Blizzard is being called out for yet another controversy today, as an LGBT guild in World of Warcraft Classic has reportedly been forced to change its name due to it including the word "GAY." Ars Technica is reporting that the LGBT World of Warcraft Classic guild "GAY BOYS" had its guild name censored this past week, replaced with a temporary new guild name. Blizzard informed the guild that a "thorough investigation" determined that the guild's name was inappropriate for World of Warcraft.
According to information provided by the World of Warcraft Classic guild, its name was changed because "your fellow players reported your in-game name as inappropriate multiple times." The following investigation not only changed the guild's name but also suspended the guild's creator. The suspension was ultimately overturned, but how an investigation decided to not only censor the word "Gay" but also punish the guild creator at the same time remains unclear.
One member of the guild provided a statement to Ars Technica regarding the ban. "To say there is anything inappropriate about the words GAY or BOYS is, in and of itself, inappropriate, childish, and discriminatory." They also note that it isn't uncommon for the guild to receive harassing and offensive messages in World of Warcraft, insinuating a lack of surprise that these people might report their guild. They are surprised that Blizzard would capitulate, though. "Giving in to their demands only means that you are siding with them as a company."
The GAY BOYS guild is appealing the censorship of their guild name and is currently awaiting an official response. In the meantime, the guild is planning a protest march in-game on the World of Warcraft Classic server Blaumeux. The guild is adamant that its guild name in no way breaks Blizzard's End User License Agreement and wants Blizzard to re-enable it.
This new issue startlingly hearkens back to similar World of Warcraft controversies in 2012 and 2006 before it. World of Warcraft players in 2012 stirred up a controversy over Blizzard's forum censorship of the words "transexual" and "homosexual." Blizzard ultimately responded positively, removing the words from its filter list. In 2006, Blizzard censored a woman's advertisement for an LGBT-friendly World of Warcraft guild, stating at the time, "advertising sexual orientation is not appropriate for the high fantasy setting of the World of Warcraft." Blizzard ultimately allowed the guild. It's startling that 13 years later, Blizzard is apparently revisiting those same beliefs.
World of Warcraft and World of Warcraft Classic are currently available on PC.