Last Updated on March 28, 2020
Blizzard have forced a guild in their popular MMORPG game, World of Warcraft, to change their name from “Make Azeroth Great Again” as it is “inappropriate.”
Earlier this week, GameByte published an article about a World of Warcraft, or WoW, guild called “GAY BOYS” was forced to change its name by Blizzard after users reported it. This is despite the fact that all of the players in the guild, were themselves gay. A guild, for those who don’t know, is simply a group of players in the game.
A user known as Cogblast approached GameByte, and revealed that his guild, known as “Make Azeroth Great Again,” a tongue in cheek to reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan, were also targeted. Cogblast inititally received a message that the name of his guild was “inappropriate,” and was removed. This decision was reversed by a representative from Blizzard, who confirmed that the name did not break their Terms of Service, but was then reinstated only 12 hours later.
He told GameByte that the group existed on an “RP-PVP” server – one that is dedicated to roleplaying and combat between players – and explained that his recruitment messages were “satirical parodies of Republican talking points using the in-game lore in place of real places and peoples”:
For instance, instead of promising a southern border wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, we would promise a northern border wall to keep out the neighbouring troll civilisation. Trolls are playable, and Blizzard routinely makes references to real people using all of the available playable races, so this was never meant to be a slight against anybody.
He explained that despite the name, political preferences were not taken into account when accepting new members and had no real bearing on its running:
While the bulk of the original members of “Make Azeroth Great Again” are conservative, it was never a requirement for the guild. We even kicked out several members that were too aggressive with their right-wing politics, because the guild was a social guild and we welcomed all sorts, so political arguments from either side were not allowed.
Cogblast said that he had become totally disillusioned with the game as a result, and has quit playing:
When I was playing on that server we were the only guild not specifically dedicated to RP that was recruiting without breaking character, and yet it was deemed “not RP friendly,” which largely is typically meant to be like saying “not lore friendly”. It’s really crazy to think that even obliquely referencing support for the president through satire is too political in a game where historically you could do almost anything with guild names as long as it wasn’t outright racist or something.
This revelation is simply the latest in a string of bad press incidents from Blizzard, who are currently coming under fire from all sides of the political spectrum for seemingly standing with the Chinese government against the Hong Kong protestors. Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung, a Hearthstone player from Hong Kong, was suspended on Tuesday by Blizzard from competing in it professionally for one year and had his prize money confiscated, after he demanded the liberation of his country. He will also not receive any prize money earned this season.
After a public backlash, Chung received his prize money and his suspension reduced to 6 months. Three college players of Hearthstone who supported the protestors were also suspended, and Blizzard is also banning anyone who posts pro-Hong Kong statements from commenting on their Twitch channel.