Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

filed under Feature, Roleplay
Policing Roleplay (somewhere else)
comment 16 Written by on August 4, 2010 – 8:23 am

Blizzard announced yesterday in a Blue Post on the Customer Service forums that it would be policing certain ERP hotspots to actively enforce the RP server rules about OOC comments (specifically sexual, racist, and otherwise generally socially inappropriate ones) in /say, /general, /whisper, and /yell.

To which I say – YAY! Go them!

When is the team showing up in Feathermoon and all the other RP servers that have been dealing with this kind of shit since release?

Wait… they’re not?

Nothing so far says any of this will extend beyond Moon Guard. And truthfully, this is pretty great for Moon Guard, which has, rather sadly, seen an /increase/ in that kind of behavior, because some people on the internet are dicks. As someone who saw Feathermoon’s own public debacle (yar yar hump hump), it WILL calm down, give it a little time.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make this some kind of great decision to patrol ERP hotspots and enforce the server rules on RP servers.

It means someone made a big loud fuss on on the forums, and the developers will now be “policing” Goldshire in Moon Guard.

It has nothing to do with the number of reports, the horrible emotes, racist comments, inane and mind bendingly inappropriate babble in /general, or the inappropriate and propositioning whispers that happen in Goldshire (and Silvermoon City) on all of the other RP realms.

There are currently six RP-PVP realms (Emerald Dream, Lightning Hoof, Ravenholdt, Maelstrom, Venture Co and Twisting Nether) and seventeen RP-PVE servers (Feathermoon, Argent Dawn, The Scryers, Blackwater Raiders, Cenarion Circle, Moon Guard, Sentinels, Sisters of Elune, Steamwheedle Cartel, Wyrmrest Accord, Earthen Ring, Farstriders, Kirin Tor, Scarlet Crusade, Shadow Council, Silver Hand and Thorium Brotherhood). Of those realms, five have been around since release – Argent Dawn, Feathermoon, Cenarion Circle, Earthen Ring, and Silver Hand, with Scarlet Crusade and Shadow Council releasing shortly after.

I’ve played on Feathermoon since shortly after release… and Goldshire has been a place I’ve actively avoided for RP since I started playing. It had a reputation back in the spring of 2005, before Moon Guard even existed. I’m sure other players on other RP realms can speak to the various dens of publicly aired sexual perversion and flagrant rule-breaking that happen on their servers as well.

RP griefing, ERP, and people flagrantly violating RP server rules have all been a problem since the beginning of the game.

I’ve reported countless players for inappropriate emotes, for names I can’t repeat in polite company, for standing naked on the table and dancing, for actively interrupting RP and being jerks about it, for saying and doing things that made me sick to my stomach. I’ve seen countless posts on the Feathermoon forums about inappropriate RP, about people emoting their particular flavors of sexy funtiems in public places, all of that.

So call me a naysayer (and I’ll accept the title this time) but I see this as a calculated move on Blizzard’s part to stem the tide of outcry (and also increased stupidity and harassment) that’s happened since the original post. Until this applies to more than just one area on just one realm, this isn’t some great victory for the RP servers to finally get the server rules enforced.

There are server rulesets for a reason.

Blizzard’s policy is that if someone is breaking those server rules, you submit a GM ticket.

It has become our job to police our own realms, by Blizzard’s own admission and, to some extent, rightly so – they can’t have GM’s everywhere all the time. Unfortunately, it seems that if someone makes a fuss and it goes viral, that’s enough to get a couple of GM’s to police one cesspool – even though similar cesspools (often in the same location!) exist on other servers, have existed on other servers for years, and have been reported, repeatedly and by countless people, for years as well.

This new revelation from Blizzard? Doesn’t change much of anything.

There’s not much other RP that happens in Feathermoon in Goldshire anymore. In fact, I think a good percent of the people who DO hang around in Goldshire are there to watch the train wreck, much as the original poster’s son and his friends were doing, and possibly to join in the “fun”. There’s not much consequence for a level 1 alt in a situation where there’s so much bad that one more voice makes little/no difference.

