You Mad, Bro?

Why, yes, I am mad, bro:

Earlier today, I was browsing the official World of Warcraft forums (I know, bad idea — I really gotta find another hobby), and one thread caught my eye. A player was seeking support because, during an interview to join a raiding guild, he was called a “despicable excuse for a human being” because he didn’t want to race change to a Troll for a tiny 1-3% DPS increase.

I’d like to think this sort of thing was uncommon, but it isn’t. The WoW community is, as a whole, atrocious. We all know it. If you’re not X spec, you’re a retard. If you RP, you’re a faggot. If you win a piece of gear that someone else wanted, even if you do so legitimately, you’re a ninja. If you don’t clear normal mode raids without nerfs, you’re subhuman.

Just the other day, I was told to “fuck off” because I said “Hello” at the start of a dungeon PUG. Trolling and random cruelty is the norm of the Warcraft community.

But it’s not that people are jerks that bothers me. Or, at least, that’s not what this rant is about. My problem is Blizzard’s policy on incidents like this, which seems to be: “Eh, whatever.”

I’m about as big a Blizzard fan boy as you can find, and I support most everything they do. I like the Alliance’s plot in Cataclysm. I’m all for pandas. I think Ghostcrawler does a commendable job balancing the game. I love the Dungeon and Raid Finders. But I simply do not agree with their policies when it comes to punishing trolls and griefers.

Let me tell you a story. A few months ago, I joined a PUG Bastion of Twilight run by one of the bigger raiding guilds on my Alliance server. I won’t name names, but those who play on Antonidas will probably know who I mean. They proceeded to bring in two tanks from outside their guild who are, shall we say, less than stellar.

Naturally, Halfus mopped the floor with us. I don’t blame the tanks; they did the best they could, meager though that may be. It was the raid leader’s fault for not doing their research. Naturally, the tanks get kicked, the uber-leet raiders mocking them all the while. One of them even went so far as to shout “I HATE YOU GO DIE” in /say as one was hearthing out.

Now, I’ve run into these tanks enough times to learn something about them. Reading between the lines, I’m sure one is a kid — I’m guessing about twelve, based on the way he talks — and I suspect the other may be, as well.

I was so put off by this blatant case of cyber-bullying that I reported the player who told him to “GO DIE.”

The very next day, that same player was trolling Trade chat. Clearly, no action had been taken against him.

Now, another story. I’m sure we all remember a few months back when several top raiding guilds, included the famous Paragon, were caught exploiting the Raid Finder tool in order to get reams of gear for their players with little effort. Blizzard was quick to take action against these cheaters, and many of those who participated were given 72 hour bans, which was enough to cost them their coveted world first achievements in many cases.

Taken on its own, I commend Blizzard’s actions in that regard. It was a fair and measured penalty that fit the crime.

Fear the wrath of the Ban HammerBut now compare it to my first story, and realize what this says about Blizzard’s viewpoint. In Blizzard’s mind, a few already over-geared bleeding edge raiders scamming their way to slightly better gear is a much more severe offense than telling a child to “GO DIE.”

Am I crazy, or do their priorities seem completely back asswards?

Blizzard is set in their ways at this point, and I doubt anything will ever change, but for what it’s worth, I think they should institute a zero tolerance policy for harassment and cyber-bullying. I can think of few things more pathetic than someone who’s so small and petty that they need to ruin someone else’s game time to make themselves feel better.

There needs to be immediate, tangible punishments for any offenders. Fine them gold or take away their highest ilevel piece of gear for each offense. I guarantee that people in this game will become much better behaved the moment that bad behavior risks costing them their shinies.

Oh, and as for the thread that got me started on this rant? I’d link it for you, but — despite it mostly consisting of people comforting the poor fellow who didn’t want to play a Troll, a rare showing of decency from the WoW community — Blizzard opted to delete it. I’d speculate on why, but I seem to have misplaced my tinfoil hat.

By the way:

Weird Worm posted another of my articles: Six Badass Fictional Space Ships. I admit it; I’m scraping the bottom of the topic barrel.

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7 thoughts on “You Mad, Bro?

  1. While I agree with the sentiments and do wish people were punished, it’s unrealistic to want Blizzard to do something.

