Massively multiplayer online games are virtual worlds in which people do whatever they want. And just like the real world, all they want is to screw each other. We've looked at MMO dick moves twice before, but more time and money have gone into video game assholery than real proctological research. And more people have been shit on in the process.
"Time to put on my Warcrafting gloves!"
If gamers worked as hard on reality as they do on leveling up, politicians would come with ESRB warning labels, and after every school shooting, people would actually blame guns.
Socratic was the gamer equivalent of the Iraq War: He was stupid, he wasted huge quantities of money and he lethally hated everyone who actually lived and worked in the area. He harvested real money transfers (RMTs), which is the gaming equivalent of taking steroids, and just as likely to mean that he has a tiny dick. And he was terrible at the game. He had a worse kill/death ratio than an anthill attacking an electric fence, and even less tactical knowledge.
So embarrassingly bad at games, even Pac-Man turns red.
He would brag about his giant fortune to the people who'd just killed him, show up 10 minutes later in a brand new ship, then boast from a second pile of smoking wreckage that the victors just couldn't afford to be blown up as often as he could. No one has pissed on so much money since Scrooge McDuck decided to just start going in the pool.
It still technically counts as golden.
This caused the unlikely team of a mercenary conman and an outraged player to reverse Trading Places him. Zedrik Cayne was already being paid to troll Socratic (yes, professional game troll is a job now, welcome to the future) when Morin Blain set up a classic inside-outside scam. Morin made friends with Socratic and suggested a cunning plan. Morin would attack Zedrik and force him to run to a safe spot in high security space. But Socratic would be secretly teamed up with Morin and waiting with an array of massive kill-everything bombs. Note: It is much easier to frame someone for murder when they're using massive kill-everything bombs. And you're prepared to die in the process. And they're an idiot.
"My revenge is complete!"
When Zedrik arrived and Socratic started the unstoppable detonation of that entire area of existence, Morin broke the alliance. Socratic was now randomly murdering a civilian, and 13 more civilians who suddenly leaped out of nowhere into the burning deathzone. These suicide bombees were other players who'd volunteered to doom Socratic, lemmings of justice leaping into explosions to ruin their enemy in high security space. Socratic was now the equivalent of a mass-murdering terrorist throwing grenades on the White House lawn.
It didn't end well. Those aren't speed lines, those are ALL INCOMING LASERS.
Warships of Concord, the in-game police, instantly appeared and shredded him, and after he was dead, he discovered his real problem: security status. At 0.0, you're neutral. At -2.0, you're attacked by police in the highest security systems. At -5.0, every single player in the game is encouraged to kill you in any secure system, and the automatic police navy will help. Socratic was now -9.8. He was double bin Laden in a world where the police have warp drives and every citizen is armed, and would be shot on sight if he returned to lawful space to collect any of his belongings.
World of Warcraft has always been a target for hackers (players stealing money or gaining speed advantages), but the most recent attack re-enacted the skull road at the start of Terminator.
World of Warcraft via Eurogamer
But with real pretend skulls.
Hackers worked out how to one-shot kill everything in the game, then tried to do literally that. They were walking around a world of epic swords and wonderful magic carrying shotguns. Player Jadd strolled into the Baradin Hold, prison of the demon Alizabal, Mistress of Hate, raid boss of 25 million hit points, and killed her with one click. He killed her before she even finished her evil monologue, meaning Jadd had just done exactly what everyone has ever yelled at James Bond villains to do, and also proved why they don't do that. Because it's boring.
It's the hacking dichotomy. Actually hacking something, studying the code to discover exploits, is an incredible puzzle and enormous fun. But using the hacks is boring. The whole point of a game boss is having a hard time beating it. If you're prepared to just make the enemy dead, you might as well write "Horrible Big Scary Monster!" on a piece of paper and then put a line through it.
And with one bold stroke, I defeated the mighty dragon! Truly, the pen is mightier than the sword.
