Jeffrey Alexander

Interview: Warframe’s Rebecca Ford on Angels of the Zariman’s biggest features

Angels of the Zariman, the latest major content update for Warframe is nearly here. It’s lined up to be a special one, taking place directly following the events of the climactic New War quest that shook the community, and introduces yet another hub for players to socialise in and explore. What secrets are hidden in the darkened corners of this long-lost ghost ship? I have no idea. No one would tell me. We’ll have to find out when it goes live later this week on April 27.

To tide us over through this limbo period without new weapons to level and Warframes to farm, I sat down once again with Rebecca Ford, live operations and community director for Warframe, to talk me through some of the major new additions coming to this new player hub, alongside some of the more intriguing aspects of the Angels of the Zariman update.

VG247: What lessons have the team learned from previous hub areas, and how has that affected this latest addition?

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Raven Software: National Labor Relations Board Rules QA Workers Can Vote Whether To Unionize This Month

Raven Software: National Labor Relations Board Rules QA Workers Can Vote Whether To Unionize This Month

It is important to keep in mind what is going on within Activision Blizzard at this time regarding ongoing allegations about the work culture. The ongoing lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against the company is over reported toxic workplace culture. The bulk of the suit focuses on “violations of the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws,” specifically regarding the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. To learn more about the proceedings thus far, including details listed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, please check out our previous coverage here.

Raven Software quality assurance workers at Activision Blizzard will get the chance to vote whether or not to unionize starting this month, after a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board. 

This news comes by way of Polygon, which reports that the NLRB ruled Friday that the 21-person QA unit in question is eligible to unionize after Raven’s parent company, Activision Blizzard, challenged the effort, attempting to make it so that the entire 230-person team must vote on the decision. Now, the 21 people in question can begin voting once ballots, which are going to be mailed out on April 29, have been received. The ballots will be counted on May 23 and if a supermajority of yes is reached, the Game Workers Alliance union will be official and can begin negotiations with Activision Blizzard. 

This news comes months after at least a dozen QA contractors at Raven were laid off. Following that, QA employees at the studio began to strike in response, and soon after that, 34 workers attempted to unionize. Raven asked Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognize this union by January 25 but hours after the deadline, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said it had declined to do so, citing that the two parties could not reach an agreement. Earlier this month, Activision Blizzard converted all of its U.S.-based QA testers to full-time employees with benefits and increased wages, but the company said current Raven workers would not receive the new pay initiatives, “due to legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Board.”

“Whether Raven workers choose to unionize has nothing to do with the salary increases elsewhere for Activision’s QA workers,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Bloomberg at the time. 

Many, including Game Workers Alliance secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens, have stated that this move by Activision Blizzard is the result of Raven’s push for better working conditions and pay, but Steffens said “it’s especially galling then that Activision has excluded Raven Software QA workers, who have been at the forefront of this effort, from these benefits,” in a statement to Fanbyte earlier this month. 

In response to the NLRB giving Raven the green light to vote on whether or not to unionize, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Polygon that the company is reviewing its potential appeal options. 

“While we respect the NLRB process, we are disappointed that a decision that could significantly impact the future of our entire studio will be made by fewer than 10% of our employees,” the spokesperson told the publication. “We believe a direct relationship with team members is the best path to achieving individual and company goals. We are reviewing legal options regarding a potential appeal.” 

As Polygon notes, the Game Workers Alliance tweeted “We are so proud to announce that the NLRB ruled that our unit is eligible for election. Thank you to everyone supporting our campaign since our initial strike up until this very moment. Time for democracy.” 

Amidst all this, Microsoft’s nearly $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard grows closer but Microsoft has said it will not interfere with unionization efforts happening at the company. 

For more, read Game Informer’s original coverage of the Raven Software layoffs and then catch up on the Raven Software strike that happened as a result, including Activision management’s response to it.

[Source: Polygon]

Blizzard’s Diablo Immortal for mobile launches in June, and it’s also coming to PC

Diablo Immortal is officially releasing on June 2, and the latest trailer confirming the release also revealed it will be coming to PC.

Earlier today (April 25), Blizzard Entertainment finally announced the release date for the next, free-to-play installment in the Diablo franchise. Alongside this, it’s coming to PC, with full cross-play support and cross-progression. Though the press release notes that Diablo Immortal will be launching as an open beta on Windows when it launches in June. “The Open Beta on PC will contain all game features, including cross-play and cross-progression, and upon conclusion all progress will be maintained,” reads the press release.

