Brian Birmingham, a former WoW head, claims Activision policies take money from its employees

Brian Birmingham, a former WoW head, claims Activision policies take money from its employees ...

Activision Blizzard received another PR blow yesterday when a Bloomberg report revealed that one of World of Warcraft's tech executives had parted ways with the company due to controversial management practices.

Brian Birmingham, a former Blizzard senior software engineer, responded publicly to those reports last night, confirming his departure and criticizing the parent company for "stealing money."

Birmingham enthused about Activision Blizzard's "stack-ranking" policy, which required him and others to grade employees on a scale relative to their colleagues. The policy reportedly required him to meet a quota for labeling employees as "developing," which implies that they are inadequate at their jobs.

Birmingham admitted that the Bloomberg story from earlier in the day appeared to have accurately quoted an email he had sent to colleagues, but he added that he did not send the email himself. However, some of the information he provided in his string of tweets were even more troubling than what we learned from the original report.

Activision Blizzard's stack-ranking quotas were dubbed "toxic," and he suggested that the system has a connection to employee pay or advancement. In his eyes, the policy is effectively stealing money from deserving workers.

"Activision Blizzard is a tense parent company," he said. "They put us under pressure to deliver both expansions early. It is profoundly unfair to follow that by depriving employees who worked on them of their fair share of profit." "The ABK team should be ashamed of themselves.... I can't participate in a policy that allows ABK to steal money from deserving employees, and I can't be made to lie about it."

Birmingham exposed a troubling fact that has been a long-held suspicion among WoW players for a while. In recent years, some prominent figures, like Twitch's top MMO streamer Asmongold, have spoken out telling Blizzard to focus on an expansion's quality rather than a deadline.

Birmingham's departure is often used by many to justify a boycott of Blizzard games, but the now-former employee has admitted that he would not join anyone who does. He said he loves the people at Blizzard and believes that the company's developers are "still outstanding."

“I can’t tell you whether or not to boycott Blizzard games,” he said. “What you do best to express your displeasure is up to you.... I won’t boycott.”