If the goal of World of Warcraft Classic was to rollback the player experience to what it was like in the MMO’s early days, Blizzard is pulling out all the stops to fulfill that vision. Ars Technica today reported that Blizzard forced a guild by the name of “Gay Boys” to change its name this week in a move that echoed a 2006 crackdown on one player’s efforts to set up an “LGB friendly” player guild.
On Wednesday, Blizzard changed the guild’s name from Gay Boys to Guild ZFXPK, with a Blizzard Customer Service email explaining that the change was made after “your fellow players reported your in-game name as inappropriate multiple times.” The guild’s creator was also issued a temporary account suspension, although that was overturned.
Gay Boys member Ahmil Jilani told Ars Technica, “If you reviewed my chat logs, you would see multiple messages from individuals through my recruitment process of getting us to where we are today, with individuals messaging ‘Fuck the gays, reported,’ amongst other extremely hateful and discriminating comments… These are the individuals that find our name inappropriate. Giving in to their demands only means that you are siding with them as a company, which, after a decade of playing your games, is a surprise to me.”
In an update to the Ars Technica article, a guild member said the Gay Boys name had been restored, but customer service had warned them that player reports may see it automatically changed again in the future if other players continue to report it, as there is no way to prevent that from happening.
This is not the only Blizzard reaction to player behavior raising eyebrows this week. The company also banned a Hearthstone pro for expressing support for Hong Kong protestors after a Grandmasters tournament victory. The company said players are not allowed to “engage in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”
Blizzard’s image has since taken a number of hits as broadcasters, players, and even US senators have decried the ban. A Blizzard spokesperson has since explained the company’s lack of response, saying it is “assessing the situation” for the moment.
A Blizzard representative had not returned our request for comment as of press time.