PC Game Wants To Ban Jerks And Bullies, But Not Everyone Likes That

PC Game Wants To Ban Jerks And Bullies, But Not Everyone Likes That

No-nonsense bans for players who are repeatedly racist, sexist, or bullies? Sounds like a pretty fair deal, but a number of Killing Floor 2 fans see the game’s strict policy as a step too far. Some are refusing to play the game altogether.

While plenty of games come with EULAs (End User Licence Agreements) that allow game creators to revoke access to their games with remarkably little warning, Killing Floor 2‘s is notable for being significantly more specific. The short version? Abuse of any sort is a ban-worthy offence, a one-way ticket from the killing floor right out the killing door.

The clause, found under “Cheats, Cheating and Abusive Behaviours,” reads:

“We also will not tolerate anyone using the game, or any servers or forums provided for the game, to be continually or repeatedly abusive to other players. This includes, but is not limited to, ‘griefing,’ racist bigotry, sexism or any other forms of ‘cyber bullying.’ We will also not tolerate anyone hosting servers for the game where such behaviours are continually or repeatedly allowed to take place.”

“If we find you are a Cheater or Abusive, we will revoke your CD key and ban you from the KF2 servers and tell your mum! Your licence will automatically terminate, without notice, and you will have no right to play KF2 or any KF2 Mods against other players or make any other use of KF2. End of story.”

Please, not my mum! She took it hard enough when The President personally phoned her to inform her that I’d gotten a parking ticket.

Seriously though, that’s some pretty clear cut language. Cross the line into unadulterated toxicity, and there may not be any second chances. For Killing Floor 2 developer Tripwire, this seems to represent a no-nonsense approach to cultivating a community where people don’t act like shitheads toward one another, an attempt to quash some of the toxicity that infests other multiplayer games before it can rise from its noxious plague pit. However, some fans are worried that Tripwire is taking things too far, and as a result they no longer want anything to do with Killing Floor 2.

So basically, they’re worried that developers or other players could abuse these rules, get someone booted out into the cold, sword-armed-murder-monster-less world when they don’t deserve it. A select few also don’t know the difference between the right to free speech and a company’s right to make their own rules, but anyway.

While many players seemed cool with Tripwire’s hardline stance (“Just respect other people. End of.”), the developer saw fit to address a number of complaints. Tripwire Vice President Alan Wilson explained in a Steam thread:

“We added the pieces to the EULA about ‘behaviours’ as a reaction to really evil behaviours which are simply not appropriate in multiplayer or co-op game. Or anywhere in civilized society, for that matter.”

“People are worried that we can ‘take your game away.’ Well, yes, we can. We’ve sold around 10 million games over the last 10 years. We have, I believe, taken away games from about 2 people. One of those was later convicted as a hacker in court.”

He added that the EULA stipulations are in place for extreme cases — repeat offenders who make tens or hundreds or even thousands of people miserable with their words or actions. He believes that they will only rarely, if ever, come into play. So, for instance, if someone is barfing up gutter talk on a single server, it’s up to the server admin to boot them — or not. If that person makes a concerted effort to spread their filth to tons of servers, only then will Tripwire get involved. “For the other 99.999% of the population, play on!” he wrote. “We’re not watching or tracking you or anything else. We have wayyyy better things to do — like making games.”

Some players, however, are still confused, worried that saying the wrong thing might get them banned — even as other players try to reassure them that this likely won’t be an issue for more than a few people.

And thus, the conflict rages on. So we wind up in an odd spot, despite what seems like a decent amount of clarity from Tripwire. In fairness, though, it is possible to trample over people’s boundaries without realising it. I’ve done it plenty of times, that’s for damn sure. I can, then, understand why some players are worried. Things that are common sense for some can feel like a foreign language to others, and we live in a time where not all of this stuff is codified yet. People are still learning, day by day. It sounds, though, like Tripwire is largely gonna let fans handle things themselves, as they have done with previous games. Regardless, a good rule of thumb: if you’re worried you might be close to crossing the line with anyone, just ask. When in doubt, “Is this cool?” is a pretty excellent question.

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    • people have ownership right? I thought we just paid for a revokable license to play their game?

      • I was more concerned about his flagrant disregard for the English language…but yes you pay for a license.

        • Haha I only just got that. Proof that my sensitivity to internet idiocy is decreasing – I decoded that rubbish without even thinking about it.