When the trial accounts used for the hack started getting banned, the remaining hackers knew they only had minutes to live. And then we learned that their bucket list was a giant funeral urn with the word "EVERYONE" written on it. They headed for the major trade cities and massacred far beyond the reach of sanity. They killed and they killed and they killed, and in these neutral zones the victims couldn't fight back.
World of Warcraft via Eurogamer
They did every single one of those corpses by hand.
It was insane. They just clicked everything to death, one at a time. It was like playing Minesweeper, but without the same level of gameplay. Doing it once or twice is fun, but going for a full 30 minutes until the very moment they're forced to stop, killing everything without joy or emotion for no other reason that they can? If we'd known people would get this psychotic, we'd still have invented these games just to keep them off the streets.
RuneScape lived up to its name with a real rune, a symbol of such awesome power that it could drive the mind from your body. This glyph made the Cruciatus curse look like LOL and also worked electronically, so we're going to get you all now! Behold!
FEAR THE POWER!
This wasn't an oriental incantation of "No!" an ancient Greek invocation of the power of Phoenician water inscriptions, a mathematical incantation reducing the square free to zero or an attempt to make you permeable to magnetic forces. (All of which are things "mu" really does mean.) No, this broke your brain in a slightly less intelligent way: The computer couldn't draw the little squiggle.
The February 25, 2009 update caused the game to crash if the chat client tried to display the character. The entire program quit out, redirecting you to an Internet help page while your electronic body was being murdered. Which is the plot of all horror movies for robots. It was the exact reverse of a magical fantasy: The spell dumped regular people back in the real world while pretend enemies killed their imaginations.
It's not a pirate gathering, it's a relentless slaughter.
Entire sections of the fantasy world were evacuated and locked down during the outbreak. Other players turned off all their chat clients, so you had noble sword-wielding warriors effectively walking around with their ears plugged to avoid being tricked by evil wizards. If Conan had thought of that, it would have saved a lot of trouble.
The central theme of fantasy is the hero, the chosen, one person powerful and talented enough to change the world and become legend. MMOs have all of that except for the "hero" bit. Belan the Noble Looter was one of the most famous Ultima players ever, using her amazing skills to steal belongings off dead bodies. Note: Ultima let players hang around as ghosts and watch that happen.
This is all one guy. He didn't take it well.
She maintained a standing offer to sell back almost everything she took at half price, though prices could escalate to infinity when people were rude. Note: When you're dead and the other person already has your stuff is a bad time to start haggling, and a literally beyond fatal time to be rude. She only took from corpses that died from natural causes, but since she was a tamer who trained the game's natural monsters to obey her will, this left her with loopholes big enough to throw a Frost Wyrm through. Which she frequently did.
Speak softly and carry two giant dragons.
She never stopped role playing a friendly looter, and everything she did was scrupulously game-legal. Which made the people who melted down and started screaming "faggot" even funnier. One furious player followed her home through a portal, but since a tamer's house is a menagerie of murder, it was like a gritty reboot of a Disney musical number: Every single thing in her house could move, and each one of them wanted to kill him. He ended up hiding in her shed and traded everything, including his character's pants, to be saved. Which is weird, because normally when you take off your pants to pay someone for release it's a lot more fun.
Belan works out how to pants people over the Internet.
She joined a guild sworn to kill killers, and as soon as they killed someone, she resolved the resulting logical paradox with a giant dragon.
Logical paradoxes and giant dragons don't get on.
Once she filled a booby-trapped chest with heavy but worthless firewood, then put it inside 22 more identical and equally explosively trapped chests, because that's the sort of matryoshka booby trap you can build in video games. She dropped it in a busy street and watched multiple players detonate themselves trying to hack open the world's first IED onion, and when someone finally suicided their way to the center, they found a book:
Her house had the world's most obvious trap on the roof, constantly filled with world's dumbest players' corpses.
Protip: In Ultima, barrels can be booby-trapped to release poison gas.
She was a force of nature in a video game world, and that "nature" was hilarious natural selection.
