So...Guild Wars! A big name in the MMO space, enough so that even neophytes like me who have never played a single one in their lives or keep up that much on them still know their name. Wonder what newsworthy things they’ve been up to recently??
...oh no. Oh God no why.
So, to recap the best I can, video game narrative writer Jessica Price—working with ArenaNet until yesterday—was fired after A) minorly telling off an ArenaNet-partnered streamer who replied to a Twitter thread of hers about the struggles of writing for an MMO, from feeling like she was condescended to, and B) preparing to get block button-happy. ArenaNet then ALSO decided to fire ANOTHER writer of theirs, Peter Fries, for standing up for his coworker.
Look, I don’t want to split hairs over who was in the wrong, or what Jessica Price or Deroir could have done differently in this situation. From what I could tell, they were both reacting like perfectly normal human beings. One of them chimed in trying to strike up an interesting discussion, but was perhaps ignorant of the chance that his input might come off condescending in a sexist mansplainy sort of way. And the other one, with a decade of gaming industry experience—part of it, keep in mind, occurring within the misogynist hellhole of GamerGate—picked up on the sexist mansplainy undertones, whether intentional or not, and gave voice to her exasperation.
That’s it. No bullying, no racist slurs, no nothing so beyond the pale. ArenaNet fired a woman for acting the way frustrated people act when they get frustrated, and maybe ruffling some people’s feathers, in zero seconds flat. Nothing problematic about that! no siree! especially not in the video game industry, right???
Given how that is the scale of the consequences we’re dealing with here, I just cannot give a shit about the community or the fans in this case. ArenaNet, through what they did, has already gone well above and beyond making sure that their poor widdle fee-fees—the sexist as fuck ones, the whiny disproportionately entitled ones, and the cynically disingenuous bad-faith ones all included; let’s not bullshit ourselves here—are being nurtured to their utmost.
Spare them the hand-wringing. The “well actually she was kind of wrong,” “what she could have done better,” all of it. Screw them. What more could they possibly need after the concessions they already got?
Save it instead for where it is needed most. ArenaNet had the chance to show even a fraction of the same deference towards the feelings and well-being of the people who actually toil away making their fucking game that they showed to some disproportionately aggrieved fans. They decided not to.