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RP Servers: Snitches or Saviors?

September 29, 2008

“Any server flagged as Roleplay will follow the same rules as above, but with an additional set of guidelines. These servers are for those players who enjoy truly immersing themselves into the Warhammer lore by acting as their characters’ personalities in-game. Players who opt to participate on a Role Playing server must agree to far more specific rules regarding naming, and it is suggested that players would adhere to WAR or high fantasy conduct and behavior.” ~ Realm War Page

I’m surprised nobody’s given me any grief yet for rolling on a RP server, given my past tweakage of the ruleset. For all that I tease, RP servers are generally regarded as a more civilized home-away-from-home in MMOs, where the maturity level is ratcheted up a notch or two, and where the community has tools to safeguard their “more immersive” experience. Unless you join a RP guild, however, you’re not incredibly likely to find a bevy of role-playing as you’re trundling along, but you will find a server full of people more inclined to be tolerant towards it.

When you log on to a RP server in WAR, you have a huuuuuuuge scroll that attempts, in a hilariously flailing fashion, to define the RP ruleset in vague and flowery words. If they put me in charge of that screen, I would’ve boiled it down to two points: A RP server means that (1) you’re not a jerk to people who want to RP, and (2) you create character names that fit within the Warhammer world. The scroll is long and vague because it’s hard to properly express what might or might not be an appropriate name; it’s kind of like how Justice Potter Stewart tried to define obscenity: “I know it when I see it.”

On the surface, it makes sense. They want to create a server where nothing will yank a role-player out of the immersion, and that includes running by a guy named BobbleHeadJoe. For others, it’s the appeal of not having to play by the side of WeinerDude or being killed by HoFoSho. I get it. I understand. And I’m cool with it… but in a nervous, twitchy sort of way.

The problem is that we have on one hand an incredibly vague definition of what is and is not name-appropriate in WAR, and on the other hand the game community themselves are given the means to police this ruleset by submitting reports when they consider a name to be “non-RP”, which may result in a CSR contacting the player and forcing them to change their name. Vague rule, tattletale. Nothing can go wrong with this picture, right?

Maybe not. Mythic is probably banking on the hopes that the RP community is mature enough not to go overboard with reporting every little thing that doesn’t come straight from a Warhammer rulebook, and that their CSR staff has the common sense to sift between names that honestly do need to be changed, and ones that are perfectly fine. On the whole, it probably works more often than not. But does this ruleset actively encourage the players to become snitches? I think there’s a distinct possibility that it does.

Read this thread, for example. You can get a good feel for how just a shred of reporting power goes to the heads of some of these folks — who, again, are most likely in the minority — and how they see themselves as the Mythic-appointed saviors of the RP ruleset. And you can see how some of the names they report honestly have no place on this type of server.

You never know, when you run by another player, if they’re evaluating your name and twitching their finger toward the “report” button. You have no way of knowing if your name lives up to the RP standards of all of the other thousands of players on the server. And if you are unlucky enough to have an okay name that isn’t offensive or wildly non-RP and yet you’re still contacted to change it, it could sour you on the ruleset entirely.

This is a fun quote from the thread: “It was rather dismaying however when I spoke with a CSR about a Warcraft lore name which they stated was alright even after I showed them article 4 of their own code of conduct naming policy.” Player lawyers! I want to RP a dwarf personal injury attorney.

Again, I’m not saying that player reporting is always a bad thing, but just that it has potential for abuse. Someone need instead of greed on a piece of loot you want? Report them for a naming violation! An enemy player kick your butt up and down the scenario? Naming violation!

For those on RP servers, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Is the community more restrained and wise in its reporting practices, or do my paranoid suspicions have merit?

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20 comments

  1. “This is a fun quote from the thread: “It was rather dismaying however when I spoke with a CSR about a Warcraft lore name which they stated was alright even after I showed them article 4 of their own code of conduct naming policy.” Player lawyers! I want to RP a dwarf personal injury attorney.”

    It think that example reinforces the idea that the GM’s will show some restraint and forethought before hitting someone with the name-ban-stick.

    “Again, I’m not saying that player reporting is always a bad thing, but just that it has potential for abuse. Someone need instead of greed on a piece of loot you want? Report them for a naming violation! An enemy player kick your butt up and down the scenario? Naming violation!”

    Yeah – there will be tards, even on the RP servers. The line will have to be drawn by the GMs until some, to use your lawyer analogy, ‘tort reform’ is implemented – ie making
    ‘bearing false witness’ a punishable offense.


  2. My guild is on Ostermark, the other core RP server. We had a guy in our guild get reported and disciplined by a GM because, get this, he asked another player where he got his cape from.

    http://www.the-wanderers-guild.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=108&t=20963

    I don’t get that. Would a “real” person in a game world not ever ask another person where he or she got her clothes if he happened to like them? Perhaps he wants to go to the same shoppe and purchase a similar one? Is that impossible to do in the Warhammer world? The mind boggles….


