World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most popular massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) of all time. While the WoW craze has died down in recent years, it is still a popular place for millions of people to slip into their in-game avatars, gather, and play.
In WoW, players enter the world of Azeroth, a place filled with many races and creatures, but split into two near-constantly warring factions — the Alliance and the Horde. Players can choose to join either faction then help people all around the world of Azeroth for gold, gear and experience points to level up.
Enabling Parental Controls in World of Warcraft
This all seems fairly innocent, and it is. However, your children will be playing on servers filled with thousands of other people. To manufacturer Blizzard's credit, they have gone to great lengths to make sure their game was safe for all players and to help parents make sure their children aren't spending all their time in the world of Azeroth.
World of Warcraft is a PC-only game, and while there are other ways to enact parental controls on the PC, Blizzard has some of the most expansive parental controls of any game publisher.
When you create a Parent Account with Blizzard, you’ll be able to:
- Set play time limits and certain schedules
- Enable or disable voice chat
- Enable or disable live streaming of gameplay
- Enable or disable in-game purchases
- Enable or disable text chat and Real ID name reveal
- Full play-time reports
All of this can be very simply enabled on Blizzard's website from the parental control page here
Things to Keep in Mind
To chat, or not to chat?
While Blizzard has excellent parental controls, the reason that WoW has been enduringly popular is because it’s played with so many other people. Unlike other games, where the activities are short, some activities may require players to communicate with one another to explain more complex mechanics. This is where disabling chat might affect gameplay. However, for younger children, it may be best to keep chat disabled so they’re not exposed to uncensored strangers (many of whom are adults).
Using Discord instead of WoW chat
It is important to also remember that while Blizzard has good parental controls, there are ways to bypass them. For example, many guilds, instead of using in-game chat options, will use third-party programs such as Discord to text and voice chat. This makes it necessary to still keep an eye on who your children chat with even if WoW chat is disabled.
The best option for keeping your children safe while still allowing them to have fun may be instead to find an in-game community that is a good fit for them. In WoW, these communities are called guilds. Many guilds are run by other parents to create a safe community that exists specifically for younger children to give them a friendly and safe play environment.