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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Apr 11th 2009 7:21PM archipelagos said

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Blot out all the "noise" or wade through it to find the small minority of reasonable people: it's not the easiest of choices for those looking for interaction above the norm. Unless we get an ignore option without limitation it's probably the only one we'll get, unfortunately.

Posted: Apr 11th 2009 7:39PM (Unverified) said

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Sounds like you're more for single player RPG games (sort of like what I'm getting into and out of the MMO genre). Honestly, the MMO genre has become saturated with junk players (those without a clue and those thinking they're better than every other person in the game), horrible play designs, and just overall bad play.

-Crafting in most MMOs have taken a back seat and/or have become something of a joke.
-Items (aka 'loot') have taken front seat, driver status in almost every game (This I blame mostly on WoW, no offense ment)
-Story is missing, lacking, and/or just absent (ya, they're all the same, but not really)
-Players...(see above comments on players)

Overall, the MMO genre has become just that "MMO genre", where as the RPG element has utterly left the field.

I'm hoping that Bioware, the makers of some of the greatest RPG games ever made (Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic I&II), can take what they've done for those single player RPG games and put the "RPG" back into MMORPG for The Old Republic.

Posted: Apr 12th 2009 2:55AM (Unverified) said

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The problem he has, which I also have, is that most solo RPG's lack substantial multiplayer. We want to play with friends, and not the junk players. Another major set back is that most of the good solo RPG's with multiplayer components use archaic click to move systems which aren't what we're looking for.
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Posted: Apr 11th 2009 8:20PM (Unverified) said

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Even a good raiding guild that requires older, more mature gamers still have those young prodigys who like to yell random things like, "THE TIME FOR PRACTICE IS OVER"

Posted: Apr 12th 2009 12:29AM (Unverified) said

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This phenomena is hardly unique to MMOs or gaming in general. I find a similar and far more disturbing manifestation on the msnbc.com/newsvine comment threads. Want to fill depressed about your peers? Watch in near real time as people respond with the most vile, bigoted, and hateful remarks you've seen this side of SomethingAwful.

In either case this is an illusion of broader sentiment that exists because the internet gives everyone an opportunity to voice their opinions but no social framework in which to be responsible for them. Even on the RP server I play on, the more explicit means to dampen these troll through reporting does nothing to diminish their numbers.

So again I empathize. What to do? Developers could look towards web 2.0 comment moderation systems that rely on community feedback to control trolls. Someone making racist jokes about Obama in trade chat? Implement a feedback system to "vote" that person down. As that person accumulates demerits, the visibility of his text diminishes and before long the text and his tirades become completely invisible for some length of time. Repeat violations lengthen his "mute" time and may lead to GM action. Until such systems are in place, I'll join you in leaving chat.

Posted: Apr 12th 2009 10:09AM Crsh said

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User-driven moderation doesn't work too well when you're already dealing with a vile and immature crowd because it's too easily abused and used incorrectly. That's why having strong GMs would be needed, but Blizzard never did that in WoW - they never gave them the power to be real GMs.
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Posted: Apr 12th 2009 12:43AM (Unverified) said

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Every time I consider going back to WoW (mainly because I love playing through the original starting zones), this very thought enters my mind.

I know I'm going to be repulsed by the disgusting, obscene, immature chat that constantly occurs.

In fact it was only last night that I was thinking to myself "hmm what if I turned off General Chat?".. but as has been mentioned, sometimes that can kind of negate the point of playing.

What I don't understand (and what irks me to no end) is Blizzard themselves, allowing this not only to continue, but to get seemingly worse.

Where is their moderation? A quick look through their TOS reveals the following:

"When engaging in Chat, you may not:
(i) Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above;"

So.. erm.. where's Blizzard's moderation when this occurs?

Somebody needs to take them to task on this one, formally. Theoretically they should have employees monitoring chat, and actioning the TOS to visible effect.
After all, the penalties listed in their TOS read as follows:

"Blizzard reserves the right to determine which conduct it considers to be outside the spirit of the Game and to take such disciplinary measures as it sees fit up to and including termination and deletion of the Account."