  3. *Maybe not. Mythic is probably banking on the hopes that the RP community is mature enough not to go overboard with reporting every little thing that doesn’t come straight from a Warhammer rulebook, and that their CSR staff has the common sense to sift between names that honestly do need to be changed, and ones that are perfectly fine.*

    I think that is the key, as a fellow RP-Server denizen, I look the other way on cute/humorous names which show someone tried. The Shaman named “Totems” for example, while obviously a WoW reference isn’t ruining the game for me. Zelda the High Elf Archmage though? She was someone I considered reporting.


  4. I always roll role play (ahem!) and usually find the servers have more atmosphere, I prefer it. I agree the ‘reporting snitches’ on role play servers can go a little far but generally they are a tiny minority. There are more saviours (and I don’t mean name grassers)! In fact one of the warriors I played with had a totally offensive name and managed to get to 60 and Raid with it (pre BC) before being forced to change it (the name was totally in tune with their role play character!!) his role play was legendary!!

    One fine example of the evil snitchery from the minority happened when I gatecrashed an event in WoW where they were holding a court case in Stormwind… I decided on my own role, my character had a touch of tourettes, nothing major, but prone to the odd out burst. I surrendered my weapon at the ‘court house’ door and listened to the case… after his list of ‘crimes’ (which were relatively minor) I used /YELL to shout ‘HANG ‘IM’. All in the spirit of things I thought…

    One of the court ‘officials’ came over to stammer a warning that if I shouted again I would be held in contempt of court, or evicted from the court house (nicely role played, the stutter was a nice touch). After apologising explaining my condition (in character), they carried on… during his defense my tourettes kicked in again ‘HANG ‘IM’ I shouted again (I even *blushed* after it!!).

    Now my Tourettes was in fairly good control, these were the only two outbursts, and I expected to be evicted (it was getting dull anyway, too long for the speeches between characters and no real humour).

    The next thing I received a /w saying that about 25 role players were going to report me if I carried on!!! I invited them to continue, telling them I’d avoid there events because the /w spoiled the immersion!!!! In fact I said I would have reported the person who /w me save for the fact it was not in /s!!!

    So it seems that unless you are invited in, read the script and did not deviate it was ok to role play, if not those reporting snitches would get ya!


  5. I do report names on occasion, but it’s got to be pretty significant. I’ll let an orc named “Uglee” slide, for instance. If I see some With Hunter named “Meathead,” however, he gets reported. I really don’t care if the player claims they are RPing a mentally-impaired person (I’ve heard that argument before, and it’s an insult to the intelligence of other players), it’s just not an appropriate name.

    Like you said, you’ll know one of those inappropriate names when you see it.


  6. Maybe I’m just really mature and level-headed (yeah, right), but the only time I drop a report on someone is when their name is obviously inappropriate.

    I don’t just mean offensive, though. A name (and this is profound) needs to be a name. I’ve never read a story about anyone named TaintedSteel. While moody, in a Creative Writing 101 sort of way, it’s not a name.


  7. It’s always one of those loaded guns. There will get a point where if someone complains about a name, then the CSRs will just go into auto-mode and ask that you change it, without any follow up on why it’s a violation.

    Really, the reason this is a bigger issue, is it’s easier to solo to high levels, or jump into a random scenario. In a really tight RP community, this could be self-policed a little bit, by excluding individuals who blatantly violate the naming conventions.

    Normally, we’d see these characters start to taper off towards the high end of the game. But I’m seen alot still into the mid 20s, and I have to wonder if the pick-up and play style that makes WAR very accessible, and fun, isn’t in part to blame.


  8. Bloodoath, you and I may very well have been on the same WoW server back in the day. I managed to always find myself in trouble for RPing… on an RP server! Granted, I tend to RP in a Monty-Python-esque fashion, and that doesn’t sit so well with the hardcore folks… but still!

    Personally, I rarely report names. Only if the name is offensive out-of-game will I report them. Other folks I let slide… you never know, they might have a RP reason behind it! I remember one guy from WoW, his character was named the same thing as a popular WoW add-on, but he named his character back at release and had a perfectly good RP reason for it. It ended up getting reported (after 4 years!) and he had to change it. Hopefully the WAR GMs won’t be as idiotic.

    I did have one ray of sunshine last night though. I was hanging out in the Troll Country warcamp, waiting for STC to pop. I started running in circles, making myself dizzy (hey I was bored) and all of a sudden somebody shouts “The forces of Chaos are ravaging our lands, and what are our Empire soldiers doing? Running in circles, literally! Well-played!” I struck up a conversation with the guy and it was well-intended, just a little RP, and totally acceptable, to me at least.


  9. I haven’t really noticed anything one way or the other on Phoenix Throne.

    No real RP in the towns that I have spotted. I haven’t been yelled at for talking out of character in chat, either.

    Names do tend to be more “realistic”, though I have seen some dumb ones (Burninator the Bright Wizard comes to mind), though I haven’t reported any.

    So far I haven’t had any problems, and I don’t recall there being any serious problems in DAOC on the RP servers either.


  10. I report folks, but frankly when they are forced to change their name you’re now at a disadvantage. When you come across someone named SuperSausage or one of the hundred variations of Khaine, they are telling you upfront, ” I am completely unaware of rules, social graces, or any semblance of originality.” I find normally this parallels their inability to follow simple instructions, and therefore their tendency to get everyone near them killed.

