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Posts with tag reporting

The Drama Mamas guide to handling in-game harassment

The Drama Mamas guide to handling ingame harassment
You've tried being clear, and you've tried being firm. Somebody's on your case in game, and they're not letting up. What are your options for managing in-game harassment?

Rule #1: Managing harassment is about protecting you and your enjoyment of the game, not about stopping or changing a harasser's behavior. You can't change other people. It's extremely unlikely that anything you do or say will inspire someone to see the light and become a thoughtful, more compassionate person. Managing harassment, then, is not about how to "fix" your harasser but how to extricate yourself from the situation so you can get on with playing your game.

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Filed under: Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Do you report problem behavior in game?

Breakfast Topic Do you report problem behavior in game
Nobody likes a snitch, but let's face it: Unless players are willing to report bad behavior and spammers, our virtual world is going to remain uglier than it has to be. True, filing a report isn't always simple or convenient. It's often simpler to ignore or /ignore bad behavior and move on.

Ideally, we'd all shoulder some of the responsibility of keeping our online community balanced and clean. Even in the best of circumstances, though, being the squeaky wheel is no fun. Whiner, snitch, tattletale -- there seem to be plenty of labels for players who are simply letting Blizzard know that another player is breaking the rules. Thing is, it's up to us to get that job done. Blizzard can't be everywhere at once, but we can -- and are.

Do you take the time to report problem behavior in game? If so, do you tend to stick to cases of personal harrassment? Do you bother to report spammers? What about problem players in the dungeon finder or raid finder -- do you let a kick "take care" of them, or do you follow up with a report?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Drama Mamas: How to deal with profanity in Battlegrounds

Drama Mamas How to deal with profanity in Battlegrounds
Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I'm not one for the profanity filter. Special characters randomly appearing in public chats don't improve my gameplay experience. Also, it's so easy to get around, so why bother? And honestly, I just don't mind profanity. Now, if there were some kind of hate and trolling filter, I might use that. Ah, just think of how slowly trade chat would scroll ...
Hey Mamas,

I've been playing since vanilla. The reason I preface my letter with that is because I know the drama that goes on in battlegrounds. Really, I do. But for some reason, I feel it's just gotten so bad lately. People being rude or just trolling isn't anything new. But this is a whole new level of mean, and the offenders act like every little (often just perceived) mistake is a personal slight against them, one from which they will never, ever recover from. This isn't just about one instance either. In literally every battleground, whether we're winning or losing, someone is cursing someone else and causing a ruckus over something very little.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

When players cross the line to harassment

Sometimes, despite our best efforts at being pleasant and respectful, we run into "that guy." You may or may not know who they are. They may be male. They may be female. They may be young or old. But the one thing they are, no matter who they are, is rude, inconsiderate, and possibly a little scary. It seems odd that someone could be considered frightening in the context of a video game full of fanciful creatures made up of millions of pixels, but harassment exists, and it's not a laughing matter.

I hate using my ignore button. I'm one of those people who lives in a fantasy land where I assume and am forever hopeful that people can talk things out like two reasonable adults and come to a mutual, satisfactory conclusion about things. I hate stopping the flow of conversation, because I believe that everything can be worked out in due time as long as people are being reasonable.

Unfortunately, I've had to use that ignore button on more than one occasion, and I've had to deal with people who were anything but reasonable over the course of the seven years I've played this game. When someone crosses the line from reasonable to threatening, there is a distinct course of action a player should take.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Should WoW players be responsible for player accountability?

Blizzard's policy as far as reporting players has been about the same since day one. If you have a problem with a player, you report them. While Blizzard can contact you and thank you for reporting the issue, it will not give any details regarding what it has done about the problem being reported. This has always been understandable to me; in the many years on and off that I worked customer service and call center jobs, rule #1 was that you did not speak to anyone but an account holder regarding the status of their account. To me, the Blizzard policy is just more of the same kind of treatment -- Blizzard cannot tell you about actions taken against another player's account, because hey, their account isn't yours, you know? It's private information.

That said, I have reported my share of players over the years, and I never really knew if action was taken against these players or not. In simple cases of name violations, like using an inappropriate word for guild or character name, I could usually tell if something had been done, because the guild or player in question would have their name changed. But in cases of player harassment ... well, you never know if they've been told anything or not. You just sort of hope this means the person harassing you will go away and that will be the end of it, but there are absolutely no guarantees.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The New York Times goes to BlizzCon

It's rare to see the mainstream media cover anything related to World of Warcraft with a generally approving tone, but no less prestigious an outlet than The New York Times reported on this year's BlizzCon quite favorably indeed. Seth Schiesel, in covering the convention, bypasses the media's usual narrative and notes that the big draw of an event like BlizzCon isn't what you'd expect. It's not the StarCraft 2 tournament with the big purse, the company's annual announcements, or even the closing concert. It's simply the chance to meet and enjoy your fellow gamers, whether you're a developer or a player.

