We encourage community building among our players with others of similar interests, and we understand that guilds are one of the primary ways to forge these communities. However, topics related to sensitive real-world subjects -- such as religious, sexual, or political preference, for example -- have had a tendency to result in communication between players that often breaks down into harassment.
Blizzard's point is that discussing sexual matters in open chat leads to harassment, but the guild in question was not discussing such matters in open chat, they were merely informing other players that a guild exists where they can have such discussion in private, precisely to avoid running into the problems Blizzard claims will occur.
A Shacker and World of Warcraft player named James S. was aware of the guild in question. "I used to play on that server. Advertisements were merely of the form '< Oz > is currently recruiting members! We are a GLBT friendly guild!'," he states. "From what I recall (correct me if I'm wrong), nothing inflammatory or offensive." When I contacted him for further comment, he made the important point that MMOs are by their nature social games, and it is only to be expected that many players will want a place where they can speak freely, especially through private channels, about their lives.
Some may say that such guilds have no place existing in a video games at all--it's a game, why bring sexuality into it? Well, the reality is that the best and most enjoyable guilds to be in are the ones whose members have a strong rapport, who can feel free to shoot the breeze in guild chat, and who enjoy chatting while performing what is, in many cases, repetitive gameplay. When I was a more regular WoW player, my guild was that way; somebody might mention something that happened with his girlfriend that day in the context of a conversation, and it was just part of the overall flow of our guild chat channel. If a male player was in guild chat, and brought up his boyfriend in the exact same context, he'd probably have to deal with a lot of backlash and, since these games take place on the internet, plenty of negative comments.
It seems perfectly reasonable that a guild made up of members who will not hold prejudice against that type of conversation--and it's worth reiterating that, as Andrews points out, the guild is "'GLBT-friendly,' not 'GLBT-only'"--would want to inform other like-minded players about the guild's existence.
Speaking of innocent sexual language being used in the game, Blizzard built plenty of it into the shipping product, which makes this situation even more absurd. There is a "/flirt" emote with many prerecorded lines of dialogue, including one that states, "Homogenized? No way, I like the ladies!" In fact, when I was just now in the game cycling through the pre-recorded "/flirt" emotes in order to find that one, another male character walked up to me and repeatedly invoked the "/sexy" emote, which appeared to me as "Circuitjerky thinks you are a sexy devil." Should I have reported this behavior to a GM? Somebody could have been insulted!
I like the cut of your jib sir. Nice article Mr. Remo.
Agreed. Really interested op ed.
This was a good news blurb.
agreed. I'm still surprised that they're really making a fuss over this, its pretty rediculous. I'm all for being GLBT-friendly, much of the world isn't and its important to stand up for what you believe in
Great article. I don't play WoW myself, but it's interesting commentary on something that could be just as applicable to other MMOs out there.