If you’ve been hanging out on World of Warcraft wanting a bit of erotic roleplay, Blizzard would like you to move along, please. They’ve just announced that they are cracking down on the “unsavoury” behaviour that takes place on Moon Guard, a US server infamous for the carry-on at the Lion’s Pride Inn.
It seems that a father has cancelled his son’s gaming account after discovering some of the conversations that go on in general and trade chat on that particular server – and Blizz have taken the time to respond – referencing their In-Game Harassment Policy as well as instigating regular “patrols” of the virtual bar in question.
With millions of players in hundreds of servers and thousands of channels, it is impossible to manually monitor everywhere. To this end, World of Warcraft provides features to help players protect themselves and help us moderate accordingly:
– Profanity/obscenity filter to automatically intercept the most obvious offensive language
– The ability to report any player violating the rules
– Ignore functionality to remove individuals from appearing in chat
No single one of these, by itself, is always sufficient. It’s critical to understand the rules we’re enforcing, and where they apply. Relevant to this case, whisper chat between two consenting individuals, guildmates, etc is not an area we are out to pro-actively police. Any offensive in-game behavior needs to be reported in order to receive the right followup.
Okay, what now?
Members of our CS team will ‘patrol’ Goldshire on Moon Guard on a regular basis, and take appropriate action for individuals violating the Harassment Policy. Note that this pertains primarily to public messages (/say, /yell, General) and unsolicited whispers. We won’t be showing up with that mythical crack of lightning– we’ll just be watching silently for any rule-breaking language and following up privately with the player[s] in question.
Blizzard don’t want this to be seen as any sort of insult against roleplayers having fun on their servers. In gaming circles, Moon Guard is (in)famous for the depth of the role-playing, and this is actually the first time that the customer service team have taken a pre-emptive approach to this sort of rule-breaking. They explain that they’re not trying to squish anybody’s fun, but they have penned a policy dealing with roleplay in the general chat channels. (We’re also assured that private conversations are not being monitored for this sort of policy breach – but unsolicited /tells are still against the rules.)
So, WoWsers – if you want to go hang out in the Inn on Moon Guard, be our guest! Familiarise yourself with the In-Game Harassment Policy, and maybe try to keep your grown-up content to party chat, okay?