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World of Warcraft‘s team has been making some small adjustments to the game, renaming quests and characters that had innuendo-laden names and removing some character emotes, like kick and moan, which could be problematic when targeted at other players.
Activision Blizzard is under state and federal investigation for workplace discrimination and sexual harassment claims. Much of these problems stemmed from the World of Warcraft group, which developed a frat boy-like culture. A lot of that seeped into the actual game, and now the current WoW team is trying to clean things up.
“Goofy jokes and occasional mature innuendos are part of WoW, and probably always will be,” The WoW team explains in a blog post. “Still, we want to remain mindful of whether certain elements of that world are welcoming to all players. In short, we want our jokes to be inclusive and not punch down.”
World of Warcraft has been around a long time. The MMO launched back in 2004. A lot has changed since then, and many jokes that were once acceptable (or, rather, tolerated) can now stand out as immature, gross, or mean.
“In a game that has thousands of art elements and a word count in the millions, we recognize that these updates will amount to very few total changes overall,” the WoW team notes. “Nonetheless, we believe these changes are worthwhile. World of Warcraft is meant to evolve over time, and every day, new players from every walk of life and every corner of the world experience our in-game content for the very first time. As a team, we want the world they see to stand as an expression of our talents and principles.”
These changes may not have a big impact on the game, but they may represent something of a cultural shift. World of Warcraft has become infamous for its toxic player base, which is quick to mock, insult, troll, and rage. To really fix the problem, Blizzard is going to have to step up the game’s moderation resources and maybe rethink systems that can deprive multiple players of their rewards because of the minor mistake of an individual.
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