Activision Blizzard’s cleanup of World of Warcraft appears to continue in the lead-up to patch 9.1.5. This cleanup first began in wake of serious alleged workplace harassment charges levied at the company earlier this year. This latest update targets a multitude of suggestive jokes and flirtatious lines to be removed with its release. These updates follow the statement the WoW team put out last July, promising to create a more inclusive game environment moving forward.
This cleanup first began following the departure of disgraced World of Warcraft designer Alex Afrasiabi, who was pictured in the now infamous alcohol-riddled “Cosby Suite” from BlizzCon 2013. Afrasiabi was singled out in particular for not only being one of the people responsible for the hotel room but for the alleged continual harassment of female coworkers in the workplace as well. He additionally took part in a “Cosby Crew” group chat prior to the convention, where he allegedly engaged in sexually explicit conversations regarding women they would potentially meet at the convention. Following the release of this information, the team behind World of Warcraft began to scrub in-game mentions of Afrasiabi, who was terminated in June of 2020.
The past days have been a time of reflection for the World of Warcraft team, spent in conversation and contemplation, full of sadness, pain, and anger, but also hope and resolve.
–WoW Team, July 2021
Prior to the update, Wowhead, an educational source for all things World of Warcraft, released an article detailing all that would be removed in the new update. This article showed that a lot of content was set to be removed, at times leaving certain characters with barely any lines left to cycle through. The jokes and flirts set to be cut range from being completely inappropriate to clearly dated, showing that time and effort was put in combing through every line of dialogue.
While many might applaud the initiative the WoW team has shown in the months since July, many fans have expressed their distaste with the new updates. Many fans claim that the removal of these lines do nothing to improve the game environment and that it is nothing more than a weak attempt to appear more inclusive.
I love World of Warcraft and Been Playing for 10 years While I won’t stop playing the game, I really Don’t understand why they are Removing all of this stuff. The Need to get their Head out of the Gutter
— Darkendlink (@Darkendlink) October 7, 2021
Regardless of fan disagreement, the new Shadowlands Patch 9.1.5 will be releasing. Although many believe the removal of some jokes might be a stretch, many are still in agreement that this is a step forward for the company. With the game being around since 2004, it’s no wonder that lines needed updating.