There is a great article over at cracked.com about the “7 Biggest Dick Moves in the History of Online Gaming“. It is a fairly extensive account of some of the best (or worst depending on your point of view) examples of human misbehaviour in virtual worlds and online games.
I’m not sure what was worst, that they were all described in detail or that I had already encountered most of them at some point whilst following the antics of virtual worlds.
Do take a look to see how some people played the system, broke assumptions about the worlds, took the money and ran or just generally trolled out the griefing.
They include the out of control plague to hit World of Warcraft, where carriers deliberately wandered around newbie areas killing them off!; the ganging up in Ever Quest to kill an unkillable monster, totally surprising the game owners so much that they turned the servers off as it was about to die; the slaughter of the virtual mourners holding a funeral in World of Warcraft following the RL death of a player; the Anshe Chung interview ruined by flying penises in Second Life (did this influence the title of the post I wonder); and the chap who setup a virtual bank in Eve Online and then did a runner with the profits.
The only story that I could think of not on the list was the group (I forget who it was) who organised a virtual conference in World Of Warcraft, after all as an immersive medium virtual worlds have a huge edge in interactivity for virtual events, who had a large percentage of their guests slaughtered when they entered the world for the first time. Many didn’t even make it to the location of the conference. Oh well, a bold experiment. More recent virtual world conferences tend to be held in more controlled environments these days.
Human ingenuity. Fabulous. A fun read, and thanks to Pete for the link.
Got a link to this story this morning. An interesting read. Some kid managed to rack up £900 worth of credit card bill playing Farmville, oh well, it had to happen sooner or later. Nothing more to say about that, the mum seems very pragmatic about the whole thing. At least he didn’t buy a car on ebay.
What I found astounding though, is some of the comments to the post. I scanned to about half-way down and just had to stop reading. Most were saying ‘hey, you can’t blame anyone else, bad parenting is the cause!’. Well, really, have any of these people ever seen a 12 year old or actually played these games? Yes its stealing, and it sounds like there have been sanctions, but to say things like ‘I don’t think any 12 year old should have a mobile phone … all that stuff should come about between 16 – 18’ and similar comments? Some just don’t seem to have any appreciation of how much social life is conducted via a phone or online these days.
When I think of what used to happen when I was growing up – going on trips, courses, holidays, events, whatever and having that low when its all over, and you won’t see anyone to talk about your experiences for a week or so. Not so today. The pictures are on Facebook. They are talking about the trip for weeks on MSN. They are still exchanging texts. Even people who couldn’t come on the trip can participate if someone is posting comments and pictures as they go on Facebook. Its just such a different world.
As for those suggesting that she should have had full awareness of what the kid was doing online … well, companies spend a fortune on auditing and monitoring employees behaviours for security. It is not a trivial problem! Yes, you can turn on Parental Controls, yes you can log everything they do … but is anyone really suggesting that any busy mum can only let a child use the Internet when someone is watching or will have time (and the knowledge) to retrospectively examine what they have been up to?
The other main suggestion – lock up your credit cards. Hmm. Yes, that is practical in a busy household! Not to mention never typing it in, saying it over the phone or leaving it laying around where anyone could get the number …
Like any new tool or technology, it can be used for good or ill. You can’t police everything a teenager is going to do. All you can possibly hope for is to give them a sense of what is good or bad, safe or unsafe, responsible and not. They will always make their own mistakes, sometimes with extreme results like giving in to the temptation to start spending on a parent’s credit card (but then its not like Farmville actively discourages any spending from anyone!) All you can really hope for is that they learn from their mistakes. And yes, maybe a paper round or doing jobs would be the answer to this specific one (how long would it take to pay back £900 I wonder)!
The biggest problem is in providing an addictive game, but when all is said and done that’s essentially Zynga’s business model (as is Runescape, World of Warcraft, and all the rest), to people with no disposable income. But thats a common problem.
Everyone has opinions, but some of those shared in the comments to this story are quite scary. You’ve been reading mine.
Nod to Tervicz for the link.
Have just seen the trailer for the new Lego Universe virtual world. I’ve heard various things about it over the last 18 months or so, but the final form seems to be some kind of Lego MMO, a Lego version of World of Warcraft if you will, with customisable characters, quests, building, levels and so on. You will also have to pay for it by a monthly subscription. I had assumed it would be more along the lines of, say, Disney’s Pixie Hollow or a Lego version of Habbo Hotal, but it looks much more a gamey than social virtual world.
The trailer is very impressive, but as its a digital film, it doesn’t really give anything away about the actual game.
Nod to Tervicz for the link to the video.