WoW has had its share of jerks over the years, whether it was people who ninja looted gear, players who deliberately stirred up drama, players who used GearScore to measure another player’s validity, players who used Recount to rub higher DPS numbers in other players’ faces — the list goes on and on. WoW has also had its share of unsavory people who are out there simply to make another person’s life miserable, whether it’s because of some bizarre sense of entitlement, a personal vendetta, or just the urge to be as obnoxious as possible in a social environment where, presumably, nobody will catch you.

What’s odd, though, is that the premise of player accountability isn’t one that is foreign to WoW. In vanilla, players were sequestered on different servers, and each server had a fairly tight-knit community of sorts. The one thing you could count on with these servers is that just like any small town neighborhood, people talked. If someone did something reprehensible to the server at large, that person was immediately excluded from raids, guilds, instance runs, and just about anything that could be deemed a social activity. In short, they were shunned — and back then, you couldn’t pay to change your name or transfer servers. If you messed up, you either apologized and tried to make up for what you did, or you started over on another server at level 1.

However, this odd little neighborhood watch system of the WoW community has all but disappeared these days. The potential playerbase that the Dungeon Finder and Raid Finder systems pull from is ludicrously huge. The likelihood of your ever seeing an offensive player more than once is so infinitesimally small that there is almost no point in reporting that player’s bad behavior in the first place. Why should you? It’s not like you’re ever going to see them again.

On the one hand, it makes a strange sort of sense — pull from a larger playerbase, and you’re never going to have a repeat offender or a case of extreme harassment, generally speaking. On the other hand, this system inadvertently lets players get away with bad behavior and gives them free license to continue being jerks whenever and where ever they see fit. Why not? It’s not like anyone’s going to bother to report them. 

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