Sections

ArenaNet Fires Two Guild Wars 2 Writers After Heated Twitter Exchange With Streamer [Update]

ArenaNet's President took to the Guild Wars 2 forums to address the situation.

News by Matt Kim, .

Update: ArenaNet has provided the following statement to USgamer: "We are committed to fostering open, constructive dialogue with our community around our games. Earlier this week, two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communication, and they are no longer with the company.

Original Story

Guild Wars 2 has parted ways with writers Jessica Price and Peter Fries following a Twitter exchange with a Guild Wars 2 streamer and content creator.

Price, who served as a narrative designer on Guild Wars 2, shared a lengthy Twitter thread about the process of writing for MMORPGs, and how the process differs writing for characters in shared online games as opposed to single player games.

Deroir, a partnered content creator for Guild Wars 2 through ArenaNet's content creator program, responded that they disagreed. A day later Price quoted Deroir's tweet and suggested it was condescending and that he was trying to explain to her how to do her own job. As PC Gamer reported, this is when the situation kicked off and commenters began flooding into Price's comments.

Fries, Price's colleague at ArenaNet, also went to Twitter to support Price online. However, community members took issues with Price's remarks about blocking "rando asshats" who try and talk to Price about her job.

ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien took to the Guild Wars 2 forum to announce Price and Fries' departure without naming them explicitly. "Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players. Their attacks on community were unacceptable. As a result, they're no longer with the company," write O'Brien.

Deroir also tweeted that he meant no disrespect and announced that he will retract his previous comments to Price.

The situation is difficult to explain without a full clarification from ArenaNet. Does the company have a policy regarding social media behavior even on personal accounts? And did Price and Fries' response warrant termination? The situation is also very much related to how women, and women in the game industry, face very different interactions on social media.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 23

  • Avatar for mattcom26 #1 mattcom26 16 days ago
    Deleted 3 weeks ago by mattcom26
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for yuberus #2 yuberus 16 days ago
    Terrible reaction from so-called fans to dogpile and harass game devs, and an even worse response from the company by firing them. Screw ArenaNet and everyone celebrating that.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Talraen #3 Talraen 16 days ago
    @yuberus The fan reaction was no doubt over-the-top, and I was surprised to learn these writers were fired. I can understand why Ms. Price was annoyed with the initial response, which was suggesting something she had no doubt considered many times during her career. Unfortunately, public figures often pay a steep price when they overreact on social media. It's very difficult to defend her responses in the context of the Tweets that were made. It makes me wonder if there was some extenuating circumstance that led her to reply as harshly as she did to the initial interaction.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for themblan #4 themblan 16 days ago
    I am never buying an Arenanet-game ever again.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #5 UnskippableCutscene 16 days ago
    I can understand devs not wanting to talk about their jobs with total strangers, and then there's taking umbridge at people with no qualifications giving you feedback. If you look at Price's tweets over a recent span, she repeatedly calls out people for the latter.

    The issue I have is, the latter happens in many industries. I talk to people who have plenty of thoughts about how all sorts of businesses from sports teams to theme parks should be led while having no experience in running one. Games are just one more venue where customers with no professional experience want to tell professionals how it should be done, and given that the industry often hires former critics, bloggers, etc to help on projects it's usually a good two-way conversation.

    Which is to say, I think credentials only go so far in this industry, and to use it as a position of authority which shouldn't be questioned is suspect, but also ArenaNet shouldn't have fired her over what amounts to a bad day. At some point you suggest to your employee that they just not make public posts about their work, because public posts on social media do indeed empower the whole damn world to tell you what they think.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #6 Monkey-Tamer 16 days ago
    I'm not sure if the entire conversation is still available for viewing, but it gives me a different impression of the interaction that took place. This developer was also quite vile when Total Biscuit died. https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1000045432007938048Edited 3 weeks ago by Monkey-Tamer
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for yuberus #7 yuberus 16 days ago
    @Talraen I mean the external factors probably were decades of people mansplaining her job to her, which I imagine gets old very, very fast (you could probably also consider intense misogyny both in her field and in US public discourse these days). And as she noted, it's her personal account, not an official one - she shouldn't have to be "on" 24 hours a day just because she happens to be using the internet. If someone annoys you, I think you being short with them is to be expected. Using a company account on company time could get a reprimand, but a firing? Absurd.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for BulkSlash #8 BulkSlash 16 days ago
    Reading Deroir’s post I think his or her tweets were polite and certainly don’t read like they were telling Price how to do her job, it was more like someone trying to start a conversation with her rather than being condescending. Maybe it was naive of Deroir to think they were asking something that hadn’t already been considered but I think Price’s reply does cross the line into being rude.

