Over the last few weeks, World of Warcraft has undergone several changes, as offensive and suggestive content has been altered in the game. In the latest update, Activision Blizzard has apparently removed several instances in which orcs are referred to as "greenskins" in a derogatory fashion. The World of Warcraft development team has not gone into specifics about these changes, so it's impossible to say for certain why they were made. Arguments have been made in the past that depictions of orcs in fantasy media have long been problematic, as there are often racist overtones to the way they are treated.
Given that this argument has been made several times in the past (including by ComicBook.com's Christian Hoffer), it's possible the changes were made in an effort to make the game more welcoming. However, as the website Wowhead points out, it's also possible this was an attempt by World of Warcraft to distance itself from similar terms in Warhammer. While several "greenskin" references have been dropped or altered, similar terms such as "green hide" remain in the game. It's worth noting that a character by the name of "Captain Greenskin" has not had their name changed.
Outside of these changes to the game's orcs, several other changes have been made. Notably, the game has changed the name of the character "Finkle Einhorn" to Pip Quickwit. Finkle Einhorn was originally created as a reference to the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. That movie has come under fire in recent years for its depiction of a transgender character. Understandably, several items associated with the character have also seen changes to reflect the new name.
Last but not least, there have been several changes made to the game's dialogue, in order to remove suggestive content, or content that implies a lack of consent between characters. A sequence with the character Gerard Abernathy and his "mindslave" Theresa has been toned down. All of these changes to World of Warcraft come as a direct result of the accusations of racism, sexism, and "frat boy culture" at Activision Blizzard that have been made public over the last few months. Following those allegations, the publisher promised to make changes at the company, and pursue changes to its games to make them more inclusive.
What do you think of the recent changes to World of Warcraft? Are you happy to see some of these references dropped? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!