Originally written by qDot for mmorgy.com

Wow, what an internet wirefire this has turned into.

So, as of our last post (which was last weekend, before Blizzard a chance to clear things up like you know they would...

'cept they didn't.

Here's the exact wording from Blizzard, since I like making my posts look long:

Apologies for the length of time it took to get this information out
to you.

We encourage community building among our players with others of
similar interests, and we understand that guilds are one of the
primary ways to forge these communities. However, topics related to
sensitive real-world subjects — such as religious, sexual, or
political preference, for example — have had a tendency to result in
communication between players that often breaks down into harassment.

To promote a positive game environment for everyone and help prevent
such harassment from taking place as best we can, we prohibit mention
of topics related to sensitive real-world subjects in open chat within
the game, and we do our best to take action whenever we see such
topics being broadcast. This includes openly advertising a guild
friendly to players based on a particular political, sexual, or
religious preference, to list a few examples. For guilds that wish to
use such topics as part of their recruiting efforts, our Guild
Recruitment forum, located at our community Web site, serves as one
open avenue for doing so.

We will be clarifying some of the language in our game policies in
order to help avoid such confusion in the future.”

So, that made no one happy, and the internet has blazed with the light of a million flames since. Joystiq, Kotaku, ShackNews, and other places around the net (check the Joystiq article for more news sources) are seeing heated debate over this issue. Here at MMOrgy, I still stand by what I originally said, and now WolfOfTheAir is weighing in:

Basically, the fact that some number of people (who are probably in
the majority) don't care doesn't mean this is a topic that can be
swept under the carpet.

They desire not to have to hear about it, and become offended when I
shove it in their face. I desire not to have to hear things that I
find offensive, but which others shove in my face.

What makes them more special than me?

I see the homophobia-as-humor shtick to be creating a hostile
environment to me specifically, and to anyone of the alternative
preference set in general. As was mentioned, they're opening
themselves up to massive lawsuits if they make homophobic-type remarks
available in their own software, and then censure anyone who tries to
create an even remotely non-homophobic environment in-game.

The "homophobic-type remarks in the game" issue comes up from the aforementioned post on Shacknews, with the relevant part as follows:

Speaking of innocent sexual language being used in the game, Blizzard
built plenty of it into the shipping product, which makes this
situation even more absurd. There is a "/flirt" emote with many
prerecorded lines of dialogue, including one that states,
"Homogenized? No way, I like the ladies!" In fact, when I was just now
in the game cycling through the pre-recorded "/flirt" emotes in order
to find that one, another male character walked up to me and
repeatedly invoked the "/sexy" emote, which appeared to me as
"Circuitjerky thinks you are a sexy devil." Should I have reported
this behavior to a GM? Somebody could have been insulted!

Research on the IGDA Sex In Games Mailing List found that this quote comes from the Male Tauren character, but could be construed enough ways that it would break Blizzards own policies.

GamesIndustry reported that the Stonewall gay rights group had already called on Blizzard to change their policies. Kotaku is now reporting that a gay rights group has jumped into the fray, with one of their attourneys helping out the WoW players that got the inital warning.

Get your flame-retardant suits, popcorn and lawn chairs, kids. This ain't gonna end any time soon.