Monday, November 29th, 2021

World of Warcraft game director says removing awesome old content isn’t a “smoke screen”

Last month or so, World of Warcraft made some minor changes to the old part of the game and removed or edited the content, but it wasn’t that old.

Blizzard clarified some of them, including removing references to actual employees who left the company as a result of proceedings alleging harassment, discrimination and a toxic work environment. However, the other changes are more subtle. In-game painting tonedown And that Removed some “joke” lines Players can deliver using chat commands. Much of the deleted content can be considered unnecessarily sexual compared to the tones of other parts of the game. Or, they were explicitly or implicitly degrading towards women.

These changes are steadily rolling out in the World of Warcraft public test realm, but we are preparing to publish them in future game patches.Community reactions have been mixed and acknowledged in recent reactions as the website data mines, discovers and reports on these changes. Interview with Venture Beat With game director Ion Hazzikostas.

Many welcomed the removal of inappropriate content, while others were confused and even annoyed. Why did Activision-Blizzard remove years-old jokes instead of spending energy on more pressing issues such as modifying corporate culture and dealing with proceedings?

In an interview, Hazzikostas claimed that the World of Warcraft team is doing a whole lot to improve the company’s work culture using the tools in front of it.

“On the other hand, some people have expressed concern that we are doing this almost as a smoke screen,” he said. “I’m not really tackling a difficult problem, I’m just changing a few words in the game. This isn’t” or “. That is “and”. I understand that changing the World of Warcraft emotes doesn’t fix systematic fraud, but while tackling greater cultural unity, diversity, security issues, and more. Would you like to fix it?

“We’re improving the process for evaluating managers and sharing feedback with teams, so we’re improving hiring and hiring to build more diverse teams, so keep an eye on our game. Let’s turn it. It has one possibility. It will be more noticeable in the short term, but in the long term it goes far beyond being judged as a team, as a company, and as a game. I understand that. That work is still in progress. “

I understand that changing the World of Warcraft emotes does not fix systematic fraud. But why not do it while we are also working on issues such as greater cultural unity and diversity and security?


So what exactly does that work require? According to Hazzikostas, the system for changing game content was the result of a lawsuit because of the need to evaluate where individual teams could specifically improve.

“For more than 17 years, it has become clear that some of our games are not necessarily the product of a diverse and comprehensive range of voices, but do not necessarily reflect that perspective. There are times when people on our team and on a team of many players aren’t proud of our game. These are many things people have pointed out in the community over the years, but not always. . Listen to what it should be at that time. “

So they set up an internal process for the World of Warcraft team to flag parts of the game for review, such as old quests and specific dialogue lines. For example, jokes and references “made a dozen years ago” ridicule male blood elves as feminine. “That’s not right in 2021,” Hajikostas said.

The submitted content is reviewed by the WoW team’s “Reflecting Team Diversity Today” group to decide whether to retain or modify it.

“Because it’s on the border, we’ve decided whether to leave some things alone, but we’re not going to reinvent everything, turn all the stones over, and rewrite the 17-year WoW,” said Hazzikostas. continue. “Maybe a little younger. Maybe the colors are different. But this doesn’t make our game feel unwelcome to people. That’s what we’re trying to change. What we left behind. Others have been deleted and others have been rewritten or modified accordingly. “

Activision Blizzard Proceedings Timeline: The Story So Far