World of Warcraft hopes modern reporting tools, social contract will improve community behavior

Good luck with that.


Is trying to fix World of Warcraft’s sometimes toxic community a case of too little, too late — or is it a worthwhile endeavor to improve the overall social environment? Blizzard is banking on the latter, as the upcoming Patch 9.2.5 will contain a few initiatives to help tamp down on the rising tide of trolls, harassment, and bad behavior.

The studio claims that it has “modernized” the player reporting system in the upcoming patch, including follow-up feedback from GMs when action has been taken against offenders. Blizzard also said that it streamlined the reporting and action system to allow for faster response time from its team.

Of course, everyone is talking about the so-called “social contract” that Blizzard is making everyone sign and how effective that might be. The studio said that players will have to read and accept it before continuing to play, with a possibility that the social contract might pop up again in the future.

“The contract outlines behavior that will help make your experiences more positive and provides an outline of behaviors that are not acceptable within the game,” Blizzard said.

Of course, this sort of effort does make us wonder if Blizzard is equally applying reporting tools and social contracts to the people who work at the studio itself, or if this is a case of “do as we say, not as we do.”

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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