Now granted this game has 11 million subscribers. Not all of them, however, play at the same time. Not all of them are running over this virtual landscape with me.
I play on the Llane server which has, approximately, 11,500 people on it. It's a mid-sized server and you'll never, ever see 11,500 people on at one time. Still, there are enough people on sometimes that running through a major city becomes an exercise in molasses swimming. Such was the case tonight.
I also run a guild, Spectacular Death. It is so named because, if there was a unique way to kill my character, I found it. When the guild to which I belonged in November of 2007 started to implode and I was blamed for it, I left. The one person I can say is my best friend in this game left with me and encouraged me to create a guild. He's my second in command.
I want to run a guild that is fun, funny, silly, friendly, helpful and encouraging. We run all the game stuff including the stuff that was new in 2004, when the game started. I currently have 264 names in the guild. That sounds like a lot, but most people have 3 to 4 additional characters in the guild so it's really roughly 103 actual accounts. Still, that's a lot of people.
We recently came through a rocky period where language in the open to all guild chat had deteriorated. I like puns. I like the turn of the phrase. I can be ribald and off-color the same as everyone else, but it seemed that people had lost that inner focus that tells you, "This is inappropriate for general chat." or "Ooops, I probably shouldn't be making this kind of joke." I have 2 18 and older rooms but they weren't being used. I finally said, "Enough" and have made all general chat "PG".
The response from the guild has been amazingly supportive. Raunchy language is not appropriate in a general chat in this guild. Too many people just don't want to read it. We lost one person because of it, but the puns and the laughter and the silliness has not changed. I was feeling pretty good about things until this morning.
I was on the guild web site changing a post and noticed a guy who was not in the guild had posted something. It was a raunchy YouTube video. My web site co-administrator was on and she watched it because YouTube is blocked at work and she said it was very offensive. We wound up shutting down the site and the forums, sending tickets to support and trying to figure out who might have done this.
This video was a direct comment on the language restriction in guild general chat. It showed up twice more and the response from the web site host has been very quick. They are going to try to trace the poster's ISP, or whatever it is, that identifying mark all computers have. It may not tell us anything, but they are eager to make it a better experience for us.
The anonymity of the Internet makes people like this feel they have power. We had to reassess our guild permissions. Our forums are now "Member Only" and we did have some forum threads where visitors could post. Not anymore. It's a hassle to have to deal with this and I'm going to have to change passwords to the forums and to our Ventrilo server so no one can monkey around with it.
It also made tonight's play, "meh" for me. Maybe that's okay in that I'm going to bed earlier than I have in some months.
It disillusions me on the general populace, however. Itsjustagame! Itsjustagame! Yeah, yeah. I know. But I have come to feel connected to a number of people who are in my guild and I feel badly for them when we have to cut off part of the game experience because someone has decided to be an idiot. Yes, I'm idealistic. Let's just get that out there. I like to think people have some inherent good in them and wouldn't willingly be mean. Even at my "several times around the block" age, I still want to think good of everyone unless proven otherwise.
Time to go to bed. Tomorrow is to be a beautiful day. I have to go into the city. I should assist my mood and take down the top. I deserve it.
Beverage: Root Beer