On today’s episode of Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes, a Heroes of the Storm player has been arrested and charged with making terrorist threats in the in-game chat of Blizzard’s somewhat-ailing MOBA. The culprit, 26-year-old Michael Mickowski of Las Vegas, Nevada, was arrested earlier this month after making a series of threatening remarks in HotS’s chat, which were reported by players and subsequently relayed by Blizzard to the Las Vegas police, who were able to track down Mickowski using the IP address from which he had been playing the game.
According to the arrest report, the messages that led Blizzard to report Mickowski included, “Someday, when I have enough money to buy a gun and some ammunition I will shoot up a school where I live,” and “Imagine if I decided to go to an elementary school too. Instead of a high school or middle school imagine. I’ll buy a gun and shoot everyone I can. I’ll stream it on twitch.”
Although Deputy Public Defender Belinda Harris argued on Mickowski’s behalf that his remarks were “kind of the nature of the video game,” Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Tobiasson quite rightly noted that “If you’re in a game with a bunch of people who play these games on the regular, and they’re reporting it, then obviously it rises to a level far beyond what is normal for the game play.” As of the most recent reports, Mickowski remains in custody with bail set at $150,000 and with a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 25th.