WoW criticized over treatment of gay players


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Online Game Addresses Gay-Rights Uproar

By MAY WONG, AP Technology Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A gay-rights uproar in the popular "World of Warcraft" online game has spurred the game's maker to review its treatment of gay players.

The game, which draws more than five million players worldwide, was hit by controversy last month after a player was threatened with expulsion from the virtual Warcraft world when she sought to recruit others into her gay-friendly team.

Blizzard Entertainment, the game's maker, apologized last week to the player, Sara Andrews of Nashville, Tenn.

It said the warning was a mistake and that it will make some changes to prevent a repeat, Andrews and her attorney from the Lambda Legal civil rights organization said Wednesday.

Blizzard representatives did not return phone calls for comment.

Gay-friendly teams already exist in Warcraft, but the issue here stemmed from Blizzard's enforcement of its policy banning the harassment of players based on sexual, religious or political affiliation.

According to correspondence between Andrews and game officials, the company said it does not allow such recruitment efforts on its general chat channels to help prevent harassment.

Andrews, 25, said she protested because she had done similar recruitment in the past without reprimand and noted that many others associated with a political or other affiliation have done the same.

While the harassment policy is sound, trying to silence players from stating their sexual affiliation is not, contended Brian Chase, a Lambda Legal staff attorney.

"If you want to stop harassment, you should punish the harasser, not the victim," Andrews said.

As part of its review, Blizzard this week instituted a new chat channel specifically for recruitment and told Andrews it also plans to provide sensitivity training to the employees who monitor the online play and communications forums.

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Now, admittedly, I don't play WoW, but I do play another online game, Guild Wars (which everybody should at least try the beta weekend for the standalone expansion March 24th, drop me a PM if you want a key). Anyway, underneath it's rating on the box it says:

"Game Experience May Change During Online Play"

I'm 99% sure that WoW has such as well. The fact is, she violated the EULA, and action was taken. Maybe the EULA is poorly written.

I also love how she's upset because she got away with it before, as if the game's customer service reps can just sift through all the dialog from millions of players and catch every violation. Guild Wars players have been temp banned for excessive cursing, but you think they have to assign a rep to every guild channel, every town and district and party? Plus monitoring all the whisper messages, observer mode chats. It'd be an unbelievable amount of stuff to sift through.

Just because you didn't caught doesn't make it right.

Now, I agree that the policy is kind of stupid, which is why they issued her an apology and offered an in-game fix. What does she want above that?

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Now, I agree that the policy is kind of stupid, which is why they issued her an apology and offered an in-game fix. What does she want above that?

Money. I bet the next step is her talking about pain and suffering. I agree with pretty much everything you said, and I find it funny how instead of contacting customer service about the issue, she automatically goes out and gets a lawyer.

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