Pests

Pests

I mentioned above that one of the positive things about WoW is the ever-present community. As a parent of a child, you might be apprehensive about the other people your child will meet in the game. From my experience, the vast majority of other players are just out to have fun, too. The chat text is usually fairly lighthearted and fun. Unfortunately, as in any public place there are those "less-than-desirable" characters. WoW does have a language filter option so that certain words in the text chat windows are bleeped out with "#!^*@!%&@" type substitutions. A player can add any other player to their ignore list so that anything that player types in a chat window isn't seen at all. Individuals that repeatedly cause stress to other players by their actions or language can be quickly reported using the in-game reporting system. These are investigated by the WoW "game masters" or "GMs" who are Blizzard employees that monitor the game and can perform a number of actions in the game. Players found to be a nuisance can be warned and may find themselves teleported to a very inconvenient place. If they persist, such players are usually banned from the game. These bans start with a few hours or days for a first offense, but quickly escalate to the permanent ban on the entire account upon repeat offenses. Blizzard makes an amazing amount of money with this game and they'd like to keep it that way. Players that cause strife don't last long. Blizzard has both the motivation and the resources to make the game safe and fun for everyone that plays it.

Pests could return under a new account, but they'd need to buy the software again since the key on their old version would have been invalidated with their account. I used to wonder why Blizzard still charges for the boxed game. I thought to myself that surely, they earn more from the monthly fees than they do from the box sales (considering the $20 initial software includes the first month of play, which is worth $15). So why hasn't Blizzard gone to a pure online download system for their software (as they do for the game's patches) or just offer the DVDs for free at the checkouts of grocery stores like AOL CDs used to be found? It dawned on me that charging for the software makes it expensive to be a recurrent pest. The minimum cost would be a new copy of the World of Warcraft basic game for $20. To get to the highest areas, said pest would need to add $50 for the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Making a nuisance of oneself and getting one's account banned gets expensive at $20 (or $70) a shot.

Undesirable Game Elements

Wow is pretty tame as computer games go. There is no swearing from any of the game's computer-controlled characters (called "NPCs" for "Non-Player Characters"). There is no nudity in the game either. Characters can remove their clothing down to race and sex-appropriate underwear. So while your child might see provocative night elves dancing in their skivvies, that's about the extent of it. The dances are modeled after real humans such as Britney Spears and Michael Jackson so they are realistic and can be sensual. You used to be able to see some examples alongside their human counterparts in YouTube videos here.

Dancing in WoW (Captured from the Youtube video) image 1 0f 1 thumb

Some guilds on some servers advertise themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friendly guilds. Depending on your child's age, you may feel more comfortable steering your child away from such servers or at least those guilds. That said, LGBT issues are a fact of life, and your children will have to deal with them sometime. Across an Internet connection in the text of a chat window is about as distanced as it gets. As a parent, you should ask for the details of any guild your child may wish to join. Almost all guilds of any size and standing have their own website (independent of anything Blizzard produces). Ask your child to show it to you if you're not familiar with the guild yourself. If they don't have one, they may be very small (made up of friends of your child's, for example) or very new, but otherwise I'd be suspicious of a guild with no web site. World of Warcraft has a forum area of their web site for every server. Those can be searched for the name of the guild and/or the names of the officers of the guild to see what sort of postings they've had in the past. That's a good way to get a feel for what a guild's reputation on the server is.

A very accidental meeting image 1 0f 1 thumb