DID WE PREDICT THIS OR WHAT? [Author: myschyf]

They have done that. On being informed that the WWIIo boards were more entertaining than the afternoon soaps (and filled with as much melodrama) I decided to take a stroll over. The very first post I opened had this to say:

Lately I have noticed more and more and more and more.. you get my drift… people joining the Axis.

A large number of annoying little bad mouth, semi literate, border line racists, teenage losers are filling the Axis side.

Now granted maybe some of these people are new to the game are are just joining up….. I do see that every so often and I like it. But, many of these people are from the Allies. I have heard this many time in the last few days: (Some version of this) I hate the Allies, they are losing, Axis rocks! Hitler 4ever! I am tired of getting beat every night.. and even worse things such as ‘I want to kill Jews’…blah blah blah…

I know I am not alone in this observation as several of us were talking about it last night in the game.

The chat/radio is now it seems an endless barrage of complete nonsense, horseshit, hate messages, racist crap, and just plain worthless rantings of kiddies that should have been long ago tossed over cliffs as to not polute our gene pool.

I know a lot of the defenders of this game (*cough*sirbruce*cough*) are going to come over and say it isn’t CRS’s fault, that recreating the war means having to deal with some ugly and nasty epithets, that no one really *means* it — they are just roleplaying! But roleplaying is not an excuse for racism. Only in online games, where anonymity reigns and you don’t actually have to look the person you are maligning in the eye and see the hurt and anger would people dare to be this racist in the name of recreationism. This isn’t about playing the bad guy. Bad guys abound and you really don’t need to hurt people emotionally to be the bad guy. I know. I regularly play a bad guy in my LARPs.

The LARP I currently play in takes place in 1937. Right before the beginning of World War II. Right now, the game is in the middle of the Spanish Civil War. Those of you who are familiar with the war know that Franco was supported by Mussolini, Hitler, and the Catholic Church. We have a guy from israel in our game. He has played a Nazi, swastika armband and all. But we work it out ahead of time. Any racism is directed at non-Jewish people playing Jews.

Black people were treated unkindly in 1937, to be gentle about it. While we do try to inject some ‘realism’ into the game, we do it by having white people play black people and directing the racism at those people. If we do direct any racism at all at our black players it is talked about before hand. Most of us can’t even bring ourselves to say the ‘n’ word – no matter how much in character we want to be. Because roleplaying isn’t an excuse for hurting people. Not in LARPs. Not in online games. Not in real life.

To be sure, there\’e2\’80\’99s nothing inherently wrong with running a WW2O fansite. Much of this current problem in chat is kids taking advantage of the free playing time, as opposed to the diehard German role-players, says BruceR, our resident WW2O player: most of them would prefer the chat channels be kept clear for actual fighting, he believes.

It\’e2\’80\’99s two different sets of potential troublemakers, with little or no common ground. We all know website upkeep, on top of all that gameplay, takes time. Now, if you\’e2\’80\’99ve got racist imagery on your personal or clan site, as opposed to off-the-cuff chat remarks, well, then odds are you\’e2\’80\’99re pretty screwed up IRL, too. But if all you\’e2\’80\’99re doing is spamming the airwaves with that stuff in game, odds are you\’e2\’80\’99re just an idiot.

When we brought this up as a potential source of trouble in the game, many people laughed at us or angrily called us names. CRS seemed unconcerned as well. Granted, they have more pressing problems at the moment, like trying to find players after what was arguably the worst launch in MMOG history. But by failing to take a hard line against this at the beginning, before release, they’ve perpetrated a problem that, by all accounts, is only going to get worse. Just having no swastikas, regardless of how many players want them, isn’t quite enough.