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Drama Mamas: How to deal with profanity in Battlegrounds


Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I'm not one for the profanity filter. Special characters randomly appearing in public chats don't improve my gameplay experience. Also, it's so easy to get around, so why bother? And honestly, I just don't mind profanity. Now, if there were some kind of hate and trolling filter, I might use that. Ah, just think of how slowly trade chat would scroll ...
Hey Mamas,

I've been playing since vanilla. The reason I preface my letter with that is because I know the drama that goes on in battlegrounds. Really, I do. But for some reason, I feel it's just gotten so bad lately. People being rude or just trolling isn't anything new. But this is a whole new level of mean, and the offenders act like every little (often just perceived) mistake is a personal slight against them, one from which they will never, ever recover from. This isn't just about one instance either. In literally every battleground, whether we're winning or losing, someone is cursing someone else and causing a ruckus over something very little.

I've taken to reporting foul language. But only when it's in excess. I curse too, it's not like I'm a saint. I just keep it to a reasonable, legitimate level. I'm careful to avoid responding to anyone complaining like that, I just report them and try to continue the battleground. I've enjoyed bgs in the past, I like how it's more relaxed than arenas; has it just been that I didn't care so much about the bad language as I do now?

I've read posts on forums that say reporting for language doesn't really do anything, punitively. Is that true, should I just stop reporting people and try my best to deal with it?


PvP Language
Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: PL, have you changed when you play? I find that a Battleground I play during school hours is a much more cooperative, mature experience than one I play on Friday night, for example.

Now, I don't think most kids are foul-mouthed funsuckers, though that comment implies it. In fact, I think the majority of minors playing WoW are good people and good players. Think about it. How many jerks are actually yelling obscenities compared to the number of players in the BG? Usually, there are only a couple. But, as is often the case, the loud minority is ... well ... loud. (Adults are of course capable of this behavior too. Age does not equal maturity.)

So the small but noisy PVP kiddy-gang bops on after school, and the profanity level skyrockets. Not coincidentally, the helpful BG chat plummets. And that is the biggest problem I have with the Tokyo Rose Wannabes: They drown out cooperative comments. The best Battlegrounds are the ones where players form a strategy and call out enemy movement.

I recommend experimenting with different periods in your timezone to see which ones have players who tend to communicate instead of castigate. I logged on right after reading your letter (during school hours) to test my hypothesis. I participated in a delicious Strand of the Ancients. Coordination + communication = victory. The only time I heard something negative was when someone called the Alliance opponents a bunch of idiots. (For the Horde!) Of course, it's entirely possible that the enemy players were hampered by foul-mouthed funsuckers and I just lucked out. But I do find that PvPing during specific time frames in both WoW and SWTOR gives me much more enjoyable results.

When you are stuck in a BG filled with profanity, homophobia and morale-drowning comments, just turn off Battleground chat. You aren't able to coordinate anyway, so you may as well try to overcome their uselessness without having to listen to them too.

Note: I tend to throw out clever comments (when they occur to me), mocking the funsuckers. It gives me great pleasure to receive thank-yous in tells while the anti-cooperation players rage in BG chat. I don't recommend this behavior, however, since feeding the trolls is generally bad advice. Do as I say, not as I do.

Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Oh, Robin ... /fingershake. Nobody gets to be the shining knight who trolls the trolls, even a Drama Mama! Drama Mama, no drama-ing!

PvP Language, I think after this many times around the sun (both Azeroth and Earth's), a lower tolerance for trolls is to eventually be expected. Still, to preserve your own sanity, you have to keep your emotional reaction and response low-key. Down and dirty:
  1. Load an addon that boosts the capacity and functionality of your ignore list (check out something like Black List) to make booting obnoxious players from your sight (and remembering later why you did so) simple.
  2. Refresh your knowledge of what's considered reportable behavior and the best ways to make a report.
  3. Ignore. Report particularly offensive situations. Move on with your game.
Those simple tactics should help protect your ability to enjoy your game. The strategy that turns the tide of the battle and wins the war, however, is to set a clear and shining example for your fellow players. Don't sit on your hands and bemoan the player culture -- be the player culture. You are one of the players who make up the group, and you have every much chance to set the tone as the schmucks. Greet teammates. Compliment successes. Contribute to strategy discussions. Thank players who assist you. Participate in and build the community you want to play in.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

Here's where your consistent, reasonable, mature reactions come into play. Your reactions and attitudes are every bit as influential to the tone of our online community as those of the hatemongers. Every time you respond to [inappropriate] speech with restraint (don't give these people the negative feedback they crave) while taking steps to curb their ability to act out inappropriately, you help counteract the effect they have on others and spread an attitude of empowerment and respect among other players. [Profanity and inappropriate topics aren't] the only speech that's contagious; your reactions can be equally powerful in creating the online world you want to live and play in.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

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