I think Schiesel nails it here:

... the most powerful and important games are the persistent online dimensions like World of Warcraft and Eve Online. That is because they're not really about the games; they are about the relationships players form within them.

I'm surprised but gratified to see a reporter in a major media outlet who really gets it. Of note is also a comment by Rob Pardo (Blizzard's executive vice president for game design), who observes that Blizzard could easily fill larger venues than the Anaheim Convention Center (my suggestion: rent Wyoming) but prefers to keep the con local for the benefit of Blizzard employees who want to come.

I think it's safe to say that gamers are still working toward mainstream acceptance (possibly because people often don't consider things like Angry Birds and Farmville to be "true" gaming), and it's really nice not to see the usual caricature of the angry, antisocial nerd rearing its head.

Filed under: News items

Player stories on the official site

Blizzard asked for real-life stories from players a little while ago, and now they've posted a pretty big collection of them over on the official site (this page was around last year, but they've added many stories since then). As Bornakk says, these are personal accounts from players of how playing the game with others has helped them grow relationships in real-life. I'm not sure what exactly the point of posting these is (maybe Blizzard wants to stave off some of that negative media reporting about the game and addiction to it), but then again, if you dive into a few of these, you can see that they don't really need a point -- they're really interesting (and in some cases pretty heartwarming) stories about how players are using this game to enrich real-life relationships.

They're still accepting more stories as well, so if you've got a good tale of some WoW-sharing in real-life, hit them up over on the submission page and put yours in the mix. Hopefully Blizzard will figure out a way to get these out into the real world -- harsh stories about addiction are so easy for the media to jump on, but great stories like these are the real reasons we all play this game.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Leveling

Roleplay tidbits to be revealed in the next Blizzcast

Here's yet another reason for me and all my roleplaying kin to tune in to the next Blizzcast: They will be discussing roleplaying in WoW, says Vaneras. It won't be a major topic, but there is some discussion about plans to continue development of "things that are for roleplaying."

So, I am certainly excited. I can't help but speculate where this could go. What could they have planned, development-wise? Will we see more reporting tools for RP server violations? Or will we simply see more character customization options to allow us to submerge ourselves more fully into the Worlds of Azeroth and Outland? I think my big problem is going to be holding back my expectations. They're running so wild, that I can't help but that think I'll be disappointed in what's actually said.

That said, Between this information and whatever we learn about the Ashbringer, this Blizzcast should be a great listen for all RP and lore buffs. There doesn't seem to be any word yet about when it will be released, but Vaneras' post makes me think it must be close. Stay tuned here and to the official Blizzcast page.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore, RP

Belfaire on community policing and GM subjectivity

As you may recall, a few days ago, I wrote a little Dear Blizzard letter on the subject of enforcing the RP and Naming Policy. Of course, Once one writes a letter to someone, it is a good idea to deliver it, and thus I delivered it, or at least the issues therein, over on the Customer Service Forum. I was lucky enough to have Belfaire, who you may remember from his post explaining Blizzard's stance on multi-boxing, answer some of my questions and concerns. I also got some pretty well thought out feedback from a couple other people browsing the forums, including some roleplayers who disagreed with some of my points, so I think the threads worth a read in itself, and I'll comment a bit more on what Belfaire said after the break, now that I've had time to digest it a bit.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, RP

Dear Blizzard: Am I your police officer?

I think Xxleetdudexx assumed that RP stood for real pwnage. Dear Blizzard,

First of all, I really do have to thank you for changing the name of that guy called Longjohnson. Yeah, He sent us this pretty long rant about how it was unfair his name was changed, but honestly, it was a pretty clear violation of the naming policy against inappropriate references to bodily parts or functions (Sorry Jason, I'm only siding with you to a point here. Your character's name needed to be changed). That said, I'll give him this: It is pretty annoying that he was able to then proceed to the Armory and find 19 characters named Longjohnson and 60 characters named Bigjohnson. If a name is impermissible because of being profane or inappropriate on one server, it should count on them all, right? Every server has the same set of naming rules, except for RP servers, which have the extra "appropriate for an RP server" qualifier, so this shouldn't be a problem. Mike has actually observed that enforcement tends to be a bit lax in the past regarding both the naming policy and RP server policy, but I figured it was worth bringing up again.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard

Tournament Test Realm: The good, the bad, and the bovine

The Arena Tournament Test Realm (TTR) has been live for a few days now. It seems there have been some hiccups, which is to be expected during a stress test. Hortus has popped up in a few instances on the TTR forum to address some of the major concerns that players have brought up.

