The Daily Grind: What’s the biggest scandal the MMORPG genre has ever seen?

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!

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FTC settles CS:GO Lotto influencer corruption complaint

It’s not enough for the CS:GO community to bleed players to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds; nope, this week it’s taking another blow in the form of legal action against CS:GO YouTubers and profiteers.

You’ll recall that Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell ran afoul of both Valve and the law last year, when the Washington State Gambling Commission began cracking down on Valve for allegedly facilitating gambling via a skin API that allowed websites like CS:GO Lotto to use skins as gambling currency, netting the site a billion bucks last year. Indeed, there was even a class action RICO lawsuit filed against both Valve and several CS:GO gambling website owners, including Martin and Cassell, though that suit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

That wasn’t the end of it, however; last week, the FTC settled its case against the CS:GO Lotto duo for failing to disclose that they owned the website while promoting it through various seemingly unrelated influencer platforms, particularly YouTube, both its own platforms and paid influencers’ platforms.

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Not So Massively: Path of Exile’s crafting scandal; Sins of a Dark Age’s sunset

This week in Not So Massively games, League of Legends players revealed a reproducible exploit that causes skillshot projectiles to become invisible and may have been in the game for several years. The Path of Exile community was also rocked by its own scandal as players discovered that the game’s wealthiest players and top crafters had monopolised their knowledge of secret crafting processes to control the game economy. Dota 2 opened registration for its upcoming Majors seasonal tournament, and pro player Aui 2000 discussed his e-sports career after recently winning the Dota 2 world championship and then being kicked from his team. Diablo III developers revealed that the new artifact named Kanai’s Cube was actually named a as tribute to a developer who recently passed away during the development of the game.

Star Citizen‘s devs have been working their way through merge conflicts following their live demos at Gamescom 2015; Polygon reports that 1,269 backers have been granted refunds to date. Splatoon is gearing up for its Autobots versus Decepticons splatfest event and got a new map named Flounder Heights with some interesting verticality. Elite: Dangerous announced a new art competition that asks players to design their dream ship skin for addition to the game. And we heard the news that recently released MOBA Sins of a Dark Age has ceased development, with the servers scheduled to go offline at the end of September.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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Pro e-sports player admits using performance-enhancing drugs, says doping is widespread

Remember when it became clear that major league baseball was awash in drugs? That drugs weren’t just a problem that some players had but an accepted way of life for the game’s players, that steroids and amphetamines were just everywhere? It didn’t do much for anyone’s regard of the sport. Keep that in mind when you watch an interview in which a professional Counter-Strike player states outright that his team, and supposedly every other team at an e-sports event, was on Adderall.

Kory “Semphis” Frieson states that use of the drug is widespread at events and that anyone paying attention should see it as “obvious.” As it stands, there’s no large-scale regulation about drugs and performance enhancement in professional gaming. You can check out the interview below and draw your own conclusions about what it means for the larger scene, but it certainly doesn’t imply anything positive.

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Embezzlement scandal hits NCsoft

Three NCsoft employees have been caught embezzling funds from one of the company’s newer titles, a multiplayer mech shooter named Project HON.

The theft, which was measured in “tens of millions of Korean won,” also involved a third-party company. NCsoft has fired the employees and is considering filing charges against them. The company is also conducting an internal audit and has said that development of Project HON will continue as planned.

[Source: MMO Culture,]


Not So Massively: Hearthstone’s MagicAmy drama; Riot rules on SpectateFaker

Riot Games President Marc Merill says he regrets comments made in the heat of the moment regarding the recent SpectateFaker controversy. Riot issued its ruling on the matter this week, confirming that it will take the stream down as Faker believes it’s harming his career. League of Legends also got a new champion this week with Bard, an odd new support champion who grows in power by collecting musical chimes that appear randomly on the map. Hearthstone was also rocked with its own scandal recently as players began aggressively investigating female competitive player Hyerim “MagicAmy” Lee over accusations that someone else was playing her tournament matches for her.

In lighter news, Blizzard announced that it will have a huge booth in March’s Intel Extreme Masters event and will be giving out Heroes of the Storm beta keys at the event. Infinite Crisis faces low player numbers as it closes down the Gotham Heights matchmaking queue. Diablo III players have found a way to power-level extremely quickly and have already broken the 800 paragon level barrier. Third person MOBA SMITE has released new goddess Bellona, the Ancient Roman Goddess of war. Destiny‘s patch 1.1.1 has now landed along with new goodies like mobile vault access and a new hardcore Inferno game mode. And mobile MOBA Vainglory released new mage hero Celeste as part of patch 1.2.0.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of this week’s news from popular online multiplayer games.

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