Shhhhh! World Of Warcraft Silencing Abusive Players

The internet can be a brutal place and, if you pay any attention to the chat window in your favorite MMORPG, well, you’re likely to see some nasty stuff. There’s enough trouble in the real world that having to deal with chat and channel abuse is maybe just too much, you know? Voice chat is my personal hell. I almost never use it. I refuse to be yelled at. It’s just not right. For those of us who are sick of listening to that noise, and in attempt to make the gaming world friendlier for everyone, the new silence penalty coming soon to World of Warcraft [official site] might bring some solace.

The penalty requires everyone’s participation! If a person is abusive or spammy, report them (and block them too for good measure). If that player is reported by enough people then, following an investigation, their account will lose their voice and chat privileges for 24 hours.

That’ll leave them unable to talk in General and other global channels which are auto-joined, send in-game mail, send party invitations, send duel invitations, talk in Instance Chat (that’s Raid, Party, and Battlegrounds), and more. They’re not entirely silenced, still able to whisper to friends and reply to whispers and such, but basically they can’t talk to people who haven’t explicitly chosen to hang with them.

The effect is cumulative too. Each time a player is silenced after the first, the penalty will double. To infinity. So the bigger the jerk you are, the less and less time you will be able to be a jerk. Perhaps, if it all works out as planned, I’ll give voice chat another shot.

The silence penalty will be implemented in WoW: Legion’s pre-expansion patch. Legion is coming to Azeroth on August 30th.

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  1. Halk says:

    So that means they didn’t have such a system all that time? Even Ragnarok Online had this over 10 years ago.

    • LexW1 says:

      My post further down was meant to be a reply to this. In short, they didn’t. They sometimes gave out 3-hour bans for abusing people or messing with chat, but that was it, and it was inconsistent.

      • Faxanadu says:

        Don’t understand why hype up starting to do their job properly.

        It seems to have made quite the ripples on the WoW US forums tho. A lot of people got scared it might be an anti-hatespeech bot or something like that. Which I can’t really find from the announcement.

        Oh well. I hope I’ll still be able to enjoy the hilarious political “debates” on trade chat.

  2. Premium User Badge

    InfamousPotato says:

    “Silencing” abusive players makes it sound like Blizzard is sending professional assassins after them.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    Did something change in the last few years with WoW parties, Gabriela, or maybe we played a different game? Because this reads an awful lot like you’re saying that voice chat will be disabled for abusers. Last I recalled built-in voice chat in WoW was wonky at best. The Blizzard notice makes it pretty clear this deals with text-based chat abuses.

    My anecdotal experience has been that guilds, raids, and private parties use skype or other third-party chat programs that they set up. Maybe that’s the exception to normalcy.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Apologies about misspelling your name.

    • LexW1 says:

      It’s not just voice chat, it’s all forms of chat except a handful of non-public/non-stranger ones.

  4. LexW1 says:

    Indeed they did not. They had something called the “Penalty Volcano”, which basically meant that in order to get in any kind of real trouble, you had get both reported and have Blizzard sanction you dozen and dozens of times. For example, one server I played on had a guy who would type graphic but non-swear-y depictions of child abuse (or just general human abuse) into general chat, and/or other chats (and you couldn’t account-ignore back then). He did this, whilst being reported constantly by a lot of people, for a couple of years. He absolute did get penalized – 3 hour bans I recall. He got lots and lots of them, but because of how the “penalty volcano” worked, he never worked up to a higher kind of penalty (you can of course skip to a higher level by like, y’know hacking or something, but chat offences were always treated as minor).

    Those three hour bans were the worst any could expect, too. Calling someone a nasty name and then ignoring them? 3 hour ban. Vile and highly specific rape and/or death threats? 3 hour ban. Spamming chat with pictures/memes in order to prevent anyone using it? 3 hour ban.

    And what was extra-good was that these 3-hour bans usually took place whilst the person in question was asleep, because of when Blizzard liked to apply them. They didn’t wait for them to try and log on or anything. I bet captain rape threat was really upset about that three hour period he couldn’t play WoW for during the time he was asleep in bed!

    Aaaaanyway this is a huge step forwards for them, because these sort of people really get off on attention and being able to abuse people, in my experience, so this will help mess with that quite severely.

    Pity it took them a decade to come up with it!

    • jrodman says:

      Indeed, their behavior was shockingly weak towards flagrantly abusive behavior. It was common to encounter casual verbal filth from people you were just wandering past in world and didn’t even know. Starting out a proper damage control in their twilight years, I don’t think the culture is ever going to correct, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

  5. Freud says:

    About time someone dealt with the smut on the role playing servers.

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      That’s only abuse if the receiver says no ;)

  6. benkc says:

    The redoubling without limit makes me happy. I’d like more games to handle abuse that way.

    • Freud says:

      In Heroes of the Storm, we have some very unhappy players who are on their eight silence (4 month silence) because there you can’t play Hero League if you are silenced.

      They constantly spam the forums in frustration. The same will probably happen to WoW.

      • that_guy_strife says:

        I don’t see the problem. They are clearly very toxic players, if they go back to silenced right after the cooldown ends. No one wants toxic players in League.

  7. geldonyetich says: has been populated by a notoriously obnoxious crowd for as long as I’ve known them, so perhaps this is their legacy.

    It’s interesting to see they’ve finally found need to take a firm hand with it. How will their fans react after running off the leash for so long?

    I’m predicting this won’t make much difference at all.

    • LexW1 says:

      That is a good question. We are already seeing a lot of weeping about from MRA types who pretend it is there to censor them and some of the most vocal posters on Blizzard forums have been appallingly behaved in game, even including Blizzard employees. So I think a lot of horrible people will be whining about it very loudly quite soon. They will demand it be changed rather than accepting that they need to stop abusing people, of course.

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    Grizzly says:

    That alt-text had me thinking of this: