Saturday, July 11, 2015

World of Warcraft's Trade Chat Has a Problem

This public-facing part of the WoW community is ugly and not something I want people to associate with me when they think "WoW Gamer." When I tell people I'm a level 100 Protection Warrior, who dabbles in Monk Mistweaving, I don't want them to think, "Is he one of the people joking about anally raping children? Because that's what they do in WoW."

If you play WoW regularly, you probably do the same thing I do. You /leave 2 whenever you notice that the game has added you back in. After sitting and watching it for awhile, I realized: This is one of the reasons people look askance at the community I'm a part of. Trade Chat has always been a toxic cesspool that players avoid. But, you know something? I should not have to walk away from the public space of a game I enjoy because of jerks.

What's the first thing a new player sees when going into a major city? Sure, there's memetastic things like Blessed Blade of the Windseeker spam. But, here's the first thing I saw logging in today: [Anal][For The Children]. Followed by: [Anal][Pounding][For the Children]. While I did my garrison routines on Arn, I was treated to a variety of other jokes along the same lines, with the occasional joke about gay bars thrown in. I cycled through characters in my Garrison, and each saw some variation of these link memes.

Now, I feel like I shouldn't HAVE to say this. But, apparently, the WoW Community needs to hear it. Trade chat should not be a place where you make jokes about anally raping children. Look, I feel dirty having to type that out. But, I feel like that's a pretty important point to make, so I'm going to say it again: The first thing a new WoW Player sees when entering Orgrimmar, Stormwind, or their racial city should not be jokes about anally raping children. Blizzard can't monitor everything, and I don't think we'd want them to. But, this? This is something that has to stop.

I'm not even asking the community to use Trade Chat for trading purposes! Use it for random chat, Dad jokes, guild recruitment, complaining about the latest error on Blizzard's part. I don't care. But, can we stop using it as a place to joke about the anal rape of children? In fact: Could we maybe keep discussions of anally raping others to, well, zero? Zero mentions of anal rape as comedy would be the ideal goal.

Now, if common decency isn't enough to make people stop joking about anally raping children -- how about this? It's not edgy. It is not funny. It is, in fact, blase. I see it, and I don't think "Burgerbunz has his finger on the pulse of the world, knowing exactly what we need to hear to amuse and enlighten us." I think that Burgerbunz is just another person at his keyboard who thinks that repeating the same meme day in and day out makes them edgy, cool and funny. Burgerbunz is just another follower following along until the next edgy thing comes along that they can hitch their wagon too. Hopefully, for Burgerbunz's sake, that thing isn't joking about the anal rape of children.

Joking around/goofing off/whatever in trade chat is to be expected, and I sometimes even join in on puns/silliness. But when on any given day, I can walk in to Trade Chat and the first thing I see is a joke about anally raping children, it discourages me from inviting people to play WoW. Any people who I have brought into WoW, the first thing I tell them to do is leave Trade and General chat. That's unhealthy for a multiplayer game.

As a new player, I may not stick around if my introduction to the community is that anally raping children is considered the cool thing to do in the public channels.* That's not the sort of group I want to associate myself with, and I would seriously consider if the game's quality was worth it. WoW is a good game, and I've played it off and on since Vanilla -- I have people I play with, and will continue to play with. This is WoW, and other MMOs', saving grace. You can form your own communities and shun the rest of it.

And that's a good thing, but I'd hope that as a community, we have better standards.


* It's one of the reasons I left Heroes of Newerth; the first game I had was so incredibly toxic, that I picked up my ball and went back to League of Legends. This was years ago, mind you, so imagine how bad HoN had to be for me to think "LoL is better than this!"

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