      • Actually, the European courts have declared this to not to be the case. Transfer of a license constitutes transfer of ownership of the software (tho obviously not the IP), making DRM that prevents resale illegal, even on PC’s. In circumstances such as this, it would also result in that particular clause being rendered illegal as it would constitute theft to revoke a license unless they could demonstrate that license was used to break the law in some way. How this would hold up under the Australian court system has yet to be tested as far as I’m aware. Americans are screwed however, as their court and law system favours the developers over the consumers as far as EULA’s are concerned.

  • I would imagine they would investigate each incident before wielding the banhammer so I’m not sure what some people are getting so wound up about. Maybe people just like to complain about anything and everything.

        • The problem here being of course, that it’s subjective with this sort of low level clarity. What’s sexist to one person may not be to another etc. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this is handled over time.

          • While people may find this comment and where it was delivered offensive, I kinda find it funny. I know it’s not right, but why does everyone have to be so sensetive all the time? Perhaps text does not deliver the tone and other communicational factors where some people think in a messed up way and other times people really are jerks. Either way,I found this pretty funny.

          • ‘Woman have small boobs’. I really can’t understand how that’s even a joke.

          • … considering that a general comparison of the genders will find it’s not the female gender that suffers in this respect.

          • I struggle to understand why it’s relevant in the context of playing Killing Floor 2. Is it something he’s likely to say by accident?

          • Here’s how this will be handled overtime: This will never be enforced.

            The EULAs of the vast majority of online games have similar terms against toxic behavior/offensive language/whatever. Devs and publishers have no interest in enforcing these rules on a broad scale and they’re basically there as a safeguard in the event of a player that is somehow ludicrously disruptive on a massive scale, or possibly as some legal protection against claims that their online service enabled abuse. It’s not clear to me why some people are flipping out about it this time.

            Nobody will get banned for comments that might be borderline offensive to some. Nobody will get banned (possibly aside from specific servers by a server admin) for comments that are BLATANTLY offensive or hateful, either.

            Not to mention the fact that MMOs ACTUALLY HAVE been banning players from the entire game for this exact kind of behavior for many years.

            But that’s a moot point – as the devs themselves said, this won’t be enforced at all in this case anyway.

          • So if you have to ask yourself “wait is this …..” at this point, maybe just go “probably shouldn’t finish this sentence”

            It’s really not hard to NOT get in trouble, it’s very hard to walk the line of appropriate.

      • Well it depends on how many incidents will get reported, how they get reported and how they’re recorded. To say you’ll remove someone’s licence for your game, hopefully they’ll be looking into each case properly before starting to alienate their consumer base. But like they said though, out of 10 million + games they’ve taken away 2 licences.

        Having specific EULAs are better than vague ones where you don’t know what your rights are imo

    • Most of the complainers would be either regular trolls, truly free speech campaigners (going so far to believing people should be free to be abusive, even htough it’s illegal) and people who love a cause and fall for silly ones like this.

  • The unfortunate thing is if they don’t check the chat logs/game and ban on account of ban reports they are opening the game to a huge bunch of asshole trolls.

    Whats worse, someone causing a bit of shenanigans in your game or losing the ability to play said game.

    • Considering it takes 5 seconds to check a reported message, I can’t imagine these devs would be stupid enough to ignore that process. I would assume multiple false reports would constitute abuse and earn a ban as well.

  • ahhh cyber bullies, even worse than real bullies, at least real bullies will do it to your face and personally take responsibility for their actions.

    cyber bullies are like scum bag graffiti artists defacing someone’s own home because nope just a dead beat person holding a can, thinking they are somehow important or clever.

    If you cant find your own fun without having to resort to destroying others for your own amusement, you arent exactly a person worth knowing in real life or virtual.

    Its about time twitter and PSN and Xbox etc, join the 21st century and take responsibility for the sandbox they have created

  • Ban the hell out of them if there is accurate and sufficient proof. Chat logs, recording etc. Would love it if you had enough proven complaints of cyber bullying on games played through steam that you lose you steam account. Currently the punishments are not enough.

  • So… people who have a problem with being potentially banned for being internet dickhats aren’t going to be buying the game? Sounds like even more reason to buy it to me.

  • I lost it at the “most women have small boobs” comment.

    For the record, I support a prolific banhammer… as long as it’s only swung in the name of Justice.

  • In this current cilmate of “outrage culture” where people will deem anything offensive at the drop of a hat… Putting something like this out there is extremely dangerous.

