Two of World of Warcraft’s top North American raid guilds have been arraigned for racist and intolerant behavior, sparking a wider discussion of racism and toxicity in the competitive WoW scene.
Start of the week, an image gallery containing around 70 screenshots started circulating within different WoW communities showing 16 members of the Clout Gang raid guild and Instant Dollars. These images, taken from sources such as private Discord servers and World of Warcraft in-game chat, show members of the Clout Gang and Instant Dollars frequently using the n-word and making jokes about the murder of blacks in addition to homophobic comments. and sexist. While far from being the biggest guilds in the WoW raiding world scene, both Clout Gang and Instant Dollars are top raid guilds on their respective servers.
Note: This article contains descriptions and links to images with graphic and racist language.
In a screenshot, ex-Instant Dollars member Decenaryk spams “Twist n ***** heads off” multiple times in the World of Warcraft in-game group chat. In another screenshot, Clout Gang guild master Apfelsaft recites the words of Strange fruits, a 1937 poem and song by Billie Holiday that graphically describes the lynching of black Americans. Further in the gallery is an image of Apfelsaft posting a meme that says “Shut up, n *****”. Even out of context, the snippets are extremely vile.
WoW subreddit moderators initially deleted posts regarding these screenshots, a move they attributed to a rule that prohibits calling individual players. But due to the influence of these guilds and the seemingly widespread nature of this behavior, the leak ultimately prompted moderators of the World of Warcraft subreddit to make a thread by gathering evidence and allegations. This has sparked a wider discussion of what many players claim to be widespread racism and toxicity in the North American and European WoW competitive raid scene.
“Without a doubt, this calls into question the culture among high-end raid guilds and what behavior is normalized,” wrote Ex_iledd, moderator of the WoW subreddit.
Although it has been a competitive scene for decades, World of Warcraft raids have only recently become a more organized esport. Most of its teams, however, are still amateurs and low-key Twitch streamers. Instead of competing against each other in PvP, Raid Guilds race to be the first to complete a new raid when added to World of Warcraft. Raids at the highest difficulty level in WoW require a Herculean level of coordination, with teams typically comprising around 20 members. Although not traditionally a spectator sport, the race for the world premiere became a sport on Twitch after the European Raid Guild Method teamed up with Red Bull to turn the race into a live broadcast event. These streams often reach hundreds of thousands of simultaneous viewers. Last year, however, Method collapsed after one of its best raiders was charged with sexual assault and its co-founder was charged with sexual harassment and misconduct by an employee.
The two North American guilds involved in this new controversy are nowhere near the size or influence of Method. Clout Gang and Instant Dollars are not professional esports organizations with sponsors, and none of its members appear to make a full-time living playing or streaming World of Warcraft. Clout Gang is currently ranked 38th in the North American raiding scene while Instant Dollars is ranked 16th. But as this story continues to develop, more players are offering screenshots and videos showing similar behavior from several other high-level WoW Raid Guilds around the world.
Below: A video showing the Ethical Guild beating the latest WoW raid as a member uses a homophobic slur.
WoW subreddit moderators have started to archive and verify evidence of well-known raiders making racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments. In a video, a member of Ethical, a currently ranked 16th raid guild in the world, says “Beat that f ***** shit” as his raid team kills the final boss of the current raid.
In another screenshot, a playour name is Gapezilla, who is a member of the top WoW Raid Guild and has 14,000 viewers on Twitch said, “Blizzard employees are literally all n ***** s who should be raped to death.”
Since raiders tend to switch guilds quite frequently, similar to how athletes jump as a team, moderators have also tracked the movement of different raiders through different guilds by cross-checking videos, Twitch streams, etc. Several members of Instant Dollars, for example, belonged to Clout Gang.
Although it was posted just a few hours ago, the current thread on the WoW subreddit now has almost 800 replies. Many of these comments come from WoW players claiming that this type of racism and intolerance is not only contained in a few select guilds, but endemic to the entire competitive raiding scene in World of Warcraft.
“I’m sad that this is JUST NOW becoming news”, write a redditor. “The best guilds in NA have been super racist, sexist and offensive for so long. I remember applying to these 20 best guilds in NA and they were asking questions like ‘we’re adults, you have to be able to handle the language. adults like the N-word used casually. ‘ Many raiders were unable to stream on Twitch due to the open racism that prevailed on Discord during the raids. “
“We are a mid / low level CE guild and even at our level we are getting applicants saying they are leaving their current guild due to racism, just using the n word in raid,” wrote another redditor. “Wild and really disturbing.”
Some of the people involved in the screenshot gallery have since fought back. Moderator Ex_iledd explains that the Instant Dollars guild master reached out to clarify that those involved were from a different guild at the time these screenshots were taken. “All have expressed remorse for their behavior except for Decenaryk who has been removed from the guild pending an internal review,” writes Ex_iledd.
It’s clear that many gamers want the culture of WoW’s hardcore raiding community to finally change. “As we saw with cases of sexual abuse and misconduct last year, as with [Method], silence within communities like guilds about the long-standing systemic issues of sexual harassment, assault, bigotry and hate does not resolve them, “writes Ex_iledd.” Only a light can help with this. “
We will continue to update this story as more relevant information becomes known. We reached out to Blizzard to comment on this story..