Will Blizzard's spam-stopper really work?

Dan Crislip
D. Crislip|05.16.07

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Will Blizzard's spam-stopper really work?

In response to Blizzard's upcoming spam prevention in 2.10, there has been tons of speculation by forum-goers at whether or not the methods being implemented will really work or not.

According to Drysc, a Blizzard CM:

  • Players will now be able to report chat and mail spam with the click of a button. A "Report Spam" option will now be available by right-clicking on a player's name in a chat channel, whisper, or mail. Using this option will quickly and easily report the player to our in-game support department for review.

Ok, fairly easy, but you could easily abuse this feature on people you don't like, whereas the reporting process was usually drawn out and people wouldn't abuse it.

  • When you report a player, he or she will automatically be added to your ignore list for your current session. You won't see any chat or mail from that player until you log out and back in.

What if your ignore list is already full? Is Blizzard going to increase the number of ignore slots or make it unlimited?

  • These tools function on a per-account basis, meaning that reporting one character on an account will ignore all chat text and mail from that entire account until you log off.

This is excellent, since so far we can only ignore one character at a time. Since we can't tell what other characters are on an account, this feature will do that for us.

  • You will not be able to report players on your friends list or in your guild.

Well, at least I can't do it accidentally. Good.

  • Players will no longer be able to send large amounts of text at one time, filling a chat screen with a repeating message, large blocks of gibberish, or text that could disrupt an entire conversation. This throttling, along with the new chat-reporting feature should make it much easier to keep unwanted text off your screen before it becomes overwhelming.

This is good, too, as it will put a stop to the rapid-emoters, trade channel WTS spam, and the ever persistent "I need help" spam.

He states that these are just *some* of the new features, which means that there may be more features coming, or more detailed options to be implemented. This careful wording may be the only thing holding back the floodgates of protest, as just ignoring and reporting players is not enough even now. How would it be enough in the future?

Spam Sentry is still a viable option for blocking the spam-tells, however the reporting feature will no longer work in the next patch. An alternative that was suggested on the forums was STFU, an addon that will ignore players under a user-defined level that are not in your guild or on your friends list. It uses a /who command, which can delay messages, but from the feedback I've read, it works well.

What I haven't seen from the addons yet, is an in-game spam mail protector. Have you ever received the message that COD's you 50g for a "plain letter"? Get 20 or 30 of those in a night, along with a hundred tells, and it almost puts a player over the brink of sanity.

Some players suggest that maybe Blizzard should get on the gold-selling bandwagon, while others believe that Blizzard may already be in on it. The gold farming industry has been around for many many years; not just in World of Warcraft. I remember seeing it in Everquest, and Diablo II. Why does it still persist? Because players continue to buy. While there is demand for a product, and while people continue to pay, there will always be a market.

Maybe Blizzard should undercut the farmers to a point that drives them out of business? 1000g for $20 direct from Blizzard might be low enough to drive the farmers away, but still high enough that those of us who are conscientious of our spending can't justify $100 for a virtual epic mount. And, why would you buy gold from an outside source and risk being banned, when you could just get it legitimately from Blizzard? It might just be the best way to stop the cycle.

Until we see what Blizzard really does to help prevent the spam we get, we may just want to find ways of entertaining ourselves at their expense. Do you think Blizzard's new spam features will be enough?

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