world of warcraft (opens in new tab) wants you to agree to be nice to other players by introducing a social contract.
It was introduced on the PTR a few weeks ago and has been fully implemented with patch 9.2.5 which arrived earlier this week. “Azeroth is a living world filled with people just like you – other players with different backgrounds, cultures, experiences and histories who have come together to play World of Warcraft,” reads the intro to the agreement. “Every player deserves to have a world they feel safe in, so please take a minute to read our social contract.”
It’s quite common: making friends, being nice in the dungeons, communicating and behaving properly, maybe giving a cure to a struggling newbie or lending a hand in defeating enemies. It also addresses some unacceptable behavior such as hate speech, spam, harassment or general abusive language towards other players.
Here’s the new “Social Contract” coming to World of Warcraft in 9.2.5 pic.twitter.com/FAMLyU0ep1May 12, 2022
It feels like something between a gentle reminder and a stern warning against toxic behavior. It’s mostly the sort of thing you’d already find buried in a game’s terms of service, now in its own spotlight. While that hasn’t stopped some players from putting on their panties in a twist on the whole situation, most players seem pretty receptive or quite apathetic to the change.
Ticking “I Agree” in a box is unlikely to create wider changes to some of WoW’s major toxicity issues, unless Blizzard starts to take this more seriously. Fortunately, the social contract is a sign of this and we will start to see some sanctions for bad behavior.