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!

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Ashfyn Ninegold

They come and go so fast, it’s hard to keep track. Wait, this isn’t the political blog? Ugg, sorry.

I actually think the loot box scandal in EA’s SW Battlefront 2 this past year is the biggest scandal. It got the entire industry up in arms. It garnered the attention of legal watch dogs. It got EA to take a giant step back. It got Disney to sit up and take notice. It engaged players to understand the issue and in many cases take sides, buy or don’t buy. It crystallized for many the decided drift the industry had been taken into churning out marketing schemes rather than games.

It will have the longest reach of any of the other scandalous things pubs and devs have done in the last 10 years.


Several of these weren’t scandals.
RealID wasn’t. Monoclegate wasn’t. They were controversies, caused a lot of brou-ha-ha, and were bad ideas. But not a scandal. Eve’s Jumpgate scandal was one – a developer was said to be cheating for players.

Richard Bartle

Real ID wins for me every time. An idea so utterly mind-numbingly stupid that I genuinely thought it was some kind of practical joke when I first heard about it. Then when I found out it was for real, I actually wondered what the heck Blizzard were smoking when they came up with it. I’m sure they had good intentions but, holy Christ, what a way to well and truly screw things up.

Mr Poolaty



Definitely either the Sigil firings or 38 Studios debacle… I dont think anything remotely comes close to them.


…well, there are few problems with that though. It was conflated by the Alex Jones types for one, to put it mildly. The initial claim that sparked it, was never really been proven beyond the innuendo. And for us…this really wasn’t a MMO issue. Though some of the nonsense caused by it did creep into the MMO comment section, regrettably.

A Dad Supreme

And for us…this really wasn’t a MMO issue.

Considering how big the incident spread and that MMOs are indeed, video games… it most definitely involved MMOs.

Now did it affect MMOs on a “daily” basis? No, but then again few things listed below did. Most of those affected only one MMO where only the populations playing those games were involved, by and large.

MonocleGate as an example, affected only EvE’s playerbase really and then only those who bought or refused to by them. That wasn’t millions of players. If you didn’t play EvE, it wasn’t a “scandal”; it was just a silly thing to watch people argue about spending money on.

Gamergate was about many things, sometimes things conflated together erroneously, which made it all the more “scandalous” to the MMO genre (sexism, misogyny, male dominated game design, player toxicity, etc) and video games overall.

I mean if it’s only about a thing to a specific MMO, then WoW’s Sparkle Pony wins that prize (because millions affected) but again, that wasn’t “scandalous”. It was just silly stuff about how people chose to spend or not spend money.


I would have to disagree here. While it certainly redefined the narrative in gaming debate and gave internet Brownshirts a platform to bark out their indignation’s and postulations through gaming circles…it never directly affected the MMO side of things. As the issues stemmed from games that where never MMO’s to my understanding.


I still think the RealID fiasco is tops…though I suppose there’s many more that came close…

…I wonder though if they would of been all beaten if you summed up every single time Derek Smart opened his mouth. o.O


Funcom insider trading. The GW2 thing is a non-scandal. Also when Nexon abruptly fired one of their best CMs, KThxBaiNao


For me, the biggest scandal is what MMOs have become over the past 10-15 years. That core ideas of MUDs and early MMOs are entirely neglected in today’s titles, such as social interaction and emergent game play (there are many more). That MMOs have become mere games and do no longer aspire to be worlds.