Of course, the best way to make friends and form groups and clubs is to be able to talk to each other in the game. Every MMO has an in game chat system and Mystic Riders will be the same.
Chat systems are a more complicated subject due to the United States passing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, commonly known as COPPA. Due to COPPA, there are strict rules about what can and can’t be said in online chats in a game that is marketed towards children. The Act is rather vaguely worded, but the fines are killer.
When developing our ideas for a chat system, we have to keep COPPA and its EU counterpart in mind due to the United States and Europe being our largest game zones.
Becca and I have experienced different chat systems over different games. The game chat we both agreed we liked the best is the game chat in Wizards 101, a card based fantasy MMO by Kingsisle Entertainment.
Chat is a privilege and not a right.
Chat in Mystic Riders is for players over the age of 13 or those whose parents have agreed in the parental controls to turning on Chat. The age of 13 is reasonable because that’s when many social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, allow children to have their own pages without parental consent.
Yes, we know, players will lie, that isn’t our responsibility, but the parents’!
For those players without chat there can be a system of emotes and a list of commonly asked questions to ask so they can at least communicate and get help.
When typing into the chat system, if a word is unapproved then it will turn red and the player won’t be able to hit enter until they change the word. Words that will most likely be unapproved are things like numbers, sexual words, and curse words. (Nut is not a sexual word unless you’re nine. Get over it.) We understand that players may try to get cheeky and find other ways to use spell or use swear words in the game.
Another type of unapproved word would be any type of spam, such as a singular pound sign(#) or any punctuation symbol. This will hopefully greatly reduce spam.
We believe that public chats should be moderated at all times for the safety of the players and for the safety of the company. If teens are aware that there is an adult monitoring their chat then they are more likely to behave themselves. This will mean a larger customer service team, and at the same time will reduce the usage of bots, and warnings can be given in real time to those swearing, being inappropriate, or being bullies. That way no one can say they weren’t warned if they are suspended or banned from chat.
We hope to have several channels; Say Chat, Global Chat, Group Chat, Friend Chat, Club Chat, and Role/Club Advertising Chat. Hopefully with enough channels, the spam will be kept to a minimum.
Say Chat is for the immediate area. Global is for the entire game. Group is for those you’re in a group with. Friend Chat lets you keep individual chats with people on your friends list. Club Chat is a group chat for your Club. And lastly, Advertising Chat is a place to look for and advertise your role playing games and sessions, and recruit club members.
Chat will be a window that the player can resize and move wherever they want it. It will have tabs on the top for the different chat channels and the ability to close out of it. The player will be able to enter what they want to say in a field under the chat box. There will also be a report function if the player sees someone breaking the rules.
While we want players to be able to talk to each other, we want them to be able to do it in a safe as environment as possible in a game or on the internet.