A game as large and old and multifaceted as RuneScape is bound to collect some bad seeds over time, and as we’ve seen repeatedly in the past, it’s not just players who cause a scene but streamers too. MMO gamers will recall that this past autumn, Jagex had to investigate and terminate its working relationship with multiple content creators and streamers accused of sexual harassment at RuneFest. This weekend, it’s had to disavow yet another streamer, this one who during his stream directed a known-suicidal player to kill herself.
Jagex brought out the banhammer straightaway, citing its zero-tolerance policy.
“This morning we became aware that over the weekend a RuneScape player had live streamed himself calling a vulnerable individual who had admitted they were having suicidal thoughts, telling that person to kill themselves. The RuneScape player is not someone with whom Jagex has – or ever had – a business relationship but given the incredibly serious nature of the incident we have taken measures that make it clear such behaviour will not be tolerated. As a result, the individual has had their RuneScape account permanently banned with immediate effect. Jagex is incredibly passionate about mental health and wellbeing, and we will continue to do all we can to help those in our community – and beyond – receive the support they need to overcome the mental health challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.”
For what it’s worth, the streamer in question apologized publicly, saying he meant it as a joke and wasn’t intended to be heard on the stream, though he admits that doesn’t excuse anything and says he was “fairly punished” by Jagex and Twitch. He also donated to a suicide prevention group.
Either way, Jagex has responded with more conviction than some past MMO studios. CCP Games, for example, once famously allowed a prominent MMO player to continue playing after directing other players to bully a suicidal gamer during a live panel at EVE Fanfest and even after encouraging other players to harass the press covering the incident. Things have changed a bit since 2012.