Actually, this post could have been called: WoW developers are deleting sexuality from the game due in part to great personal discomfort, and these measures sometimes take on absurd overtones. Phallic missiles and all. The Overwatch developers are putting in the greatest McCree-Purge effort - and failing. And the Hearthstone developers ... Don't they care about the whole thing? Even though they haven't let Jaina walk around belly-free since 2019?

The amorous adventures of Anduin W.

Nothing else but that comes to mind to an attentive observer when following the Twitter channel of the Hearthstone team (@PlayHearthstone). There, in the evening hours of October 25, 2021, the following tweet appeared and has been there to be admired ever since.

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So yeah, nice, it's not a woman with her chest exposed. Instead, a male character of the Warcraft universe who would rather suffer a bad heart attack before showing himself in such a situation. Lore-wise, Anduin is as close to the character trait "flirty" as ... eh ... as his father is to the state of being "Alive". To emphasize: not at all.

That's my problem with this picture. Anduin is not a pickup for me, and that will be the same for super many other fans. So why portray him that way, even in the context of Hearthstone, where everything from the Warcraft universe is known to be a bit more exaggerated and overdrawn? In general, I'm hard pressed to recall a main male character from what feels like 1,000 years of Warcraft who has taken up arms of flirtation. Thrall? Nah. Garrosh? Nope. Varian Wrynn? Malfurion? Turalyon? Vol'jin? Illidan?
Yep, Prince Charming Anduin in his natural environment. Doesn't look like such a pickup gigolo. Source: Blizzard / Eric Braddock
Or let me ask it another way, if that rationale for my mild bitterness isn't enough for you: why portray Anduin like that while facing accusations of misogyny, discrimination, and harassment internally at the dev studio? While all other teams at least try to "desex" their games? By doing so, hasn't the Hearthstone team discredited any desexualization and inclusion measures taken by WoW devs in patch 9.1.5?

With the weapons of an Anduin

While in WoW (buy now 14,99 € ) ladies with a free belly are replaced by fruit bowls, Anduin grabs - pam, pam! - unpacks two shapely breasts at once. At least there are no nipples to be seen. But why this depiction at all? Why the giggling ladies in the background, why the birds, why - oh, I just don't know. I have no explanation for why such a picture is sent into the ether, while other employees of the company seem to feel ... hardcore uncomfortable with the fact that dancer groups in Karazhan don't contain equal amounts of men and women.

I honestly don't understand anything anymore. But the message to someone like me, who is skeptical of this whole mini-inclusion effort in WoW anyway (because it's not just about desexualization, it's about player disenfranchisement and a cultural regression), is clear. So the message that resonates with me. Two things resonate with me. Once an "Eugh, why did you have to do that to Anduin?". And once a "Are you going to spit in the soup of your work colleagues with this now?".

WoW: Battle for Azeroth: The Cinematic Trailer - Sylvanas vs. Anduin

If the folks at #TeamHearthstone thought all the censorship and mitigation efforts of their WoW counterparts were over the top (and perhaps as overblown as Hearthstone actually is), they sent the MMO team a less than subtle message with Prince Charming Anduin for the entire public to share. Of course, this makes me wonder: don't the teams talk to each other anymore? Is Blizzard no longer pursuing a common strategy? Are all the efforts in the DFEH lawsuit just window dressing and hypocrisy?

I find this picture terribly sexist and it doesn't send the signal I currently expect from the club.

What do you think? Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

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