Controversial World Of Warcraft Quest Removed After Backlash

Popular fantasy MMO World of Warcraft has come under fire for a questline that pushed up against some of the darker parts of the franchise’s lore, and it was not flattering.

To explain it as simply as possible for those who don’t play World of Warcraft, the quest (called A Missing Soul) was first part of the game’s Public Test Realm, which allows players to try quests and other content before they go live in the main game. This included the Fractures of Time update, which included a quest that involved preserving the timeline after an opposing force attempts to change history. The trouble is, the history the player has to help preserve involves a character named Alexstrasza, an ally to the player character, going through a traumatic event that was a major moment in the game’s lore.

Content warning for sexual assault

The quest required the player to ensure the Demon Soul, an artifact used to control dragons, isn’t displaced in the timeline and can still be used by the Dragonmaw Clan. In World of Warcraft lore, Alexstrasza was bound by the Demon Soul to the Dragonmaw Clan and is forcibly impregnated so the Clan can use her offspring as battle mounts. Polygon has a more extensive explanation of the quest for those who want more lore details, but the long and short of it is, the quest had the player ensuring a rape survivor would still endure the traumatic event because it was a moment in the original timeline. Not only did it bring attention to just how messed up the Warcraft lore is, but fans were also rightfully upset at how the game handled the subject matter.

The quest as it existed on the PTR does point out just what you’re preserving, and while Alexstrasza isn’t happy, she acknowledges it had to be done for the sake of the timeline. But beyond that momentary acknowledgment, the quest feels tonally jarring because the reality of it is treated as an awkward footnote at the bottom of the quest description. Chromie, another ally to the player, is facilitating this quest, and pretty much just looks away and mutters not to tell Alexstrasza.

Fans on the game’s forums weighed in on the quest, and Blizzard said it was looking to adjust or remove quests after community feedback.

“We have seen the comments in the community regarding some Chromie quests in Fractures of Time on the PTR and we understand your concerns,” community manager Liam Knapp said in response to the thread. “We’ve been iterating and discussing all of these quests internally, and we’re in the process of adjusting and removing quests. These changes will be available in an upcoming PTR build. Thank you for your feedback!”

As of this writing, the quest has been removed from the PTR, but what form it will take in the final game remains to be seen. Speaking as a person who has mostly experienced World of Warcraft through osmosis, I’m surprised Activision Blizzard is willing to even touch on topics like this after coming up on two years of public controversy surrounding its workplace culture, which involve accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination that Activision says it has investigated and declared it never had a “systemic issue with harassment, discrimination or retaliation.” Sure, some of these pieces of Warcraft lore are years old and probably merit reconsideration, but drawing such direct attention to them with a new questline is an easy way to draw comparisons to your company’s current situation.

Microsoft Crackdown On Unauthorized Controllers Sparks Backlash

Microsoft appears to be cracking down on third-party peripherals for its consoles. Players are reporting getting error messages when they try to use certain off-brand controllers on Xbox Series X/S, with the accompanying text telling them them that the devices are not authorized and will no longer usable come mid-November. The major policy change is sparking a loud outcry from various gaming communities, including fighting game players who often use third-party fight sticks for high-level competitions.

The upcoming change was first reported last week over on WindowsCentral. An Xbox One user reported getting an 0x82d60002 error code when trying to use her existing off-brand Xbox controller. “A connected accessory is not authorized,” a console warning read. “Using unauthorized accessories compromises your gaming experience. For this reason, the unauthorized accessory will be blocked from use on 11/12/2023.”

A similar warning was reported by accessory maker Brook Gaming, which specializes in fighting boards and steering wheel adapters. “Recently, we have received player feedback concerning these products when used on Xbox consoles (the latest OS version 10.0.25398.2266 released on 10/16) during online gameplay,” the company tweeted on October 20. “We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause you.”

As many players have pointed out, this new policy could be one way that Microsoft is attempting to crack down on manufacturers of XIM and Cronus Zen adapters which help players modify their controller inputs to cheat in popular online shooters like Call of Duty: Warzone 2 and Rainbow Six Siege. At the same time, the blanket ban will also mean that lots of cheaper off-brand controllers and custom gaming accessories will no longer work on Xbox.

“Heyo [Phil Spencer, Xbox, Matt Booty] This is essentially a death sentence for local fighting game events that run on Xbox, much less, others that can only afford one arcade stick,” fighting game content creator and expert Maximilian Dood tweeted on October 29 as the news spread. “The Brookgamingfans converters are not cheat devices. They’re a huge boon to the FGC. Please reconsider!”

The biggest question about the new restrictions is whether peripheral makers will be able to apply to become authorized suppliers, or if the ban will remain in place for anyone who doesn’t have a branded deal with Xbox. That would mean companies paying Microsoft for authorization, potentially increasing the costs of the devices themselves or forcing some manufacturers to stop making devices for Xbox entirely.

This is the situation that’s already in place on PlayStation and it’s a huge drag. The PS5 only supports officially licensed controllers and accessories, of which there are very few. Most are also quite pricey. The result has been a near-total lockdown that gives players few alternatives to Sony’s DualSense. Microsoft now seems to be heading in the same unfortuante direction.

Update 10/30/2023 12:04 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed the ban will soon go into effect and said it’s for “performance, security, and safety.” “Microsoft and other licensed Xbox hardware partners’ accessories are designed and manufactured with quality standards for performance, security, and safety,” they wrote in a statement. “Unauthorized accessories can compromise the gaming experience on Xbox consoles (Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S.) Players may receive a pop-up warning that their accessory is unauthorized. Eventually, the unauthorized accessory will be blocked from use to preserve the console gaming experience.”

The full list of of supported devices going forward is available on Microsoft’s website.


Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Looks Blog by Crimson Themes.