    What? your warband got wiped cause someone named KaptKhaine pulled the warcamp heros? What a surprise!

    Names i have reported in WAR:
    Hater
    Gank
    Khaine
    FrenchKiss
    DeathsBlade

    not like i am splitting hairs here. Really folks, if you have 2 cap letters it’s not hard to figure it shouldn’t be on an RP server.


  11. I think that the majority of people will let non-rp names slide, to be honest. Personally, the only time it really irritates me is when these names are *really* pushing it. For example, OzzyOsboune, Healbot, URDead, etc. You’re always going to get a certain portion of people who will let reporting power go to their heads but I’ll take that over letting the rulesets slip away any day of the week. In WoW, a lot of RP servers were a joke. I’d hate to see that happen in WAR.


  12. I think the RP aspect of my server that I enjoy the most is not having to fight next to people named Gonnagankyaface, but a close second is the people who want to yell at others in scenarios who take the trouble to actually RP it. While I might be mightily offended by, “U R THE MOST WERTHLESS TARDS I EVER PLAYED WITH, “I just giggle when someone says, “Protect our flag or die trying, you craven cowards!”

    And while my guild isn’t heavily into RP, I always love running into one of the dwarves who will chat me up as we muse over the odd ways of the manlings as their unmovable line of IronBreakers gets the business done.

    To bounce back to the main topic though, I’m often surprised and entertained by vent conversations where some person will object to a name, and then a Warhammer Lore aficionado will explain why that name fits perfectly into the lore (for example, adjectives pre-pended to “boy” are perfect greenskin names). I’m glad my guild has a number of people who seem to have spent the first few decades of their lives steeped in Warhammer lore.


  13. Dang. in my above comment I had “pointy-bracket Stone and Steel end-pointy-bracket” in front of “dwarves who will chat me up” but I think it got turned into a previously unknown html tag.


  14. The only other thing that I would add is that folks should be mindful that not everyone has the advantage of knowing all the Warhammer lore when they start out. My WH has a non-German name. My dwarf has a non-dwarven name. My elf will have a… non-elven name. I have come across RPers in the past that would actually report people for having non-lore-correct (but otherwise fine) names. Names are a very personal thing and most people get very attached to them. Somebody mentioned the name Zelda getting reported… well Zelda is a perfectly legit name, even if it does have video game connotations.


  15. […] Syp has a good post on RP servers and player vigilantes. I’m playing on a RP server myself and I should tell you […]


  16. So its that strict huh? I always wondered how do the extra set of rules apply..


  17. Obviously you never played DAoC, which had this policy on their RP servers from the beginning. Only the worst offenders were ever changed.


  18. I play on an RP server and I am actually a roleplayer (By the gods!) but I haven’t yet reported a name. Mostly I use names like “Evilbarbie” (dark elf) on my own side as a reason to ignore them and on the Order side as a big ole target over their heads. Yes I know that ‘IC’ I wouldn’t know that dwaffer is called BigNuts but this player is still going to crush said nuts under her well heeled boot.

    Alot of my roleplaying friends use a similar train of thought so therefore if you choose an obviously stupid name on an RP server its a *really* good way to make yourself a target for the other side!


  19. Some may consider me one of the ‘snitches’. When I’ve got the free time [IE, no RP to be had, and I’m too darned lazy to level], I’ll hang out on low-leveled areas. Now, I don’t go around stealing kills, or anything like that. I simply sit back, help with quests [If it’s needed], and more importantly, watch for names. ‘Ladygrimsword’… Let it pass. ‘Iwillkilu’. Report. ‘Rainstorm’ Pass. ‘Loludie’ Report. Some may call this ‘Looking for trouble’ or ‘Snitching’. All sorts of things like that. But, I figure, someone’s going to report them, eventually. Might as well get them as soon as they hit ‘Play’ on the server. Before reporting, I’ll speak to them, and inform them about the violation. And, on more than one occasion, I have been wrong. But, that’s why I ask them first. “Did you read the rules referring to names on an RP server?” “Yes, and my name IS RP, because…” is all it takes, sometimes. Although, I’d like to see ‘Iwillkilu’ try to explain that one…


  20. As sad as it is there are people out there that feel the need to take the rules of a RP realm and just completely throw them over their shoulder. “Who care’s if I get caught, right?”. Well being on a RP realm and not a big RP’er (Friends like it) I’m very tolerent of RPing. When it comes to people reporting people because they ask them where they got an item, that’s too far, you’re pathetic, read a book if you want complete immersion (as though asking for assistance isn’t RP…). Now as for names go. I’ve reported a few (and I’m not even really into RP mind you) But I so don’t want to see a Vanhellsing witch hunter or a Grimmdeath Mcdeath…yes, his surname is Mcdeath. However a guildy was contacted after some reports and was told “That as long as they don’t have a name of a character in the realm of WAR or it’s not blatantly profane then it’s ok”. Talk about those vague rules huh?



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