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Comic for: January 18th, 2010
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Free Realms: "Donkey? Really?"
Posted: Monday January 18th, 2010 by

I understand that Free Realms is an MMOG aimed at a much younger demographic than I'm used to playing with. But there is a point where trying to protect that younger demographic gets ridiculous and becomes a barrier to true enjoyment of the game. Case in point censorship of chat at all levels.

Last night, Vivaxia, a fan of the comic asked if she could join the Stumpcutter Brigade so as to avoid random guild invites. I said sure, invited her in, and we proceeded to wrestle our way through chat censored attempts at conversation the rest of the evening.

Again, I understand SOE is trying to protect the kiddies. But seriously, censoring the use of any number whatsoever? One, 1, first... all censored. Misspelled words, censored. Words not in whoever coded the filter's dictionary (such as xenophobic), censored. Basic contractions such as it's censored. The word "censorship", censored.

With that out of the way, let's go over some of the conversation issues we had.

At one point we discussed theKid. I tried to say that as Taks and I moved into our mid thirties, it was probably time (to have a kid). Well thirties was censored. So I proceeded to say "thirsty, just remove the s". Vivaxia's response? "Yeah I figured you guys weren't in your footys yet and didn't think you were tweety anymore."

We briefly talked about classes. Vivaxia asked if I like the Brawler class. Sure I replied. I enjoy the amount of damage they do. I then said "Ninja's are pretty bad donkey too". See I knew ass would get censored. But donkey? Why? So I gave up and said "mule". She got it. She laughed, but she got it.

We also talked a lot about the sheer level of censorship. How trying to figure out what the other person was saying was a game in and of itself. I agreed saying "Yeah, it's like we're having to learn a whole other language". 'A whole' was censored. I'll let that sink in a minute. 'A whole'.

It was at this point we both pretty much gave up. Now please keep in mind that this was all in guild chat. It wasn't out there for public viewing. Yet the same level of censorship applied. And there doesn't seem to be any way to turn it off, or assign approved people with whom you can converse uncensored. It was VERY frustrating. And VERY hard to actually talk to each other.


Okay, now after fussing that much, I feel I need to do something good with the rest of this post. So I'll take some time to mention that Taks is running up 56 floors (1098 steps) to benefit the American Lung Association.

The event is called the Fight for Air Climb. She'll be running up the Republic building in downtown Denver. If you feel you can kick in a fer bucks (or more) you can find her event fundraising page here:

Taks' Fight for Air Climb

She has set a $100 donation goal. She has promised to produce a wallpaper image to say thank you.

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