Frequency of swearing in online games

This article has been making its rounds on the Interweb and it's got me wanting to extend the discussion a bit.  The issue is that of swearing/cussing/profanity in these newfangled voice-enabled online games, such as discussed in the article (warning, potentially offensive content ahead..) "Frequency of Profanity in Halo 2."  Josh (said article's author)  put together a sampling of the type and frequency of profanity cursed out of players during about 33 hours of playing Halo 2 online on XBox Live.

Anyone with Xbox Live will immediately know what's going to be in that article.  Live has a group of people playing that like to talk colorfully, to say the least.  It really is amazing sometimes how many complete sentences some of these folks can attempt to form using only profane outbursts.  I do my fair share of cursing (when I'm not around the family... Mom still has me under control on that front), but the expletives spewing out of Live is impressive.  I really hated it and it honestly removed much of my interest in getting involved in Live gaming... no, I don't have an Xbox, so my experience has been limited on a friend's machine several times. 

However, I do play MMOGs a lot and even though I'm primarily a solo player, the social aspect of these games is obviously pervasive.  Up 'til recently-ish, we were left with text chatting that was under the (potential) intense scrutiny of game masters and chat logs.  Profanity existed in the text realm, of course, but somehow it was much more "comfortable."  For one thing a simple "/squelch" or "/ignore" command removes an offensive player completely from your view.  Neat.

These days, voice chat is becoming an integral part online games for anyone who wants to be more competitive.. or whatever.  Lately, I'm realizing I can't escape voice communication as a member of an active guild, which leads me to my current technological avoidance... TeamSpeak and Ventrilo.   

Don't misunderstand, these technologies rock... SkypeGizmo, Google Talk, etc., all very, very cool thingies.  I use them frequently.  However, I get to pick who I'm talkin' to and it's usually someone I like.  Sure, the occasional business meeting takes place, but otherwise... friends & family.

When I log into WoW and end up in a big raid or various big groupy thing, invariably I'm required to fire up Vent and start hearing all the nonsense spewing forth from the masses.  Granted, within my quaint (and carefully growing) guild, the quality of conversation is vastly better, but you just can't avoid the inevitable large event where you're playing with all manner of people. 

 I'm a long way beyond thinking it's cool to blurt out forbidden vocabularies, so maybe I'm just missing how much fun it is to talk in Swear.  Maybe I am getting too old and grumpy to see how wonderful it is to have the miracle of voice chat laden in racial slurs.  Maybe.  However, I just think it sucks and I don't want to put up with it.  I'm not going to be able to avoid it forever since the norm is becoming the integration of voice tech. in online games.  And I'll face it, voice communication is great in a team gaming situation.  It's vastly more efficient that trying to type.

So, where does this leave me?  More soloing, I guess... so much for the big instance running where most guilds require Ventrilo/TS2?  I don't want to do without whatever experiences await when I *finally* get to 60!  Bah.  Guess I'll just have to suck it up and put on my crappy headphone/microphone set I have to use since I only committed $6.00 to this venture.  Turn off the 5.1 surround speakers and plug in the cheesy headset...


I don't have as much problem with the swearing and racial slurs as I had on Live, mostly because of the tightly-knit groups I'm hanging out with.   Again, it's the larger groups or pick-up games that get me.  Maybe I will find some more good experiences in all this, but for now, I don't like how much voice chat obliterates my suspension of disbelief in a game.  Mainly in fantasy games where people are screaming various expletives and barking orders to each other... it's easy for me to lose almost all of my immersion.  Bugger.  Immersion is one of the primary reasons I've gravitated to these larger persistent worlds.

Something tells me I just have to get over this or I'm going to miss out on too much.  I see the value in voice-enabled online gaming, and it's only going to grow in popularity.  Overall, it's a good thing.  Surrounding myself with intelligent, decent people will be the key to my enjoyment of this tech.  I've done pretty well so far in WoW, but other games have failed miserably on this regard... Battlefield 2  was a nightmare, for instance.

So, you know I'll spend a great deal of time in Morrowind 2, away from the masses, but I'm sure I will be found more frequently on Vent/TS2 as I get used to the idea... sheesh, I sound like a noob here, eh?  I guess I pine for the olde days of text chat.  :P