Where is ArenaNet?

Gamespy’s Tom Chick has written a wonderful exposé on the failings of ArenaNet to address problems within Guild Wars 2, namely  excessive amounts of bots, and passive racism:

If you play Guild Wars 2, you’ve probably seen identically clothed Rangers and their bear brigade. The first time I saw this, I thought it was some sort of guild thing. Lord of the Rings Online had hobbit-only guilds, for instance. I thought it was like that. The Rangers all had the same pets. They were the same race. They wore the same outfits. But wait, where was their guild tag? And why were they named things like Kfhfghgb, Jgfhftgf, and Lhvcnbvb? Who names their characters Kfhfghgb, Jgfhftgf, and Lhvcnbvb?

These obviously aren’t real Rangers. These are fake accounts. (Well, as fake as any account that requires a $60 retail purchase.) These are bot accounts, probably running with some sort of multibox setup, or a hack that tells them to follow a lead Ranger, or they might all be automated. They run a path around a circuit calculated to pass through regular monsters respawns, or maybe they’re just parked in front of a recurring event. Their identical outfits aren’t outfits at all, but a lack of outfits to minimize repair costs. They’re farming gold to be sold online for real-world money.

A few weeks after launch, some folks in my guild noticed a guild called Koon Slayers, with the guild tag KKK. We reported them. A month later, a thread about the same guild appeared on Reddit. The poster claimed he had reported them several times as long ago as August to no avail. An ArenaNet representative apologized for not taking action. They had missed the poster’s reports, the representative said. What kind of game allows a guild called Koon Slayers and the guild tag [KKK] to play unchecked fornearly two months despite numerous players reporting it? Guild Wars 2, that’s what kind of game.

So what hope is there for ArenaNet taking action against blatant bots when it can’t even be bothered to take action against blatant racism? We, the players, are doing our part as best as we can, ArenaNet. We’re trying to help. There is no reason that characters like Kfhfghgb, Jgfhftgf, and Lhvcnbvb should ever see 40th level. Yet I’ve seen — and reported — plenty more that are higher level. This is inexcusable, and we shouldn’t have to put up with it. It’s time to be swift and decisive. You’ve made a grand, grand game and you’re not protecting it. You’re not protecting those of us who love it. Get your act together, ArenaNet.

It does all rather beg the question of how much we should expect from ArenaNet in terms of support. Having previously been criticised for failing to provide feedback through channels other than Facebook and Reddit, we’re now facing a situation where they seem to be oblivious to problems within their own game. It’s understandable that they can’t police everyone all the time, hence the reliance on user-submitted reports. But when, by their own admission, they are not actioning those reports, something is seriously wrong.

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