    I don’t think it would be reasonable for example for a chef to get away with telling a customer off for suggesting their burger could use more ketchup. Given the very febrile nature of fans today (post gamer-gate, comics-gate and er The Last Jedi-gate) it’s not surprising to see it quickly escalated or that management very quickly intervened.

    Reminds me of how MS fired that engineer for telling people to just deal with always online gaming. Regardless of whether they’re actually right, the customer is always right.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for yuberus #9 yuberus 16 days ago
    @Monkey-Tamer TB was riding that goobergrate pretty hard back in 2014 and she was one of the people who was targeted by it. I can understand her having zero sympathy for his death.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #10 Monkey-Tamer 16 days ago
    @yuberus Good point. I didn't follow that too closely as it appeared to be an internet shit show. I didn't know others were part of the alleged scandal. That at least gives more of a perspective on that situation.Edited 3 weeks ago by Monkey-Tamer
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Talraen #11 Talraen 16 days ago
    @yuberus I'm sure you're right about her history with these interactions, but I do believe that if you put the company you work for in your Twitter you are to at least some degree representing that company. I have no doubt that I'd be fired if my company found out I wrote something unacceptable on Twitter. If someone sends you unneeded and unwanted feedback, the wise course would be not to respond at all.

    I do agree that firing seemed extreme, but we don't know the details of what actually led to that. Perhaps she was asked to apologize or step away from social media and (understandably) refused to do so.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for benjaminlu86 #12 benjaminlu86 16 days ago
    Today in being a female game dev:

    "I got fired for having an opinion on the internet."

    Fuck off ArenaNet.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #13 WiIIyTheAntelope 16 days ago
    @Monkey-Tamer Archived copy of the conversation: here
    and this which the archive didn't catch
    and here's a video that captures some of the missed ones inbetween
    here

    And then there was this..which has nothing whatsoever to do with the conversation in question, but it seems like she should have listened to her own advice. Whoopsy

    Edited 5 times. Last edited 3 weeks ago by WiIIyTheAntelope
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for lanmao #14 lanmao 16 days ago
    The initial comment didn't seem like an attack to me. Nor did gender seem to have anything to do with it. Maybe there is a history here that I am unaware of? It's a bummer that people lost their jobs over this though. I didn't bother to read all of the jump on comments afterward as I assume that's where it devolves into name calling and what not.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #15 Iliya-Moroumetz 16 days ago
    @lanmao Yes. It's called "being a woman in game dev". Unless you've been in a coma for the past five to six years; you'd have to acknowledge that women and minorities have been targeted for harassment by people like gamergate.

    And even before that awful hashtag, women are often devalued for almost everything and have to endure more condescension than you are ever aware of.

    So, when you're a woman that has ten years of experience with a game company writing stories, and to have some random youtuber come into your mentions with some 'friendly' advice as to how you do your job when they have NO experience whatsoever, I don't blame her at all for her response.

    Frankly, I don't take kindly to people telling me how to do my job either, especially when they have no experience in the field I work in. Arenanet has done bad today. And that's the bottom line.Edited 3 weeks ago by Iliya-Moroumetz
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #16 WiIIyTheAntelope 15 days ago
    @Iliya-Moroumetz So let's pretend this woman was a man, and not a writer for an MMO, let's say a pizza delivery guy. If this pizza delivery guy starts flipping off the customers as he pulls out of their driveway because he knows more about delivering pizza than they do, do you think he would keep his job?

    Nope, not for very long he wouldn't.

    This dude said absolutely nothing wrong, other than offering his thoughts on a post she made. If she can't accept that not everyone on earth will always agree with her, here's an idea. Don't post every inane thought you have on twitter. That goes for the rest of the world as well. You post your thoughts out in front of the entire world, and guess what happens..other people may have different ones. Shocker!

    She took a completely innocent (and rather polite and complimentary post), immediately decided she was better than this guy, and went off a lunatic like rant.

    Seriously, go look at her twitter feed. Every 3rd post or so is some variation on "OMG women have it so bad, the evil white men are holding us down." That's called an obsession.

