The next World of Warcraft expansion features an ancient race of spider people, so ahead of The War Within, the MMO is getting an arachnophobia mode to turn them into crabs instead

A World of Warcraft dungeon from The War Within featuring the Nerubian race
(Image credit: Blizzard)

World of Warcraft's The War Within expansion spotlights one of the MMO's most ancient yet unexplored races: a group of antagonistic arachnoids known as the Nerubians. While that's exciting for lore heads everywhere, it also requires Blizzard to solve an age-old design dilemma – what about the players who don't like spiders? 

Speaking at a press event for World of Warcraft's upcoming The War Within expansion, game director Ion Hazzikostas reveals that the team is solving that dilemma by adding an arachnophobia filter that'll turn the ancient race of spider people into crab people. 

"When we announced the Nerubian-centric themes of War Within at Blizzcon, we heard trepidation from portions of our community who love WoW but were worried they wouldn't be able to experience it," Hazzikostas says. 

"Honestly, prior to that, we heard concerns about it from within our own team. Some people genuinely felt uncomfortable with these elements of the game that we were building together. And so we set out to try to find a solution that would still preserve the fidelity of the game but really make it more approachable, more accessible."

World of Warcraft: The War Within alpha screenshots

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

If you've been out of the loop, the Nerubians are an ancient race of spider-folk native to Northrend who once ruled over the kingdom of Azjol-Nerub. They were a big deal once upon a time until the Lich King sent them packing to the arctic wastelands. That all works just fine for most of us as, while there are a few warriors left, there aren't enough to make you feel consistently uncomfortable if you don't vibe with spiders. 

Expanding on the arachnophobia filter's implementation to GamesRadar+, Hazzikostas says the team was able to start before fans raised worries at Blizzcon because staff had already voiced similar fears. 

"There were a lot of concerns about what about the arachnid race," he says. "They were a little creepy back in 2008, but in 2024 levels of fidelity that's much more of a concern. Some folks on the team expressed 'This is uncomfortable for me as a player,' let alone in some cases even work on so what do we do about that?'" 

As such, Blizzard kicked off a lot of internal studies, leaning on arachnophobic players from the development team and community. While the team initially tried tweaking the design of the Nerubians what ultimately landed for them was giving them the heave-ho in favor of crab folk, and you know what? I'm for it. 

World of Warcraft's The War Within expansion is due to release this year, but you can read our World of Warcraft: The War Within hands-on preview now to find out what it's all about.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.

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