Eurogamer just reported that Blizzard will be making sex change operations free once the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion is released. Currently, a sex change operation in WoW retail costs $15.00 applicable sales tax not included.
From a lore and role-playing perspective — WoW is still a MMORPG last time I checked — offering a sex change makes no sense as Azeroth is a high fantasy medieval world where such technology would not exist. Barbershops do make sense, complex surgical operations don’t make sense.
(Note: Blizzard chose the most androgynous race to highlight the sex change service as other races would have looked ridiculous and repulsive.)
Perhaps some mad gnomish scientists have figured out a way to change someone’s gender. If Blizzard is going to do this, at least put a bit of effort into perverting the lore. Perhaps they could make an entire expansion out of this. What reason the Alliance and Horde would have to expend tremendous resources to explore gender changing technology eludes me.
Why would money hungry Activision/Blizzard reject a potential money making service like a gender change?
You guessed it correct: identity politics and pandering to the trans community and their allies. Gratuitous wokeness is a clever smoke and mirrors distraction that the Irvine studio frequently deploys to convince the world that Activision/Blizzard cares™ and it’s done so that you don’t focus on their dealings with the worlds largest abuser of human rights: communist China.
The Trans Transition Package
At some point I predict that Blizzard will offer complete transition package to players. Players can start off as a male or female, then eventually change to the opposite sex. The players appearance and voice would slowly change over time. This would most certainly garner them accolades from GLAAD, Kotaku, HuffPo, Polygon, Massively Overpowered and Blizzard Watch.
From the same Eurogamer article, WoW Executive Producer John Hight explains:
“A long time ago, we had the ability for players to go in – it was actually a paid service – and change their character. Much of that is now in the barber shop in the game,” he said. “And as we were adding things up in Shadowlands, we realised, ‘Gosh the only way you can change your gender in World of Warcraft is to go through this paid service.’ And we felt like that’s not the right message.”
What is the “right message” Blizzard?
Obviously the right message is what people that work in the video game industry in woke southern California believe it is: anti-Christian, neo-Marxist ideology cooked up in the misandrist cauldrons of tenured American academia and now metastasizing at alarming rates in corporate America.
What if a player disagrees with Blizzard’s message?
When did creating video games become about sending the right message — whatever that is?
Are we living in communist China where every citizen is subject to social engineering and social scores?
Do people actually purchase video games for the purposes of them being indoctrinated by the personally held beliefs of Blizzard producer John Hait and his crack team of socially conscious designers?
Perhaps, Blizzard feel like their customers are children who need to be educated.
What Blizzard is doing is not without precedent. Other game studios are engaging in similar virtue signaling stunts. For two years, Daybreak Games has been making PRIDE vanity pets for free for EverQuest players to celebrate LGBTQ pride. There were no Stonewall riots in Freeport or Qeynos.
Hight continues in the Eurogamer article:
“WoW is a game that doesn’t try to emphasise sexual relationships so in that regard, we don’t necessarily tell that part of the story other than to hint around it,” he said. “But we certainly have characters [that have] – or we’ve always thought of characters as having – different gender identities in the game.
“We don’t try to put a big focus on it and make it a big deal, we just try to make the game feel comfortable, friendly and approachable for everybody in the game, regardless of where they come from.”
He just contradicted himself by making a big deal of the free gender change. This is shameless and obvious pandering. These people have been drinking the neo-Marxist Kool-Aid for so long, they have no idea of how ridiculous they sound.
What if a player comes from a strict Islamic country like Saudi Arabia where homosexuality and sex changes are illegal? How is the devout Muslim going to feel welcome with identity politics propaganda shoved down his throat?
Is Blizzard going to dictate to WoW players who have sincerely held religious and cultural beliefs, how they should think and what they should believe?
Is the dissemination of propaganda and indoctrination of players, the proper role of a video game studio?
The Importance of Role-Playing in a Fantasy MMORPG
From the days of EverQuest released in 1999, players have been able to choose the gender, race and class of their characters. MMORPGs are a transgender person’s dream come true where anyone can experiment with role-playing the opposite gender. Many other video games allow players to play the gender of their choice.
Blizzard can pat themselves on the back for this latest symbolic gesture but the truth is, that nobody has ever been excluded from playing a MMORPG. The entire point of being in a fantasy virtual world is to ROLE-PLAY a unique character and integrate your character into the world. It’s a form of improvisational acting. You are not an audience member that is riding on an amusement park ride waiting to be entertained, you have to CONTRIBUTE!
Video games have always been an avenue of ultimate freedom and unlimited expression where players can experiment with actual role-playing and playing other genders.
To speak in language that woke Blizzard might understand, it’s like being a drag queen or a Cosplayer. You don’t show up and play yourself, you’re playing the role of a famous female singer or a superhero.
