Are Employers Discriminating Against WoW Players?

Although the information is sketchy, at best, an exchange on the forums suggests that some employers may be discriminating against those who play World of Warcraft:

The anonymous poster is known only as "Tale":

I met with a recruiter recently (online media industry) and in conversation I happened to mention I’d spent way too much time in the early 2000s playing online games…

He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100% because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc. I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WoW players…

No WoW-hating companies are named. On the other hand, a firm that outright dismisses the WoW crowd de facto shrinks its global applicant pool by – what – 12 million potential employees?

They can’t all be addicts.

Via: Raph Koster

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. Lokoth says:

    Argue semantics all you want, but that is the way the world works.  I will hire someone who will compliment the team and I can interact with, making the work day more enjoyable.

    As far as the "more than enough" part comes in, I used to play WoW.  I have tons of stories of players who sacrificed their real lives for advancement in the game.  Two marriages, one long term relationship, numerous friendships, and at least 4 jobs (that I can specificially remember).  That is from a medium sized guild on a medium populated server (Gorgonnash a few years ago). 

    Do I want an employee who does his job while on my payroll or one that spends his time at work dividing DKP and scheduling raids?  If you want to stay at entry level and slightly above, then keep it up.  When you want to join the higher paying world, back off on the MMO action and devote your time to job skills.

  2. Father Time says:

    Really, what number is ‘more than enough’?

    The way I see it is that there are enough people who game and aren’t addicted that it’s stupid to discriminate based on game choice.

    Debates are like merry go rounds Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  3. Lokoth says:

    You guys do realize that discrimination is completely legal as long as you don’t base it on race, religion, gender, etc.  Its perfectly legitimate and accepted.  If you don’t like it, don’t aim for management as a career.


    Not all gamers are as bad as the press thinks, but there are more that enough socially inept "gamerz" out there that discrimination based on game playing is a useful choice.

  4. Deamian says:

    It only takes a minority of douche among a majority of non-douches for everyone to become lazy WoW addicts in the eyes of anybody who has absolutly no fucking idea what they are doing, by refusing a WoW-Player as a recruitee.

    Too bad we don’t have the name of the company, some employer would learn the cost of discrimating gamers, like a certain attorney that shall remain nameless in case Jack Thompson might see this and sue half of america for reputation attacks.

    Then again, maybe it was just a way for a weak employer to say "No sorry, the economical crisis prevents us from hiring anyone, but I can’t say it so I’ll blame a video game instead, so we don’t look weak." Happened more than once to me (Not exactly as such), and I’m sure, to other people.



  5. thefremen says:

     I think anyone who is a Healing class that has fishing maxed out would be a model employee. Healers don’t mind doing hard work while an idiot gets all the credit (IE: tanks and DPS), fishermen/women don’t mind doing repetitive boring tasks for menial rewards.

  6. Neeneko says:

    You think this is bad, imagine what it is like for people with alternative sexual stuff going on.

    Poly? BDSM? There are a lot of jobs out ther (entire industries) where if anyone finds out you are blacklisted.


  7. Aliasalpha says:

    One of my best friends used to be a professional dominatrix and most of her customers were high power businessmen who wanted to be treated like crap and have foreign objects insterted in them. Compared to that I think WOW is relatively benign

  8. Aidinthel says:

     I believe that the original intent was to use an ad-based income system for the game, but the production and maintenance costs were too high. With all the additions since then, I doubt that a free version will ever be released. 

  9. TBoneTony says:

    It is a sad thing, but it is also a reality.


    Some people who are employers will go onto a potential employees MySpace or Facebook page and if they see nothing but drunk photos, they would not hire them.


    That is one thing I don’t like about Videogame Discrimination.


    It is hard enough being blamed for school shootings and murder, but to have your favorite hobby being blamed for addiction and not being able to get a job in the first place, that is a kick in the nuts for being a gamer and discrimination.


