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WoWSep 28, 2017 6:00 pm CT

Does WoW need report feedback for players?

WoW reports are kind of hit or miss. To report people in game, they have to be targetable or say something in chat for the right-click options to be available. And even then, we don’t always know if anything actually comes of reports. A discussion happened on the forums where one player was advocating for feedback regarding reports. Ythisens, one of the newest Community Managers added to the North America forum team, came in to shed some light on WoW‘s reporting.

Originally Posted by Ythisens (Official Post)

Oooh this can be my first post since I know quite a lot about this stuff coming from the CS team!

While of course only we can 100% verify if a bot is in fact a bot, its honestly not hard to spot. Generally within about 10-20 seconds of watching a character move we can without a doubt know it’s a bot however we still make sure to “dot the I’s and cross the t’s” on it by using some other undisclosed things that we can see. So I wouldn’t be surprised if a player says “I without a doubt know it’s a bot” odds are you’re probably right at some point on it. I know we’ve said it before but a large amount of the bots that we see are just simply compromised accounts.

For those that lack the context the Overwatch team is talking about wanting to give players some sort of feedback on reports that players submit on other players (i.e. hackers, spammers, toxic players, etc). It’s a great idea, but you have to remember WoW is a vastly different game than Overwatch, even from its community standpoint. In WoW for example you encounter a far larger amount of players at a higher consistency because of the fact it’s an ever existing world leading to potentially more reporting. Also something that we notice is that when players report, they end up reporting very consistently, thus leading to far more reports in something like WoW compared to Overwatch.

Trust me when I say there are a lot of player reports that we investigate and other game reporting is a little different than WoW’s, partly because there’s so many categories and things that fall within certain systems because it’s just handled differently. Take for example bot reports vs spam reports two totally different methods and systems that takes different kinds of reports. It would just be difficult to consolidate that data into one system and even then it would be a large amount of data.

I do agree though that more could always be done and there’s always potential in making players feel like their reports are worthwhile because its honestly priceless. I will definitely pass on things like this so the CS leadership and dev leadership can see these kinds of asks from players. :)


Part of the problem is that it’s unclear what happens when reports are submitted. People believe it doesn’t do anything, so they don’t bother. That’s what was happening in Overwatch, which is why Blizzard added the feedback tool. It’s a commonly held belief in WoW that most infractions require a certain threshold of reports to even be actioned. We don’t know if the report was actually seen by anyone or if it was lost to the void because not enough people reported it.

Blizzard relies on us to report violations of their rules, since they don’t have the manpower to monitor all servers and zones 24/7. But we need to know that something is being done. I know firsthand the frustration of reporting something reprehensible and seeing nothing done about it. A member of a guild I was in many years ago was fond of using a violent sexual assault in his names. I tried to report the characters in a ticket since his playtime didn’t often line up with mine and I used to check the characters periodically, only to see no change.

To implement and employ report feedback, we’d probably need an overhaul of the reporting system. WoW’s reporting system is relatively rudimentary. The last time it was updated was with patch 4.3.4 during Cataclysm in 2012, adding the categories we have now. A recent undocumented change in patch 7.3 simplified the menu a bit, removing some extra menus. Unfortunately this also removed the ability to add context to some reports — like whether you’re reporting someone’s character name or guild name and why. One if the responses in the thread had a good point about how context matters with reports, especially insults or slurs that may not be immediately apparent.

Overwatch overhauled their reporting system because the game was becoming so toxic that it was impacting players and development alike. While Ythisens is right that we encounter far more people and situations in an MMO than a shooter, we need to feel like we’re not wasting our breath yelling into the void. The people who report are trying to make the game a better place. It would be greatly beneficial to know that what they do matters.

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