The American video game behemoth Blizzard Entertainment has apparently removed the racist “greenskin” insult from its hit online multiplayer game World of Warcraft.
In the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, there is a battle between humans and orcs during which a human leader called Danath Trollbane taunts the orcs by shouting “greenskin” at them.
But in a recent update to the game, which came out last week, this word appears to have been removed.
Blizzard have not said why it was removed, but players in online forums believe this was because they wanted to crack down on fictional racism in the fictional universe.
Some players dubbed the move World of WOKEcraft, according to Russian media outlet RT News.
There are two main sides a player can take in World of Warcraft, either playing for the Alliance as a Human, a Dwarf, a Night Elf, a Gnome, a Draenei, a Worgen or a Pandaren, or playing for the Horde as an Orc, an Undead, a Tauren, a Troll, a Blood Elf, a Goblin or a Pandaren.
The revelation that it appears to have been removed has caused heated debate online with some suggesting more charitably that it might be for copyright reasons, because the insult also exists in the Games Workshop ‘Warhammer’ universe.
The revelation comes after Activision Blizzard, the company that Blizzard Entertainment is a subsidy of, made international headlines over the summer as the subject of a lawsuit by the US state of California after it emerged that the company’s offices in Irvine, in Orange County, were allegedly rife with sexual harassment and that one female employee killed herself.
They currently face a lawsuit that names Blizzard President J. Allen Brack and Alex Afrasiabi, a former creative director for World of Warcraft, amid claims that there was a toxic workspace with widespread sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
World of Warcraft was first launched in 2004 as an MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game). It has benefited from continuous updates over the years ensuring a steady player base, which has nonetheless declined somewhat over time.
In 2019, a “vanilla” version called World Of Warcraft Classics launched that allowed players to play the game as it was before any of the many expansions were launched.