For the sake of argument, let’s say that I’m a horrible jerk. Yet you don’t really know it. In fact, I’m actually a compadre, as far as you know. This means I am not just an annoying or hateful person, but something more sinister. I’m deceitful. Top it off with this tidbit straight from the cubicle world, I’m willing to bury you and your work to get ahead. In my mind, I believe you’re a cash cow. Someone I can constantly abuse, manipulate and take advantage of for my own gains.
With the anonymity of the Internet behind me, I take my douchebaggery to the extreme. I jump on your account, loot it for everything it’s worth, claim the goods on an alt, redistribute them to my mains and delete the temporary mule. Rather than disappear into the sunset I hang around, consoling you as you complain to me, your “best friend”, how your account was ravaged. I offer a shoulder, in-game currency, even a hot new ride and tell you to keep playing.
Now, let’s say I take it a step too far. I overplay my hand, tipping you off to something odd. Eventually, the authorities realize that it was me. I’m busted and clearly in the wrong. What do you expect to have happen?
Me, I expect the authority figure to take care of it, because, well, they’re the authority. Whomever it is has access to loads of information that I, the victim, cannot see. I believe that the person was given then position because the person is level-headed, analytical and ultimately fair. The information will be poured over, digested and receive the appropriate response, consistent with previous cases. Parties on either side may believe the outcome is unfair to them, but unbiased parties wouldn’t expect anything different.
This decision blows my mind. First of all, Barnarner claims “it is a relatively unique case.” In what universe is this unique? I’ve witnessed these acts a handful of times across my MMOG career. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read of the dastardly act. That’s not even my main concern, that would be the precedent that the GM is setting.
Barnarner is getting cheers on the thread, since the act of giving the victim the hammer of judgement is eye-raising (free press…) but it’s terribly shortsighted decision. Expecting this person to be level-headed is ridiculous. Emotional attachment to a character is bad enough, enter in the deceitful friend and any player would enter a nerdrage to end all nerdrage.
Perhaps BlackJackieChan has taken the time to cool off before voicing the fate, but giving him authority erodes that of Barnarner’s (and other GMs). Did Barnarner not want to make the call? Was there no pre-defined rule for this matter or a related matter across of all of GamersFirst’s products? Was the case simply seen as a cheap, viral marketing opportunity? Further, other players affected by hacking – which, by anecdotal evidence, is rampant in APB: Reloaded – will expect similar treatment. No company can possibly allow every hackee to decide the fate of their hacker, so why introduce the idea?
I’m no legal expert, but the fact that the game is F2P means these players may very well have paid a fair sum for their characters. Now we’re entering the very gray virtual property arena. One where a completely biased person has been handed judgement. Depending on the outcome, hacker beef43302 may have his own legal powers available since it’s been made public that GamersFirst isn’t deciding the fate of breaking the Terms of Service for its product.
The case of BlackJackieChan v. beef43302 by way of Barnarner is eye raising in all the wrong ways, despite the knee-jerk reaction of many MMOG players. In fact, Barnarner’s decision to make this all public may well have been a knee-jerk reaction itself. “Hey, I bet the forum would love this drama.”