It’s hard to believe that two days ago people were fretting about whether or not Blizzard would actually show up to April Fool’s day. They absolutely did, and in a big way. All of the Blizzard games save Hearthstone offered up something for our perusal, and for the most part, they were all amazing. My personal favorites were Blizzard Outcasts and the 6.0 patch notes for World of Warcraft. Having played a warrior in vanilla, the ‘warriors have been nerfed because reasons’ line really cracked me up.
Unfortunately, while there was a lot of humor to be had, the day will likely be remembered for the Artcraft offering above anything else. Chris Robinson had hinted that we’d see a new installment of the Artcraft series, and fans eagerly waited. The regular looks at race redesigns have been decidedly important as concrete information about the upcoming expansion has otherwise been hard to come by.
The art crew clearly had fun with this one, made plain by the explanations behind their decisions. Regrettably, while their tone was obviously cheeky, there were a number of volatile elements in place. They essentially created, and then chuckled at, an unattractive female character. Obviously, that was not the intent, but if there’s one thing we learned from the ‘boy’s trip’ debacle of BlizzCon, intent is rarely factored in when it comes to these things. Or, if it is, it just doesn’t count for much.
Initially, it seemed the community was going to let this one slide under the radar as a gag that simply didn’t hit the mark. However, as the day progressed more and more people began voicing their displeasure with the April Fool’s joke via social media, blogs, et cetera. Some claimed it was sexist, others began complaining about the lack of hard information about Warlords of Draenor, and then some other particularly callous individuals began making fun of those who were offended simply for being offended. It was not a bright moment for our community.
That brings us to today.
The argument continues, but there’s real potential for a middle ground and an opportunity to learn something from all of this.
Aside from the Draenei Artcraft, Blizzard did a stellar job. The other offerings were hilarious, well-received and brought fans a lot of joy. There’s a common theme to them, as well. They focused on the characters from their respective universes, parodies of other popular titles and poking fun at themselves. The other gags did not deal with gender, body image or anything that generally stands to make people feel bad about themselves. While the intent was never to cause harm, some did take offense from the joke that dealt with gender and body image. That’s something to respect, going forward. Stick to what makes people laugh, and if you are going to make jokes like this going forward, don’t be surprised when there’s negative reactions.
Conversely, if you’re one of those individuals utterly outraged, take a minute to consider the following. Blizzard does not hate your gender. It did not create this joke blog entry to demean you. Try to see this for what it was, something meant to inspire laughter. It didn’t quite hit the mark, but that doesn’t automatically damn the rest of the day’s work, nor the company as a whole.
I’d hope that yesterday’s festivities can be remembered as largely being successful. A lot of good times were had, and it seemed like the Twitter storm only started brewing after people failed at Happy Reaper for the 800th time. Clearly Happy Reaper was the real problem. Jokes aside, despite our multitude of arguments, we are in fact a community, and in theory we all want to make our personal space on the internet better. It serves all of our interests to consider intent, and also, perhaps more importantly, the feelings of others before voicing our opinions.