Blizzard Bans Formation of Gay-Friendly Guilds in WOW

There is heated buzz from around the internets regarding Blizzard Entertainment’s official warning issued to a player who was recruiting for members to join her gay-friendly guild in World of Warcraft. According to Blizzard, forming a gay-friendly guild would incite harrassment by a large number of players, therefore she was not permitted to organise such a group. Essentially, the argument is that if she was allowed to create this guild, and was then harrassed by other players who hurled homophobic slurs and insults at her the General Chat channel, their actions would be her fault. Right. Flawless logic there, Blizzard.

I have gathered some comments on the issue. Because I think Blizzard’s position is ludicrous, most of the comments I have gathered are in line with my opinion. Just so you know.

EDIT: This post was compiled before Blizzard issued an official statement regarding their actions in this case. Please read my next post for a follow-up on this story.

Gamesblog:

Eh?! This makes no sense, and perpetuates the view that the online space is straight, thus filtering out the very diverse set of people who enjoy a virtual life. It also suggests that they are happy to coddle those users who think it’s OK to throw out homophobic epithets, of which – in their view – there must be many. After all, they must be anticipating that the number of people they would have to ban for responding to the call by hurling epithets would result in a significant loss of revenue.

Kotaku:

Blizzard replied that her actions could incite others to harass players who otherwise wouldn’t be harassed. In other words, stay in the damn closet. Very enlightened, Blizzard.

Plaguelands:

Too me this statement comes across as Blizzard placing the blame on the victim for perpetrator’s behavior. With this policy Blizzard is discriminating against homosexual players.

…High Fantasy Setting? That’s the furthest setting I’ve witnessed on multiple servers, I currently play on three. The communities makes the majority of the setting, the community is the atmosphere and overall this atmosphere not in accordance with Blizzard’s supposed high fantasy standard.
The Escapist Lounge:

I find it difficult to find a position on an issue like this. On one hand, the intent was certainly not harassment. On the other hand, it would inevitably cause problems, as anyone ever in a global chat in an MMO would know. It seems like the easiest solution, and the one requested by Blizzard, is almost a virtual ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Of course, then you need to think of where you draw the line. Would it be more/less apropriate to advertise a guild as Christian? How about Muslim? Mexican? Black? Female Players? Is it acceptable to make a guild that only allows users of one nationality for national pride reasons (Aussie only!)? What about excluding a nationality (No Norwegians?)?

Cathode Tan:

It’s OK to cybershag in some shack and apparently, and Blizzard is OK with that. How about being black? I mean, should players refrain from talking about their race because some white supremacist dickwad might be on the same channel? That’s inane. There is even tell that Blizzard has started to crack down on Christian Guilds (scroll to the bottom). So it’s essentially uncool to bring up anything about yourself that might be controversial to someone on the world’s most popular MMO? Gee, that should be a short list … of everything.

Loads of discussion on Slashdot:

Okey dokey:

Actually they are really acting within the best interest of most of the people involved. If you go out of your way to create a ‘GLBT’ guild and advertise it for all to see, then you, and your guild members are certain to become prime target for the rest of the server that are not quite as ok with the alternate sexuality as the guild members.

pomo monster:

…if there’s a problem here, it’s not with the folks who want to start an LGBT–it’s the puerile kids who haven’t yet learned how to function in society. So the question is: why is Blizzard supporting the latter instead of the former? I’m guessing because there’s a lot more of the latter, and a lot more, to Blizzard, means a lot more money.

Onan:

How kind of them to have our best interests in mind. I wonder if they extend the same courtesy toward black players, banning them for disclosing their race in order to protect them from racists?

SatanicPuppy:

Blah blah. Right or wrong, “Gay” and “Fag” are common parlance of annoyance and insult with the younger set. I myself was quite enamored of the word “Bitch” which I applied impartially to men, women, and machinery. It’s offensive to some people, but when it’s in common use as a general purpose insult, you’re just going to have to get over it, and wait for the fad to change.

Onan:

So because an offensive act is accepted within a given subculture, we should always just sit back and accept it?

Epi-man:

Can I just ask why the heck it matters whether there are or are not gay gamers out there? What does sexual orientation have to do with any of it, why should any one care? I am asking this in all seriousness, this is just silly (to me).

Moth7:

There’s nothing wrong with a gay guild from the perspective of total in-game immersion. Homosexuality is not something artificially created by contemporary society – it will exist in any environment where humans, and indeed other species, are present. There’s no republican gene that would cause an elf to magically align his or her self to what is, compared to the number of possible outlooks on life, a relatively narrow band of thinking. However, where nature can only incline you to be attracted to one gender or a combination of the two, then probability says it is definitely going to happen.

misfit13b:

By going on assumptions that a guild like that may lead to hate issues, they’re not doing anything to remove the true negative elements from the game. Instead, Blizzard chooses to limit positive social interactivity between benevolent like-minded gamers.

Jherico:

Blizzard has already been discriminating against people by failing to enforce their anti-sexual harrasment policy. As long as someone if free to hurl ‘fag’ or ‘gay’ as an insult in game, then Blizzard is fostering a hostile environment for GLBT players.

Terra Nova discussion

[Via Cathode Tan]

[tags]blizzard entertainment, harassment, homophobia, lgbt, mmorpgs, world of warcraft[/tags]

  3 comments for “Blizzard Bans Formation of Gay-Friendly Guilds in WOW

  1. Dann Dana
    31 January 2006 at 12:46

    Yet another thread discussing only part of the story.

    Sara was not told she’s not permitted to create a gay-friendly guild, she was told she’s not allowed to advertise it in General chat. She would have been told the same thing had she advertised a straight guild, a white guild or a Nazi guild.

    Further, Blizzard GMs don’t just sit around looking for opportunities to be homophobic, as so many people seem to suggest. Rather, they respond to user complaints. How did Blizzard know Sara was advertising her GLBT-friendly guild? Because she did so on General chat and some other user (or users) complained. Further, Sara was told she can advertise her guild in her server’s forums, just not in General chat.

    I’m sick of seeing these endless articles about Blizzard not allowing gay-friendly guilds to form, as it’s just not true.

  2. 31 January 2006 at 13:48

    If you read my next post, which is an update to this one, you’d see that I noted exactly what you have been saying.

Comments are closed.