Call 911, He Stole My Magic Sword

from the the-sheriff-of-WoW dept

At a gaming conference, Microsoft warned that multi-player online games have significant security vulnerabilities, and that the growing value of in game assets was a juicy target for criminals. As we've seen in the past, MMORPGs are facing more and more real world complications as people invest an increasing amount of money into them. This problem is only going to get worse; as one Microsoft researcher put it, "The police are really good at understanding someone stole my credit card and ran up a lot of money. It's a lot harder to get them to buy into 'someone stole my magic sword.'" But before discussing how law enforcement can address the situation, game developers and players should try to define the border between the game and the real world. For example, most people would accept that if your character is mugged inside a game, then that's part of the gameplay, not a legal issue. But what about counterfeiting gold pieces? What about running a script inside the game that transfers gold from one player to another? Before diverting law enforcement resources to rectify players' complaints, companies running online games need to strive to develop their own security measures that satisfy their players.

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  1. identicon
    Josh, 15 Aug 2006 @ 3:48pm

    Ha!

    "that satisfy their players."

    Funny. I did some GameMaster work for one of the larger text-based MUDs (1000+ simultaneous users). Satisfying a large portion of the player base is possible, but handling the types of users this article is about is inifintely more difficult. Stealing was noticeable part of the game, players had to agree to the terms and conditions whenever they logged, one of the classes/guilds was "The Thief Guild" who needed to train the stealing skill (either from NPCs or other players). And despite this, the moment some people lost a dozen coins, the amount you could get from killing nearly any critter, they'd be screaming for the GMs. You can satisfy most people most of the time, but if you try to go beyond that, you're risking pissing off everyone.

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