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Role Playing (Games) Your Rights Online

Online Game Event Sparks Player Riot 758

Grimwell Online is carrying a story entitled When does an Online Game go too far?. It details a post to a news group about a world event in the newly released A Tale in the Desert 2. The online game, which simulates an ancient Egyptian culture, was full of angry players after a developer-run event used openly discriminatory language against the female gender. Details on the event can be found at the ATITD2 Wiki, and commentary can be found on TerraNova.
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Online Game Event Sparks Player Riot

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  • Whaaaaa! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:56PM (#10602533)
    When a game goes to far I don't play it anymore.

    This is just more of that post-modern victim shit. Some chicks got bent outta shape because a CHARACTER in a GAME set in ANCIENT EGYPT didn't treat their characters like empowered 21st century soccer-moms.
    • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoData ( 9132 ) <_NoData_&yahoo,com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:28PM (#10602967)
      The thing is...ATITD is small beans. But imagine if a major online gaming, say, Everquest, backed by a major corporation like Sony....had a situation where one of the game *developers* (rather than a player) had an NPC calling players, say, racial or religious slurs (which, surprisingly, seem to evoke more outcry than sexism)...Just because the NP *character* was a bigot. I don't think that would be tolerated. And it would probably make the national news. There is the sort of lack of wisdom in antagonizing your players at such a base level, in tension with the creative freedom of the developer to create discomfort. I don't think any laws are being broken here, but the prudence of ATITD's choice can certainly be questoin.
      • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by boinger ( 4618 ) <<gro.uoy-kcuf> <ta> <regniob>> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:32PM (#10603026) Homepage
        The fact that you think that *anything* that "happens" in an online game would *ever* make any amount of news other than those which deal with online games as a matter of course illustrates how out of touch you are with real life.
        • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:3, Insightful)

          The fact that you think this wouldn't make the "real" news shows how out of touch you are with the crap that gets served up to us in order to distract us from the real issues and events.
        • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by taernim ( 557097 )
          Actually, in your attempt to simply be a rude troll, you proved yourself wrong.

          A few links to illustrate that what happens in a game, or can be caused by a game, can actually touch the real world:

          Everquest Widows unite []

          City of Heroes players honor Christopher Reeve []

          Note that many of these articles, while mentioned here on Slashdot, also have links to "other" news outlets, such as Gamespot, CNN, etc. In addition, games like GTA 3 have gotten a lot of press lately, even in the mainstream media. Do
        • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NoData ( 9132 )
          The fact that you think that *anything* that "happens" in an online game would *ever* make any amount of news other than those which deal with online games as a matter of course illustrates how out of touch you are with real life.

          I've never played one of these games in my life. They are "after my time" as the saying goes. However, not only do I defend my statement, but I would take my point further to say that *any* game (online or not) that featured a game character treating the player in a racist, sexi
      • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Feanturi ( 99866 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @06:23PM (#10604269)
        There is the sort of lack of wisdom in antagonizing your players at such a base level, in tension with the creative freedom of the developer to create discomfort.

        I started losing interest in Star Wars: Galaxies right around the time of the Imperial Crackdown. It was supposed to really kick things up and create tensions between the factions. As a Doctor, I resolved that from the time following the Imperial invasions (scripted within the game, meant to cause a lot of death and panic among only a certain population of the game), that I would henceforth only provide my services to Rebels. Imperials or neutrals were out of luck. Well, a neutral could get service if I could be assured by a trusted source that they were truly neutral and not a covert Imperial. I should explain, to those not familiar with the game, that the services of a Doctor are very much in demand, and practically taken as a right by many players. It's hard to be known as a Doctor, because you are constantly plagued with people sending /tells insisting that you come buff their stats, as though you had nothing better to do.

        So, quite a lot of people got very pissed off, and some were accusing me of being exactly like a racist. A racist?? This is a fucking war, people! The problem was that so many players regularly socialized with people of whatever faction relative to their own. I don't know what the factions were really for other than those that particularly sought PvP action. Everybody just sort of picked a side, and picked their friends and business associates independantly of that. None of the Rebels were upset of course, none of them pointed out any unfairness, as they were getting the service. Only the people who were refused service that they felt they had some kind of right to, as equally paying customers of the game, not even considering their characters or the environment we were playing in. Or even considering that this is service rendered by a player, a person not obligated to do JACK SHIT for anyone else at all. They just started screaming "racist!" and other stupidity. Not very much roleplaying going on there at all, and just to get some peace I had to revoke my policy after a mere two days. I did manage to start an ongoing war between my guild and an Imperial guild though, with a related action. That was pretty satisfying, even though they handed our asses to us a lot, that wasn't the point.

