It feels a little like we only reported it a few weeks ago that it There is a smack of WoW fans who have a serious and threatening aggression problem. Oh, and look: it hasn’t even been two weeks since Chadd “Celestalon” Annoyed talked about the problem. The problem is relatively simple and simply put into words: Players sometimes have absolutely no control over their emotions when they want to criticize their favorite game. Some of them, in a blind rage over seemingly small (and sometimes big) changes, lash out at those they hold responsible for the impending disaster: the developers.
This sometimes translates into serious cases of harassment and sometimes even threats of violence or worse. Most fans realize that this is going too far. But there are still people who might find it normal, or even funny, to threaten a developer with physical violence or subject them to psychological terror just to get their job done. This is, please let us be very clear, impossible.
Pull the ripcord
Chadd Nervig, you can read it again, has found something of peace in a development team whose fan base isn’t quite as toxic as World of Warcraft’s. But what if you can’t escape to another team?
In the Destiny Reddit, fans have noticed that the developers of the lootshooter have become conspicuously silent lately, and hardly ever comment on upcoming adjustments or answer questions via social media or Reddit. “For a valid reason,” community manager Dylan “dmg04” Garfner writes on both Reddit and Twitter. There are developers on the Destiny team who have been threatened just because they said a certain piece of exotic armor isn’t coming into play initially. And Garfner himself has been hit so hard that he’s been on hiatus for a few weeks already.
What many gamers don’t seem to realize when they pour their hatred unfiltered onto the internet is that their threats alone trigger psychological stress. Even if they don’t intend to become really violent, if they think the whole thing is a joke: the threat is uncommented and unrestrained. While the scolder moves on, after five minutes he may have forgotten what he just did, the affected developer remains afraid of violence or worse.
Unfortunately, psychological terror can have many faces and most of them are ugly.
At Bungie, the developers are now holding back. “Incidents of harassment against our developers have actively made it difficult for us to communicate with the wider community. It’s impacted more studios than just ours. I hope more people can speak out against this behavior in any community, whether it’s around games or anything else,” Garfner wrote on Twitter. On Reddit, his answer is a bit more detailed.
Above all, he goes into the fact that there are these threats against the developers, even if most players cannot imagine them and do not see them. “I want to be very clear that I really appreciate the studio as they have personally helped me after some serious bullying of myself and my family. Part of that is why I’m taking time off. Just because it’s in a certain tweet or forum reply can’t see directly doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
There is another reason why the devs now prefer to remain silent. A particularly vocal Destiny 2 streamer and cheater from the Los Angeles area named Luca Leone has received a lawsuit. Not only did he violate the Acceptable Use Policy and he was banned 13 times for it (via polygon). In social media posts, he threatened, among other things, that the people at Bungie should lock their doors. Leone wanted to relocate to the Seattle area where Bungie’s headquarters are located and threatened to burn it down.
You don’t just say that like that.
No matter how much anger one carries, it would be wise to find another outlet, one far more benign than threatening a game’s developers with death. Maybe just walk out the door for five minutes and yell into the air. You may find this silly, but it helps.
No intended penalty for players
Let’s close this outrageous story with Garfner’s words, which probably every other developer in his situation would subscribe to: “None of this is meant as a punishment for the people who can give our developers clear and respectful feedback, mind you. At Bungie there aren’t any instances where people are actively following a conversation and planning retaliation against our playerbase via hotfixes, updates or communication strategies. Sometimes we just need to take some time to get things right. It can take weeks or months – eh in every development pipeline because we want the best for our players AND our employees.
“That means we can’t just do ‘business as usual’ until things are sorted out. That’s annoying, but we want to be sure people are safe and looking after them. It’s a shame we’re here in haven’t had that much interaction lately. The team is planning ways to communicate with all of you – some of these plans I’m really looking forward to when I get back. I can assure you that many on the team are reading the threads every day Read and share your feedback.”