The Daily Grind: Have you ever been harassed in an MMO?

    
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The Daily Grind: Have you ever been harassed in an MMO?

Riot’s Valorant made headlines this past weekend, and not entirely for reasons Riot would’ve liked, when multiple Riot devs spoke up about harassment they’ve endured from players while playing online games, including while playing and streaming the new title. (Riot has since said it’ll address the problem.)

Reading the Twitter threads where the harassment was described, I found myself nodding along unsurprised whatsoever, which is depressing. I’m surprised only that people are surprised. I’ve seen all that and more directed at me from people online, in games, on Reddit, even in our own comments, everything from sexist slurs about my gaming skills to horrific threats against my family. The general perception, I suspect, is that it’s far more common in competitive environments, but I am willing to bet a lot of MMORPG players have seen more than their fair share over the years.

Have you ever been harassed in an MMO? What is your default move after dealing with people harassing you online?

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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David Goodman

Oooh yes I have. My default response: Report and Ignore (if the two functions are tied together automatically.) Sometimes, if i’m feeling snarky, I drop a final message “You know these are logged right?” before doing so.

Tools to ignore are great, because unfortunately they are required, but reporting the problem up to the GMs — assuming they are vigilant and/or care about their job or the game — hopefully takes care of the problem on a more permanent basis.

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EmberStar

I’m not sure whether it counts or not, but I’d get unwelcome propositions a lot in SWTOR. One of my Sith is a lady Cathar. Aside from the usual blind tells accusing me of being a Furry deviant and suggesting I should go delete myself (which I’m sadly used to by now) I think I had someone try to start a “kidnapping and worse” RP out of NOWHERE. I was simply checking my mail and got a tell to the effect that “a hand clamps over your mouth and your nose is filled with the acrid scent of chloroform.”

I didn’t know this person, had never seen them before, and despite being on what was still at the time one of the official RP servers I’m not an active RP’er. Nor am I usually active in chat. So to me that came completely out of nowhere. I should have just instantly /ignored the person. Instead I replied “Your perception narrows to jagged agony as electricity arcs through your nerves, the scent of your own burning flesh filling your nostrils. The last thing you notice before you black out from excruciating pain is a sharp cracking sound. You think it might be the sound of your bones breaking. ((I’m a SITH SORCEROR, you moron.))”

*THEN* I /ignored and /reported them. Then I logged out and didn’t play for about two weeks.

I’ve had a few other incidents, but nothing as blatant. I ran into one who apparently thought that saying I looked nice and offering me a few thousand credits entitled him to a private chat ERP session. To that one I suggested that for what he was offering, I’d loan him my pet k’lorr slug for three minutes. A k’lorr slug is basically a worm monster that looks like it’s made almost entirely of teeth and claws.

Usually though it’s just people who take irrational offense to the fact that some of my characters are whatever flavor of “cat person” is available in that setting and think it’s vitally important to tell me how much it offends them. I tried to reason with one of those. Once. Now I usually /ignore and /report them before they even send the second line of whatever rant they have prepared. :(

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EmberStar

*Edit* I don’t play PVP games though. So the kind of crazy that pops up in games like League of Legends or Overwatch isn’t something I’ve ever had to deal with. The fact that such behavior exists and many, many people just tolerate it with a shrug and “well, that’s the Internet” are a significant part of WHY I will never play that kind of game.

It should NEVER be acceptable to threaten harm to someone because of their choice of characters in an online game. No matter how much you want them to play Mercy. Because guess what? If someone demanded that I play the healer “or they’ll find me and gut me like a fish?” Yeah, that’s a really not great way to get me to cooperate.

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Does not check email

mmos are burning piles of toxic waste that attract humanity’s festering open wounds. Well that’s why I don’t play Everquest anyways.

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imayb1

Have you ever been harassed in an MMO? What is your default move after dealing with people harassing you online?

Yep. Block or Ignore or Mute usually take care of it. Report… well, I do it on my end, even if nothing happens on the other end. At extreme levels, (constant character stalking in game) I’ve had to take a hiatus for a time.