        Anyhow, I wasn't happy with the fact that the whole game world there is just too comfortable for everyone. "It is a period of civil war", what the hell is wrong with acting like it? Everything, apparently.
      • Re:Whaaaaa! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

        But imagine if a major online gaming, say, Everquest, backed by a major corporation like Sony....had a situation where one of the game *developers* (rather than a player) had an NPC calling players, say, racial or religious slurs (which, surprisingly, seem to evoke more outcry than sexism)...Just because the NP *character* was a bigot. I don't think that would be tolerated.

        The trick is to ensure that the bigotry is part of a plot or sub-plot, and can be dealt with in one way or another. For

    • by Stephen Samuel ( 106962 ) <samuel@b c g r e e n . com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @07:03PM (#10604715) Homepage Journal
      Malakai was inserted as a plot device. He was not expected to be accepted

      Consider the name MALakai -- base being mal ('bad' in french, and latin/greek -- think MALadjusted).and it turned out that many of the people who traded with him ended up losing what they traded for to begin with (so the women refused service were proabably better off for it).

      I've played in a live RPG where I came this close to being randomly attacked by a friggin GM, had an arm turned into a tentacle and told that I'd fallen in love with another character who my most recent interaction with resulted in both of us being dead. -- and that's just game creatures (introduced by the company who ran the game).

      Nasty occurences are meant to be part of any good RPG. How people respond to such distrubances is IMHO more important (malakai was (rightly) hounded out of the country).

      That the ATITD community ejected the cad the way they did says more (IMHO) about the game than that he was inserted into the plot.

      I can't get any hard data on just how bad the 'riots' were, but I get a feeling that a reaction like that was intended.

      • The valid question does arise, though, how far can you go bringing in real world storylines without crossing the line between entertaining and rubbing salt into wounds? Now as a game developer it is impossible to not upset anyone at all and still have compelling content... A character that commits suicide can be completely gripping to one person and too painful to bear for another. But on the other hand there are certain morays that should not be crossed. The Sims 2 will allow you to have homosexual rel
      • Malakai, derived from the hebrew word MALACHI. Has little to do with Mal-adjusted.

        It's hebrew for mesenger. Also commonly used for "angels".
  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:56PM (#10602535) Journal
    The irony is that all the women playing the game were actually guys pretending to be women.

    Seriously, though, this guy could end up with a lawsuit on his hands. I think he would be wise to issue a public apology pretty soon.
    • A good experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JoshuaDFranklin ( 147726 ) * <`moc.oohay' `ta' ... nilknarfdauhsoj'> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:03PM (#10602640) Homepage
      Tepper stated that he will continue to "create situations that cause some discomfort."

      If you're just playing the game to have some fun, and don't care about historical "accuracy" or at least realism, this would be annoying and possibly offensive.

      If you're playing it to experience a world, I think it's completely in line. Slavery, racism, and sexual discrimination are all part of history (and our world today), and being confronted with them in a online gaming experience could be much more powerful than, for example, reading in your textbook that Denmark abolished the African slave trade in 1803.

      • by fizban ( 58094 ) <> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:18PM (#10602832) Homepage
        The problem arises when different people are playing it for different reasons, in which case there needs to be a set of *community agreed upon* rules of conduct. In this case, there were, but the gamemaster chose to ignore them.

        So, if the gamemaster starts ignoring the community rules, then you have problems. In these instances, the gamemaster needs to be clear up front about how he/she is going to play the game and also state why it will be different from the community standards so that those who don't agree have the option to not play. For instance, in this case, the gamemaster should have been upfront and said that he was going to be portraying ancient Egypt in a true-to-life manner, so any characters that would have been of slave status in that time period may be treated that way in the game. If the gamemaster is doing this for educational purposes, it's great, because roleplaying is a great way to learn about things in a very personal manner.

        However, if he was just playing the game this way for non-educational purposes, just entertainment for himself, then I question his ethics. Roleplaying as a Nazi or slave trader for purely entertainment purposes is not what I would consider a healthy mentality. Doing so to spark discussion on issues of race and gender discrimination is fine, but again, it needs to be stated upfront that this is what's happening.
        • by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:31PM (#10603011) Homepage
          Why does roleplaying as a nazi, slave trader, or any other "evil" character for purely entertainment purposes make someone sick?

          To me it's just a classic good vs. evil situation, the more evil, the more interesting the situation is.