    But the sad thing is, society does not care about us. They only see what is on the news and that is now these things happen.



  10. Buckeye531 says:

    This seems a little fishy to me. Just how would employers know their workers are WoW players? Nevertheless, if this is true, then those employers should be ashamed of themselves. Any form of discrimination in unacceptable.

    My brother plays WoW, btw.

  11. hellfire7885 says:

    You can keep saying that right up until they refuse to hire you for gaming period.

    Hmm, and WoW is a huge game, and has lots of people playing it together over the net, it’s a real MMO alright.

  12. CarsAreScary says:

    This would never catch on. All the guys handling the office’s tech support/networking would vanish and none of us would figure out how to get our Dells out of hibernation mode. The world would end as we know it.

  13. SetoChaos says:

    In my opinion this is as bad as being rascist. I personally hope that if this continues someone sues the company in question, I used to play WoW and may still do every so often when I feel like it. But just because I ocasionally subscribe that shouldn’t mean I have less career options. It’s like discriminating against black people, white people, deabled people, men, woman or anything else. Absolutely pathetic.

  14. Derovius says:

     I for one am glad that they specifically don’t hire people who play or have played WoW. Man-up and play a real MMORPG you carebears.

  15. MaskedPixelante says:

    I don’t play WoW, so it must be some other reason that I can’t get a job.

    However, if they start a free subscription but with ads service…

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  16. Derovius says:

     You can abuse perscription drugs and a great deal of over-the-counter items. Examples include huffing paint, chugging cough medicine, etc. All of this is substance abuse, and unless you do this in public, its not illegal.

  17. Baruch_S says:

    There’s a slight problem with your logic. Drugs are illegal; WoW isn’t. Keeping someone with illegal habits out of your company makes sense; keeping someone with a harmless and likely well-adjusted hobby out of your workplace is stupid and discriminatory.

  18. Hitodama says:

    Screening for anything really is discrimination. Though drugs have chemical mind altering effects, so I could understand with that.

  19. Archgabe says:

    Yeah, not like any of that will land you good leadership skills, out of the box thinking and god forbid (gasp) social skills!

  20. sirdarkat says:

     Well Im fubared … I play DnD … MMOs …. single player games …. read fantasy books … I guess Im really disconnected with reality I’m amazed that my bosses put up with me let alone keep putting me on key projects.

  21. brucklorace says:

    Sure, there are many people addicted to WoW — but why does everyone seem to pick on it! I mean, there are other RPGs out there, but people like this believe that somehow, every single other RPG isn’t addicting!


  22. silversnowfox says:

    Insanity.  To quote Dr House, "Isn’t intersting that religious behavior is so close to being crazy that we can’t tell them apart."

  23. Kojiro says:

    Oh, they do.  Not legally of course.  Your potential employer is looking for married and mature.  Too many people consider any video game to be immature.  And being unmarried means you are more likely to go out drinking and staying up late and maybe even moving to another city.  There is of course some truth to it all, but they are obviously generalizations.

    And of course hide your tatoos & piercings, pull up your pants, and wear a straight-laced dress watch.

  24. TaoJeannes says:

    This reminds me of the Israeli policy of discouraging enlistment by D&D players, citing something like "disconnection from reality".

    WoW never lost me more sleep than a girlfriend, and I don’t see anyone screening for that.

  25. Ambiguous says:

    I talked to an employer once while on a job shadow for school.  He mentioned the facebook/myspace thing, asking if we knew why they might look at it.  I told him the whole thing about seeing what kind of person you are, and he told me I was wrong.  At least, from his perspective.  He said he doesn’t give a damn what you do on your own time.  You can go and get wasted every night your not working for all he cares, as long as you are still abel to do your job well.  But, he still checks things like that for signs of intelligence on the person’s part.