    If they issued temporary bans, that’s not much more than a “slap on the hand” so to speak, and doesn’t really discourage folks from going back to their poor behavior once the ban is lifted.

    And if it’s a permanent ban, that’s actually a bad thing. Assuming Blizzard did man up and start taking a hard stand on such behavior issuing permanent bans for harsh offenses of the game policy, you’d see huge swaths of bans. The sad fact is this behavior is perpetuated by the majority of the WoW community. You would see millions of people banned. Once it was all said and done they literally would lose millions of customers (the ones they would ban) and you’d further deplete the population even further than it’s dropped in the last year or so.

    Which makes it a very slippery slope. Do they clean house and get rid of the people whose behavior is ludicrous and lose millions of players, or do they let most slide by keeping them as customers?

    And what’s worse is, even if they did ban them and millions left, those people who want to play an mmorpg will have to go somewhere. It’s a safe bet to say a good portion of them will move onto another mmorpg, and their behavioral patterns probably will not change. So instead of showing them the error of their ways and hoping they learn from it and change, we’ve not heaved them out the door and dropped them potentially on some other mmorpg’s doorstep for them to deal with. At the end of the day the only way to nip it in the bud is for the majority of mmorpgs to also adopt a harsh stance against such behavior. You aren’t going to change the way most people act or think, and leaving them to go to another game and ruin it’s experience is just going to repeat itself. You’d have to convince other games like SWTOR, Rift, etc to also follow the footsteps of taking a stand for such behavior so that basically these people would either end up A) learning their behavior will not be tolerated and maybe change or B) they won’t learn and just keep getting banned from various mmorpg’s until there’s really no where for them to go except very small mmorpgs that have very small populations.

    We can only hope.

    • I agree my hopes are unrealistic, but I’m not sure I agree that this would lead to millions of bans as you say. I would think that, once word of heavier punishments came out, people would start to mind their Ps and Qs a little better.

      Bans aren’t the only option, either. As I said, they could adopt in-game fines. Take away their gear, gold, and mounts.

      From what I’m told, at least some other MMOs do have much stricter penalties. Heck, SW:TOR is becoming infamous for banning people left, right, and center for just about any infraction.

  2. I get the impression Blizzard prefers us to police ourselves, and only steps in if it’s an obvious violation of the ToU. An obnoxious, bullying paying customer is still a paying customer.

    I’m not sociologist, but I am surprised at the lack? apathy? disinterest? in chopping these abusive individuals off at the knees by sheer peer pressure. Blizzard gives us very limited tools to deal with these types of incidents, but then again, why was that behavior tolerated by the raid group? Where was the RL to shut them up? Or at least apologize for his raiders’ stupidity? Or the GL to /gkick?

    Blizzard has the ultimate power, but if the players themselves let it slide well…you know the old saying about “good men who do nothing.”

    • A good chunk of the problem does rest with the playerbase. I won’t deny that. People are, as a general rule, much to eager to tolerate asshattery. Probably because most of them are asshats themselves. But Blizzard still has to back us up when we do try to police ourselves. What’s the point in reporting someone when the reports don’t do anything?

      And as for the raid story, their whole guild is like that. They think they’re God’s gift to WoW, and they take every possible opportunity to treat the rest of the server like their own personal chamber pot. They’re a large part of the reason I won’t join a raiding guild.

      • Not surprising nothing was done to stop it if the entire guild culture is composed of idiots. I understand Blizzard’s Penalty Volcano but sometimes they need to jump right to the top and ban the account. Of course, it’s never really a “ban” because the player has the option to create another account and re-purchase the keys.
        The ability to /ignore an entire account instead of one character at a time would be a big step forward although from a “business” perspective I could understand how that would not be Blizzard’s first choice.
        Other than Blizzard becoming more pro-active, it would take a server co-ordinated effort to put a big guild full of bullies in it’s place, and that would be impossible.

  3. I have reported everyone who I think has an offensive name or says “faggot” or the like in any public channel. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to hear it. So I do hope that action is taken against these people in the community. There’s no need for it in a video game.

    Of course matter of appropriateness is left up to each individual (including Blizzard). Someone might not think it’s bad to tell someone to die, but then again, they’ve probably never had the displeasure of anyone they know attempting suicide either.

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