The “Real Player” Jungle

A recent article in the New York Times came out talking about sexual harassment in gaming, and it reminded me of the many types of people I have run into during MMO sessions.  Some of the pick-up groups (PUGs) I’ve joined have been some of the most fun I’ve had in games; others have been a nightmare out of Lord of the Flies, with people threatening and cursing at each other throughout an entire dungeon run.  There’s generally nothing in-game indicating to other players the age or personal information about a player behind an avatar, so players are generally left to deal with these situations on their own.  That said, there are tools in game that allow players to ban a particular player from chat, and to vote to boot a person from the group.  The most extreme forms can reported to an in-game referee, but it’s a rare case where that happens, and rarer still for corrective action to be taken against the offending player(s) – gaming companies, after all, are interested in keeping their paying subscribers.

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