Even if you can overlook the expense, the current lack of games, the potential for nausea, and the annoyance of wearing a clamshell on your sweaty face, virtual reality has a looming problem: trolls.
Turns out that the same internet jerks who ruin online spaces and games via text and avatar show up to do the same in virtual reality too.
As MIT Technology Review wrote yesterday, part of the point of socializing in virtual worlds is to feel the “presence” of other people — but the very benefit that makes “virtual reality so compelling also makes awkward or hostile interactions with other people much more jarring,” such as when people invade your private space or try to touch your avatar without permission.
The publication highlights AltSpaceVR, a startup building tools to help people deal with trolls. The company has some of the basics already — like a way to make obnoxious people invisible with a block — but it’s also working on a “personal space bubble” to stop people from groping your virtual self without permission, which they would otherwise do because people are gross and have no shame.
Last September, a Guild Wars 2 player shared a story about his departed wife. She died from complications during the birth of the couple’s son, and she had been a fellow GW2 player who enjoyed picking up rabbits and wielding a hammer on her character, Hiralyn. It’s a tragic story we’ve all sadly heard before if we’ve played online games for a while: a fellow player, a person, a life cut short unexpectedly with a shared memory of a game.
Now, Hiralyn stands in Cragstead. According to the official posting, design lead Mike Zadorojny put in the time necessary to add a memorial to the departed player, placing her character surrounded by rabbits with a few lines of dialogue about creating a legacy for her son, even if she couldn’t be there. It’s as touching a tribute as you could hope to see to a player lost.
We’ve added some screenshots below for those of you who can’t make the journey to meet Hiralyn.
We’ve all been there: Stepping into a new game is frightening and exciting at the same time. We don’t know what to expect, especially when other players are involved.
Just like stepping out with this comic strip, it’s a scary prospect. I’m glad you guys have enjoyed it so far. Jef and I have been working really hard to make it interesting and funny for you.
So far, the comic has just been about Mo, but now we get to meet our first player characters. Now that is a scary prospect.
Our friend Mo has stepped out of the tutorial zone and is ready to take on the open world…
We’ll begin today’s tour of community articles by touching on a rather somber (yet uplifting) note. Pixelkin wrote a great piece on how her mother used World of Warcraft as a way to cope with the death of her husband.
“When she talked about gaming, my uncle condescendingly said, ‘You know that’s not real, right?’ She knew that all too well. But she also knew what was real. Connecting with her daughter was real. Reality hadn’t done my mother any favors, but fantasy did — it helped her celebrate small accomplishments, connect with sympathetic friends, and spend time with me. It helped her put aside the grief until its edges had dulled to something a little less traumatic.”
We’ve got guides, impressions, progression servers, and more after the jump!