League of Legends has 67 million players and grossed an estimated US$1.25 billion in revenue last year. But it also has a reputation for toxic in-game behaviour, which its parent company, Riot Games in Los Angeles, California, sees as an obstacle to attracting and retaining players. So the company has hired a team of researchers to study the social — and antisocial — interactions between its users.
In an attempt to curb in-game harassment, online gaming communities have tried to develop a variety of workable solutions. One of the most prominent of these communities has been League of Legends (previously, previously), an extremely popular game that uses a virtual judiciary of gamers' peers, among other tactics, to identify problem players and mete out consequences. Two years ago, the tribunal drew public attention when it chose to expel a professional player from the game for a year (potentially ending his gaming career) for harassing other players. But is it working? Preliminary data indicates that the system is helping.
"Things Left Unspoken: Erasure in Online Discussion of Domestic Violence" - Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, mentions of violent actions, physical abuse, sexual assault. By Catherine [Kiran/Rin] Oliver at Model View Culture. [more inside]
A DOS attack on Sunday, 3 June caused the moderators of the MMORPGs EVE Online and Dust 514 to shut down the server cluster that hosted both games. The games were offline for most of the day and into the following morning, having just recently been restored. The COO of EVE's parent company, CCP, described the situation this way:
What we can now confirm is that a person was able to utilize a vulnerability in one of the back-end services that support the operation of the Tranquility server. This vulnerability has now been secured and thoroughly tested. We would like to stress that at no time was customer data compromised or accessible in any way. The effort of returning the complex server structure of the EVE Universe and associated websites to service in a methodical and highly-scrutinized fashion began hours ago and Tranquility has now been brought online (at 10:13 UTC). Our teams will monitor the situation carefully in the coming hours to ensure that our services are accessible and that all customer data remains secure.CCP also took the precaution of shutting down the games' websites, and so communicated with players via Twitter ("Your patience has been legendary and appreciated.") and its Facebook page. [more inside]
One of the better online random dungeon generators out there. Scroll down a bit to see it. You can change the size and learn more about it from the home page. [more inside]
Can obsessive behaviours involving electronic community be considered an addiction, and the community itself an 'addictive substance?'
At the recent Digital Games Research Conference held at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, Florence Chee and Richard Smith presented a paper on Everquest and its implications for addiction policy. Here's the full text and a decent summary here.
"Then we realized that somehow an insane god had taken control of our world and was out to kill us all." Subscribers of the multiplayer online game "Shadowbane" were in for a shock Tuesday evening when they realized the game system had been hacked, and the rules fundamentally altered, and not in a good way (unless you happen to like mayhem). While this ended up being a "no harm, no foul" scenario, as everything was eventually set right, it was breaking new ground in terms of the uses of hacking. In a world where characters in these games are sold via EBay, and nearly half a million people subscribe to Everquest, how long before legitimate (non "fun and games") version of what just happened occurs?
Halo is probably the most well known and successful of games for the Xbox, but less well known are the scores of Halo movies that take advantage of its excellent graphics and physics engines. From the classic Warthog Jump to the cover of Asshole and the Red vs Blue series, the movies are sometimes breaktaking and almost always hilarious. Videogame geeks with a sense of humour? Say it ain't so!
Kali.net (once one of the world's largest Internet gaming networks) is created. Makes money. BeTech buys Kali to impress investors. BeTech stops paying for upkeep. ISPs get peeved. No more Kali. Or is there? Is this a funeral or a phoenix? And is there anything else on the 'Net about this? I'm coming up with bupkus.
All pimpwar accounts disabled? I was really getting into the game. Its probably for the better since I will now be able to return to my previous life (not that it was anything signifigant). I'll just tough it out until May 1st when it comes back as a fully functional version.