Patch 9.2 Will Continue to Update Outdated References in World of Warcraft

Patch 9.2 Will Continue to Update Outdated References in World of Warcraft

In his interview with, World of Warcraft Executive Producer John Hight confirmed that Blizzard developers will continue their company-wide effort to update parts of the game which are considered outdated and inconsistent with their values throughout patch 9.2 development.

This effort, which began with the questionable replacement of paintings quickly expanded to encompass significant quest changes, renaming derogatory character references, and even removing long-standing player character voice lines from the game.

Buffed: Blizzard has been through rough times this summer, and kind of changed the company course a little bit. You want to listen more to the community. And as Ion said in an interview, your no more sticking strictly to the pillars that former developers have established in the game. Did that have any impact for the development of patch 9.2. So where there things you have more or less changed in the short term of the developing?

John Hight: I think philosophically, it’s we recognize that we have a very broad spectrum of players. WoW is literally the Swiss Army knife of games. There’s something in there for everyone, you know, and we recognize that. And so we want to make sure that we’re listening to that broad spectrum of players that we’re giving fun, cool things to do. Regardless of whether you’re a high end Raider or into arena PvP or, or just somebody likes to go in and fish and chat with your community. And so when looking at 9.2. we certainly wanted to make sure that we prioritize things that players are going to enjoy. One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve started, well not started but we’re being more diligent about looking at things that are reported in the community, whether it’s a bug or a feature that they’re not happy with. And we’re flagging those independently so that we can say, hey, regardless of whether we consider this an A level “oh my gosh, gotta fix this issue”, or it’s going to interrupt people’s progress in the game, we do recognize that this is an issue that the community reported and so that’s carrying a specific weight with us. And if we weren’t able to address it immediately, you know, maybe it requires a more significant update than we can do in just a simple hotfix. We’re tracking those things through 9.2. and making sure that there’s a number of those that are also being addressed in 9.2.

Over the course of the interview, Hight points out that unlike many other forms of entertainment, ongoing games can be changed to adhere to values which have evolved over the course of nearly 17 years of World of Warcraft development. The gaming community includes a wide range of differing player opinions and perspectives, which developers are making an effort to hear and create a place where everyone can play together without prejudice. This highlights the reasoning for some changes, not all of which were removals, such as the addition of male variants in Karazhan.

Buffed: Another point regarding the rough times lead to the removing of many things from the game. Do you follow this course in the upcoming patches? And where would you draw the line because removing obviously sexist content is one thing but cutting down characters like Maximilian of Northshire, which seems at least to me, like an obvious parody is a completely other thing.

John Hight: I think the learnings for us is that we have a game that is enjoyed 17 years on people’s PCs. I mean, we built communities before even Facebook was around and the ideals and the vernacular that people use back in that time is very different than today. And I think that in operating a live service and you know, in a universe that we hope will go on for many years and beyond us, we have to be open to the idea that we will change content to better match and reflect the ideals of our community. And we want this to be a community where everyone, regardless of gender or ethnicity can come together in play and enjoy each other and understand each other’s perspective. And we think that we can actually help, heal a lot of the wounds that society seems to be facing just by playing together.

And we have a medium unlike any other. Our predecessors can’t do that. I mean, think about movies and children’s books that once that page is printed, once that film is struck, it can never change, and can provide a bit of an embarrassment for later and more progressive cultures, and an insight into how people thought during those times. But we do change, we do grow. That is the nature of what WoW is. So will we change in the future? Yes, I hope so. Because we as human beings change in the future, and we’re reflective of that.

While many of these changes have been bemoaned by some vocal parts of the community, a common argument is in removing some of the tongue-in-cheek and often self-depreciating humor which is associated with the unique flavor of World of Warcraft. One recent example is the Maximillian of Northshire questline, which received significant rewrites that paired down much of the quixotic narrative which made the questline stand out so much to players in the first place.

Buffed: So you have no fear of killing the very special Humor that WoW had over all these years?

John Hight: I think humor at the expense of others is never special. It might be special to a small group, but it’s not special to a community, and that’s the distinction.

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