Hello everyone, a busy week it has been indeed.
I know in my last post I said that I was going to discuss aggression in games and ways to mitigate, but while conducting my research yesterday I took a break and defaulted to Gamasutra.com when I happened upon an article about ArenaNet (Guild Wars 1 and 2) and their response to players within their games acting like assholes. I lit up when I saw this, perfect timing and a perfect example for what I am doing.
As I mentioned previously I am looking at addressing social issues within gaming and I meet a lot of resistance in that area with people denying it as an issue. As you can imagine, it is quite refreshing to see a larger company recognizing the issue and also doing something about it.
Essentially what it came down to, if you are raging on another player, have an offensive name, or are cussing and swearing and calling people names or making obscene comments in public chat, zero tolerance, you will be banned.
If you exploit anything in the game, you will be banned, in fact, there was an incident where ArenaNet permanently banned 3,000 + players for taking advantage of a weapon vendor exploit (purchasing hundreds of weapons in order to get upgrades faster for dirt cheap), and temporarily banned anyone who exploited it to a far lesser extent.
Its all over the internet by now and I am just adding my voice to the choir, and I think it’s a damn good thing that they are doing. What’s more, the GW2 community is extremely accepting of it. After browsing the Reddit page where people were allowed to ask ArenaNet reps about their bans, many people understood why and even apologized for it.
“I thought it was funny, it was most definitely stupid and offensive, and I have now learned my lesson. I think this punishment is fair and I can’t wait to get back in game and start fresh. Keep up the good work!” said one player who was given a 72 hour ban for the name “Adolph Critler”
The gaming community is extremely childish and I think to some extent gamers will do a lot just to see what they can get away with. As seen in the above quote, someone knew what they were doing might have been offensive, but once they got caught they lightened up, realized that someone IS watching, and was completely accepting of the ban.
I fear that a lot of developers are far too worried about their bottom line in terms of implementing such procedures, but as an industry we need to stop allowing racist, sexist and just general offensive behavior from going unpunished. We don’t allow it in public social spaces, why should the fact that we are on the internet make it any different. It is also important to note here the difference between swearing, and offensive language. There are profanity filters, they are there for a reason, people are allowed to cuss, and people can choose whether or not they see it ( I personally never care enough to turn off the filters unless I am in the options menus for some other reason) however, a profanity filter can not stop the intentions from some of these players from being read.
ArenaNets’ actions have done a lot to show that the gaming community and industry is ready to start growing up. Quite frankly, the people that have an issue with their response to these situations, I’d rather not play with them in the first place, if they are offended and quit the game, so be it.
I should also mention that their twitter exploded with support following these events with people commending them on their effort and expressing their interest in buying the game, if only for their commitment to community.
On a side note, I’ve been nominated for the Lieber Blog award…I’ll get to more on that later 😛 (Thanks Chris Taylor)
Aggression. Next Time. I Promise.