Most Shocking MMO Incidents
by Tyler Edwards, March 8, 2012
Massively multiplayer games are, obviously, an excellent way to pass time. If you're reading this, odds are that you enjoy a good round of MMO fun yourself. But, as the saying goes, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. While most people can play these games for years with no ill effects beyond fifteen fewer dollars of disposable income per month, there are a select few who have lost their sanity, their dignity, or even their lives to their hopeless video game addictions. We now bring you a list of some of the most shocking stories to come out of the world of MMOs.
And be warned: you may find some of the images and stories in this article disturbing.
5: Man dies playing League of Legends:
Lots of people love a good round of gaming. Some might occasionally stay up late or slack off school for an extra long play session. But most people would never want to risk dying for their hobby. Unfortunately, some people do just that.
There have been several stories of people dying during marathon game sessions, and the latest is the tale of a Korean player of the massive online battle game League of Legends, who died of a heart attack during an hours-long play session in an internet cafe.
The heart attack was likely caused by a pre-existing condition, but the cold temperature of the building and his extreme inactivity are thought to have been contributing factors. Long periods of time spent in a single position can cause blood clots.
What's even more shocking than the man's death is that it took nine hours for someone to notice he had died. By the time paramedics arrived, rigor mortis had already started to set in, freezing his hands over the mouse and keyboard. He had been playing up until the moment he breathed his dying breath.
4: Woman sells body for gold:
If you a regular MMO player, you've probably met people who describe themselves as "achievement whores," or "mount whores," or the like. You may even have applied such a term to yourself. Odds are, though, that the vast majority of people referring to themselves as "whores" aren't speaking literally. At least, we hope they aren't.
But at least one woman was ready to become a literal mount whore. In 2007, a woman posted an ad on Craigslist offering to let anyone, man or woman, have sex with her if they sent her 5,000 gold for an epic level mount in World of Warcraft. A mount for a mount, as it were.
This, of course, triggered a massive firestorm and was cited the world over as a sign of what video game addiction can do to people. For her part, the woman said she didn't understand what the big deal was. She wanted sex and she wanted an epic mount, so she viewed it as an all around worthwhile deal.
She even asked for pictures from her prospective buyers so she could choose one of the more good-looking ones. She also stated she preferred someone interested in role-playing, and we don't think she was referring to their in-game activities.
Supposedly, she did eventually settle on a buyer, and both parties were reportedly happy with the result of the transaction. Still, we can't help but think she must be really upset by the amount of gold inflation thatÕs taken place in WoW over the last few years. She could have easily gotten forty to fifty thousand gold for herself in today's market.
3: Gang kidnaps top score holder to sell account:
Account theft is a common problem in many MMOs. Even if you haven't experienced the heartbreak of having your characters, items, or gold stolen yourself, you probably know someone who has. It's a terrible experience that, for some, can mean the loss of years of work put into an account.
But it could be worse. At least you weren't mugged at gunpoint for the account.
That's exactly what happened to a Brazilian player of the multiplayer artillery game GunBound in 2007. The player, whose identity was not released, held the game's top score, something that many other players coveted. A gang, called "La Firma," decided to take advantage of this.
One of the gang's female members met him via the social network Orkut and arranged a date. But when the high scorer showed up, rather than achieving a different kind of score he found himself being kidnapped at gunpoint. He was then held captive for over five hours with a gun to his head and ordered to hand over his account to La Firma, who intended to put the account up for online auction at a price roughly equal to $8,000 US.
Amazingly, he resisted all of their attempts to coerce him, and even more unbelievably, the gang simply gave up in frustration and let him go. Soon after, all gang members involved were arrested.
2: Player stabbed to death for selling a virtual sword:
Loot drama. It's a fact of life in MMOs, and we've all experienced it. Maybe someone stole some gear that was yours by right. Maybe someone unjustly accused you of taking gear they felt entitled to. Maybe you really did steal someone's gear, and you're just a filthy ninja. Whatever the case, you're going to see people fight over loot sooner or later.
Thankfully, these fights are generally just nasty words. At worst, someone might make a report to a game master in the hopes of a ninja being punished. But one incident in Shanghai in 2005 went way beyond a war of words.
A few weeks before, two friends and fellow players of the MMORPG The Legend of Mir 3 had acquired a dragon saber, a very powerful and rare weapon, and resolved to share it. But later, one player sold it online for roughly $900 US. The other player was, understandably, very upset that his friend had sold the weapon without consulting him.
What's not so understandable is his reaction. He initially went to the police and reported it as a theft, which is a bit extreme but has some logic to it. The police declined to look into the matter, viewing virtual goods as beneath their notice. So the irate player, still consumed with rage, went to a much greater extreme and stabbed his friend to death.
There's no joke here. This is just a sad, horrible story.
At last report, he had been put on trial and pled guilty to killing his former friend.
1: Woman allows her daughter to starve while playing World of Warcraft:
We're not going to bother making any jokes or snarky comments about this one. This is just the worst of the worst.
Rebecca Colleen Christie's three and a half year-old daughter, Brandi Wulf, died in a hospital in January of 2006 of starvation and dehydration. Her mother had been so busy playing World of Warcraft day in and day out that she had never bothered to give her daughter any sustenance. Nor was this a recent development. The poor child showed signs of extended malnutrition, and her father has said that he would often come home to find she had no food or water. Brandi often resorted to eating cat food to sustain herself.
When doctors examined Brandi, they found her with protruding ribs and teeth that had rotted from lack of nutrition.
Rebecca Christie was charged with murder and child abandonment and eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison. The girl's father, Air Force Sergeant Derek Wulf, pled guilty to the lesser charge of child neglect.
This story is utterly shocking and raises serious questions about the issue of video game addiction. Would Brandi Wulf still be alive today if her mother had never discovered World of Warcraft? That's a question no one can answer, though many have no doubt speculated.
But there had to have been something terribly, terribly wrong with Rebecca Christie for her to neglect her child so. No video game, no matter how addictive, could have destroyed her parenting instinct so thoroughly. The game may have made a pre-existing problem worse, but ultimately the blame rests solely on her shoulders, not the game's.
And then there's the issue of the poor girl's father. He was not a gamer, but still he went to work each day and apparently did nothing to stop RebeccaÕs neglect of the child. Surely he must have noticed his daughter wasting away. No game can be blamed for his negligence.
This is a horrible story, and it's a good opportunity to reflect on the importance of reality over fantasy - but it's important to keep it in perspective. There are plenty of gamer parents out there who still find the time to give their children the care they need.
All of the incidents on this list are shocking, and some are downright horrifying, but nothing can top the heart-wrenching tragedy that is Brandi's slow and lonely death. Her, and her utter failure of a mother, earn the dubious distinction of topping our list of most shocking MMO incidents.