A public death sentence for a virtual character that was rampantly cheating in Guild Wars 2 is sparking debate and discussion regarding what action, and how much action, a game maker should initiate when dealing with a malevolent force that is impacting the gaming experience for other players.
For three weeks players of Guild Wars 2 lodge complaints regarding a player who had somehow hacked a slew of exploits that allowed his character, called DarkSide, to wreak havoc against other players of the ArenaNet game. The game maker stayed out of the fray until players documented the cheating behavior and submitted video of the annoying and frustrating behavior. ArenaNet has sold four million copies of the game since it was released.
In response AreaNet's security chief decided to take action and in what's being perceived as a very bold move, not only publicly humiliated the character by stripping him naked but then pushed him off a high bridge to his death. The game maker also deleted all the offending player's characters. It recorded all the punishment, and death sentence, and released it as a YouTube video with the simple statement: "Oh yah, he's also banned."
In explaining ArenaNet's move the security chief, Chris Cleary, stated "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. Thanks for the video, and to accompany your video, I give you this video of his account's last moments."
And while the majority of Guild Wars 2 players, who had been asking for Area Net to do something in response, are likely just happy to have the hacker gone from the player-to-player game, more than a few are questioning the public video death sentence move and whether such drastic response will deter cheaters or ignite more hacking behavior and retribution against game players and the game maker itself.
As one report notes the public humiliation approach may not work at all given the player had no remorse in cheating to begin with and that some players feel ArenaNet should have spent that time ferreting out other cheaters and ensuring that future cheaters can't manipulate the game as well as DarkSide did.
One player, upon seeing the death sentence metered out, hopes it will make others think about cheating. But as another player noted, cheaters aren't typically too concerned about ethics and playing fairly to begin with.
One person's embarrassment is another person's accountability," noted a player.