          It's the same thing as when asked actors and actresses generally agree that playing evil characters is much more rewarding and, yes, fun, because they get to express themselves more than playing a do-gooder, generally speaking.

          Would Star Wars have been the same without Darth Vader, an archetype of evil? No, it would have not. His presence made the movie much more entertaining, by far. Does that make George Lucas sick? Don't answet that... :)
      • Re:A good experience (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rei ( 128717 )
        They're all part of history, but treating all women as slaves is not part of the history of ancient Egypt. Egypt had fairly progressive attitudes toward women, for the times: nc ient_egypt.htm
  • Ancient Egypt? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper&booksunderreview,com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:57PM (#10602549) Homepage Journal
    Right, because it would have been so much more realistic for them to portray ancient egypt as "gender-neutral", right?

    Maybe they were just going for authenticity?
    • by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:59PM (#10602575)
      I think it was more of "Hey Mommy, who is your Daddy?" when he actually wanted to say Mummy which somehow doesn't quite sound right anyway.
      • Re:Ancient Egypt? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by _Sharp'r_ ( 649297 ) <sharper&booksunderreview,com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:07PM (#10602691) Homepage Journal
        Nice try at being funny.

        According to the article, it's an online game and one of the developers made a plot character that refused to trade with women, calling them slaves, etc...

        Apparently he just wanted to bring out the fact that in ancient egypt, the role of women wasn't exactly like it is today, but a bunch of women are standing on their "right not to be offended by anyone, even in a game" and quitting.
    • I think it was in part over-reaction by a bunch of hair-trigger pseudo-feminists who can't stomache historical accuracy if it portrays women as second-class, and in part the fact that the game developer is a first-rate asshole. There's really no doubt about the second, nor in my opinion the first.

      Still, it's just a game, and it's HIS game. No matter how much of a dick the guy is he can do as pleases. If some people are upset by this they can always NOT PLAY. It's that simple. If they're motivated, the
  • by strictfoo ( 805322 ) <strictfoo-signup ... m ['aho' in gap]> on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:57PM (#10602550) Journal
    What do you call a basement full of women?

    A whine cellar.
  • by TrollBridge ( 550878 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:59PM (#10602571) Homepage Journal
    IT'S A GAME!!

    What was the average age of the participants? I suspect that this nonsense was bred entirely from immaturity.

    I mean really, who besides a child (mentally) gets so spun up over a game?? I thought they were supposed to be fun!

    Have I missed something?
    • by Unoti ( 731964 )
      Actually, Tale in the Desert lures a much more mature audience than your average massively multiplayer game. There's no hacking and slashing, there's no way to be super elite. It's a cooperative game, where the players work together to advance their collective technology. When I was playing, I personally found that the people playing Tale in the Desert were emotionally more mature than what I've seen in Asheron's Call, Lineage 2, Ultima Online, Everquest, Shadowbane, and Star Wars Galaxies.

      While you may

  • by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:59PM (#10602577) Homepage Journal
    As for the "societal implications of this behavior" This territory has been covered before [], years ago. The analysis done, the poor quality undergrad papers written (by me), its done.

    As an in-game device to create tension and conflict; awesome. Job well done.
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:01PM (#10602611)
    I'm pretty sure the developer thought that this would be funny... people seem to get offensive and funny mixed up these days.

    You should know better when designing something from a broad base that if you offend people, those are potential customers you won't get. Turn away too many potential customers and yhou won't have enough actual customers to make anything work.
  • Uhmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:02PM (#10602629)
    How about not playing if it offends you so much?
  • Player-Based (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheFlyingGoat ( 161967 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:03PM (#10602643) Homepage Journal
    The Terranova link has a comment that says the discrimination was widespread and player based. That doesn't seem like it was discrimination from the organizers of the event. So although it's sad, I don't think they're in danger of losing a lawsuit.

    There's been a lot of people using racial slurs on gaming servers lately. It's a shame that it's so widespread and that very few people say anything when it occurs during gameplay. I miss the days when you'd hear "nice shot" or "good luck" on a server instead of a bunch of insults.
    • This kind of crap has always been widespread, from the times of the BBS to the times of the MMORPG's.

      *Usually* the name calling, throwing a pissy fit, and the general hate comes from young boys. They have a lot of rage, and they can take it out in online games without fear of reprecussions.

