trolling

Raph Koster explains why griefing in virtual reality isn't going away

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.

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Asheron's Call appears to be suffering DDOS attacks

If you've been trying to get into Asheron's Call this weekend for one last look ahead of its sunset -- and failing -- you're not alone. Multiple readers and writers have confirmed for us that some of the servers have been suffering outages this weekend. Based on threads on Postcount (not safe for eyeballs, let alone work), it appears to be the work of one or more players who've decided to trollishly DDOS what's left of the game and community. (We won't be linking directly to the related threads on Reddit as the ensuing doxxing is not something we support.)

This isn't the first time the game has suffered these kinds of player-induced outages, though it's likely to be the last; in the fall of 2015, AC was offline for several weeks following a dupe-related server crash bug that players were exploiting for their own benefit.

Sigh.

Source: Reddit, official forums. With thanks to Gylnne and Wakkander.

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Overwatch players use the 3v3 format to create hide-and-seek; holidays arrive Dec 13

If you've ever played Monopoly with a child who doesn't care about anything beyond getting to play as the hat rather than getting everyone's money, you have learned the simple truth that games require the consent of all players to work as designed. Today's bit of Overwatch cultural amusement comes courtesy of that exact principle. YouTuber Muselk and two of his friends developed a new game mode for the game using the 3v3 arena, and it works only so long as the other team isn't really aware they're participating until the match starts.

The game? Hide and seek. Muselk and his team hide and the other team tries to find them (because they're playing a shooter) and kill them (because... well, yeah). The ultimate goal is to turn the match into a draw by remaining unfound and unkilled, which becomes very difficult when the map automatically reveals your location when there's one minute left on the match. You can check some footage of the mode out below; you'll probably feel a bit sorry for the players who just wanted a proper brawl, but then, part of the fun of the mode is that you're playing by your own rules.

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Sword and Bored: Re-trolling

I hate to admit this, but sometimes it's super hilarious to troll other players. In early Star Wars Galaxies, it was a petty amusement to tell people about the /qui command. SWG would allow truncated commands, so we would tell people that /qui was short for "Qui-Gon Jinn" when, in fact, it was short for "quit," which would, of course, instantly boot them from the game. Now, I never did anything nefarious to the character as it was still standing in the world, but I saw some people train mobs to the link-dead character, which would kill them. And early, early in the game, the body could be looted.

In Mo's MMORPG, we know that KaptainKuddles and DrL0v3 have a completely different way of trolling other players, and they are clearly nefarious. Let's see what they do in this week's comic...

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Massively Overthinking: Overcoming 'Barrens chat' culture

Tonight's Massively Overthinking aims to address a core problem facing the whole internet, not just games: antisocial behavior. Our question comes from Kickstarter donor Katie MacAlister, who wonders,

What can be done to combat the "anonymity on the Internet breeds douchecravats" mentality that pervades MMOs? Barrens chat, trade chat...for every "good" soul, there's a handful of twits. What can the MMO world do to fight this?"

I asked our writers about the best ways players and studios can overcome this ever-present problem.

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Not So Massively: LoL's streaming controversy, Star Citizen's mining, and Diablo III's microtransactions

The League of Legends community is in an uproar this week over a dispute regarding who owns the gameplay in a League of Legends match and who has the legal right to stream it. Riot Games President and Co-Founder Marc Merrill even suggested that players broadcasting professional player Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's public matches may constitute bullying, harassment or e-stalking. The rest of the MOBA genre has been pretty sedate this week, as Sins of a Dark Age approaches the first anniversary of its Steam Early Access release and South Korean MOBA Chaos Heroes Online is closing its doors just months after officially launching.

Star Citizen described its complex designs for immersive asteroid mining gameplay with separate minigames for mining beam control, asteroid scanning, and pulling in rock fragments with a tractor beam. Bungie warned against the dangers of using the PS4's Share Play feature after an 11-year-old kid had his Destiny characters deleted by a troll. Path of Exile is getting a fully localised Russian release complete with a local realm and full voice acting. And Diablo III's patch 2.2.0 is set to boost several legendary item sets, improve the randomness of Nephalem Rifts, add new treasure goblins, and more. Asian servers will also get a new microtransaction system, though Blizzard says there are no plans yet to release microtransactions in Diablo III's US or EU realms.

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