Add another tick to the growing list of small but nonetheless interesting changes Blizzard is making in its games in the wake of California sues Activision Blizzard for enabling alleged culture of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This time, World of Warcraft developers have modified two paintings found in the game to remove or reduce sexual elements.
As discovered by WoWHead, a painting of a resting woman in a revealing harem-style slip and mask has been replaced with a painting of fruit.
A separate painting of a woman in a v-neck cloak emphasizing her breasts has been altered to give the woman a less revealing top.
The queer woman painting was located at WoW’s Ravenholdt location, while the dressed woman is (or was) in Stormwind’s S-I7, a spoof of Britain’s disbanded MI7 agency.
PC Gamer asked if these changes were made in relation to Blizzard’s previous actions to remove dubious or controversial content from its games in the wake of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit, but did not receive a response by publishing time.
In recent weeks, Blizzard has made other small changes, including removing references to “sacks” and “ho’s” and World of Warcraft quests. Blizzard also said it would be removal of references to the names of employees involved in the California lawsuit and various allegations, including former designers Jesse McCree, Luis Barriga and Jon LeCraft.
This is actually not the first time Blizzard is reducing the sexualization of a character within games in the game. In 2019, Jaina Proudmore’s short portrait in Hearthstone was changed to reduce the amount of cleavage her outfit showed.
Changes like this are undoubtedly welcome in many of Activision Blizzard’s front – line employees, but the company itself is still under fire. Most recently, the union Communications Workers of America joined the A Better ABK staff coalition to file a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board claiming that Activision Blizzard has violated labor laws which protects workers from punishment to discuss organization. Blizzard has hired a law firm with a history of helping Amazon with unions.
You can check it out in full timeline for the Activision Blizzard trial here, plus a lawyer’s perspective on where things will go from here.