drama

The Daily Grind: What’s the biggest scandal the MMORPG genre has ever seen?

Over the weekend in the Guild Wars 2 spyware article comments, a commenter remarked that Blizzard’s Warden spyware was “the biggest scandal in MMOs” over the last 10 years. I was pretty surprised to see that claim; I was aware of Warden, but it probably wouldn’t even make my top 10 list of scandals across the industry. The first one that pops to mind is Blizzard’s RealID, probably followed by Monoclegate, the Funcom insider trading case, the EVE jumpgate scandal, the Sigil Games parking lot firing fiasco, and the NCsoft/Bluehole lawsuit.

I’m positive I’m forgetting some juicy ones. What’s the biggest scandal – scandal, mind you, not just drama – the MMORPG genre has ever seen? Lay ’em on me!

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NeoGAF gaming forum goes offline after owner is accused of sexual harrassment

Long-running and popular video game forum NeoGAF went down virtually overnight this weekend following allegations of sexual harassment against the site’s owner.

A series of posts accusing owner Tyler “Evilore” Malka of sexual assault set into motion a firestorm of controversy on the forum, leading to a walkout by the rest of the site’s moderators. After the forum filled with discussion, rants, and calls for Malka’s resignations over the accusations, it was taken offline on Sunday.

Film director Ima Leupp publicly named Malka last week in an account where she alleged that he harassed her in a hotel shower. Some of the other accusations span back years, including a series of crude remarks made over the whole GamerGate controversy back in 2014.

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World of Warcraft Elysium emulator disbands, reforms under cloud of corruption

The drawn-out story of Project Elysium, one of the more notable World of Warcraft emulators that rose to prominence in the wake of last year’s Nostalrius saga that saw the legit WoW community agitate unsuccessfully for vanilla servers, has taken a brutal turn this week. No, Blizzard didn’t issue a cease-and-desist takedown, but rather the emulator operators themselves tanked their own project.

The implosion of Elysium was reportedly born from an “environment of mistrust and shadiness” that led to the staff engaging in gold and account sales as well as one staff member outright stealing PayPal funds from the project, or so the caretakers now say. The remaining staff apparently decided that the best course of action would be to disband Elysium and reform as a new emulator called Light’s Hope.

“The Elysium Project as it exists today is no longer a viable project due to the systemic problem of lack of oversight on those with the most access to the servers,” the new team posted. “Due to failures to uphold the projects ideals and integrity, the Elysium Project is being dissolved and relaunched out of the control of those who have abused the trust of the staff, community, and legacy movement as a whole.” So, an emulator, then.

You can listen to the Elysium staff meeting that culminated in this disaster after the break.

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League of Legends dev who insulted streamer is no longer with Riot Games

Two days ago, we reported that a League of Legends developer had landed himself in hot water after he went grossly overboard in insulting a banned troll and streamer while using a Riot tag in a public Discord channel. The dev, Aaron “Sanjuro” Rutledge, publicly suggested that it’d be “gucci” if the streamer would die from “a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids,” after likening him to a “humunculus,” incidentally causing a spike in searches for the word “humunculus.”

This triggered a quick and harsh response from both the community and Riot Games. Riot and Rutledge apologized for the comment and said he was taking some time away from the community, but now it looks as if they’ve severed ties completely.

Rutledge has since posted the following comment on his Facebook page: “Heads up to friends and family. I no longer work at Riot Games. Please call or txt me for more details.” There is no confirmation as to whether he was fired or voluntarily left the studio, as neither party has yet addressed the circumstances.

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Riot apologizes for League of Legends dev who joked about streamer’s hypothetical death

Over the weekend, a Riot Games developer made a Terrible Mistake: Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge insulted a banned streamer in League of Legends’ public Discord using an official Riot account, saying the streamer “looks like a damn humunculus.”

“[H]e’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci,” he wrote. That caused community uproar as some players interpreted that as not just an insult but a wish for the streamer’s death.

Sanjuro has since apologized for the comment.

“I displayed a gross error in judgement last night and whole-heartedly apologize for my comments. They were out of line, and not what any of you deserve to hear, especially from a Rioter. I’ll be taking time away from Reddit, discord and in game chat to reflect on how I communicate with players. Sorry again for the insults and the language.”

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Hyperspace Beacon: An open letter to all roleplayers in MMORPGs

I really hate when non-RPers get their kicks out of making light of what roleplayers are doing to have fun. Many times, the roleplayer will be standing at the bar minding his own business on an RP server no less, when all of the sudden some bored 12-year-old in a 40-year-old body spams as many particle effects at the people just attempting to have a conversation in character. You’d think if that happened enough that it would cause people stop roleplaying; I’m fairly certain that’s in the back of the griefer’s mind. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, I like to believe that it just strengthens the roleplayers’ resolve. They try harder to find a place where they can be comfortable doing what they enjoy doing, or they simply ignore the flashing effects around them and barrel through.

But the funny thing is I don’t believe it’s that kind of thing that actually drives roleplayers from a game. I believe that the biggest detriment to roleplayers is other roleplayers, and the biggest hurdle in attracting new roleplayers to the gameplay style is ourselves.

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The Daily Grind: When do ‘offensive’ guild names go too far?

Oh, it just wouldn’t be a week without some EVE Online drama, now would it? The latest episode revolves around an alliance whose name, Just Let It Happen, was reported and forcibly changed by CCP’s customer support team as a result of its ambiguous meaning, which was apparently inferred to be a rape reference.

The EVE subreddit lost its spacemarbles; some players slyly recommended additional much less ambiguously NSFW names that ought to be banned, while others justifiably demanded clarity from CCP, and still others took the opportunity to be awful trolls contributing nothing to the debate. CCP Falcon ultimately told the community that while the original customer support staff had followed the naming guidelines properly and would not be reprimanded, the team had discussed the issue and decided to relent, allowing Just Let It Happen to, well, get back to happening.