So, by *not* taking action against racial slurs, sexually explicit remarks, homophobic abuse and threats, etc, one could reasonably assume that Blizzard sees these as 'fit'?

I know for a fact that if I were to allow a minor in my care to be playing this Blizzard game, and they were subjected to these chat horrors, I would be looking deeply at my options in terms of formally challenging Blizzard's responsibilities.

If a parent were to review the marketing of WoW, and believe their child to be entering a grand online adventure in the 'spirit of adventuring / spirit of the game' (to summarise Blizzard's description) only to come across racial and sexual harassment at every turn, I somehow don't think they'd believe that the back of the box equaled the experience found.

Surely it's time somebody asked some hard questions of Blizz?

Posted: Apr 12th 2009 3:11AM (Unverified) said

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Really, your soap box is just too high for the rest of us to compete. Nobody is forcing you to read the chat and guess what you can turn off the channel or minimize you chat window to see everything or nothing. The point is nobody is forcing you to read chat, that is your choice.
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Posted: Apr 12th 2009 4:01AM (Unverified) said

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Unfortunately a plea for Blizzard to automatically eliminate all "offensive" chat assumes a liitle too much of technology and Blizzard GMs. They've certainly set the policy and enforce it when they can, but assuming they can target every 12-60 yr old spammer is asking a bit much.

If you don't like what a particluar person or persons is saying then Ignore them and their rantings will disappear. If it get too much, then turn off Trade channels, since the Auction House and LFG UI will replace everything except Chuck Norris jokes.

If the silent world is no fun or you want to actually stop some hatemonger for the benefit of others then REPORT them to a GM. Screen shots are fine, but the GM should have access to the historical log. If a crime happens in real life, do you simply lament that the police aren't omnipresent or do you report it?

So if you want to clean up your server then actively report infractions.

WoW is unusual because of its subscriber base, which gives it a broad demographic which contains just as many irritating people as the real world. As it contains a variety of games within games it attracts the hardcore and casual end-gamers, the rabid team/deathmatch/world PVPers, theorycrafters, lore fanatics, RPGers, questers, crafters, auctioneers, casual gamers, social gamers and of course the all important choice of Alliance or Horde ;-) As all of these groups are generally of the opinion that all the other groups suck and only regard their own gameplay as meaningful, it makes for some drama most of the time ;-)


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Posted: Apr 12th 2009 6:42AM archipelagos said

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Moderation by Blizzard is generally a joke, even on the boards. I remember a thread being open for ages and all it contained (I kid you not) was a guild making jokes about links to images of hangings during the civil rights period (you know, the famous KKK images). That was just depressing.
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Posted: Apr 12th 2009 7:02AM (Unverified) said

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@Gothia:
Right so.. you're solution is to just ignore it?
It doesn't matter if it's happening, just bury my head? Turn the other cheek? Right?
Yah, that's why the TOS exists.. yup.
(good god could you have missed the point by any larger of a margin?) :-o

Posted: Apr 12th 2009 9:01AM (Unverified) said

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Absolutely! On all counts, the taking a couple of months off, only to come back make a new alt and fall back in love with the game. The starting areas and general world that's relatively empty (yours) so you can quest and chat unhindered. And lastly the horrible chat that people spew forth in the cities.

But I love that 1% that turns something stupid into something So incredibly funny you can't help but laugh...maybe it is that other 99% that makes the 1 better and bearable and the whole experience fun.

Posted: Apr 12th 2009 9:56AM Crsh said

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What the poster describes is pretty much what led me to quit WoW for good; it's easy enough to turn off General/Trade chat channels when you're in cities, but you can't totally block out the lame & stupid trash-talkers from affecting your gaming experience.

