Add another tick to the growing list of small, but nevertheless interesting changes Blizzard is making to its games in the wake of California suing Activision Blizzard for enabling an alleged culture of workplace harassment and discrimination. This time, World of Warcraft developers have altered two paintings found in-game to remove or reduce sexual elements.
As spotted by WoWHead, a painting of a lounging woman in a revealing harem-style slip and mask has been replaced with a painting of fruit.
A separate painting of a woman in a v-cut robe emphasizing her breasts has been modified to give the woman a less-revealing top.
The lounging woman painting was located in WoW's Ravenholdt location, while the robed woman is (or was) in Stormwind's S-I7, a spoof of Britain's disbanded MI7 agency.
PC Gamer inquired if these changes were made in relation to Blizzard's previous acts of removing questionable or controversial content from its games in the wake of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit, but did not receive a response by publishing time.
In the past several weeks, Blizzard has made other small changes including removing references to "sacks" and "ho's" in World of Warcraft quests. Blizzard also said it would be removing references to the names of employees involved in California's lawsuit and various allegations, including former designers Jesse McCree, Luis Barriga, and Jon LeCraft.
This actually isn't the first time Blizzard has reduced the sexualization of a character in in-game art. In 2019, Jaina Proudmoore's card portrait in Hearthstone was changed to reduce the amount of cleavage her outfit showed.
Changes like this are no doubt welcome in the eyes of many of Activision Blizzard's front-line employees, but the company itself is still under fire. Most recently, the Communications Workers of America union joined with the employee coalition A Better ABK to submit a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board to allege that Activision Blizzard has violated labor laws that protect workers from punishment for discussing organizing. Blizzard has hired a law firm with a history of assisting Amazon with union busting.
You can check out the full timeline of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit here, plus a lawyer's perspective on where things will go from here.