We’ve talked about player harassment here before. It’s an issue in SWTOR. It’s an issue in MMORPGs. It’s an issue in video games. It’s an issue on the Internet. But what can be done about it? Now that is a question that has a lot of different answers. When we look at all the different ways in which harassment can occur, it becomes and even more complicated issue. So let’s look at SWTOR alone for the sake of this post. How can player harassment in SWTOR be handled better? There are some players who will say the current system in place is working as intended and that you just need to get used to it and move on if you encounter problems while playing the game. Then there are others who will disagree and say that more needs to be done about player harassment in the game.
Xam Xam has a piece about player harassment that makes some very good points:
“The early MMO’s learned from harassment and evolved the culture of the industry to tackle the problem leading to the tools and initiatives which are stock standard in all modern day MMO’s. But harassment continues to be an ongoing problem and source of frustration for all involved.
Unfortunately, as long as there are assholes hidden by the webs of anonymity who get a thrill out of inflicting harm on others (with perceived minimal consequences) we will continue to see harassment in our games.”
Xam Xam goes on to explain what we know very well, which is that SWTOR is no exception when it comes to player harassment. Then, we get some examples of reported harassment and what was (or rather, was not) done about it. One specifically sad story is over a guild that is being harassed over a member who committed suicide. They even went to the extreme of creating characters with crude names that mocked the deceased player. He was reported but nothing was done for over a month.
Xam Xam also points out some flaws in the system when it comes to avoiding harassment, such as bugs with ignoring characters and no legacy-wide ignore feature. A good general consensus about harassment in the game has been that regarding inaction, or the length of time it takes to see any action taken against a harasser.
As Xam Xam points out, Bioware has some room to grow in how it handles player harassment:
“SWTOR have made some strides in improving how they handle player harassment and exploiters. But a lot more could and most certainly should be done. The stories told above seem to demonstrate a degree of incompetency in how SWTOR handles cases of harassment. There are many more stories of SWTOR’s failure to deal with player harassment leading to the game having a reputation in it’s community (to some degree) of doing nothing about player harassment (let alone exploiters).
They do however seem to take harassment seriously only when one of their own developers is the victim of it. The kind of abuse the developer experienced happens to players in-game fairly frequently (as demonstrated above) yet they don’t deal with it that fast when it’s just a player.”
The piece is worth a read in full detail and for the most part, we agree. SWTOR has come a long way but it has further still to go to be a proper, safe environment for everyone.