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.
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.
Trolls got you down in Heroes of the Storm? Report 'em! Blizzard has published a blog post detailing its reporting options and as well as a silence penalty that takes effect when a player is reported multiple times and is subsequently investigated.
The first silence penalty lasts 24 hours, but frankly it's only semi-silenced, since you can still use party chat and whispers as well as create/suggest/request to join parties and send/receive friend invites.
Blizzard says that you shouldn't worry about being reported for non-participation if you play Abathur, nor should you worry about being reported for feeding if you use Murky. "We’ve taken heroes with unique mechanics into account, and will take action accordingly," the company says.
Shroud of the Avatar's latest newsletter was published this weekend, and Portalarium uses it to talk further about the fantasy sandbox's obsidian architecture. As per usual, there are plenty of spiffy screenshots to give you an idea as to how this particular section of the game is coming together.
Update of the Avatar #135 also talks about "very large creatures," with particular attention paid to a troll mob that Portalarium says will feature a different combat experience than that of normal-sized opponents. The troll boasts a large AoE attack including a ground strike and thrown boulders for distant foes. You'll be able to see him in action in next week's Release 20.
Source: Update of the Avatar #135
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.