World of Warcraft players were warned about a change to social interactions in a statement in early May. Now, the new social contract is live in an attempt to reduce negativity in-game.
The World of Warcraft community has long had its problems with the way that players treat each other. With parent company Activision-Blizzard also guilty of sub-par treatment of its staff.
As problems rain down from the top, a drastic change was made to the way that WoW players are able to communicate. A social contract was announced earlier this year, and as of Patch 9.2.5, is now live.
The contract brings in new rules for the ways in which players can interact with each other. Appearing as a pop-up that players must read and accept before being able to enter the world of Azeroth.
The contract starts with a relatively simple series of suggestions, all preaching the basic message of: “Connect with other players and make friends!”
With a community that’s built a notoriously gross name around itself, the ‘play nice’ message deepens into more serious territory with the discussion of behaviors that will lead to “punishment up to and including suspension of your account.”
Bannable offenses, as defined by the contract, cover hate speech, harassment, threats, and spamming.
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Game moderation has long been a thorny issue for Blizzard, with discussions on Community moderation efforts stemming back years on the WoW forums.
As the WoW community reacted to the news, a subset of players emerged claiming that the attempts to curb rampant toxicity were “killing the game,” while large swathes of the player base lauded the change.
“I really love this,” one player chimed in. “It sets the right tone for what is expected of you. It’s crazy they even have to do this, but as venomous as people can be online it is necessary.”
With the change still fresh to WoW’s 1 million players a day, it’s unknown how much of an impact the social contract has actually had in-game, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for any drastic changes to the number of banning’s that occur.