Rant: Bad Word Filter
**WARNING!** This edition of "Paragus Rants" is deliberately laced with profanity and may offend some readers. If you find yourself as someone fitting this group of readers, it is mandatory that you remove any sticks from your ass before entering or please GTFO at this time :)
I figured I'd take some time to touch on something that has always been an annoyance to me and perhaps other MMO'ers such as yourselves, the infamous "Bad Word" Filter. The bad word filter is a feature that has been in practically every MMO to hit the market to help shield our precious minds from hearing morality scarring words such as Shit, Fuck, Ass, and other words that have been deemed as unsuitable for children. The bad word filter is always turned on by default in any game it is is present in, and very cleverly replaces these dangerous words with something resembling " &*%$#@ ".
The first thing I would like to ask is if this is effective? So let's say I'm back on DAOC on Mordred (FFA PVP) back in its hayday out looking for PvP. I see some lonely adventurer going about his business, skipping down lollipop lane doing some quest. I target and engage this person. As I am attacking him, he notices his defeat is approaching and manages to negotiate by saying something along the lines of....
"Go &*%$ yourself you stupid piece of $^!# !"
Is that really that much better? I mean who can't figure out what those words are? It's almost insulting to your intelligence level to think that this is somehow shielding you from the unhappy thoughts wished on you by another player. Lucky for us, we do have the option in most games to turn this filter off. This brings me to my next point.
A lot, if not most, of the current MMOs will entertain a report from another player trying to get you in trouble for cursing. If you are one of these uptight players, please proceed to go fuck yourself. Yes, I do understand it is against the terms of service, but my question is why? The filter is turned ON by default, so anyone who turns it off has basically agreed to allowed themselves to be subjected to this type of vocabulary. The box almost always has a warning / rating from the ESRB as well in case it's too much for you to handle.
Now I am not going to try to comprehend the mindset of the people at the ESRB who slap these labels on the games we buy. But it clearly says "T" for teen - "Mild Language / Violence" GAME EXPERIENCE MAY CHANGE DURING ONLINE PLAY.
I mean what the fuck? First of all does anyone know a teenager who has never heard or doesn't say shit, fuck, ass, pussy, bitch, or the like? If that doesn't include mild language, then what the fuck is mild language? Where is the line, and who gets to decide the difference between mild and spicy hot? It also clearly states that your online experience may vary from what the rating says. I think the lawyers have covered their ass plenty.
How about we stop making this type of bullshit a reportable offense. Most of the time someone reports another player for cursing, it usually is some sort of revenge act for some other thing that happened. You got your ass whipped in PvP and you can't beat the person who ganked you, so you decide to report them to get back at them. No offense the the ladies who made it this far, but grow a pair of balls already!
Now don't get me wrong, I completely understand that foul language is not needed at all to convey a point or level a criticism of another player. Some people probably have me pegged as a sailor at this point. But at one time or another most of us have met someone who is so fucking retarded, that we wanted to just literally grab them by their collar and bitch them to let them now how much of a complete fucktard they were being.
Another exception to this is probably character names. Working in dirty slang or foul language into your characters name is uncalled for. First off, you mean to tell me when you were born your mother named you "Grundle Eater"? I mean wtf are your parent's names? Grundle, the son of Chode and Dingleberry Eater. This stuff doesn't belong in your name, and I could agree to keeping foul language off select servers... maybe the RP servers? Just a suggestion.
If you have agreed with me so far, then I do have some good news for you. Developers might finally be starting to relax in regards to this. Age of Conan is supposed to retain its "M for Mature" rating when it releases. I asked Jason "Athelan" Stone on his blog here about this very issue, and he explained to me that he didn't think cursing would be that much of an issue in AoC as long as it wasn't racist in nature or sexually related. I would definitely agree especially with the racist shit. If this holds true, then it is a step in the right direction. It is the Conan universe after all, there is decapitation, nudity, sex and gore, and with an M rating, if we can't curse here we never will be able to. To its credit, the lead developer of Darkfall touched on this issue once admiting that in PvP this sort of thing is to be expected and admitted his own guilt in doing such things. If Darkfall does see the light of day, hopefully they will follow the same route as Conan looks to be going.
Of course there are always ways to get around the filter and not curse. It just requires a little creativity. You can tell someone to lick your grundle, gargle your balls, or eat a bowl of AIDS and they probably won't filter you. But in some online games saying the word "Bush" will get you censored. I mean I know as a President of the United States, he isn't as popular as some, but have we really gone as far to make it a dirty word? I'm joking of course, but I think if you made it this far you see what I am getting at. Stop treating us like children. Our minds aren't that fragile, I can take it. If you can't, the filter is there and I am OK with that. But let's put a disclaimer that says if you turn that thing off, you aren't allowed to come crying to the GM's with a /report if you can't handle it. It's like eating at Taco Bell and being surprised that your ass was shooting out hot magma an hour later! ;)
Co-Leader of Inquisition