Blizzard president Mike Ybarra also provided a statement alongside the release date announcement, saying “The demons of the Burning Hells are ready to be slain in the most expansive Diablo game that Blizzard has ever released.

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Diablo Immortal launches in June for both mobile and PC

Diablo Immortal will launch on 2nd June for both mobile platforms and via an open beta on PC, Blizzard has announced.

Word of a Windows version was unexpected – but footage debuted in the release date reveal stream, below. Blizzard also confirmed the PC edition would be free-to-play and support cross-play and cross-progression.

You sign up to pre-register now, via the link below.

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Lost Ark community manager asks for civility following continued community backlash

Following months seemingly filled with back-to-back hot button topics within the Lost Ark community, one of the community managers on the official forums has posted a lengthy post requesting increased civility from the community when it comes to expressing their feedback on the game.

It’s worth noting that this comes right off the heels of a recent update that brought the Glaivier, as well as a new region for players to explore, but which came with its own issues as surrounding a free express pass as well as ongoing troubles with bots alongside other ongoing issues.

This has all led to an environment on the official forums, as well as other popular hubs for the game including the subreddit, filled with sour opinions towards the community managers working on the game. Early on in the post, community moderator Shadow_Fox writes: “CMs are human. We have human feelings. We also have human schedules. Most of us are mon-fri 9-5 PT. Some of us, like myself are on weekends and nights. We take sick days. And vacation. We have on days and off days.

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New Trailer Highlights Nintendo Switch Sports As Part Of Fitness Regime

Along with try-hard online play.

When the Wii was launched alongside its iconic bundled game Wii Sports (apart from in Japan, where it was sold separately), trailers showed games of all ages and types getting off their butts and swinging a remote around. The Switch was able to recapture that a little in this generation, with Ring Fit Adventure proving to be a modern spiritual successor to Wii Fit, in particular.

The arrival of Nintendo Switch Sports this week will bring us a third generation of controller waving sport; don’t forget Wii Sports Club on Wii U! Arriving over five years after the system launched, its place in the library is a little different as a result, and in the latest Japanese commercial we see Nintendo tying the game to Ring Fit Adventure as a natural part of an exercise routine. We see the player wrap up some exercises before jumping into an online match of badminton (and taking it quite seriously, too).

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Diablo Immortal PC First Look – Gameplay + Interview

Diablo Immortal PC First Look – Gameplay + Interview

Platform: iOS
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment, Netease

It is important to keep in mind what is going on within Activision Blizzard at this time regarding ongoing allegations about the work culture. The ongoing lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against the company is over reported toxic workplace culture. The bulk of the suit focuses on “violations of the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws,” specifically regarding the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. To learn more about the proceedings thus far, including details listed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, please check out our previous coverage here.

Diablo Immortal was revealed by Blizzard Entertainment four years ago, in 2018, and when it was announced, it was said to be a mobile-only game for iOS and Android devices. That remained the case for quite some time, but in recent betas, the team came to realize that if it truly wanted to embrace the spirit of bringing a Diablo experience to more players than ever before, Diablo Immortal needed to come to PC, too. And now, Blizzard has announced that it is, and the team has revealed an official release date, too. More specifically, it will hit iOS and Android on June 2, and that same day, the game will hit PC in Open Beta. 

Now, don’t fret – the entire Diablo Immortal experience will be live on PC despite it being an Open Beta. The team is just looking for feedback and suggestions on this version of the game. Game Informer learned that and so much more by sitting down to interview Diablo Immortal game director Wyatt Cheng and the head of the Diablo franchise, Rod Fergusson, about today’s exciting news. You can listen to that entire interview in the latest installment of New Gameplay Today, which features more than 20 minutes of new Diablo Immortal footage, including video captured from mobile gameplay, PC gameplay, and a few minutes of footage from both, running side-by-side. 

If you’re excited about Diablo Immortal, hopefully this new look featuring never-before-seen gameplay can tide you over until the game’s release, which is set to happen on June 2 when it hits iOS and Android devices, as well as a PC Open Beta the same day. 

For more about Diablo Immortal, be sure to head to the official Game Informer Diablo Immortal hub, which contains first looks at the game, news stories, and more. For more previews of some of the biggest games of 2022 and beyond, be sure to head over to our YouTube page for early looks at Cult of the LambChrono Cross: The Radical DreamersVampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, Forspoken, and so much more! Thanks for watching today’s video.

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