Earlier this month, World of Warcraft released Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor, the second in a series of books exploring the iconic realms of the game’s world. After being met with criticism regarding reliance on racial stereotyping, poor characterization, and lore discrepancies, Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor is now unavailable on most online retailers until January 25.
The Exploring Azeroth books are a new series of atlas-like, in-universe chronicles of recent events of World of Warcraft. The first, Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, released a year ago, and followed Alliance spymaster Matthias Shaw and his lover, Flynn Fairwind. Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor follows Horde champion and beastmaster Rexxar and Zekhan, the young Darkspear troll ambassador known to many Warcraft fans as “Zappy Boi.”
While The Eastern Kingdoms was a well-received romp through the lore of the continent, fans who got their hands on Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor were disappointed. The book was full of inconsistencies in both lore and characterization, and it relied heavily on racist stereotypes sometimes associated with many cultures found within the Horde. Days after its official release, the book was made unavailable once more, with many pre-ordered copies not having reached their destinations.
This is not the first time Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor was delayed. The book was originally slated to release in October, but Blizzard pushed its launch back a few days before it was supposed to be released. This time, many fans already got their hands on the book before the silent delay, leaving many wondering what is in store for the book.
Many fans hope this means World of Warcraft is fixing the egregious errors in content and concept within Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor. A book filled with antisemitism and racist caricatures of various cultures was not what the company needed–especially right now, with Blizzard mired in myriad controversies over sexual harassment and discrimination. With luck, this quiet delay is to rewrite, or at least censor, the inappropriate and harmful content from the book, and to fix the multiple continuity errors that appear within–a perplexing mistake, given it was overseen by Warcraft loremaster Sean Copeland.
Blizzard has yet to make a statement on why publication of the book has been delayed, however. Since the publishing industry is experiencing disruptions in its supply chain from lingering shortages from the coronavirus pandemic, this delay could be caused by circumstances out of Blizzard’s control. Until fans of the game can receive copies of the book again, they will have to speculate as to whether or not World of Warcraft will take this opportunity to fix the mistakes it made within the atlas, or if it will be distributed in the same, flawed condition.
World of Warcraft is available now on PC. World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: Kalimdor will be available on January 25, 2022.