RuneScape makes ‘diversity improvements’ and its community is outraged

RuneScape has made ‘diversity improvements‘ in its latest update, including changing the names of various NPCs that were called ‘Ali’ in order to “better reflect the diverse variety of names we see in real life.” Developer Jagex said that the improvements have been made to make the game “a happier and more inclusive place,” yet some in its community are outraged by the changes.

The latest RuneScape patch includes changes to some of the names and dialogue in the game, including altering the names of various characters who were previously known as Ali. This moniker was used for a variety of characters in the game’s Kharidian Desert. Jagex also removed the word ‘Gypsy’ from a character’s name, as Jagex noted it could be interpreted as a racial slur.

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The changes can be viewed below:

  • The word ‘Gypsy’ has been removed from Aris’ name and examine text as this word could be interpreted as a racial slur.
  • Various NPCs in Karamja have been given more appropriate titles.
  • Various NPCs in the Kharidian Desert have had their name changed from ‘Ali’ to better reflect the diverse variety of names we see in real life.
  • Some dialogue in the Kindred Spirits quest has been altered to remove unintended offense.

Despite these changes having little impact on the game aside from giving it more inclusive language and altering its lore to no longer incorporate a potentially offensive joke, the RuneScape subreddit is up in arms over the alterations. One of the top-rated Reddit posts since the patch went live is titled: ‘Thanks jmods for bringing politics into one of the few places I had left escape from it.’

runescape ali

“Literally nobody was talking about how the name Ali offended them. This came so far from left field that when my clan mates told me what was going on I thought they were joking,” the post reads. “It is absurd that you felt the need to change 20+ year old NPC names because a few people didn’t read/do the quests to find out why so many people are named Ali. RS3 is a FANTASY world, but it seems not even Gielinor can escape the never ending drone of modern day politics.”

Another post calls for players to petition Jagex to reinstate the Ali NPCs: “If this was an attempt at avoiding potential negative feelings, it failed as I certainly have bad feelings about time and effort being wasted in a way that disrupts lore,” the post reads.

RuneScape developer David Osborne posted in the thread in a comment that has been downvoted nearly 400 times, saying he felt “this was a needed change, and one we should have made some time ago.”