World of Warcraft

WoW inclusion measures: Character looks will not be adjusted!

In the article called "Evolution of creative content in World of Warcraft", the WoW makers comment for the first time on the many small visual adjustments that have taken place on the test server of WoW Patch 9.1.5. in recent weeks, leaving many a player perplexed.

Pictures of partially completely desexualized murals and item icons made the rounds, changed NPC and achievement names, and now also the replacement of NPC groups in instances, which until now seemed to be perfectly okay - at least the one in Karazhan, because it's been there for 14 years and even in a new edition of the raid as a dungeon.

Blizzard removes references: McCree and other name changes

"We want our jokes to be inclusive".

This is one of the two important statements that WoW team members have now gotten carried away with. Jokes should be inclusive and perhaps no longer quite so offensively flippant and above all not blatantly sexualized. That's why patch 9.1.5 will introduce, among other things, an Incubus demon, so that there is an adequate counter-demon to the Succubus.

The second statement from the WoW makers, which makes players breathe a sigh of relief who are a big fan of their character look: "We also want players to be able to express themselves with the help of their characters. That's why we don't plan to change existing player looks or cosmetic items. Rather, we want to make sure we give players a wide range of ways to express themselves."

You can read the post in full below - and then add a little opinion if you'd like.

The evolution of creative content in World of Warcraft

Over the past few weeks, artists and writers on the WoW team have been reworking some old quests, graphic assets, names, and dialogue that were outdated and didn't fit our values as a team. These revisions are a relatively small part of a larger, company-wide effort to improve the WoW team and Blizzard as a whole, but they are important to us as developers.

In early August, we created internal channels where the WoW team could share feedback on content that no longer reflected who we are as a team today. During that time, we also gathered quite a bit of feedback from players on almost every area of the game. Player feedback has driven many game improvements that we are working on in patch 9.1.5. With our internal feedback, we were able to find game content that did not fit our goal of an inclusive and welcoming game world.

In a game that consists of thousands of graphical elements and millions of words of text, it is clear that these revisions represent very few changes overall. Nevertheless, we believe these changes are important. World of Warcraft (buy now €14.99 ) is meant to evolve over time. Every day, new players from different social classes and corners of the world experience our game content for the first time. As a team, we want the world they see to reflect our talents and principles.

Silly jokes and occasional adult innuendo are a part of WoW and probably always will be. That said, we want to make sure that the elements of this world are not off-putting to any players. In short, we want our jokes to be inclusive and not hurt anyone.

Sometimes when deciding whether to adjust content, there may be circumstances that complicate our decision. For example, some graphics in our world are used repeatedly throughout the game. To ensure that there are no instances where these graphics are seen in a way that could be construed as disrespectful, we may decide to replace certain elements altogether in some cases. It's important to us that Azeroth is the best place for everyone, and we'll continue to improve decision-making in these cases.

We also want players to be able to express themselves through their characters. That's why we don't plan to change existing player looks or cosmetic items. Rather, we want to make sure that we give players a wide range of ways to express themselves. We are doing this work alongside the development of new content and features. You'll see more of this soon in 9.1.5 and in future updates, including WoW Classic where appropriate. One example of an improvement after 9.1.5 is the creation of an Incubus demon that we can put in places where succubi currently appear. The Incubus is also supposed to be a glyph option for Warlocks when they summon this type of demon.

As WoW continues to grow and evolve, we will continue to discuss, review, and implement this type of feedback. As always, we are incredibly grateful for your opinions and hope you will continue to share them with us.

- The World of Warcraft Team

Suse says (Warning, comment!)

Dear WoW devs!

I understand that after navigating an extremely rough sea, you'd rather sail into shallower waters; the accusations of discrimination and misogyny against the WoW team didn't come from anywhere. What pisses me off a bit, with your in-game content adjustments, is that you're now saying that "they were outdated and didn't fit our values as a team." Ehm. I get that. Yes. But what kind of values did you guys have for the past ten years when the whole world was dealing with movements like #MeToo?

You also write, "In early August, we created internal channels where the WoW team could share feedback on content that no longer reflected who we are as a team today." I remember very lengthy discussions around a quest that involved torturing a prisoner in the Borean Tundra. Only after discussions did you, dear WoW makers, change the quest. Did that quest reflect who you were as a team back then?

The game is full of content that in one way or another isn't okay today - and often wasn't back then. But now they're not "okay okay" at all? Who determines that? People who made the game 16 years ago? Surely not. But those would be the people who should realize that things from back then aren't okay now, right?

To me, that's the way it looks now. All the customization does is make changes that alienate the game for me, as a veteran of the European beta. And maybe that's the worst stumbling block in MMO development: the game has to constantly evolve and can't just be a child of its time, unlike, say, a movie or a book. By the way, what makes naked skin on player characters less objectionable than naked skin on a painting on the wall or on an NPC? Because you also have to see this, dear WoW makers: You don't just depict female characters in an exaggeratedly sexualized way, but also men. Do we, really and quite honestly, not have some kind of balance with that again?

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