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Retaking the Asylum

July 30, 2012

Dear Reader,

In a continuing conversation of sorts with Milady of Hypercriticism, she linked my When the Inmates Run the Asylum in an excellent post about resisting the degradation of our community ties.  My comment to her became so long that I figured it would make for a good post on its own, especially since it’s at least as much positive news as negative.

Her post came in response to my story of getting kicked from a group because I refused to keep pulling for a couple of needy mages after my own Vote to Kick failed.  As she described, responses to that post were thoughtful and of mixed opinions about the situation.  Since I’ve gone from then (Zul’Farrak) to now (Halls of Stone) almost entirely in LFD, I thought I’d continue the story of Inmates.

To be frank, I’ve had a lot less trouble than I’d been running into before.  It’s not that there’s less jerks, but that I’ve had more support.  In almost every case, me simply saying something like, “Look, I know this is mindlessly easy, but could you please not (pull/need everything/go afk for long periods of time),” I often got support from the other members of the party, and mostly the behavior simply stopped.  It works pretty well as a jerk litmus test; if the players respond apologetically or simply stop the behavior right away, we can all rest easy that either they didn’t know or didn’t know anyone cared.  If, on the other hand, they mouth off or continue the behavior, I feel that escalation is acceptable.

Usually, the escalation is simply me asking the other members of the party to vote to kick the offending player.  My VtK’s been on a permanent 4 hr cooldown, something I plan to address today later in this correspondence.  Almost every time, the other players will vote to kick him, proving that the otherwise silent majority do find the bad behavior irritating, but not enough to do anything until directly prompted to do so.  Only once did that tactic fail, in an Azjol-Nerub run.  It failed because everyone’s vote to kick was on a 4 hour cooldown.  It was another needy jerk, so the other players and I gave the guy a much guff as we could.  I stopped pulling, which the other players were fine with this time, and he eventually tried pulling himself, died, knew he wasn’t going to get a rez, and dropped.  Success!

The only other jerk we’ve really had got me on a good day, so I wasn’t as coldly just as usual.  We had a DK in blood spec who’d queued as a tank, but wasn’t tanking and wasn’t in tanking gear, who kept running ahead as soon as combat was over and pulling. Since my wife’s hots were often still ticking, his pulls frequently ran to her, which forced me to intervene rather than just let the pulls kill him. I finally told her not to heal me during a pull, blew pots, lots of defensive cooldowns, and self-healing. I survived.  He ran ahead, pulled, and didn’t.

Then we refused to rez him. He lied on the ground until the end of the instance, and right before the last boss (he was there to get quest credit, like we were), one of the other players vote to kicked him. It was pretty sweet; I didn’t even have to ask in that case. Finally, a system working as intended.

Additionally, I’ve taken my no-nonsense behavior to The Secret World, and have already written four or five tickets on inappropriate general chat, specifically saying in the tickets that I hope Funcom isn’t planning on letting their game become a haven for trolls like Wow has, as I suspect that many people play TSW are there to avoid that kind of person. Maybe it will have some effect, maybe it won’t, but the constant reinforcement of that message (I’ve /whispered others upset by the negative talk instructions on how to put in a ticket and some specific language to include) can help shape a new game’s culture. Only time will tell.

So what I’ve decided to do is start putting in tickets to Blizzard about my vote to kick button.  I’ve copied here the first ticket I’m putting in, and will also post it on the forums (it’s my first post ever).  I’ll keep you up to date, dear reader, with the results.

Dear Blizzard,

I think my vote to kick button is broken.  It’s perpetually on a 4 hour cooldown, even though an average dungeon run is less than 30 minutes now.  Since the entire point of having the button is to help players “police the community,” since you can’t monitor every chat at all times, I don’t understand why there’s such a high cooldown on the one direct action we can take.  You wouldn’t give a policeman a weapon that only worked after a 4 hour cooldown and send him out to do his job, would you?  Of course, that’s a silly comparison, but you’re the ones who chose “police the community” as the call to players, so maybe we should be supported in such a way that we can.

I understand your secretive punitive measures that are to “protect customer’s privacy.”  Fine.  Those of us who are actually trying to maintain some semblance of civil community are constantly frustrated by it because one job of a justice system is deterrence, which can’t happen if justice takes place in secret, but fine.  Okay.  However, when the one tool we’re given where we can see swift and cold justice happen is gimped in such a way as to make it unusable, it calls into question your own stand on bad player behavior.

I suspect the cooldown was created to prevent some form of abuse that you were noticing when the cooldown was reasonable.  Rather than finding an actual solution, you simply broke the tool.  Now, we have a useless tool that doesn’t do what it was intended because you’re worried that people might abuse it.  As a result, the standard abusers – people who are rude, need on everything, pull recklessly and cause lots of wipes – are running even more uncontrolled in dungeon finder.  I can’t imagine that the vote to kick button was being abused more than average players are being abused by jerks.

I’ve leveled my final class of the 10, warrior, up to 77 now almost exclusively through dungeon finder, and I’ve only been able to actually use my vote to kick a handful of times, despite the fact that there’s been jerks in a majority of the dungeons I’ve run.  Can you please fix my Vote to Kick button so that good, honest people can defend themselves in a meaningful and visible way against jerks?

If you feel as I do, I encourage you to pass along this message, put in tickets of your own, and ask your own readers to do so.  I’d rather be kicked by a group of 4 guildies who just want to screw someone over for a laugh (a scenario I’m sure has happened, but I’m also sure is far less common than just needing to remove a jerk) than have to suffer looking at the 4 hr cooldown any more.

Once again, thanks to Milady for reminding me of all this and motivating me to move forward with it.  There’s a large silent majority of disgruntled players unhappy with the state of things in Azeroth, so it’s nice to hear a vocal one from time to time.

Stubborn (and calling for action)


Damn Blizzard’s support staff that doesn’t want to read tickets longer than a tweet.  I had to shorten it to just the first part:

Dear Blizzard,

I think my vote to kick button is broken. It’s perpetually on a 4 hour cooldown, even though an average dungeon run is less than 30 minutes now. Since the entire point of having the button is to help players “police the community,” since you can’t monitor every chat at all times, I don’t understand why there’s such a high cooldown on the one direct action we can take.

Char: 10 of them, including Lycandra
Server: 4 of then, including Khaz Modan
Time Frame: 4 hours is to long.



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