Bluehole Studio decided to add a layer of politics to the social dynamics of MMOs, possibly in an attempt to digitize a 10th level of hell. All they need is a reality TV stream and they'll be able to replace Satan with a rack of servers. A patch created Vanarchs, local lords who could control their area. There were two ways to gain this political power: earn enough popular votes or win a pointlessly contrived war. It was basically the Falklands expansion to TERA.
They figured some players weren't feeling entitled enough yet.
As soon as election time rolled around, all the major guilds immediately tore themselves apart with bloody infighting, just like real politics. But this wasn't stupid, unlike real politics. Large guilds were splitting into two sub-guilds that immediately started leaping onto each other's swords, generating a huge number of political points to elect the master guild's chosen candidate.
"Eh, this is OK, but I'd rather pointlessly kill myself for someone else's political gain."
It was the ultimate self-parody of the "keep clicking to make a number bigger" problem with MMOs. The players had found something even worse than murdering mindlessly respawning victims: becoming the mindlessly respawning victims. They pretty much erased the meaning of the word "player" and replaced it with the words "virtual repeat suicide cult."
They were playing against themselves instead of involving others. It was the massively multiplayer warfare version of masturbating. Massturbating, if you will. And they did. The exploit was later noticed by GMs, and players caught killtrading had their scores reset to 0. Which means they'd have been better off actually wanking, because at least that would have counted as exercise.
EVE is what would happen if the entire galaxy was the Mos Eisley cantina. It's a universe where interplanetary space travel is a grinding second job utterly dominated by corporations and bastardry. Band of Brothers (BoB) were a defining force, an alliance of corporations so powerful, other players accused them of being in league with the game developers. Which turned out to be true. And they still suddenly lost everything in the most spectacular screwing in the heavens outside of a first date with Zeus.
"Once you go Zeus, you don't refuse. Probably because I've turned you into a plant or ashes or something."
While other EVE attacks have been based on subterfuge, deception, careful timing and thousands of real dollars, this one was based on someone remembering they were playing a game. It was more meta than losing a Pokemon battle because your OCD suddenly focused on how much money you'd spent. Haargoth Agamar was a high-level BoB director when he suddenly realized that he was flying a spaceship in a video game, and goddamnit, that meant he should be having fun and destroying things. And when he couldn't find any Invaders to kill, he settled for his own alliance.
A flashback to Haargoth's happy childhood.
He wandered into some pilots from GoonSwarm, another huge alliance, and decided that they were more fun to hang out with. Fun as in "Fun fact: GoonSwarm and BoB were locked in a massive war at the time." He transferred huge quantities of BoB war materiel currently aimed at the GoonSwarm directly to them instead, then destroyed BoB with a single click more devastating than the hammer of Dirty Harry's Magnum. This button was "disband guild."
The giant alliance suddenly vanished. Years of influence ratings and defensive bonuses in vast swaths of space simply disappeared, leaving legions of members to fend for themselves. Huge chunks of the fleet outright defected to GoonSwarm, while the rest demonstrated why that was a good idea by being shredded in combat. Most hilariously, GoonSwarm even stole the phrase "Band of Brothers," instantly registering an empty corporation to make sure their reeling enemies couldn't even reclaim their own name.
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their n00bs.
Which made it even funnier when GoonSwarm CEO Karttoon did the same thing a year later. But instead of disbanding the alliance, he took it for himself, kicking out every single corporation except the ones with all the money and ships, then taking all the money and ships. Then he moved the GoonFleet into the empty Band of Brothers alliance. After making sure nobody else had any working passwords, he abandoned the game, leaving GoonSwarm's military might locked in a shiny box named after their own defeated foes.
Karttoon, EVE Online
Karttoon, who has double-V fingers engraved into his forehead to face everyone he sees. It saves time.
For more video game insanity, check out 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Are Trying to Get You Addicted and The 5 Most Absurdly Expensive Items in Online Gaming.