[Column] RuneScape Pride Day Provokes Bigoted Backlash

This Thursday sees the launch of a mini-event in RuneScape, something that given its scope and scale probably shouldn’t elicit much more than an “oh okay,” or a “that’s neat” at the peak of emotion. Jagex is adding in a rainbow scarf, obtained through finding a small number of rainbow fragments hidden all over the game world, in support of Pride Day. This is why players are rioting in RuneScape.

And because a small section of the base wants to show that they are not, in fact, bigots and simply don’t want politics “shoved” in their game, people are showing up in Old School RuneScape dressed in a manner to resemble KKK uniforms, shouting racist obscenities about Jewish people, lobbing homophobic comments at Jagex, and advertising for Alex Jones’s Infowars. Because it’s all about keeping politics out of gaming and nothing to do with bigotry.

RuneScape has previously held events for political subjects, including the YMCA, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Prince’s Trust. In case you were wondering if these players reacted similarly to “politics being shoved down their throat” when the subject wasn’t gay pride, they didn’t. Regardless, Jagex isn’t backing down from their plan to release the scarf. While there are no plans to ban players for simply protesting the event, bans have already been handed out for players using offensive slurs or bigoted speech in chat, as well as for those walking around dressed up as Klan members.

Despite the bigoted backlash, there have been level-headed players offering fair criticism of this event, including the fact that it was not polled. While players have disagreed on whether or not such an event needed to be polled, those of you who read MMO Fallout are likely aware that the game is pretty well built on polling for content, with updates not being delivered unless voted on by at least 75% of respondents.

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