Call of Duty has basically become synonymous with toxic gamer behavior at this point, and for good reason. We definitely crack jokes about playing COD games with screaming 11 year olds, but that’s because we keep finding them. Seriously, play some random matches and tell me that you don’t eventually end up finding some unfortunately young white kid calling you the n-word. The adults that play COD aren’t much better. Run a youtube search for “Call of Duty rage” and you’ll see what I mean.
Up until now we have just sort of accepted that anonymous online assholes are part of the online Call of Duty experience. But Infinity Ward is not OK with this. As such, they are taking steps to curb offensive behavior with a newly released Call of Duty: Ghosts Code of Conduct. It’s a brand new set of rules that establishes penalties for offensive or abuse behavior. It covers anyone who is found to use “aggressive, offensive, derogatory, or racially charged language.” This includes sexism and homophobia as well. So no more spouting the word faggot and no more telling girls to get in the kitchen and make you a sandwich.
When an offending user is reported, they are temporarily banned from playing online. Their ban could be anywhere from 48 hours to two weeks depending on the severity of the remarks. On repeat offenses, the user will be banned again for an even longer time. If the user continues to cause problems, he can have his stats reset, have his split-screen privileges revoked, or be blocked permanently from appearing in leaderboards. Offending users can have all of these penalties placed on them at once along with a game ban, but cannot be permanently banned. Apparently Infinity Ward believes everyone deserves a chance to learn their lesson.
Temporary bans can also be placed on users that participate in undesirable gameplay. For example, players who are caught “boosting” i.e. purposefully letting themselves get killed so that their friends can earn XP and Squad Points can be temporarily banned. Anyone who exploits bugs in the game’s code for an in-game advantage can similarly be temporarily banned. Luckily, no such bugs currently exist. Important note for some of the more toxic players out there, noob tubing and quick scoping do not count as exploiting the game’s code. However, purposefully noob tubing or quick scoping in order to produce an angry reaction from another play could fall under “aggressive behavior.” Once again, no matter how egregious players are in these matters they cannot be permanently banned.
Permabans are reserved for much more illegal offenses. For example, anyone who is caught with a pirated or copied version of the game will be permabanned immediately. In addition, any user that is modding or hacking the game for an in-game advantage, such as wall hacks or auto-aim hacks, will be permanently banned.
But the big question is, will this work? Infinity Ward certainly does not have the manpower to police the millions of people who play Call of Duty every day. So this will obviously have to work off a report system. However, if that is the case, couldn’t people just submit fake reports to get other people banned. Then couldn’t those banned people submit reports about the fake banning to get the original banners banned? Eventually this becomes so cyclical that any sort of toxic behavior shuts the whole online CoD community down. But… maybe that’s OK? Maybe the CoD community needs to have its online privileges taken away until it can play nice. While this sucks for perfectly cordial CoD players, there is something to be said for a community self-policing itself.
What do you think? Will this new Code of Conduct work? Will it be ineffective? Will it blow up in Infinity Ward’s face? Let us know in the comments.
Senior Contributing Writer