    He said that you could look at it that way(seeing what kind of person they are I mean), but his reasoning is this: if someone is dumb enough to go around posting every thing they do, such as going out partying all the time, particularly if they are under 21, and even more so if they atually post pictures of it, then he doesn’t feel that he can trust them with company sensitive information.  If they can’t even demonstrate the presence of mind to protect their own ass, no way can they protect the companies.  So they don’t get hired not becaues of their lifestyle, but because they can’t be trusted if theyre dumb enough to tell the entire world that theyre basically wannabe frat boys.

  26. Attack_Gypsy says:

    That’s why my MySpace page (such that it is, it isn’t much) doesn’t have my real name on it.



    The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~ Benjamin Franklin

  27. DraginHikari says:

    Yea alot of companies do that now because they believe they can tell what kind of person you are by looking on how you act online I guess.

  28. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    This is so insulting…and it is discrimination..course I’ve heard they go look up your myspace page and depending on whats on there they’ll decide to hire you or not o_O

  29. CBell says:


    Listing playing WoW on a resume is just retarded.  Don’t they teach basic resume/interviewing skills anymore?  If you play WoW or any other MMO that’s cool, but if you list it on your resume then you get what you deserve.

  30. Frommonday says:

    Perhaps, but it’s not surprising that companies are actively discouraging WoW players from their employ, is it?

    As mentioned, the poster in question mentions that it was the recruiter (not the company) which disclosed the policy. He has no reason to lie there, and as you yourself have mentioned, you think it’s silly to bring up gaming as a hobby. You’ve proven the suspicion here, that there IS a World of Warcraft bias in some employers.

    How is playing this game any more damning than something like being a fan of cheesy horror movies or fly fishing?

    The answer: Nothing but prejudice.

  31. Zevorick says:

    I really think it’s a comunication issue at fault here. I would NEVER absolutely NEVER hire someone who listed World of Warcraft on their resume unless they actually worked for Blizzard. Would I hire a GM for a customer service job? Absolutely! Would I hire a programmer for a job involving programming? You betcha! Would I hire a guild leader of a tier raiding guild for my office? If he listed that on his resume I sure as heck wouldn’t! WoW is fine and all, but keep it out of the office/resume! There should be more applicable things to put on your resume or it is severely lacking.  If a question about hobbies comes up in a job interview, do you honestly think they want to know about gaming? Not really. It’s basic interviewing skills people.

    I really think the guy was excused from the job because he talked about "spending TOO MUCH TIME playing online games" and got offended, thus assumed or flat out lied about the man saying he was to avoid WoW gamers. People have been known to lie on occasion to justify their position 😉 Remember this.

  32. zel says:

    Thats fine, i’m not saying he should be a cited source for CNN or anything. My primary point was you were misleading in your post to begin with:

    "Anyone stupid enough to bring up Video gaming themselves during an interview, or any other superfluous hobby for that matter, deserves what they get."

    right after talking about the guy, which leads one to think ohh, ya that guy musta been an idiot! but he states plainly in no uncertain terms that he has a job, he was not interviewing, he was just talking to a recruiter he was at lunch with. When I was contracting I did the same with my recruiter, we’d hit lunch, they made sure I was happy with the pay and the job and we’d shoot the shit about random topics.

    Who the hell is gonna tape record the recruiter and be all like OMG i’ma gonna post it!  The guy is just relating something that happened and he though it was an interesting quip about the current state of things, not like he meant for it to go this big. So feel free to go crazy trying to discredit everyone who doesn’t bring you affidavits on everything they’ve heard but i see no reason to be demanding hard proof of anything, its not that big of a deal in this case, just an odd thing he thought people might wanna hear about.

    edit: on another note, i understand and don’t disagree with you completely, i just tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  33. Zevorick says:

    His post count, length of time on the forums, or trust displayed by others on said forums does not make him a credible source.

    "CNN. We’ve got the most forum posts of any major news station!"

    Again, show me factual evidence or I will choose not to believe it.