The rest of the RP just happens elsewhere.

Submitting a ticket is like using a teaspoon to stem a tidal wave.

It’s a good thing to do, as it’s really our only voice, and I still do it (as do most RPers I know), but ultimately tickets are not that effective against harassment. A GM report and an /ignore doesn’t remove the character who is naked and teabagging me from my screen, and it doesn’t prevent them from following me as I leave to go somewhere else to get away from them.

So forgive me if I’m not all that excited about this great new development from the Blizzard team regarding RP servers and harassment. I honestly don’t see that it’ll make much difference for anyone who doesn’t hang around Goldshire on Moon Guard.


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16 Responses to “Policing Roleplay (somewhere else)”

  1. Yeah… it might make a few people think twice about doing inappropriate RP in Goldshire on other servers but it won’t stop it.

    The first thing I was told when I rolled a toon on an RP realm was to avoid Goldshire, especially at night. And while our server [ThoBro] is relatively low population and there’s not much RP alliance side atm, yeah… it’s definitely a place to avoid

  2. Except the part where they state that there are irregular patrols on all servers, right?

    “Our team has actually been doing some low-key exploratory ‘patrols’ in-game over the last several weeks, to find out how we can best impact disruptive chat and behavior.”

    I would be unsurprised to see this expand to other RP servers if it has a positive impact on Moon Guard. I cannot see how any RPer would see this as a negative development at all.

  3. @Rilgon – I don’t think this is a negative development. I just don’t think it’s going to make much difference, and the brunt of server policing will still remain in the hands of the roleplayers themselves.

  4. I guess you just have less faith in the CSR team than I do.

    (…Am I actually admitting to faith in an arm of Blizzard? *boggle*)

  5. I’m a little down on the whole RP realm thing right now. The idea that the RP realm is somehow different from regular realms has been and as far as I can tell will always be a joke. You have people rolling on RP realms all the time. My friends are on it, its a nicer environment (which I will not contribute to kthxbai) are all things said by people that just randomly roll on a RP server. Then you have people whose intent was malicious to begin with. Grief and ERP even though it falls outside the use agreement. There is no real tools to handle this. The ignore and report tools will help in small instances where the players are just annoying but because there is not ground rules that are enforceable from the start, it’s an uphill fight. Again, the number of users, server, etc.

    I don’t have the energy to do the job of clean up because in my zeal to clean up I have sometimes caused problems for someone that just wasn’t aware that an RP server was for Role Playing. I wish I could find a healthy environment where I could dive head long into my character(s) but in the absences of that, I have to settle with… Nothing and just try to squeeze what little fun I can while I play my characters’ story.

  6. As someone who has characters on Argent Dawn and Blackwater Raiders, I can only hope it does make an impact on other servers!

    Argent Dawn in particular has a nice… er “nice” little group of bondage ERP-ers who freak me right out.

  7. Rilgon Arcsinh: For myself, it’s not a lack of faith in the CSR team but a realistic understanding of how much time and person-hours they can put behind this effort in relation to their total workload.

    I’ve worked with CSR teams on major MMOs. WoW may have an infinitely large CSR team, but they also have an infinitely large workload. CSR teams always do. 😉

  8. I continue to argue for a reduction in RP realm numbers. There’s no way we can argue that we need 23 RP realms, surely. We all know how sparse RP can be. Let’s condense it down into a few realms, instead.

    Let’s bring it down to ten. One RP and one PVP-RP realm per US time zone, plus an Oceanic RP and PVP-RP realm. (Yes, yes, I know. My own personal hobby-horse here.)

    This means that Blizzard could, with only the same level of staffing, offer twice the level of surveilance, assistance, and help. It also means that we would see more RP around, and have richer communities. It’s time for Blizzard to collapse some RP realms.

