Friday, June 16, 2006

A Good Deal of Grief

Online games have a reputation for requiring huge amounts of cooperation and networking for their players to beat them. Most advanced goals in massive multiplayer games require the careful teamwork of anywhere from 2-80 people. It has become a staple of such games to have harder goals require more teamwork. Such organization and gathering of human resources can be the cause of much frustration especially when you have enemies working against your efforts.

For MMOs also have a reputation for containing some of the worst griefers in the history of gaming. A griefer is a player who makes it their goal to hinder other players in advancing in the game. This might involve scaming online currency, spreading falsified information, or the more direct method of just killing a player repeatedly. Such actions usually dip in and out of the gray areas of a game's "Terms of Service" agreement. I am going to mention two examples of extreme greifing that managed to hinder player advancement/enjoyment without breaking the "Terms of Service" of their games.

Guiding Hand Social Club
This is a mercenary group of griefers who likes to pretend to be a group of assassins in the game EVE Online. They take out contracts on players or groups of players called corporations. Then they will kill their target and take whatever online assets they may have. They gained a lot of fame from a PC Gamer article done on one of their most successful contracts. Apparently this group of griefers managed to place enough of their members into one of the richest corporations in the game. Then on a codeword, they killed the CEO and looted almost every asset the online corporation had. The PC article estimated the loss at 30 million ISK which translates to about 16,500$ U.S. dollars through websites like eBay or Agnew.

The Funeral Assassination
A group of players in World of Warcraft decided to hold a in game funeral for a member of their guild that had recently passed away. It may seem tacky or weird to those of you who don't play a MMO but guilds often develop strong real world ties between players. Halfway through the funeral a large confederation of griefers that belonged to a rival guild attacked and managed to cancel the event by repeatedly killing all attendees. However, since the funeral was held in a combat area the attackers managed to avoid any banning. The eventually made a video and posted the slaughter on the net.

Such large scale displays of asinine or asshat behavior just goes to show how MMOs earned their reputation for greifers. Some players claim that the danger added by such events makes their online worlds seem more real. Yet others claim that these games are supposed to be an escape from the stresses of human competition and cruelty. Either way, by the very nature of the words "massive multiplayer" you are going to get some bad players along with the good.

Guiding Hand Article @ The Escapist

Funeral Massacre in WoW @ Shoutwire