    Rumor is she got canned from Paizo for much the same reason.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for lanmao #17 lanmao 15 days ago
    Deleted 2 weeks ago by lanmao
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for lanmao #18 lanmao 15 days ago
    @Iliya-Moroumetz My comment was also not an attack on Jessica Price or you. Just an observation that I do not know the history of these two individuals personally. It did not appear to me , from this, that anyone was telling anyone else how to do anything.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for HJHooch #19 HJHooch 15 days ago
    I had to respond here because it seems that most of the people who commented have not actually investigated and are jumping to conclusions - which is almost understandable as this article is deliberately misleading and incredibly biased. Absolutely disgraceful journalism.

    I read through the whole exchange as the main-stream articles are saying one thing but people online are saying the exact opposite.
    Here is my take (I encourage anyone who doubts this to go and see for yourself):
    0. The OP Woman (Guildwars 2 game narrative writer/developer) gave multiple, long descriptive tweets on the process of creating a narrative for players in a game like Guildwars 2.
    1. A commenter (? a fan of the game) admired the devs work and then was VERY polite in pointing out that they agreed with the developer in what they did but RESPECTFULLY suggested that a different approach may be helpful in providing positive engagement with the game's narrative (It was a sincere open invitation to hear the developers thoughts about the idea without dismissing hers or telling her how to do her job).
    2. The dev then proceeded to throw it back in the commenter's face & insinuated that they were telling them how to do their job & implied that they were being sexist on top of it.
    3. The commenter expressed their disappointment that the dev took it that way while still being civil & pointed out that it was unnecessary and unwarranted to bring gender into it.
    4. The dev then escalated from there - going on an abusive rant at the audacity of people to comment on her post despite this being twitter and her personal account being linked to her job as a Guildwars 2 game narrative writer.
    5. Other fans then made comments which were all very civil.
    I specifically looked for nasty and abusive comments from the community but could only find them from the dev.
    6. The Male dev chimed in and sided with the Woman writer & also implied that the community was unfairly attacking the Woman writer and that they were not entitled to comment on her work...???

    I honestly am not at all surprised that the Woman was fired as she came across as extremely abusive, disrespectful and entitled . I don't think that the employer was unjustified or unfair in firing this woman. I would not at all be surprised if the company had had issues with this woman in the past given how easily & needlessly triggered she became here.
    However I'm not so sure about the Male Employee who chimed in to defend her as he was not nearly as aggressive or disrespectful as the Woman. I think a warning here may have been a more fair move but maybe they have had issues with him in the past? (12 year employee).Edited 2 times. Last edited 3 weeks ago by HJHooch
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for yuberus #20 yuberus 15 days ago
    @Ohoni so you're arguing that a targeted campaign of harassment aiming to get her fired is justified because she had a harsh response to a rando explaining her own job to her on Twitter, cool
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Bakgrind #21 Bakgrind 15 days ago
    So, I guess the moral of the story here is that Social media is the bane of mankind and should really be avoided at all costs. I just don’t see why anyone would bother to respond to a question from or too some random online nobody. There really is no reason to. Simply ignore it and move on.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #22 Monkey-Tamer 15 days ago
    @yuberus He wasn't just some random guy. "Deroir, a partnered content creator for Guild Wars 2 through ArenaNet's content creator program . . . ."
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #23 WiIIyTheAntelope 15 days ago
    @yuberus Please do show me this "targeted campaign of harassment." This guy is a small potatoes niche streamer. He doesn't have enough of a following to get a harassment campaign going even if he tried.

    And seeing that he's a huge fan of hers it's pretty doubtful he would even try such a silly thing.

    The woman is a nut. It's ok to admit that. It doesn't make you a woman hater, a racist, a gamergater, a nazi, alt-right or whatever the popular internet boogieman of the moment is.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MyNameIsMe #24 MyNameIsMe 15 days ago
    So, my question is this: If you have an exchange with one of your bosses partners, let's say in a Chili's and on your own time and away from work. And your boss' partner thanks you for your work and insight and then states that he disagrees with you "slightly" over one small point. You then call your boss's partner a random "asshat" loud enough so that everyone in the restaurant can hear, and then turn around tell everyone present that not only is your boss's partner a random asshat but also a sexist. Do you think you'd still be employee the next day? Do you think "He was respectful but I didn't ask for his opinion" or "I was on my own private time" or "I didn't know he was your partner" or "it's different for us women" would be valid excuses for your boss? If you stepped that far out of line with someone, wouldn't you at the very least feel compelled to offer an apology? Especially when he graciously and sincerely apologized for any discomfort his kind and well-thought out feedback might have caused?Edited 2 times. Last edited 2 weeks ago by MyNameIsMe
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for AceOfCakez #25 AceOfCakez 10 days ago

Comments

Close