It seems that Blizzard Entertainment is combing through their smash hit MMORPG World of Warcraft for anything problematic, as the gaming studio has recently removed a single swear word from a piece of dialogue that has been present in the game for years.
The word ‘bitch’ was removed from a conversation between Garrosh Hellscream and Sylvanas Windrunner, wherein the former Horde Warchief orders Sylvanas to “watch your clever mouth, bitch!”:
For those unfamiliar with the game’s lore, the Undead Forsaken were left in a bad position at the conclusion of events seen in the Wrath of the Litch King expansion, as their numbers had been devastated due to the death of numerous soldiers in the campaign through Northrend and the lack of reproduction caused by the Undead’s zombie-like-qualities.
To solve this issue, Sylvanas makes a deal with the powerful female Val’kyrs, who proceed to resurrect fallen Horde soldiers into members of the Undead Forsaken in exchange for freedom from the Lich King’s servitude.
However, when Garrosh is shown the Val’kyrs necromancy as a solution to the dwindling number of Horde forces, his general disdain for the Undead leads him to disavow Sylvanas and insult her with the term in question.
This change did not go unnoticed, as Twitter user @Krexxal caught the change and called out the company, saying, “Blizzard you cowards, why did you remove the word “bitch” from the Garrosh’s dialogue”:
@Krexxal would explain his views on the removal by reasoning that ” “To me the conversation is completely and tonally different without Garrosh saying “bitch”.”
“It removes the disdain he and the rest of the Horde had for Sylvanas at the time,” @Krexxal continued. “At the very least Blizzard could replace it with another insult like ‘whelp’ or something.”
The issue would eventually be escalated to World of Warcraft Lead Narrative Designer Steve Danuser, as @Krexxal argued that “if the issue is with the word “bitch”, you could just replace it with a more reasonable insult!” and tagged Danuser directly:
One user, @chaoticdruid1, disagreed with the necessity of the insult and reasoned that “The tone shows the disdain without the insult”:
Danuser would then join the conversation and not only agreed with @chaoticdruid1’s opinion, but also made clear that the decision to remove the word was collectively made by Blizzard staff ,
“Agreed. Garrosh’s point of view comes across just fine after the edit. I make no apologies for removing the word. Everyone, of course, is entitled to their own opinion. But we felt it was time for it to go, and it’s not coming back,” noted Danuser:
This edit comes at a very interesting time, as World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, Shadowlands, is set to release on October 27th.
It seems that, in anticipation of an influx of new players, Blizzard wanted to get ahead of any potential issues with people complaining about the insult.
Former Vanilla World of Warcraft team lead Mark kern also took notice of the removal of the word and speculated that this implementation of a “change that never needed to happen” would eventually lead to his removal “from the credits like they did with [Minecraft creator] Notch?”:
What do you think of this change in dialogue? Is this just some basic housekeeping on Blizzard’s part, or is this a signal of things to come? Let us know your thoughts!