Our EVE columnist Brendan tells me that it’s not uncommon for CCP to alter player, corporation, and alliance names that violate the TOS when reported by players. And you might remember back in 2015, CCP voluntarily changed the name of the Interbus Ship Identification System browser, aka ISIS, though the studio insisted it was too obscure for newbies, not because of politics.

So for today’s Daily Grind, I’m wondering what you think about EVE’s naming situation. Do the “offensive” names on that list go too far, or is CCP too harsh? How sure are you that you understand the naming rules in your own MMOs?

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The Elysium WoW emulator community is in total meltdown

The Elysium World of Warcraft private server community is in total meltdown, so popcorn at the ready.

Most MMORPG players would probably have never heard of Elysium but for Nostalrius, the WoW emulator that was C&D’d by Blizzard last year and then went on to agitate for official vanilla servers, blowing its momentum after BlizzCon by handing its source code and characters over to Elysium to run from the Ukraine, only to then change its mind last month and ask for the code back.

Elysium agreed to Nostalrius’ requests, but things have gone south for its own game this past week when an emu YouTuber and concomitant agitators accused the top echelons of the Elysium team of everything from manipulating loot tables and unbanning hackers for under-the-table cash to participating in Chinese gold selling and botting schemes and being shadow-run by (former) network partner Crestfall. They probably also did Watergate, I don’t know.

(Incidentally, Crestfall has already cut ties with Elysium as of this afternoon, citing “strong evidence of corruption in high-ranking members of [Elysium’s] staff.”)

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Nostalrius has decided handing its WoW emu code to Elysium wasn’t such a good idea after all

So here’s a twist in the Nostalrius saga that we didn’t see coming: The group has changed its mind about supporting its code on the Elysium servers and in fact has asked Elysium to stop using it, which would effectively shut down the new legacy servers.

The group originally ran a large vanilla World of Warcraft emulator under the name Nostalrius, which shut down last year following a C&D letter from the IP owner, Blizzard. Its admins sought to turn the voluntary closure into a catalyst for eliciting official legacy servers from Blizzard itself, drafting a 276,000-signature petition and meeting with Blizzard’s top brass in an attempt to convince the studio to serve that fanbase.

But as BlizzCon drew near after the launch of Legion, the Nostalrius admins turned to threats. “If Blizzard doesn’t make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will,” they famously wrote. Blizzard didn’t talk legacy at BlizzCon, so Nostalrius announced it would release its code to the community and allow the (much more legally inaccessible) Ukraine-based Elysium group to restart a PvE and PvP Nostalrius emu under its banner, which is precisely what started up in December, with the most recent server launching this past week.

Now Nostalrius says that it believes its actions ran contrary to its goals.

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EVE Online player promises $75,000 reward for thwarting enemies

If yesterday’s CCP crackdown on gambling and RMT in the EVE Online universe wasn’t enough drama for you, order some more popcorn for this one. An EVE player says he’s putting up a $75,000 US bounty on a particular alliance.

“I’m giving away IRL money through a paypal contract link to pay for the IRL time for gamers to participate in evictions,” Redditor holder2k told Reddit last week. “The event will be Total Payout of: $75,000 USD for Hard Knocks Eviction. […] The amount is based on total payout, so the more people the less individual payout. Doing the math on HK if we get 800 toons, it’s $94 per toon, if we get less the payout goes up.”

You’ll note that this deal would seem to violate CCP’s new EULA, and indeed official forum threads on the topic have been shut down. PC Gamer has printed both Hard Knocks’ claims about the identity of the player (which ironically lend legitimacy to the payout) and holder2k’s claims that members of Hard Knocks are harassing him or her in real life. Even if this is just the usual EVE Reddit trolling, no doubt the timing will ensure a juicy EVE Vegas.

Source: Reddit via PC Gamer. Thanjs, alexjwillis!

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No Man’s Sky subreddit temporarily melts down over moderator frustration

The No Man’s Sky subreddit was nuked briefly overnight thanks to the frustration of the mods, who say they debated for several hours last night over just what to do with the angry cesspool of negativity that has become the sub. But the head mod who actually locked down the sub, making it private and inaccessible to thousands of users, has contradicted that statement, claiming he did it on his own.

“So I purged the subreddit,” moderator R0ugeW0lf wrote early this morning. “It’s become a hate filled wastehole of no actual discussion. It’s not what we intended it to be and I don’t like providing a platform for hate. I’m sorry to everyone who used the subreddit as intended but you are now in the majority. I’m sure you can find a different place to discuss this game. It’s not hard. This was my decision and mine alone. The other moderators tried to sway my opinion but cynicism got the best of me as usual.”

The sub has since reopened under an actual Reddit admin, Sporkicide, who says R0ugeW0lf is “going to take a break,” while mod The_Music assured readers, “The admins did not seize the subreddit.”

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ArcheAge makes it (temporarily) safer to regrade gear, drama llamas come out to play

One of ArcheAge’s more… interesting features is its gear upgrade system. In short, it’s a risky proposition to “regrade” gear because it costs money, it doesn’t always work, and in higher tiers there’s even the chance that it will destroy the item.

So is it a relief or a cash grab that ArcheAge is hosting an event for the next two weeks to ease up on these restrictions? Through June 21st, players can regrade gear with a 1.5x bonus to success while replacing possible Celestial item destruction with a mere gear demotion. Buy one, get one free regrade sales promotions will be ongoing during this period.

The event triggered a wave of negative player reaction, with some upset that Trion didn’t give a heads-up in advance, that the divine notices are spamming screens, and that it has had a noticeable impact on the game’s economy.

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