War game makes peace over gay protests

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Online computer game, World of Warcraft has changed its policy on gay teams following player’s protests.

Game makers, Blizzard Entertainment, was accused of being heavy-handed by threatening to expel a player for trying to set up a gay-friendly team or guild. The company officially apologised to the guild recruiter, saying the warning should never have been issued.

Award winning World of Warcraft, which allows people from all over the world to battle against each other and the world in multi player web based communities, told Sara Andrews she could not host a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group because it was inappropriate.

Her suggestion was removed from the site and she was accused of citing harassment based on sexual orientation. They released a statement which said the phrase GLBT was not allowed because it has a “tendency to result in communication that often breaks down into harassment.”

In an email to Ms Andrews, they said: “This category includes both clear and masked language which insultingly refers to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players.”

Their actions sparked controversy amongst over two thousand gamers who questioned if they could mention wives and children on the site. Within the game, several characters showed up at a wedding to protest at people flaunting their heterosexuality.

Thor Biafore, senior manager of Blizzard’s customer service, sent an email to Ms Andrews which said, “Please accept our apologies for the way our staff characterised your conduct, and rest assured that your account will not be penalised in any way for this occurrence.”

Warcraft staff will be trained on how deal more sensitively with such issues. Blizzard defended itself by saying that information about players’ real lives can lead to harassment in the game and its warning was only intended to limit such harassment.

The game firm also said that it would create a separate chat channel in the game that guilds can use to advertise themselves and look for recruits.