Blizzard’s Arbitrary Content Policy Isn’t So Arbitrary, But Their Response Time Is

Remember the other day when we reported that Blizzard was acting kind of cray cray about enforcing content rules for StarCraft II custom maps? Recap: they deleted the popular Ultimate Tank Defence map and banned its creators, due to unspecified inappropriate content. They also gave no explanation whatsoever. And that went over well.

Outcry from the Custom Maps community over Blizzard’s inscrutable policy enforcement exploded, forcing them to respond. Unfortunately, those of you who thought that deletion for unspecified content violations, with no explanation or hope of appeal, sounded arbitrary, were right. Enter Blizzard community manager Lylirra :

“While players are encouraged to share the maps they create through Battle.net, published maps are subject to review to ensure that they promote a fun and safe environment for all players. You can learn more about the StarCraft II content policy here: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/33752

If you see a player-made map that contains inappropriate content, simply right click on the map image thumbnail under “Details” and then select the “Report this Content” option”

If you read that and thought “hey, that’s not an answer.”, you’re not alone. Blizzard isn’t the first company to respond to criticism with boilerplate, but they might be the first to think it would mitigate things. Crisis Response FAIL.

The very next forum post asked this:

“Lylirra, why are the words deemed inappropriate on the content policy used in the original campaign then?”

The general perception was that mild profanity in the map (“badass”) was the culprit, which does sound kind of silly. Unfortunately, obscure, corporate boilerplate did nothing to diffuse things, and Blizzard inexplicably decided to bat the hornet’s nest further with a petulant, and frankly rude, response from Community manager Bashiok:

“Because we can. Literally.”

Hoookay. D*ck move there. And the funny thing is that this whole stupid mess could have been resolved in about 5 seconds. Because, as it turns out, Blizzard actually had a really good reason for deleting the map. Problem is, they waited 3 days to let the Ultimate Tank Defence people in on the secret:

“…we finally did receive a response from Blizzard about a day or two after Ultimate Tank Defense was deleted. Apparently the problem with our map was that the wave pathing caused a certain anti-semite symbol to be displayed on the minimap. This was unintentional and we have since changed the way the units path… Anything like this we would gladly change.”

Now that’s more like it. Blizzard doesn’t have a weird double standard about profanity, and the Ultimate Tank Defence peeps were allowed back in. Problem solved! The lesson here is that delaying a substantial response and reacting to fan outcry like Blizzard did made them look like a pack of prudish jerks. Luckily, it looks like we can finally put this behind us and get back to what matters; making kick-assbutt StarCraft II maps.

Just make sure to review the images before posting.

Via GossipGamers.

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2 Comments on Blizzard’s Arbitrary Content Policy Isn’t So Arbitrary, But Their Response Time Is

harvey tseu

On August 6, 2010 at 3:18 am

i want to play

UtopiaV1

On August 9, 2010 at 2:07 am

Activision – *BANG* ARRRGH, ARGH, OWWWWW!!!
Everyone else – What’s wrong Activision?
Activision – I just shot myself in the foot with this custom-maps policy.
Everyone else – Why?
Activision – While players are encouraged to share the maps they create through Battle.net, published maps are subject to review to ensure that they promote a fun and safe environment for all players. You can learn more about the StarCraft II content policy here: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/33752
Everyone else – That wasn’t an answer.