The Weekly Raid: MMOs in 2017 - No Country For Toxic Men
This week marked the passing of an era in online gaming. Everyone's favorite lawless sandbox Eve Online was hit by another in-game political scandal. A major player Alliance called Circle of Two (CO2) was betrayed by a high ranking insider and subsequently fell apart. Over a trillion in ISK along with the Alliance's Keepstar Citadel capital HQ was stolen in an instant.
While political betrayals and massive wars are the norm in EVE, the real controversy this time was around the permanent ban issued against the biggest victim of the heist. In a fit of rage, the Alliance leader who fell victim to this huge betrayal made a not-so-subtle real world threat towards his former lieutenant (The Judge):
While this is an pretty clear outside-the-game threat, some felt the perma-ban for a first offense like this was a bit harsh. Especially when you consider similar threats were, in the past, only met by a temporary ban. CCP claims their policies and terms of service have changed over the years, and ultimately its their game. There's no legal objection to their decision, but I believe this decision marks a watershed moment in Internet history.
Over the past 20 years, we've witnessed the explosive growth of the Internet from a shady digital saloon with (almost) no rules to the sanitized version in which our parents, and even grandparents, feel comfortable spamming Facebook with wholesome memes.
I witnessed almost the entirety of this evolution, and while I can't find any logical reasons to fault the end of the Wild West era, I still feel a pang of regret when I think about it. We'd love to hear your thoughts on how the internet, and specifically internet gaming has changed with regard to toxicity. If someone told me Blizzard would be banning players for throwing games or typing the N word in-game during my Starcraft Broodwar days, I would have laughed in your face, probably while calling you the N word.