Monday, March 30, 2009

Guild Wars Factions: Out of the mouths of babes ....

... comes an unexpurgated stream of excrementally puerile drivel, at least it would so appear in games.

My Guild Wars appetite has not been sated by completion of the Nightfall campaign but I don't really feel like going over the same missions again in hard mode or in pursuit of skills or titles. Therefore I have instead started a brand new assassin character in Factions.

After a brief tutorial I was set loose in the starter town of Shing Jea Monastery. Having spent the last few weeks in the sparsely populated end game regions of the Nighfall campaign it was at first heartening to see a lively stream of banter in the local chat channel. Heartening at least until I made the mistake of trying to read some of that lively banter and discovered just how nauseatingly puerile that banter was.

The general timbre of the conversation may be judged from the topics covered in a the few brief minutes that I observed. The most commonly applied epithet was to call someone or something "gay" which I deduce was intended as a form of abuse. Attempts to up the ante generally involved reference to another players mother while several accusations were made of other players having Aids and in one case Cancer. The only sign of intelligence in the conversation came from the clever juxtaposition of letters used to get around the profanity filter (fcuk, fkuc, cnut and so on) although in hindsight the misspellings may have been no more than a fortuitous consequence of the participants general lack of literacy. Several sniggering references to girlfriends suggested that the participants were most likely pre-pubescent boys.

I was a boy once but it is so long ago I have forgotten what my motivations were. I am sure I indulged in my fair share of schoolboy posturing and sniggering at naughty jokes. In those pre-internet days such behaviour was reserved for the back of the class room and other corners of the world that were safe from adult gaze. Now thanks to the wonder of the internet children and foolish adults are given a platform to makes fools of themselves in public and irritate others while they are at it. It is an extreme form of John Gabriel's Greater Internet F*ckwad theory http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/.

There is nothing new in this, it is an accepted peril of mmorpging but Guild Wars general chat seems to plumb depths even lower than those explored in other games. I guess it is due to the lack of a monthly fee combined with a laisser faire moderation policy. I know I shouldn't let stuff like this bother me but despite my best efforts it is irritating. It is possible to turn off general chat but I hate doing that. I already solo most of the way through the game, having general chat open is often the only indication I have that I am playing in a multiplayer world.


Thankfully the problem goes away once you leave the few starter towns. The relative difficulty of Guild Wars PVE play seems to filter less committed players out of from the later regions of the game. Even in the starter zones, the instanced nature of Guild Wars explorable zones guarantees quiet once you step outside a town.

6 comments:

Van Hemlock said...

Guild Wars local chat generally is a rancid hole and I probably wouldn't miss it if it was patched out.

Many possible reasons why, but I'd go with a combnination of virtually non-existent GM/CSR/petition system and no monthly fees. Don't like it? Turn off chat altogether, which is definitely some kind of failure on someone's part.

Just have to stick to the friendslist and guild really. Welcome to come hang out with us on Tuesdays - far more civilised!

Good work on Nightfall by the way!

mbp said...

Hello VH, welcome to mbp land. Thank you for your invite to the Tuesday noob club, I am sorely tempted. What time do you run at?

Also are there any competency requirements? When it comes to Guild Wars grouping I am most assuredly a noob.

Melf_Himself said...

Well, they have the /report function which lets you report verbal abuse, which I can tell you from first hand experience that they do actually enforce (I may or may not have raged at a group of alleged scrubs in PvP, and was banned for 3 days a couple of hours later... :p).

However, you have to be able to find the character and have them selected to use it, which is stupid, especially when it comes to reporting gold seller spam (they frequently change districts).

Anyway, I take it you've never played WoW and read the good ol' Barrens chat... it seems that having a subscription fee doesn't stop people from being retards.

mbp said...

Hi Melf. My Nelf character never ha dmuc time for chatting in the Barrens. Most of the inhabitants were trying to kill him :)

Van Hemlock said...

We generally play Tuesdays, 8pm UK time, and I'm 'Vivian Hemlock'. Be good to see you!

Crimson Starfire said...

Assassins are leet dude! I created a sin on the first day of Factions release and it has been my main character ever since. If you ever need some tips on skill combos, builds and what not, don't hesitate to ask.

I still play GW from time to time, so add 'Crimson Starlight' to your friends list. If you see me online, don't hesitate to say hi :)