It turns out that theft is taken extremely seriously in the online fantasy role-playing game, Guild Wars 2. The penalty is humiliation and then death.
This week, a player named DarkSide was caught using a cheat program to teleport into buildings, kill powerful characters and make off with all the loot. When other players complained, some of them capturing video of the crime taking place, developer ArenaNet stepped in. Security lead Chris Cleary took control of the character in-game, stripped off all its valuable armour and then forced the avatar to run off a bridge, plunging to its digital demise. The player was then banned.
Conversing with the accusers on the game’s online forum, Cleary wrote: “We don’t need to see it in-game, sometimes good video evidence is enough for me to track down who it was. In this case, the video was enough for me to find out who it was and take action.”
In the video, the character is seen having his floor-length coat and attractive yellow hat removed, before he walks to the edge of a stone bridge. He then waves and throws himself off.
Other players later expressed themselves satisfied that justice had been done, with one forum user commenting: “That’s pretty gangster.”
It’s common for developers to closely monitor online game servers for players who use hacks, third-party tools or exploits to cheat the system. Usually, they are simply banned, but sometimes more drastic action is taken to make an example of the perpetrator.
Earlier this year, Grand Theft Auto publisher Rockstar found that some players of GTA V were exploiting a bug that allowed them to access a powerful vehicle in the online multiplayer mode that was only supposed to be available in the single-player campaign. The studio then patched the game so that the car would explode if used online.
There are of course moral questions surrounding the use of humiliation and “execution” as a form of public punishment within virtual environments. Despite this – or perhaps because of it – the video of DarkSide’s demise has already been viewed by over 300,000 people, hungry for a peculiar display of gaming justice.
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