    By Sean Riley on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply
  9. @Sean – it’s certainly an idea, unfortunately that requires merging servers and closing servers. One of the characteristics of RP realms is that servers have their own community and history – WoWWiki has entire pages dedicated to server “lore” and events, as well as jokes and things that are “famous” there, even on non-RP servers. While not everyone has strong server affiliation, when there was a rumor that Feathermoon was going to be split into two new realms, the outcry was UNBELIEVABLE, with guilds and RP communities trying to figure out how they’d not end up getting split one way or the other.

    I agree that more staffing is a good idea. I’m not sure if we “don’t need” as many RP realms, I know most of them list at Medium-Full most evenings, though you’re right that most of those people aren’t roleplayers. Unfortunately there’s no way to say “these people RP and those people don’t”, and even splitting it along those lines would split guilds and communities (like Perfidy Chat).

    I just don’t see this as the “easy quick fix” that it sounds like. It would result in actually destroying a lot of RP in the process, most likely. Yes, we could get by with fewer RP realms, but it’s really hard to “take back” something that’s already there without causing a lot of problems.

  10. I apologize — I just realized how smug and know-it-all I sounded in my response.

    What I was trying to say was that I suspect this initiative won’t help much, and that any failure we’ll see is more due to resource issues than intent … but I said it way wrong.

  11. @Anna: I’ve just realised the problem with my own argument. I had a full three point rebuttal to you and everything, but it’s meaningless. My own idea won’t work. Here’s my incredibly complex reason why:

    1. Moving the same number of players to a smaller number of servers _still has the same number of players making complaints_.

    I feel like kind of an idiot for not realising that.

    Given that, you’re right, the only plausible solution is to increase staffing… and that won’t happen. It’s just not economically feasible for Blizzard; there’s no justification for the increased spending they’ll manage to make. We’re not costing Blizzard money, so why start spending?

    The whole scenario is screwed, say I.

    By Sean Riley on Aug 4, 2010 | Reply
  12. It does, however, shine light on an ongoing problem. This is not a bad thing. Let’s say Blizz finds a whole host of people ERPing openly on Moon Guard. Blizz execs say, “Hey! We have a problem here! Is this a problem -only- found on Moon Guard?” The answer is no. I’ve RP’d for a long damn time on both Cenarion Circle, Feathermoon, and to a lesser extenet, Earthen Ring. They all have their issues. This is not an isolated server thing. The fact that Blizz has now said they’re going to look into it actively is a good thing as it can lead to potential policing on other RP realms, including those I have active characters on. I, for one, welcome our new ERP overlords.

  13. Minor correction: The game launched with only Argent Dawn and Silver Hand as the east and west coast RP servers respectively. The rest of the “launch” ones were rolled out over the first 72 hours as all servers got unexpected levels of traffic.

    By Ringo Flinthammer on Aug 5, 2010 | Reply
  14. In a curious way, we may have the Facebook merger thing here to thank.

    As long as the problem was solely Blizzard/Activision’s to deal with, Activision’s attitude appeared to be “Ignore it, and maybe people will stop complaining.” Who knows why — maybe because they reasoned that the griefers and blatant ERP’ers were a few more paying subscribers, and they didn’t want to spend the money on hiring people to enforce their TOS; maybe they just viewed such things as maintenance, and maintenance as something you skimp on as much as possible to cut costs. Whatever the reason, that’s what caused the problem to build up to such overwhelming proportions.

    I suspect, however, that Facebook has a different view. Draenai futa propositioning kids and vast hordes of trolls filling trade chat with obscenities don’t fit in with their vision for integration with WoW. Somewhere along the line, the message was passed and received: clean up that disgusting mess on the roleplaying servers. So now, suddenly, it’s worth spending the money to hire enforcers and put them to work.

    By Maureen Lycaon on Aug 6, 2010 | Reply
  15. If it’s anything like how they ‘policed’ their own RP policy at the start of Warhammer, this will just be another major foul’up.

    I can’t be the only person who sees it this way.

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