Lag is far and away the biggest issue on the TTR. Hortus indicated that one of the main functions of the TTR is measuring the best way to handle the massive number of contenders on the official tournament server. Blizzard currently has no plans for opening up any new TTRs to relive the stress. Logging into the server, I find the term "laggy" to be an understatement. Movement is dizzying, and players crowd around.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Quests, Contests, Forums, Arena

AFK is fixed... for now

First thing I did after getting the patch installed was head into Alterac Valley, and I am very glad to say that the anti-AFK measures Blizzard put in place are working... for now.

It was amazing to see Horde up and at 'em again-- coordination still needs work, as we didn't wait around long enough to capture Stonehearth Graveyard and had to recapture it a few times (and I heard that earlier in the day, Balinda was double spawning), but once we cracked into Stormpike, it was all over. Horde is winning in AV again, at least in the Vindication battlegroup. As Foxx says, things haven't been this fun in a while.

We reported two folks out in our first match-- a flurry of messages in the chat line had them leaving the BG quick. One guy, however, actually came out of the cave to AFK, but he had a reputation, and we all voted him out before long. It'll be interesting to see how this all pans out going towards the future-- will the AFKers just stop trying, or will eventually they find another place to hide on the map where people won't notice? While I was playing, someone came to my door, and I actually went AFK for about 5 minutes, but because I was standing near the bridge where combat was going on, no one actually reported me.

So the system still isn't perfect, but it is many, many times better. If you were plagued by AFKers before, Alterac Valley is definitely worth another try. It's much more fun in there-- at least until the AFKers come up with another plan.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Enforcing RP

The rogue Grenthar sighed as he slowly walked through the crowd at the main entrance of Stormwind. It had been a long day of slaughtering boars and thinning out the Gnoll population, but it was worth it-- he had a pack full of skins and trinkets to put up for auction. He entered the House, sticking to the shadows by instinct, and when his turn came, dealt quickly and quietly with the auctioneer, firmly setting each starter and buyout price for his goods.

Suddenly, there was a yell from outside in the city: "OMG did you just see what happened on 24? Jack BAuer ROXXORS!!"

Yeah, personally, I'm not that big on roleplaying, but I can see what people get out of it-- complete immersion in a world where they're the hero. Unfortunately for those really interested in it, the illusion is so easy to break that even on RP servers, Blizzard doesn't really enforce roleplaying that much. From what I've gathered, the majority of it takes place in groups and guilds of people committed to doing it right.

So when Patsie asks why Blizzard even has an RP policy when they don't enforce it, I can see what he's saying. And maybe Blizzard should crack down on non-RPers, just as they've cracked down on gold spammers and AFKers. What if everyone on an RP server could report someone with just a right click, and if enough reports came in on that person, they earned a suspension or even a ban from the server entirely? You have to think that if Blizzard made a serious effort to shut down non-RP activity on an RP server, they'd become what they were meant to be in the first place-- servers where everyone actually played a role.

Then again, people who don't roleplay are paying their $15 like the rest of us, and, as Patsie says, there are lots of people on the RP servers who didn't join them to RP. But if Blizzard is advertising these servers as RP, shouldn't they be taking steps (beyond enforcing the naming convention, which is iffy itself) to make them so?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, RP

Overheard at BlizzCon: Changes to the bgs?

Well, as I stood in line for food this afternoon at BlizzCon, I found myself behind some Blizzard employees. They were very nice, and evidently from the QA department. As the the line moved on, their conversation turned to some of their PvP exploits from the day before. Evidently guys who spend all day playing WoW go home guessed it, play WoW.

What was interesting wasn't really what battlegrounds they were playing in, or how they did. What was interesting was what they let drop while they talked about their PvP exploits. Evidently fairly soon Blizzard will release a method of dealing with those pesky AFKers in AV and WSG. They said something along the lines of "I can't wait to select all those guys hanging out in the caves and just hit 'report.'" Perhaps this will be a system similar to that which has removed all but the most tenacious gold spammers from my whispers. Intriguing? I thought so, and also thought you should hear about it. I'll keep my ears perked for anything else tantalizing I hear tomorrow.

Filed under: Blizzard, PvP, BlizzCon

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