    • A game master addressing racial hatred or bullying behaviour peddled in some small corner of a forum or over voice chat in just another public match could not be further removed from the contexts in which this so-called “outrage culture” is said to be performed.

      Yet I can see how some would fear this type of policy as “dangerous” given the baffling tone-deafness of some of the commenters in the screenshots above (eg. the individual who genuinely seems not to understand what would be problematic with “[going] on a server and say[ing] most women have small boobs”).

  • The question is, would the people with banned keys get a refund, I can’t stand online multiplayer games, But this policy gives me pause.

    • i haven’t read into the details, but would the ban only apply to the online part of the game? (not sure if there is a single player component).

      • Well if they blocked the cd key on steam it could potentially lock the game entirely.

    • If I paid $20 for a kitchen knife from woolworths, then took that knife and stabbed someone, then get arrested for said stabbing, could I get a refund for the knife when the police take it away from me?

  • Ahh yes. I rember when this happened 3 days ago…
    Fair enough ban online jerks, but at leat let them have single player.
    This is no different to steam really. They can lock your account and you can’t do anything about it.
    Yay future.

  • I like trolls. They make me laugh. I dont really understand why people take anything that is said by some anonymous person online seriously.
    Maybe that makes me like a troll… I dont know.

  • So lets get this right. It’s perfectly ok to dismember someone in game in a very gratuitous fashion with blood literally spurting out of their neck, arm or legs in a ridiculous manner but if you call them names ya better watch the fuck out… gotta love the politically correct world and just how warped it’s view is.

    • It is however politically incorrect to dismember a real person in any fashion.

      Feel free to be abusive to NPC’s all you want but if your words and actions impact a real human being you should be held responsible at the very least accountable.

      • But isn’t this pvp – aren’t you literally dismembering another person in the game? Why is that ok but calling someone a name not?

        Seriously I can’t get my head around how someone can think one is ok but the other is not. Explain it to me.

        EDIT: Just for clarity i mean how can people disassociate the act of someone shooting\dismembering them with little consequence but call them a name and all of a sudden its *real*. To me it’s one and the same – anything competitive almost always comes with sledging of some form or another.

        • No, you’re not literally dismembering another person. You’re pushing some buttons that trigger an animation of a bunch of polygons acting that out, and that is an intrinsic part of the designated competition that everyone signed up for when they fired up the game. Shouting incoherent homophobic abuse at them is not.

    • I don’t get the link that you seem to be making between digital violence and real-life bullying?

      I don’t think that the content of the game should determine how the players playing it should behave to each other. When i jump online – regardless of if I am playing Mortal Kombat, Call of Duty, Plants v Zombies Garden Warfare, FIFA, Tetris, Diablo etc – I don’t think that the type of game should determine that I should have acceptance of being called a fag, queer, nigger, bitch, fuckhead, dickhead etc you get the point, right?

      In my opinion, I find your comment absolutely ridiculous and lacking in maturity to understanding community standards. This isn’t about being PC, its about stamping out a noxious behaviour that has been invading the online space for too long, and its about time people stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.

      Again, the content of the game should not determine the behaviour of the online community attached to it.

      If anyone is worried about being banned from the game, its time they reflected on their online behaviour. And maybe disconnect the microphone/don’t engage in the online chat window.

      • But it’s still an opinion – i was told early on in life shit people say is only offensive if you let it be. That’s the way i was brought up. Maybe i have thick skin – it’s not like i wasn’t bullied or picked on at any stage im sure everyone has at some point, it just never bothered me.

        Digital violence to you might be something you see as harmless but there sure are people out there that don’t. Is their point of view any less valid? I see name calling in the same light i guess, To me it’s 100% harmless i don’t partake in it but if i’m called a fag, queer, nigger, bitch, fuckhead, dickhead etc or if someone is over the top i’ll just mute them and continue playing.

        Just to be clear im not talking about threats or harassment – they’re completely different from calling someone a *insert adjective here*.

        • Yes it’s an opinion and yes you may have thicker skin…. at the same time you are also not 99.99999999% of the world either. I think that’s the point people forget

          Hell I subscribe to the same “suck it in” philosophy as you. At the end of the day what shit people say about me don’t mean diddly squat to me because I am what I am. And yes I do partake in non-PC name calling.. but only within my own circle of non-PC friends =P


          The caveat here is twofold first of all my experiences, philosophies and outlook are all my own as is yours. Some people may have had serious problems, etc. I cannot apply my own prism of views to others because that would just be unfair in the same way as other people judging one’s opinion is somehow better or more superior to others.

