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World Of Warcraft has begun censoring slurs in-game

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World Of Warcraft will now block messages containing "reserved words", arriving as part of a small moderation update discovered by Wowhead.

For years, WoW has censored certain words by obfuscation as part of a mature language filter. But now, it appears the game will block messages from being sent entirely if they contain so-called "reserved words". For now, this covers one racial slur, though I expect to see that category expanded in future.

WoW chat blocked for containing bad words

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment, via Wowhead)

Wowhead notes that, for now, the filter only applies to messages sent within WoW. Battle.net currently lets you chat to people playing WoW from the third-party BNet messenger—and while these messages will show up in their WoW chat box, they aren't currently subject to the same filters.

Some Wowhead commenters suggest that this may be tied to text-to-speech support arriving in an accessibility update currently available on the 9.1 test realm. That feature would let players choose to have chat channels spoken out loud. It's easy to see why Blizzard might want to take a firmer stance on hate speech when in-game chat can be spoken out loud.

But as anyone who's dipped into WoW's public channels, the community can be rather 'creative' in coming up with hateful speech that dodges existing filters. Blizzard has yet to formally announce either the new accessibility tools or the chat filters, it'll pay to see if their arrival is joined by increased moderation efforts.

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.