  34. zel says:

    Most of us here are anonymous and yet we don’t go around saying everyone here is lying, not like ‘zel’ is my real name and i’m sure your handle isn’t your real name. The guy posting on that site has over 2300 posts so its not some random guy that signed up and posted crap and moved on, he’s been there a while, and been there logn enough to have credibility amogst the regulars there so you shouldn’t just discard his comment point blank for no reason at all other than he’s not using his  real name. Not saying i go around believing everyone all the time either but his story isn’t all that far fetched. My mom lost her job just because she sounded hispanic on the phone (well, she is, so am i) and she worked for a recruiter, so i’m partial to believing this guy.

    (of course, that wasn’t the reason they gave, but she found out from someone else who thought it was wrong and overheard them laughing about it.)


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  35. Zevorick says:

    I never said everything on the internet was a lie now did I? I never said everyone on the internet lies now did I? Heaven forbid I don’t take an anonymous poster at his word. I trust reliable news sources, not unnamed people.

    As for what he could possibly have to gain by lying about something like this, think about the posibility that he has trouble finding work. He’s mentioned in passing what his hobbies have been and what not during interviews and tried to play up his skills, you know the usual interview stuff. When he has trouble getting a job, lo and behold it isnt because he’s incompetant, unskilled, or just plain mediocre (sometimes people truly can be too average). It’s because he’s a victim of prejudice! That takes all personal blame off of him and puts it on the mean ole grinch of a company who doesnt see the value in WoW.

    Unless I see some documents leaked from the company that discuss this type of prejiduce (be it memos, emails, etc), then I will choose not to believe an unnamed source.

  36. zel says:

    Ya, i think you’re lying too, the whole internet is nothing but lie i dunno why we beleive anything on here to begin with.

    Honestly what does the guy have to gain by lying, you can run around thinking everyone lies about everything but if thats the case why bother posting anything on here at all.


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  37. Zevorick says:

    And again, you’re missing the point that you have to actually believe him. This is the internet. People lie about this kind of stuff all the time.


    and I was referring to this part

    "I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head."


  38. zel says:

    You’re missing the fact he was not being interviewed. He was talking to a recruiter he knew at lunch:

    //Quoting from the original poster on the forum

    Correct. I did not specifically bring it up. But it wasn’t a job interview, we were just doing lunch. He had a new iPhone 3G, we started talking technology and games, and I happened to mention I considered myself to have played too many online games several years ago. When I said "the ones that came before World of Warcraft", he had heard of WoW so he told me what employers had told him about its players. And I thought "I’ll post that on f13".



    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  39. Zevorick says:

    You’re taking an anonymous posters word that the recruiter said that. The anonymous person has all the reason in the world to lie about that. Anyone stupid enough to bring up Video gaming themselves during an interview, or any other superfluous hobby for that matter, deserves what they get.

    If someone brought up their like of horror movies during an appropriate time it would be one thing, but if he brought it up during the question of "where do you see yourself in five years" or "what assets do you bring to the company" then what do you expect? 

    Take any workshop on basic interview skills and they’ll tell you to avoid disclosing anything that is not job relevant. If the interviewer asks you about "do you play videogames",  or anything else that is not pertinent to the task at hand, you are supposed to say something like "I’d rather talk about the skills I bring to the job," and then list several skills you have. If they bring it up again, then it’s time for you to look for employment somewhere else.

    Again, unless video games or your favorite hobby have anything to do with the job keep it out of the interview. Only discuss relevent skills and abilities.


