... 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.