Founded over a decade, the World of Warcraft community is indeed one of the most avid fanbases in gaming. However, with the ongoing legal accusations toward Blizzard and the decrease of content creators, the once devoted community is facing a never-before-seen crisis.
Before the California lawsuit shattered Activision Blizzard’s reputation, the active player population of Blizzard’s flagship MMO had been steadily falling over the years. Players were already unhappy with the recent expansions, and the accusations of discrimination and a toxic working environment pushed the player numbers to lower.
The lawsuit wasn’t the only cause, however.
Players’ departure skyrocketed when the high-profile WoW streamer Asmongold switched to play Fina Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. If anyone can best represent the frustrated voice of players, Asmongold would be the one, who’s now directly engaging with WoW developers.
The feud, along with the frustration over the expansions, began with a Reddit image showing WoW developer liking a tweet that insinuated Asmongold was partially to blame for the collapse of the WoW community. If you’ve been following Asmongold on the internet, you’d know he’s not a typical content creator building amicable relationships with developers for sponsorships. He’s famous for his uncensored rants and sharp criticism toward WoW gameplay.
Asmongold responded to the liked tweet in his stream. “I have to read this bullshit, right, I have to read this bullshit that gets the seal of approval from the people that work at the game, who make the game this way,” he said. “Before you call me toxic, deal with your own fucking game.”
The call acted as a catalyst for an online boycott. A slew of Reddit posts emerge, targeting the specific WoW developer active on the subreddit. Many comments were even deleted because they fell below the standard of civility and courtesy.
“The moderation team of /r/Asmongold is made up of volunteers that act independently and our actions and comments do not necessarily reflect those of Asmongold himself,” an Asmongold subreddit moderator told Kotaku in an email. “We do not condone any sort of harassment or brigading, no matter who it’s targeted towards.”
Asmongold addressed the controversy on Twitter. “Recently more than ever I’ve been accused of harassment when I’ve had the audacity to defend myself and my community,” he tweeted. “The idea that I should allow myself to be attacked is driven by narcissism and entitlement. I don’t punch down, I don’t punch up, I punch back.”
That being said, Blizzard currently has no spare time to focus on the online controversy when the California lawsuit is consuming much of its time. Still, Blizzard has made some in-game changes, hoping to regain the favor of players. Check it out here.