By John Walker on April 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am.
Diablo III has recently made some major updates, including closing the much-loathed auction house. Another of the new features was the addition of clans, essentially guilds for the online ARPG. Limited to 120 members, their intention was to create something smaller than the game’s “communities”, and also something private – invite only. However, for some reason the game’s filters are preventing anyone from creating a clan with variants of the word “trans” in their name.
The issue, raised by Lucian Clark on his GenderTerror blog, means that it’s currently impossible for trans* players to identify themselves as safe clans for other non-binary players. And why might this be important? Well, the results of his posting about it on the Diablo forums rather reveals the answer. Intense hostility, furious bigotry (the worst of which has been removed by mods), and some of the dumbest arguments imaginable immediately reveal quite what a threatening, pugnacious environment gaming can be for anyone who doesn’t remember to be straight, white, and cis-gendered male.
It’s also worth noting this filter bans groups named after the Transformers. Now everyone is united. (And “Transatlantic”, “Transcendental”, “Transhuman”, etc.)
Presumably Blizzard’s filter is in place to prevent abusively named clans in the first place – the block would be an attempt to stop discrimination. However, there is (and should be) a clan named Gaymers, and “gay” is acceptable in clan names. So it seems strange to not also allow “trans” through, and then moderate accordingly.
So, Blizzard, in light of the bilious hostility demonstrated by a section of Diablo players on the forums, there seems to be a fairly strong argument for an invite-only safe space for trans* players to know they won’t be receiving abuse should their vocal chords not match their chosen character name. Seems a simple fix that’s worth doing. You can add your name to the related petition.