Ji
Firepaw, a major player in
the Pandaren starting zone, but a small player in the grand scheme of
things in World of Warcraft, has caused quite a stir lately. What is
this uproar about you ask? A smidgen of quest text found in the Mists
of Pandaria beta is what has managed to spawn a wealth of outrage, a
contingent of supporters, and has made it so that no WoW fan will
likely forget the name Ji Firepaw anytime soon. The question is, is Ji
Firepaw the sexist pig many have made him out to be or is he merely a
harmless panda with a rather obnoxious personality?

Sexism in the Mists of
Pandaria
Beta?

The quest text in question was
found in the starting zone for Pandaren’s in the Mists of
Pandaria beta. Here players encountered a overly friendly, and some
would say slightly creepy, Ji Firepaw. When speaking to Ji, players
would discover that he offered up two slightly different comments based
on if you were a male or female character. Below you will see the quest
text laid out for you as it appeared in game for both male and female
characters (before the change was made to it):

style="width: 600px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"
border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="2">
style="font-weight: bold;">Male:

“Hello,
friend! You’ve got a strong look to you! I bet
you’re all the rage with the ladies! Join me! You and I are
going to be good friends!”
style="width: 600px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"
border="1" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="2">
style="font-weight: bold;">Female:

“Hello, friend! You’re some kind of gorgeous,
aren’t you? I bet you can’t keep the men off of
you! Join me!”

I didn’t have the
opportunity to experience the female version of this quest text myself,
since I typically play male toons. However, my wife, who had made a
female toon and played through the entire starting zone had never made
mention of this quest text to me. This was surprising, considering
the
reactions of many other players. Perhaps she had failed to mention it
to me but had been silently seething with inner rage?

Ji Firepaw - Harmless Panda or
Sexist Pig?

While I personally
didn’t find the text offensive, albeit a bit creepy, perhaps
I was just wasn’t getting it. So I went to the person who
generally helps me solve these types of conundrums; my wife. When
confronted she conceded that she did remember the Ji Firepaw quest in
question and that she had brushed it off, hardly giving it a thought.
When I questioned her on why she didn’t find the quest text
offensive as so many others seemed to she pondered the question for
awhile and then explained her reasoning to me like this:

Ji Firepaw is a character in a
game, much like a character in a book. When reading, I find characters
I love as well as characters that I hate to the very pit of my soul.
While the characters in these books are sometimes offensive,
disgusting, and do and say things that are highly inappropriate, they
are what help to make the story interesting. These varying
personalities come together, much like the real world, to create a
fantasy realm that feels real (even though it is not) and keeps the
reader, or in the case of Ji Firepaw, the player, interested and
engaged.

style="padding: 5px; float: right; width: 250px; text-align: center;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/230394" target="_blank"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/230394/preview"
width="245">Did
Ji Firepaw need reprogramming?

To my wife, and many others
like her, WoW is a virtual world, and to get offended at things
happening in a world that isn’t real, to characters that are
equally unreal, seems rather pointless. She points out that having a
bunch of NPCs with generic overly polite personalities would be boring,
and makes for a pretty poor gaming experience. In her opinion, forcing
WoW into a PC bubble, because some people find something offensive,
could lead down a dangerous path (similar to the one taken recently by
Mass Effect 3) of normalization that would leave the game feeling flat
and lifeless.

To her, Ji Firepaw simply had a
flirtatious personality, much like those you find in real life. She
read the quest text, rolled her eyes, and moved on. Changing Ji
Firepaw’s quest text and thereby killing his original and
unique personality was, to her, a step towards turning in the game into
something it never has been; a happy fun play ground of feel good. WoW
in itself is about war, plague, combined with great heroes, and
terrible villains.

To her, Ji Firepaw simply had a
flirtatious personality, much like those you find in real life. She
read the quest text, rolled her eyes, and moved on. Changing Ji
Firepaw’s quest text and thereby killing his original and
unique personality was, to her, a step towards turning in the game into
something it never has been; a happy, fun, play ground of feel good.
WoW in itself is about war, plague, combined with great heroes, and
terrible villains.

Why this particular quest text
has been singled out amongst all the other potentially offensive
tidbits found through tout the game is a question she cannot seem to
find an answer to. There are racists, sexists both male and female,
do-gooders, and a hundred other personalities, all of which come
together to make the great story we call World of Warcraft. Apprently
many others didn't feel the same. Which is why Blizzard felt they
needed to censor Ji  Firepaw's dialog.

As mentioned above, the quest
text has since been changed in the most recent version of the Mists of
Pandaria beta, and the debate is over, at least on Blizzard’s
terms. However, the quest is still being talked about across forums
everywhere and the debate rages on. Do you think this quest text was so
offensive that it needed to be changed? Or do you agree with my better
half on this subject and think Ji Firepaw should have been left in
peace? Share your thoughts on Ji Firepaw in the comments section below.
Remember, this is a touchy subject, so try to keep comments on an adult
level.


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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Mem
Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.

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