World of Warcraft Game Director Says Removal of Poorly-Aged WoW

  • In the last month or so, World of Warcraft has been working on a number of small changes to older parts of the game, removing or editing content that, well, hasn't aged all that well.To get more news about Buy WoW WLK Gold, you can visit lootwowgold official website.

    Some of this, Blizzard explicitly addressed, such as its removals of references to real-life employees who have departed the company in the wake of a lawsuit alleging harassment, discrimination, and a toxic work environment. Other changes are more subtle, though, like the toning down of some in-game paintings and the removal of a number of "joke" lines that players could deliver using a chat command. Much of the removed content could be considered unnecessarily sexual compared to the tone of the rest of the game, or was explicitly or implicitly degrading toward women.
    These changes have been steadily rolled out on World of Warcraft's Public Test Realm, but are preparing to go live in an upcoming game patch. As websites have datamined, discovered, and reported on these changes, the community's reaction has been mixed, a reaction that was acknowledged in a recent VentureBeat interview with game director Ion Hazzikostas.

    While many welcomed the removal of inappropriate content, he noted, others were confused or even frustrated. Why was Activision-Blizzard removing years-old joke lines instead of spending its energy on more pressing matters, like fixing its company culture or dealing with the lawsuit?

    In the interview, Hazzikostas argued that the World of Warcraft team is doing its part of the whole to improve the company's work culture with the tools in front of them:

    "On the other end there are those who have expressed concern that we’re almost doing this as a smokescreen,": he said. "Rather than actually tackling the hard issues, we’re just changing some words in a game. This isn’t an 'or.' It’s an 'and.' We understand that we’re not fixing systemic injustice by changing an emote in World of Warcraft. But why not do that while we’re also working on larger cultural unity and diversity and safety issues and more?

    "As we’re improving our processes for evaluating managers, for sharing feedback with the team; as we’re improving our recruiting and hiring to build a more diverse team, let’s also turn that same eye on our game. That’s one thing that may be more visible in the short term. But in the long term we understand that what we’re going to be judged for as a team, as a company, and as a game is far beyond that. That work is still underway."
    What does that work entail, then, exactly? Hazzikostas says that the system for changing game content was born in the wake of the lawsuit from a need for individual teams to assess where they, specifically, could be better.

    "One thing that came up is that there are pieces of our game that, over the course of 17-plus years now, that were not necessarily the products of a diverse or inclusive range of voices, that did not necessarily reflect the perspective of the current team and of many of our players. There are things that people on our team were not proud to have in our game. These are many things that people, over the years, have pointed out in the community, but we didn’t necessarily listen in the way we should have at the time."

    So they set up an internal process for the World of Warcraft team to flag pieces of the game for review, such as old quests or specific dialogue lines. For instance, jokes and references "made a dozen years ago" mocking male blood elves for being feminine. "That doesn’t sit right in 2021," Hazzikostas said.