation to defend Price. Fries, a veteran of ArenaNet since 2005, stated on twitter that because Price was not asking for feedback, the post made by Deroir was unwarranted.
"Here’s a bit of insight that I legitimately hope he reflects on: she never asked for his feedback." noted Fries. He goes on to use an analogy to explain the point of contention by Price, "Imagine you’re an astronomer and you start sharing some things you’ve learned in the last few months since you began a research project observing Saturn, only to have observation techniques explained to you by a layman."
Fries has since deleted his tweets as the backlash grew, with many on the Guild Wars 2 reddit forums calling for both writers to be fired from ArenaNet.
The next day, an unofficial statement by the president and co-founder of ArenaNet, Mike O'Brien, was posted.
Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players. Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they’re no longer with the company.An official statement, obtained via Eurogamer, was made sometime later. "We strive to cultivate an atmosphere of transparency around the making of our games and encourage our teams to be involved in open, positive discussion with our community." read the statement. "Earlier this week, two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communication with our players and fans, and they are no longer with the company."
I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you.
The drama between Price, Fries, and Deroir has only exploded in the past few days, and numerous social media personalities have begun reporting on the story. All three parties involved have yet to comment on what happened on twitter since this began.
What are your thoughts though? Were both rightfully fired? Did ArenaNet act too harshly? Leave your comments below.