WoW has just grown too big and too popular for my taste. Remember Gaute Godager (used to be the game director on AoC) said that WoW is like a Big Mac last year? Yeah, a completely idiotic comparison (AoC wasn't exactly a high-grade steak back then), but tagging WoW as a trashy Big Mac is about right when it comes to rating the player base. It strikes me as insanely apparent when you spend some time in other MMOs.

LotRO? Pretty mature and friendly crowd, the players I encounter are pretty helpful as well. City chat is decent, almost too "clean", hehe.

Eve? Definitely edgier, but I have never seen much trash-talk in there. Play to win sure, no mercy for the weak, but people are serious about it. Plus WoW kiddies are quickly made fun of (I kinda dig that).

Warhammer? That's perhaps what surprised me the most lately, you'd think all the raging anti-WoW brats would be there... well they prolly never stuck around past the first month after launch, so the crowd is friendly and helpful, people work together when in open RvR and PvE questing. Very decent crowd.

Jump back to WoW for a weekend after that... it's painful. Very painful.

Posted: Apr 13th 2009 7:20AM SkuzBukit said

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I wonder how useful WoW could be as a study of social attitudes, without the ramifications such offensive language, opinions & behaviours the real world provides, some players feel a freedom to air their predjudices, perhaps it gives some insight into their minds.....

Or, quite possibly, there is a problem with chat having no apparent moderation in that people/humans like to push boundaries & that these individuals are often (though not always) simply behaving as children do, they are seeking to find the boundaries of their actions, & by not encountering any boundaries at 1 level of offensiveness, progress to the next searching for those boundaries, what I suggest is that by having no effective form of enforcement that this situation will only degrade further, & may further entice "moderates" to partake, some out of a desire to feel a part of "something", some out of curiosity to express themselves, others again also seeking the edges of these boundaries.

I think Blizzard need to take responsibility as much as the player base, player experience whilst playing should be a rich environment but there are stated limitations & boundaries, the problem is if those are largely ignored through lack of enforcement, there is no sense of risk or expectation of repurcussions for bad & offensive behaviour, & as any parent worth it's salt can tell you, this is bad news, human behaviour absolutely mandates boundaries & repurcussions, because whilst most individuals have some self-discipline & self-control & actual respect for their fellow humans, some simply choose not to have, & in a game as big as WoW is these numbers whilst small, have a big enough "voice" as to cause a lot of harm.

Players can only do so much, reporting & ignoring only goes so far, & rallying against the bad people only feeds them & fans the flames, that Blizzard have let things get this bad is truly disappointing, they need to take positive action, & whilst they may well value the $ signs every customer good or bad brings in, they have to consider the quality of environment their game provides & they have a responsibility to their players to protect them.

If players want to smack-talk or talk offensively in their guilds then that's up to the guilds to manage & anyone joining that guild is free to leave & join another, public channels should be a different set of expectations, am I talking censorship? yes I am, but there is a place for it, not all censorship is bad, used correctly it is a force for good, & unless WoW wants to become rated as an adults only past time it needs to address the problems it has got & take some social responsibility.

Posted: Apr 13th 2009 9:25AM Tom in VA said

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LotRO has a slightly different chat channel setup that (mostly) works quite well.

OOC channel -- for out of character (general) chat
ADVICE channel -- for seeking assistance, asking game-related questions
LFF -- the looking-for-group channel

The nice thing about this arrangement is that, if you turn off OOC, 80-90% of the problems the article writer alluded to simply disappear. My advice here would be to play LotRO. Seriously. It's one of the reasons I switched from WoW to LotRO and never looked back.

It helps, too, that most LotRO players are pretty decent about using the channels as they were intended.

Posted: Apr 13th 2009 11:32AM (Unverified) said

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10 minutes with general chat on every day has really helped my fallout3 character level!

Posted: Apr 14th 2009 6:04PM (Unverified) said

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3 good options:

1. route general chat to another chat box & stick it up top L out of the way of stuff like /party and /gu you really wanna read.

2. grow a thicker skin.

3. Play LotRO. Approximately 10% as many douchebags, and the classes are way better/more skill-oriented.


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