Public scrutiny of game developer Blizzard's relationship with free speech was already high this week. It intensified on Thursday, but the latest Blizzard story has nothing to do with punishing players for statements about Hong Kong . Instead, it's about the names of guilds in World of WarCraft .
We’ve heard lots of acronyms, but never "ZFXPK"
Ars Technica received word on Thursday that the "GAY BOYS" guild within the recent World of WarCraft Classic fork had its name changed late Wednesday to the machine-generated gibberish "Guild ZFXPK." An email, apparently sent by Blizzard Customer Service, indicated that the guild's name-change process began because "your fellow players reported your in-game name as inappropriate multiple times." From there, the email cites "a thorough investigation" that also led to the guild's creator receiving a temporary account suspension. The suspension was later overturned, but the guild's name remains "Guild ZFXPK."
A cursory scan of existing WoW guilds shows another one named "GAY BOYS," which had a temporary name change in 2016, followed by a Blizzard forum thread asking why it had been changed. After acknowledging that general user forums weren't the place to properly dispute customer service issues, a WoW forum moderator offered some advice for choosing a new name: "Picking a name that you can identify with without also using words that would illicit [sic] a reaction from other players would be far more beneficial."