Why I'm ditching the toxic community of World of Warcraft for more inclusive MMORPGs

Yesterday my Twitter timeline was being bombarded with comments because I tweeted Blizzard customer service a screenshot of a sexually-explicit name I’d seen in-game and demanded to know how it got past their filters, how it was appropriate. In hindsight, I should have known better. I knew exactly what the reaction would be, but as usual, a small part of me hoped that this time would be different. That more than one person would offer support, and the people who liked my tweet would find their voice at last.

Nope. The hate just kept shovelling on and as they began to call me “karen” I realised that in their universe I was their BBEG (big bad evil guy/gal). I was the one who couldn’t just take a joke, who was “ruining the fun” as I was told over and over.  These are the same players who make the joke that women gamers don’t exist every time a female pops up in General chat. They think our identity is a huge laugh. They think everything is a huge laugh.

Honestly, sometimes I wish I could just look at the world and laugh. “Chill out” as people tell me to but I wasn’t dealt that hand in life. I was dealt genetic diseases, bullying, the inevitable depression and an abusive ex-boyfriend. It’s why the toxic community of WoW gets to me so damn much. It’s why every “hi lads” and “let’s do this boys!” grates against me because I feel like my identity is being ripped away from me piece by piece as I play this game. Every time I see a sexually explicit name it’s an in-your-face reminder that WoW is a man’s world (because they are always male sexual organs), that as a female I don’t belong here. And let’s not forget the hunter who had their pet called “my ex-girlfriend” and was proceeding to /slap emote it in Oribos (maybe they were a female player, odds are, they probably weren’t). These are both a sign of a much larger complex issue.

And last night I realised that this game that I love so much and that gave me my fiance is probably ridiculously unhealthy for me because of all this. I’ve been struggling to try to change the attitudes of people who are never going to change, and why am I even still trying? Why not go somewhere else where difference is not just accepted but actually celebrated?

It seems really obvious now that I write all this down.

I guess I’ve known for a while that I was heading this way because I’ve still not written my damn post about Shadowlands. Like many, I’m just not enjoying this expansion. I absolutely HATE the new levelling system which is odd for me because I usually love levelling. I’ve been plodding along with my anima farming because it gave me a solid goal to work towards. But even that is beginning to wear thin. I’m not even excited about the new patch because I don’t raid. I haven’t even been able to bring myself to make new transmog sets, the motivation just doesn’t exist.

And the toxicity in-game and on has reached my blog. My WoW posts are my most stolen content. I can’t actually view the content because it’s on virus-infected websites. The transmog sets I spent hours making for other players get hotlinked by them and one of them left me a vicious comment because I have hotlinking disabled to protect my domain from charges and going down. It’s a community that takes, takes and takes and I have nothing left to give it anymore. I’m done.

Chris returned to FFXIV a while ago and has wanted me to rejoin him in it, and I’ll be honest, seeing him playing it again has made me want to. I just kept putting it off saying “I need to get organised with blog stuff first”. I’m kind of at that point again and I’ll need to work some things out, but I think I need to step away from WoW right now. There’s going to be a massive influx of players again because the patch has just been announced and that is never a good thing. It means more toxicity every time. I usually end up coming back to the game but for now, I’m going to take a break, play some other things, head into FFXIV and Guild Wars 2.