Former ArenaNet developer Jessica Price has just made a string of new statements on Twitter discussing some of the issues surrounding the ongoing Guild Wars 2 PR nightmare, in which she and fellow developer Peter Fries were booted from ArenaNet following a Twitter altercation that mobilized a Reddit mob. Her primary complaint seems to be her allegation that ArenaNet – especially Mike O’Brien – “escalated” her (and Peter Fries’) firing, knowing what the mob’s response would be.
“The announcement was an escalation. The company could have chosen to say ‘their remarks don’t represent the company, we don’t agree with what they said, and they’re no longer with the company,'” she writes. “That’s not what they did. They framed an interaction on my personal social media in which I told a few individuals who (I thought) were being assholes that I wasn’t on the clock and wasn’t going to feign affection for people who are being assholes as ‘attacks on the community.'”
Consequently, she argues, O’Brien effectively provoked the mob, knowing what harassment would follow after she and Fries had been painted as “enemies of the community”; she calls it “active solicitation of harassment,” using the mob as punishment and then maintaining “silence in condemning the harassment,” which she says is “profoundly telling.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that two Guild Wars 2
developers were cut loose last week after a heated Twitter exchange that was initiated by narrative lead Jessica Price. What started off as welcome insight into the problems with player-character narrative development in MMOs turned into a PR horror show
when the dev felt slighted by a comment received in response to her musing.
The internet is alight with opinions on the drama and ArenaNet’s response to the comments made by Price and her coworker, so in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I just had to address it myself.
Please note that this article has been heavily updated over the last week as this story has continued developing. New additions are at the bottom, but the beginning of the piece is a bit out of date. We recommend our recent Flameseeker Chronicles or Massively OP Podcast to help you get caught up.
The Guild Wars 2 team is short two narrative designers today after a pitched internet war of words on Twitter.
“Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players,” ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien wrote on the game’s forums. “Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they’re no longer with the company. I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you.”
We presume the employees are Jessica Price and Peter Fries, who have been the subject of a heated Reddit-and-forum flamewar that’s long since passed 10,000 comments and upvotes across its many threads for the last two days.
Set aside the many Star Citizen dramas of the week and feast your eyeballs on the game’s latest edition of Around the Verse, which couldn’t possibly be controversial, right?
Oh. Oh it’s about the Vulture too. OK then. In fact, the Ship Shape segment focuses entirely on the controversial new concept ship. CIG even discusses the ship’s origins, noting that it’s a spin on the Dragonfly ship.
Incidentally, CCP Games threw some lighthearted shade at CIG over the Vulture/Venture shenanigans, tweeting about it last night.
Star Citizen drama on the internet – who’d have seen that coming, right? If you run a search for Star Citizen drama just on the current version of Massively OP, you’ll find piles of threads that qualify, all the way back to the 2015 “long troll” mess.
But the current drama brewing on Reddit isn’t about the Crytek lawsuit, endless alpha delays, subber perks, feature creep, refunds, or ridiculous whaling. Nope. It’s about losing hope. Right now, a massive thread has racked up 1500 upvotes from the Star Citizen Reddit community, as players weigh in on a long concern post from a fellow backer with $4500 in the game.
Criticizing both CIG for turning a “neat little space sim with multiplayer coop missions” into an “MMO [he] didn’t ask for” and the community for letting CIG get away with it, Redditor firefly212 (as reposted by Sean_Murray_ [but not that Sean Murray]) writes that he has MS and his “body gets a little worse with each passing year,” so it’s doubly frustrating that the game is taking so long.
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!
Long-running and popular video game forum NeoGAF went down virtually overnight this weekend following allegations of sexual harassment against the site’s owner.
A series of posts accusing owner Tyler “Evilore” Malka of sexual assault set into motion a firestorm of controversy on the forum, leading to a walkout by the rest of the site’s moderators. After the forum filled with discussion, rants, and calls for Malka’s resignations over the accusations, it was taken offline on Sunday.
Film director Ima Leupp publicly named Malka last week in an account where she alleged that he harassed her in a hotel shower. Some of the other accusations span back years, including a series of crude remarks made over the whole GamerGate controversy back in 2014.
The drawn-out story of Project Elysium, one of the more notable World of Warcraft emulators that rose to prominence in the wake of last year’s Nostalrius saga that saw the legit WoW community agitate unsuccessfully for vanilla servers, has taken a brutal turn this week. No, Blizzard didn’t issue a cease-and-desist takedown, but rather the emulator operators themselves tanked their own project.
The implosion of Elysium was reportedly born from an “environment of mistrust and shadiness” that led to the staff engaging in gold and account sales as well as one staff member outright stealing PayPal funds from the project, or so the caretakers now say. The remaining staff apparently decided that the best course of action would be to disband Elysium and reform as a new emulator called Light’s Hope.
