GW2 Works to Actively Purge Toxic Players
ByDate: Feb 13 2017 Views:
If you have played any MMORPG in the past, you have undoubtedly run across verbal abuse at some point (and probably fairly often). From more friendly communities (such as Final Fantasy XIV’s) to more competitive ones (like World of Warcraft, Rift, or Tera’s), there is a lot of chatter going on, and it isn’t always nice. It’s safe to say that in Guild Wars 2, excessive cursing and flat out abuse is an exception, rather than the norm. But could that be in part due to ArenaNet stepping in, despite most game publishers not getting involved?
Naming and Shaming
To help answer this question, a post from Gaile Gray comes to mind (Communications Manager for GW2), where it’s stated in response to someone making a note that employees used to name and shame on Reddit posts for those who claimed to be innocent, “I think it was particularly funny because quite a few members of the community know me, and know I’m not the sort of spew nasty language. So when I posted up the comments, it was pretty clear, even with judicious use of asterisks, that I was pulling straight from the logs.” Furthermore, it is stated, “Believe me, reports are read, and we have a team on board 24/7/365. That doesn’t guarantee that the team member will respond exactly as you desire, for they try to look at things objectively, and we tend to forgive an occasional ‘slip of the tongue.’ Still, we do take action on offensive chat and will continue to do so, in the interests of keeping the game pleasant for everyone.”
This in itself shows that ArenaNet has not only taken action on players in the past, but have publicized those actions. In essence, it has proven very publicly that getting out of line can result in a suspension or a ban from the game. And this is in a realm where most other companies will penalize you for doing the same thing!
Is it a Step Too Far?
What comes to mind here is the fact that in nearly every other game, when actions are taken on a player for any negative behavior (language, exploiting, etc.), they will not share any information. You’re forced to learn by, for example, other players they know (like guilds) or just seeing them disappear for extended periods. This has always pushed that feeling that nothing is going to happen – after all, if the player were guilty of something and it directly involved you, why wouldn’t you be informed? ArenaNet taking the stance they have gets rid of these feelings – it shows that things did actually happen, that the players were punished, and most of all, that you were listened to. This is HUGE. In Lineage II and ArcheAge, for example, you could report someone for the same ToS-breaking actions and never see a single result come from it.
Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands
In a lot of games, there is little you can do about harassment. Just blocking other players doesn’t always help, especially in free-to-play games. On top of this, when you do something to retaliate, you can bring issues upon yourself. A great example of this would be griefing the other player through the action of kill-stealing. In a game like Age of Conan, despite being verbally harassed, if you continually KS the other player, you can bring a ban on yourself. The same is true with many other games, because there’s little anyone can do to stop it without the GMs intervening.
For GW2, the path is simple:
• Block the player (which blocks their account)
• Gaile puts it best by stating, “You also are welcome to send individual reports to the team. Best to include the exact day, time, and precise spelling of the offending player’s character or display name, to offer the most effective report.”
What this means is that they are actively watching the chat as well – not just responding to individual complaints.
Cleaning Up the Community’s Toxicity
The overall goal of this is to clear the community of toxic players. The game is meant to be a fun place to enjoy both PvE and PvP, and this doesn’t affect those that are just playing around or having fun. It is specifically geared towards those that are continually being disruptive to other players, doing what they can to destroy the game for everyone else. For that, it is a very welcome change from the norm, showing that ArenaNet cares not only about the long-term success of their game, but are also willing to spend time (read: money) to help make it a better playing experience for everyone. And for those that are worried about being hit by a ban for something that is said, realize that this is not something that is likely to affect those that are just having fun and playing around – generally speaking, this is only going to affect those that are going out of their way to destroy the game for other players. After all, win or lose, it’s all a game!