Blizzard bans the name Azov due to “Nazi associations and war crimes”
Blizzard bans the name Azov used for the Ukrainian clan in Diablo Immortal and gives it a technical name. According to PlayUA, the support service argued that Azov is associated with far-right and neo-Nazi movements, which is why Blizzard prohibits its use in all its games.
Attempts to appeal the decision only worsened the situation
The founder of the Ukrainian Geek community, Artem, shortly after the release of Diablo Immortal (June 2022), created the game clan with the name Azov. However, just two months later, Blizzard’s censorship team renamed the clan, giving it a technical name, and muted Artem’s account for a day.
Artem turned to the support service and tried to prove that the name Azov does not violate any rules and is generally a common toponym for Ukraine. The Sea of Azov, for instance, or at least 4 villages with that name.
However, the dialogue quickly went south, and Blizzard support began to repeat the Russian propaganda, remembering imagined neo-Nazism and war crimes.
“As the name Azov resembles the name of Azov Regiment that “Had drawn controversy over its early and allegedly continuing association with far-right groups and neo-Nazi ideology, its use of controversial symbols linked to Nazism, and allegations that members of the group have participated in torture and war crimes,” Blizzard support suddenly declared
Of course, there’s no more talk about any return of the name. The simplest explanation for the support’s staff behavior is that Ukraine, from Blizzard’s perspective, still belongs to the Russian region. So, any player questions are moderated by Russians. Artem has already sent a request to American support and is waiting for a response.
Blizzard likes to kiss totalitarian regimes in the ass
In March 2022, Blizzard published the SUPPORTING THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE letter on its website. In the letter, Activision Blizzard stated that it was suspending new sales of games in Russia while the so-called “conflict” continued, and that the company itself would continue to look for ways to support the Ukrainian people.
This in no way stopped the company from inviting players from Belarus and Russia to participate in the beta testing of the new WoW expansion Dragonflight, which is set to release on November 28.
Although, it’s not only about Russia. In general, Blizzard has a stupid habit of bending under any totalitarian regime. For example, in 2019, the company suspended a player nicknamed Blitzchung from participating in any official Hearthstone tournaments for calling for the liberation of Hong Kong (at the time there were mass protests against the Chinese authorities). Blitzchung was taken his GrandMaster title away, as well as prizes for the second season of GrandMasters 2019 — about $3,000.
Why is it important?
In the situation with Hong Kong, Blizzard was simply afraid of losing the Chinese market, falling out of favor with the Communist Party. With Ukraine, the matter is more complicated. Most likely, Ukrainian players are still moderated by Russians. (Although the support letter was signed by Blizzard Entertainment Europe, technically Russia is Europe).
Any routing of Ukrainian traffic or moderation of Ukrainian content through Russia is an unacceptable disregard for the security and rights of Ukrainian users. In this situation, Ukrainians should not just ask permission for the right to name our clans as we want, but demand the transfer of Ukrainian moderation to some truly European country.