“The Elysium Project as it exists today is no longer a viable project due to the systemic problem of lack of oversight on those with the most access to the servers,” the new team posted. “Due to failures to uphold the projects ideals and integrity, the Elysium Project is being dissolved and relaunched out of the control of those who have abused the trust of the staff, community, and legacy movement as a whole.” So, an emulator, then.
You can listen to the Elysium staff meeting that culminated in this disaster after the break.
Two days ago, we reported that a League of Legends
developer had landed himself in hot water after he went grossly overboard in insulting a banned troll and streamer
while using a Riot tag in a public Discord channel. The dev, Aaron “Sanjuro” Rutledge
, publicly suggested that it’d be “gucci” if the streamer would die from “a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids,” after likening him to a “humunculus,” incidentally causing a spike in searches for the word “humunculus.”
This triggered a quick and harsh response from both the community and Riot Games. Riot and Rutledge apologized for the comment and said he was taking some time away from the community, but now it looks as if they’ve severed ties completely.
Rutledge has since posted the following comment on his Facebook page: “Heads up to friends and family. I no longer work at Riot Games. Please call or txt me for more details.” There is no confirmation as to whether he was fired or voluntarily left the studio, as neither party has yet addressed the circumstances.
Over the weekend, a Riot Games
developer made a Terrible Mistake: Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge insulted a banned streamer in League of Legends’ public Discord
using an official Riot account, saying the streamer “looks like a damn humunculus.”
“[H]e’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci,” he wrote. That caused community uproar as some players interpreted that as not just an insult but a wish for the streamer’s death.
Sanjuro has since apologized for the comment.
“I displayed a gross error in judgement last night and whole-heartedly apologize for my comments. They were out of line, and not what any of you deserve to hear, especially from a Rioter. I’ll be taking time away from Reddit, discord and in game chat to reflect on how I communicate with players. Sorry again for the insults and the language.”
I really hate when non-RPers get their kicks out of making light of what roleplayers are doing to have fun. Many times, the roleplayer will be standing at the bar minding his own business on an RP server no less, when all of the sudden some bored 12-year-old in a 40-year-old body spams as many particle effects at the people just attempting to have a conversation in character. You’d think if that happened enough that it would cause people stop roleplaying; I’m fairly certain that’s in the back of the griefer’s mind. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, I like to believe that it just strengthens the roleplayers’ resolve. They try harder to find a place where they can be comfortable doing what they enjoy doing, or they simply ignore the flashing effects around them and barrel through.
But the funny thing is I don’t believe it’s that kind of thing that actually drives roleplayers from a game. I believe that the biggest detriment to roleplayers is other roleplayers, and the biggest hurdle in attracting new roleplayers to the gameplay style is ourselves.
Oh, it just wouldn’t be a week without some EVE Online drama, now would it? The latest episode revolves around an alliance whose name, Just Let It Happen, was reported and forcibly changed by CCP’s customer support team as a result of its ambiguous meaning, which was apparently inferred to be a rape reference.
The EVE subreddit lost its spacemarbles; some players slyly recommended additional much less ambiguously NSFW names that ought to be banned, while others justifiably demanded clarity from CCP, and still others took the opportunity to be awful trolls contributing nothing to the debate. CCP Falcon ultimately told the community that while the original customer support staff had followed the naming guidelines properly and would not be reprimanded, the team had discussed the issue and decided to relent, allowing Just Let It Happen to, well, get back to happening.
Our EVE columnist Brendan tells me that it’s not uncommon for CCP to alter player, corporation, and alliance names that violate the TOS when reported by players. And you might remember back in 2015, CCP voluntarily changed the name of the Interbus Ship Identification System browser, aka ISIS, though the studio insisted it was too obscure for newbies, not because of politics.
So for today’s Daily Grind, I’m wondering what you think about EVE’s naming situation. Do the “offensive” names on that list go too far, or is CCP too harsh? How sure are you that you understand the naming rules in your own MMOs?
The Elysium World of Warcraft private server community is in total meltdown, so popcorn at the ready.
Most MMORPG players would probably have never heard of Elysium but for Nostalrius, the WoW emulator that was C&D’d by Blizzard last year and then went on to agitate for official vanilla servers, blowing its momentum after BlizzCon by handing its source code and characters over to Elysium to run from the Ukraine, only to then change its mind last month and ask for the code back.
Elysium agreed to Nostalrius’ requests, but things have gone south for its own game this past week when an emu YouTuber and concomitant agitators accused the top echelons of the Elysium team of everything from manipulating loot tables and unbanning hackers for under-the-table cash to participating in Chinese gold selling and botting schemes and being shadow-run by (former) network partner Crestfall. They probably also did Watergate, I don’t know.
(Incidentally, Crestfall has already cut ties with Elysium as of this afternoon, citing “strong evidence of corruption in high-ranking members of [Elysium’s] staff.”)