WoW Community Discord Program Faces Backlash For Requiring Users To Not Disparage Blizzard
Blizzard has since stated that it is not the company's intention to "control conversations" on community Discord servers.
An official and newly announced World of Warcraft community Discord program has faced swift backlash from fans over parts of its member agreement. The agreement requires users agree to not make negative statements about developer Blizzard. In addition, Discord servers participating in the program would be required to install tracking software, which Blizzard would be granted access to.
On paper, the community Discord program, which initially was only for European Discord communities, seemed like a no-brainer. By agreeing to the program member agreement, community Discords would receive various perks, including occasional developer Q&As and more official means to feedback to Blizzard to help make WoW a better experience.
However, once potential Discord managers started reading the fine print, it became clear that joining the program would come with some serious downsides. Users would have to agree to a non-disparagement clause where members of the community would be banned from making "any disparaging or negative statements or representations, written or oral, about Blizzard…or Blizzard's products or servers, except as otherwise permitted by law." Community Discord managers were also alarmed by a requirement that Discord's joining the program would have to maintain tracking software "and grant Blizzard permissions (as instructed by Blizzard from time to time) to such software."
It didn't take long for community members to push back. Magdalena, the founder and admin of the long-running Acherus community Discord, stated that Acherus had "no intention of applying for or participating in the Warcraft Community Discord program." They also encouraged other Discord communities to follow suit.
"We also urge other, established Discord communities to give the program's Terms of Service a full read-though and understand the degree of control and ownership of your own communities that you'd be ceding by signing on. Tl;dr, this is a trap," Magdalena wrote on Twitter. "A bad one at that."
The list of approved servers participating in the program, which Blizzard stated on its official site that it would frequently update, is currently empty. Blizzard has since responded to criticisms of the program's member agreement, and stated that the company has read fan concerns and is currently re-reviewing the terms of the agreement.
"It is not our intention to control conversations on community Discord servers," Blizzard wrote in a forum post. "The intention is quite the opposite."
WoW: Dragonflight's latest content update, Embers of Neltharion, which introduces a new dragonriding zone, story quests, raids, and cross-faction guilds, is currently live. It is the first of two major WoW content updates planned for the MMORPG in 2023.
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