Blizzard announced this week that they finally implemented the functionality that many had been asking for regarding RealID: A way to turn it off (that didn’t involve Parental Controls), a way to turn off the Friend of Friend feature, and a way to turn off the Facebook integration.
It’s certain that in regards to the WoW community, Blizzard has their job cut out for them. To be honest, the WoW forums are full of trolls, pot-stirrers, and people who can barely type a coherent sentence. It’s embarrassing, and the WoW community has developed a terrible reputation. Terms like “U mad bro?”, “lulz”, “QQ”, “bads” and other silliness is the equivalent of saying “kewl” back in the AOL days. It looks borderline illiterate.
So yes, it is in Blizzard’s best interest to do something about the situation, and it has been long overdue. The pros and cons of RealID have been debated at length elsewhere and that dead horse is glue at this point, but now that the RealID issue has settled down, what can Blizzard do to improve their forums going forward?
- Force people to use one unique identity. I would be perfectly happy if everyone was given a unique username, or barring that, people had to choose one specific character to be tied to. Take away the option to post on alts, and that will be the first step. This will force posters to be held accountable for what they say.
- Add in a reputation system. Allow posters to give positive or negative reputation to other posters. People that make better, more helpful posts, should be recognized as an MVP. People that troll should be recognized as such.
- Add more community managers, and better enforce community standards. Posts that are well-written and present points and opinions in a constructive manner should be encouraged. Flamers should be warned and banned both from the forums and in-game on the third warning.
- While we’re at it, Blizzard could also use more in-game GMs. Any time that I’ve submitted a ticket or a report I’ve gotten a message that they are experiencing a heavy load. Blizzard could react more quickly and with harsher penalties on people who are spamming [anal] jokes in Trade Chat or who are harrassing other players.
I guarantee that if Blizzard were to implement at least unique identities and the rating of posts (and my understanding is that they are considering doing both), it will improve things drastically. Add in the rest of those ideas and it would be even better! Would Blizzard lose some players? Possibly. But considering the sheer volume of subscriptions that they have at the moment, I doubt that they would be missed. An improved community could likely even bring back many players who tried WoW, liked it, but left because they didn’t want to put up with such childishness.