    As far as discrimination after the fact such as demanding doctors notes when people who play MMO’s are sick, that should be discussed with a supervisor or a higher up who knows or has access to your work record. If it is a new policy for everyone there is little you can do, but if you have been singled out because of any activity not related to work performance then there is a case for harassment. If they do nothing about it, start looking for work elsewhere

  40. Hitodama says:

    Lucky you, indeed. As far as I know me and one other guy are the only people in the world with my name…

  41. Zevorick says:

    My name brings up several bands, web designers, a politician under nixon that was involved in Watergate, and a bunch of other stuff that isn’t related to me sadly…Even worse is that some of them have myspaces that… are less than flattering


  42. Frommonday says:

    Then you sir, are very lucky. My name is so bloody uncommon I’m one of three of me in all of Canada, and tacking a Toronto on to the exchange means you pull me up right quick.

    Luckily my more geeky ventures are all under psuedonyms (paranoia pays off!) and about all you can concretely find on me are some awards on my highschool’s website for leadership and mathematics, and another article which happens to mention me as a witness in a mugging.

    Hardly damning evidence, that.  

  43. Papa Shango says:

     You could say the same for companies that screen out those who use drugs. I’m not saying it’s good or bad but the fact is the company should reserve the right to employ or not employ a person based off of whatever they want. 

  44. zel says:

    Screening for any hobby is discrimination IMO. If someone barely does their job, thats a problem but blame it on the person and not the game. Plenty of wow players do their job just fine 😛 


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  45. Frommonday says:

    Ha, I wish! I play sometimes when I’m sick, but call in sick for it? I’m not even at the point where it’s realistic for me to do so.

    I play casually with my girlfriend, and my highest level character right now is a level 56 Night Elf Warrior. I’m not allowed to play him unless she’s playing as well, so I usually spend my time with my level 44 Shammy. And I’ll probably hit 57 with my Shammy before I do with my Warrior, thanks to how slowly my girlfriend levels.


  46. zel says:

    Lucky enough my real name turns up so many entries in google, you’d have one HELL of a time trying to find anything on me 😛


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  47. Wag says:

    Doing a google search (or other search engine) for a persons name is becomming common for any hiring practice.  I know that I’m very careful about what I personally put online but I have precious little control over what other people do if they post things about me.

    It is absolutely discrimination.  It is all too easy to set up a myspace page for somone, without their knowledge, with plenty of false information and incriminating photos.

    It’s all pretty upsetting.  This WoW development dosen’t surprise me.  There will certainly be HR departments run by "older" and often times "out of touch" people who see games (especially WoW) as having a negative impact on their personality.  It is likely that it is compounded by the many sensationlized stories about stereotyped WoW players.

    These issues will likely resolve themselves over the next 10 – 20 years, but it will happen at the expense of plenty of hard working and competent gamers.

  48. zel says:

    "Hell, my manager "happened" to start demanding doctor’s notes on sick days after he learned of it, which I found quite insulting in and of itself."  

    so uhh, were you REALLY sick or did you just wanna raid a bit, ya know, get some more DKP, more badges for the sunwell epics or was this recently for wotlk? 

    kidding kidding 😛


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  49. Frommonday says:

    It’s a stupid discrimination, though as brucklorace points out, there are other things which are just as addictive. Evercrack, anyone? I think WoW is singled out because it’s the largest. Let’s face it, no other MMO comes close to WoW’s subscribor count and let’s admit it, we hear about WoW-addicts messing up their lives at home, at work, or at school fairly often. I can think of a solid dozen seperate instances of WoW players getting media coverage over blatantly-negative acts (like abandoning class to play, playing to the point of collapse, etc) without the added coverage of level-rushers who grind their way up to the next cap in a matter of days, spending time away from work, family and friends to do so.

    It’s hardly surprising to hear this.

    As I said, it’s stupid. But the question GP proposes is entirely rhetorical and probably has been for at least a year. WoW is the new D&D: You don’t admit it to your coworkers who aren’t geeks because it’ll get you frowned upon, start the whispers. I happened to admit playing it at one job and before I knew it, I was a being painted as a hopelessly addicted individual.

    Hell, my manager "happened" to start demanding doctor’s notes on sick days after he learned of it, which I found quite insulting in and of itself.  

Comments are closed.