          Second it’s about the whole “respect” thing. It’s ironic that when people troll their first defence is “it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it” as if that’s a catch-all to gain some sort of “ethical” higher ground for partaking in the most shittiest of activities online completely missing the irony of the statement. Here’s the thing I *know* that shit’s offensive. I *know* that it’s not respectful to other people. Just because *I* personally do not care for it does not mean it’s *not* disrespectful. I may not get offended by offensive material but that doesn’t make it unoffensive to some people. And I *respect* their opinion for that stance. I won’t enforce *my* view on them just because they have a different “ethical/moral” stance than me. It’s just how a functioning society and community works. Otherwise we would all be at each others throats grasping for that “top ethical/moral ground” spot

          And look it’s a two way street as well…. no one likes the opposite side of the coin when you come across a *real* “PC-brigade” person who will nitpick at the most obscurely offensive thing. But at the same time these people aren’t 99.9999999% of the world *either*.

  • Lol at everyone using this as an excuse to enable their own prejudice. Prejudice rights! Almost as stupid as not knowing what could offend someone. If you’re reasonably educated an empathetic, it’s pretty clear. Anything else is ignorance.

      • False reporting would be abusive actions… banned!
        Being offended doesn’t mean you were abused. I am sure devs will take the 5 seconds needed to see an abusive message before banning. Because it is advertised so heavily and most trolls not buying the game, there probably won’t be many instances either.

  • It is worrying seeing people try to justify being “rude” to others. I imagine those who are complaining are people who intentionally want to say bad things to others every now and again. The fact that they recognize this fact and are worried they will get banned for saying something stupid whether intentionally or accidentally means they are still not use to the concept of the punishments that happen in the real world.

    I’m sorry, being behind that screen does not make you safe and anonymous anymore. Sure if you are in a room with friends, let loose, be free, go sick. But if you are in a public domain you must be ready to face consequences just like in the real world. Saying bad things to others just to make you feel better… yeeeh… go on… do it in the real world and see how far that gets you.

  • I am really okay with this. The Laissez-Faire attitude in competitive or co-operative games with teamwork required generally is a terrible way to run as people naturally gravitate towards negativity than positivity (and if left unchecked, some really really nasty negativity). Having certain rules to use in the ‘in case of extreme sitation – break glass’ box can be useful for the devs.

  • What a clever move, I wonder if it was intentional or accidental, but with all these would-be bullies refusing to buy the game the devs have spared themselves the work of banning them later!

  • so far I have had nothing but good experience online with KF2 so far, I’m glad they have this rule if it can keep the community positive.

  • I’m going to miss bullies, loud mouths, blatant racists and sexists, and every other mean spirited person. Why? Because I find their flailing to be amusing. To me their abusive and flagrant nature is somewhat like the clown societies of old: they exist to attack and deride the norms of society as a way to make it stronger. They seem as much a part of our cultural heritage as the Heyoka were part of the Lakota heritage.

  • Are people really that unaware of whether or not the things they say day to day are inappropriate that they’re not okay with this?

    If you get banned for something that you don’t see anything wrong with but someone else does you probably have some bigger issues you need to sort out. “PC HAS GONE TOO FAR!!!!!” keep your bigotry among your weenie friends I say.

  • I am an old fart, and I am totally confused.

    The games I play have no need to send text in any way, shape or form – to anyone. Even multi-player games with [optional] voice links to team members, don’t require you to actually type anything.

    Is it possible to play [and enjoy] KF2 – without sending a single message? Offensive, or otherwise?

  • well, just play the game, and talk about what’s going on in game. why would their be random conversations about sexism and racism, when you should be talking about how to kill the fleshpounder? or kite the scrake? talk about the current situation in game, be respectful, and you’ll never have to worry about getting banned.

    • Well, one can go to a McDonalds, and talk about things other than the burgers. And someone can go to a Bar and talk about things other than booze. If online games are a form of ‘get-together-and-hang-out’ place (even if not physically) it makes sense people would talk with other people about things other than the game. It’s a social venue just as much as a sports bar or a card shop.

      Though unlike shops, the user base is vastly larger and more diverse than an actual locale would be.

  • I really like this. Finally I can potentially get to play a game without being psychologically scarred by people being racist and sexist towards me, and finally have a chance to enjoy a game that I pay good money for. Isn’t that what every gamer should want? Not to be belligerently harassed?

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