GW2 is rough because they have a watched system, which is like a one-sided friending. A watcher gets an alert when you login and then they can see what zone you’re in… which is why I’m nearly always invisible. That way, it looks like you’re logged in but the zone reads as if you’re on the character screen. Unfortunately, it reads the same way for actual mutual friends.

Damon Anderson
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Damon Anderson

I have an “understanding” I have been either directly or indirectly harassed, doxed, had accounts compromised, even been “impersonated” for “others” whatever reasons. I am not even really sure where to go with this topic, but I can tell you I am believe it or not a kind, respectful, honest, kind of funny guy, have been very quiet and stand off ish in everything online and irl, but yes particularly online games. When I was much younger (perhaps even a bit here and there since) in the “privacy” of my own home with a trusted person there were times I certainly shot my mouth off at times in very ignorant ways about people and things I did not know or understand, however even back then like everyone I certainly had a filter and was situationally aware, and certainly online I always have been. The dangers of the internet, how people will be when they have a perception of anonymity, and what it is to have privacy and technical security issues are all things I very much understand, far more aware of those issues now than I was in the past. I do understand gaming companies do there best to deal with those issues but there can be times for some where there is really not a lot that can be done. Although I am a white male in his 40’s I have feelings, I’m not a character, I am in fact a human being, and known of, and known are not the same thing. I certainly have made choices in life for myself that were not good at all disaster, suffering, mistakes can all be opportunities for change and growth and also can increase a persons level of empathy, regardless of possible appearances this has been my experience, and I am grateful for it. My experiences online (offline too, you don’t want to know what keeps me up at night) have been perhaps, out of my control is the simplest way to put it. I love mmo’s, I remember being in awe of the virtual world (UO) when I first encountered it and how it was full of life and the unpredictability of other human beings, in game attacks (pvp) that’s one thing, when it gets personal it’s something very different and very much impacts a persons ability to just have some fun and maybe make a couple friends, and that’s really what mmo’s are about. I think issues with the internet and a persons safety online, privacy, security are huge issues that only tech/gaming companies as well as governments are only able to truly deal with. When it comes to the issue of harassment or cyber bullying it seems to me very much it is largely those who feel a need or want to make themselves “more” at the expense of another. If you have ever been harassed or anything negative with the below character names (probably more I can’t remember) or on this account I am posting with I apologize for the choices of others…

BallisticBetty
Worgrim
Nihilist
Nemien

Technology could save us, it could also destroy us, it comes down to choices, intent, and people first always.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

I must have been, but I can’t put anything to mind. I don’t usually let the goblins get inside my OODA loop.

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Sleepy

One or two seriously creepy /tells when I play female characters, which tends to be most of the time. It kind of opened my eyes to what humongous asshats some of us men can be.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Sure, just like many other players of just about every multiplayer game. Like it or not, that’s just a part of multiplayer gaming in general, doesn’t matter if it is PvP or PvE and doesn’t matter what your gender is (though if you sound feminine on voice chat or just create a female character in an MMORPG with attractive characters you will most likely be harassed more frequently). I just don’t share my personal information with anyone in games so the worst they can do is verbally harass me which is usually resolved by blocking them. I know a few players who were harassed for a long time and even blocking did not help (some mentally unstable people can go to great lengths in terms of that) so they had to restart playing as new character on different server not linked to old account.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Once some dude who I killed in WoW PvP was so mad, he said he will track my IP, will find me in RL, will come to me and murder me.

I killed him few more times in game right after.

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Deadly Habit

Not in game, but had a weirdo harass on the Shroud of the Avatar forums via PM, then via Reddit along with using a bunch of alts, threaten to dox me, threaten to kill my cat which he dug through my Reddit posts to find its name, and kill my parents.

I actually preemptively called my local police department to say hey someone might try to swat me or my folks.

Oh the best part is the community manager at the time did nothing to the guy likely because he was a larger Kickstarter backer too.

30+ years of gaming and thankfully that was the only online interaction bordering anything like that besides the occasional rage/salt messages from PvP games when you kill and loot some people.