Op-Ed

What Belongs in the Game?

| 29 Jan 2006 10:05

Keeping with the philosophy theme, I just read a very interesting article on an incident from WoW. In short, a guildmaster recieved a warning email for advertising their guild as "GLBT friendly" (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual), under the Harassment - Sexual Orientation clause. According to the article, the response given when asked for clarification was "We have determined that advertising sexual orientation is not appropriate for the high fantasy setting of the World of Warcraft and is therefore not permitted."

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?)?

I don't know. I don't like any of the conclusions I come up with, and I think I'd rather see none of them at all: pride, hate, or otherwise. I understand the appeal of creating/joining a group with things in common with you, especially something you feel strongly about, but I just don't like dragging these issues into a world that doesn't need them. I'll be an orc, and that's all anyone needs to know.

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