It would be like arriving at a Renaissance Faire dressed like a gangsta rapper or an astronaut and drawing attention to yourself. It would be highly inappropriate. You would be unwelcome because you would not fit in. You would be destroying the immersion for all the people that are working hard to create it. You’d be a disruptive jerk that is putting his needs before the needs of everyone else.
The selfish people that demand representation in fantasy virtual worlds of their real world identities and proclivities are committing the exact same crime of disruption against immersion. They are sabotaging the fragile immersion that the talented artists, designers and players have worked so hard to create.
Owning and running a Renaissance Faire has somethings in common with to owning and running a fantasy virtual world. People are coming to your MMO/location to be immersed in your world — not their world. They must accept the terms and conditions and agree to be active, productive, good faith participants in the shared fantasy which is critical in the suspension of disbelief.
For years, the slogan of EverQuest MMORPG was:
You’re in our world now!
That byline meant that you — the player — were being transported to a wondrous fantasy world of magic and danger. It was a call to experience the joys of unbridled escapism and to forget the real world and to totally immerse oneself in Norrath.
Those days are gone. Today you are truly in “their” real world. The woke world of identity politics and PRIDE parades where deviancy, sodomy, debauchery are hailed as virtues.
Immersion is an antiquated concept that has been put on the back-burner by fundamentalist adherents of wokeness. Manifestations of representation, diversity and pandering to the alphabet people is now their prime objective.
Blizzard is foolishly undermining the immersion that they’ve worked so hard to built over the past 20 years. For what? All to keep a handful of social justice warriors on Twitter happy.
Companies like Blizzard have never given a damn about role-playing. They only pay lip service to the idea. Instead they hired EverQuest raid leaders like Afrasiabi and Kaplan who knew nothing about RPing at the time, still don’t, and could care less. To them, MMOs have always been about the achievement mentality — getting more gear/loot and bragging rights. Garbage in garbage out. The only diversity that MMORPGs should care about promoting is Bartlesque archetype diversity: achievers, explorers, socializers, killers, and builders. Virtual worlds were one archetype dominates are boring, and one-dimensional. Sound familiar?
If you want to change your gender, most sensible people who play MMOs are fine with rolling a new character. You certainly don’t need special favors from Blizzard if you are so adamant about changing your gender.
I’ve been playing WoW off and on since it was released in 2004. In all that time I have never heard of one person that ever payed for a gender change. From what I have heard, both the race change, name, and gender changes are often sought from players who have ruined their reputations and gladly pay for these services to escape the consequences of their own behavior. It’s like a WoW Witness Protection Program for a fee.
Misguided Blizzard apparatchiks like John Hight feel that WoW subscribers need to hear the right message, their message. But in the past 5 years, I am hearing another not so subtle message that reeks of arrogance, contempt, and condescension. The message is: if you believe in traditional values and the biological science there are only two genders like normal people have believed since the dawn of humanity, you are a bigot, not welcome and have no place in Azeroth or any other Blizzard universe.
I pity any WoW player that has had the misfortune to fall into a coma in 2004 and wakes up in 2020 to see how identity politics has ravaged his beloved Blizzard.
Expect Blizzard to concoct more woke publicity stunts in the future that marginalize their core audience just so they can pander to activist minorities and the perpetually proud and outraged alphabet people who don’t even play their games.
Remember, all WoW players are equal but some players are more equal than others.
“When did creating video games become about sending the right message”
Very good question. It started slowly a few years ago. Overwatch was the first Blizzard game to go full bore with it. This is supposedly modern. I don’t know. The huge majority of hero characters is gay, lesbian, autistic or part of a minority. This is then call “inclusion.” That lesbian heroine Tracer loved presenting her arse in an overtly sexual way was subject of debate, her being lesbian (quote Overwatch Wiki) “a depiction that was positively received by media outlets and players.”
When does indoctrination of the youth start? Where is Freedom of Speech end? Criticizing this is not what good players and game journalists do, they have to sing along the song of praise.
Is it a reaction to the decline of the MMO genre in general? I think regardless of what Blizzard did, good or bad, the genre and WoW as its most prominent exponent would have shrunk massively. MOBAs, now Hero Shooters, trends change.
I would like to answer myself with NO, because also literature is infected with wokeness by now. If you want to have the slightest chance for scifi/fantasy awards like Nebula or Hugo, you have to go with the flow. Instead of shallow love affairs we now have even more forced lesbian/gay romances, as you can often see the authors are not really into it, it seems to be a checklist thing to do!
Offering character adjustments for ingame money or free instead of real money is a good thing. But they are doing it for entirely the wrong reasons.