Back in May 2017, we reported on the killing of Salome, a character in the fiction of Elite: Dangerous whose novel-ending journey through the game’s space was upended by a griefer named Harry Potter, who implanted himself as a mole within the group that was meant to protect the character as an escort.
That context is important, as Harry Potter’s infamy – and his banning from the game for an unrelated matter – is what drove players to attack community managers while they were livestreaming. The CMs in question, Zac Cocken and Arthur Tolmie, were flying in an open session, leaving them free to be hunted down and blown up four different times, with one of the attackers shouting, “Free Harry Potter!” in chat. The devs moved to a private game shortly after. “This is not the typical experience of an open player,” Cocken said during the stream. “I play on open all the time on my personal account.”
While Cocken laughed off the matter on-air, shortly after the broadcast, he announced on Twitter that he would halt public-facing missives except for those related to work, writing, “Mental health’s in the bin. Gonna lay low for a bit on here and publicly for a bit (except where I have to for work ofc). See ya on the other side!”
The announcement and the events of the livestream were not directly connected by Cocken, but the timing certainly has perhaps raised some eyebrows. Still, fans on Reddit are warning against jumping to conclusions, while the community offered well-wishes for him in both the Reddit thread and in replies to his tweet.
The devs of E:D facing harassment online is sadly not something new – it was happening enough that Tolmie threatened to ban players who are toxic against devs – and the game’s playerbase has its share of bad apple moments. We’ve chronicled those in the list below, along with the latest dev livestream, PvP attacks and all. As one reply on Reddit succinctly puts it, “There is a reason ‘open’ has the same letters as ‘nope.'”