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Veteran Member - Level 11
Anyone remember the old "pick your own path" or
"choose your own adventure" books. Most were based on Dungeons and
Dragons scenarios, but a few also were written after a science fiction role
playing game that I played called Star Frontiers. (If you've never heard of it,
see one my early blogs where I compare the similarities between it and Halo).
So one of my favorite choose your own adventure books was "Villains of
Volturnous". Sounds rather roguish, eh? With a hint of mystery. Well, when
I read the books, I always picked the "good" choice over the
"bad" choice, which in the end, usually got me captured and killed.
The End. Game Over. Then I would go back and read some of the other choices and
end up regretting having taken the high road. That whole, "Come to the
Dark Side, We have chocolate chip cookies" concept.
Well the same principle holds true for me in massively
multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG). I've only dabbled in a few of
the various ones in existence, but when I play, I’m always one of the
"good guys" that usually gets taken advantage of or beaten up. I've
played some Star Wars Galaxies and EVE Online. My son is an on again off again
(currently on) World of Warcraft player. I watch him play from time to time and
have clicked the mouse a time or two when he isn't looking.
Frankly, I don't have the time to pour my heart into one (if
I did, I sure wouldn't be able to blog every day and you wouldn't be reading
this right now). Of course, there is that whole monthly subscription fee that
some require that I’m not a big fan of paying.
I find these games fascinating. I really do. And what I find
fascinating, is the gamers who, when faced with the "choose your own
adventure" choices, they go down the less travelled path. The seedy path
that leads to darkness, corruption and deceit. A life of virtual crime. The
I'm not talking something as simple as a team kill here or a
gold farm there. I'm talking syndicated crime of such a magnitude that it makes
headlines in real life. An unexpected resistance uprising. Or perhaps an act so
brazen, bards will eulogize the deed in legend and song.
I'm going to mention a few events that actually occurred in various
MMORPGs that made the headlines and caused many to question whether they were
playing with fellow gamers or cut throat criminals.
Largest Heist Ever Recorded
Game: EVE Online
Crime: Theft and Murder
Damages: Estimated Value (Real Life US Dollars) - $16,500 +
elimination of rival Corporation CEO.
The perpetrator of the heist was the Guiding Hand Social
Club (GHSC) corporation; a freelance mercenary outfit that offers their
services (which usually involves corporation infiltration, theft and
assassination) to the highest bidder. Over a year in planning, the GHSC infiltrated
their target's corporation with their own members and gained their trust, as
well as access to the corporation hangers, with time. It all concluded in a
perfectly timed climax, with a massive theft in multiple corporation hangars
synchronized with the in-game killing of the corporation's CEO, the primary
target of the contract.
What's most interesting and impressive about this operation
is that it was entirely 'legal' and within the game's own rules, and the
mastermind and his agents pulled it off together flawlessly, all the while
staying in character. The estimated real-life value of the items stolen is,
according to PC Gamer, $16,500 US. The in-game value of course is much, much
higher as the things stolen would take years and years to acquire.
Read the whole story here as it appeared in PC Gamer. EVE
Online is no stranger to crime. Here is another interesting article about a
Not all acts start off with malicious intent. This next
example, gamers rebelled against the dictatorship of a powerful organization that
sought ultimate control over their universe. Don’t ever mess with gamers. They
can be a nasty lot and wreck havoc on your virtual worlds.
Biggest Ban Hammer
Game: Star Wars Galaxies
Crime: Mass Protests by players unhappy with Sony Online
Damages: Sony shut down servers affecting an untold number
of gamers - guilty or not.
Star Wars Galaxies has had its share of problems, and
thankfully I never played the game long enough to experience any of them. But
apparently many years ago, SOE implemented a patch that significantly changed
game play resulting in mass protest. A 16,000 member petition was signed. The
forums were flooded with complaints and then, gamers took their frustration out
on the game. Large crowds gathered in the populated areas, using the clap emote
and chanting (through in game text) their complaints against SOE. This revolt flooded servers
resulting in significant latency issues. Sony stepped in, shut servers down and
started banning accounts. I don't know that any data was ever captured
indicating the number of users affected, but anytime servers are shutdown, I'm
thinking it has to affect more than one or two people.
And probably the most tragic crime committed within the
Game: Ultima Online
Crime: Assassination / Murder
Damages: Death of Lord British
Lord Cantabrigian British is the name of the ruler of
Britannia, and an in-game personification of the creator of the series, Richard
Lord British is a man who comes from Earth to Sosaria
through a moongate. He adopts the name Cantabrigian British, taken from his
birthplace, Cambridge in the United Kingdom, in favor of his old name. He
quickly meets the evil wizard, Mondain, and does battle with him. After
defeating him, British becomes known as "Champion of the White Light"
and "Lord British, Protector of Akalabeth." Numerous plotlines and
side-quests in the Ultima games revolve around one of Lord British's adventures
or public works projects
One of the most famous characteristics of Lord British is
that he is (supposedly) indestructible.
This tale is now a classic, a legend even, in the field of
The date was August 8, 1997 during beta testing of the game.
Lord British’s royal visit was conducted as a part of server population stress
test. A player character known as Rainz cast a spell called “fire field” on
Lord British that, surprisingly, killed him.
Look at the now famous screenshot below and mark the chat;
“HE DIED”. You can see the corpse just behind the raised portcullis in the
He recounted the incident below:
“The servers had just been taken down to prepare for the
huge influx of players for the speech Lord British and Lord Blackthorne were
giving throughout Britannia. When the servers came back up, I strolled through
Britain with Helios, my fellow guild member. We headed to Blackthorne’s castle
where the first speech was being given. LB, Blackthorne, and their jesters were
up on a bridge orating to the masses. Unfortunately I wasn’t playing my mage
character, so casting spells from a spellbook was out of the question. Luckily
my character was a good thief who had high “stealing” skill. I desperately
searched the backpacks of those around me and eventually came upon a fire field
scroll. After that it was pretty simple, I just cast the scroll on the bridge
and waited to see what would happen. Either LB or Blackthorne made the comment
“hehe nice try”, can’t recall exactly who. It was a humorous sight and I
expected to be struck down by lightning or have some other evil fate befall me.
Instead I heard a loud death grunt as British slumped to his death. After that
it was just pure mayhem, Blackthorne or another force summoned 4 daemons into
the castle and people were dying left and right.”
Finally, when asked what he did after the nefarious deed;
“I hauled balls out of the region like there was no
The fantastical world of video games. What an awesome turn
of events and no one got hurt. Well, I'm sure feelings were hurt but there was no
long term damage.
So, fellow gamers. Virtual crime...is it fair game or
punishable by death? Which path would you choose...