      I've been playing online games for many years now. Back with KALI + Descent 2, through UT and Tactical Ops, and through OU, EQ, and now EQ2. The crap's the same. It'll always be there. But in some places, it's
  • Views of a player (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kathgar1 ( 730100 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:03PM (#10602646) Journal
    While I did not personally attend the event, I have heard quite enough about it. The trader did not come from Egypt, but a foreign land. I've discussed this event way too much as it is though so I do not feel like going into it a length now. BTW, you already killed our wiki
  • by PktLoss ( 647983 ) * on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:04PM (#10602652) Homepage Journal
    So a game based in a period of human history would like to present a sterotype present in that time period... In one charecter (so far), widely regarded by many NPCs to be a theif and a scoundrel...

    I'm tired of whitewashing history (will I be flamed by those who would consider that a racist remark?). Bad things happen, people were enslaved, tortured, killed, etc, based on pretty much anything. It was bad, we know that, lets move on, but lets also not forget that it happened.

    Game publishers, programmers and authors should be applauded for being willing to tackle issues present in the period they choose to set their work, it is a difficult and tricky business.

    Perhapps users could/(should?) be warned during charecter creation that their chosen avatar will effect game play, heck, list it as a feature. If you play female some NPCs wont trade with you, if you play a white guy you won't be able to jump, if you play someone of X decent you will be better at Y, etc.
    • by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:11PM (#10602736) Homepage
      The sad thing is, history is still repeating itself today. Instead of complaining about how people are treated in a game how about complaining about how people are treated in real life. Get out of the basement people!
    • by sTalking_Goat ( 670565 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:19PM (#10602840) Homepage
      If you play female some NPCs wont trade with you, if you play a white guy you won't be able to jump, if you play someone of X decent you will be better at Y, etc.

      The thing is ALL RPG's do this already, with fantasy races and classes. There were lots of MUDS that I played where if you were an Orge or a Drow or a Giant, some of the NPC vendors wouldn't sell you anything, and if you were Evil you'd get jumped by city guards. It went with the territory. Yet whenever anyone tries to aplly this to gender especially people become very angry. Its a huge double standard.

  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:05PM (#10602662) Journal
    While a good deal of posters will take the objective viewpoint, I don't think you'll find a ton of sympathy for the female players here in slashdot.... Let's face it, most of these folk happen to be guys that are discriminated against by females every day.
  • by MaineCoon ( 12585 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:06PM (#10602667) Homepage
    Anyone who has played the game will know that ATITD is about roleplaying and community. It is about building a civilization, and rising as a civilization to meet challenges. I haven't played the game in a year and a half, but I think most of what was true then holds true now.

    The incident in question (for those who didnt RTFA) involves a game event where a staff-controlled character, a merchant, travelled the world and traded with people. Females were treated as slaves - which, given the place and time that this role playing game portrays, was not necessarily an inaccurate representation. Should a game whose purpose is roleplaying (and to an extent, re-enactment) set thousands of years ago, represent modern day values? That is up for the players to decide. They took for granted modern day values, but never passed any laws to enforce them (which was entirely within their power).

    So when an event-character comes along, behaving perfectly appropriately given the location, era, and currently enacted laws - yet inappropriately given modern day values - people are expressing outrage...

    If the players wish to truly do something, a riot is the wrong way to go. This is a game that they have control over, and this was a challenge that was presented to them in game and should be met in-game. The players should use the legal system within the game to pass an equal rights act and abolish slavery.

    Keep it in-game, where it belongs.
    • by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:37PM (#10603098) Homepage Journal
      WELL SAID! Wow.... I think the game developer was successful at something. Showing people not to take a thing for granted. If its in their power to pass laws, they got caught off guard for forgetting something. Once they correct this part, the developer may bring another event player out to play off of something else they forgot.
    • I agree completely with this.

      On a somewhat off-note, don't a lot of fantasy games put up barriers between some of the races? Elves and dwarves not getting along, etc. Should I complain next time next time Boulder's Gate doesn't give my dwarf character the same good deal the elven one got?

      It's a shame people are so sensitive. Yes, I know it's difficult for me to understand not being in a minority, but I don't get offended when I read on how early settlers in this nation were discriminated against.

      It wa
  • Morons! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:06PM (#10602669) Homepage Journal
    What the HELL!?!?!

    As a role player, I've played racist character (both for human races and various clans and/or species), sexist characters (try playing a 150 year old vampire from the deep south with*out* being racist and sexist), sadist, psychotic, mentally deficient, masochist, martyr, zealots of various natures, and members of the opposite sex plus a dozen races, species and creature types.

    What the *hell* do they think role playing is?

    Role playing the concentration camps of WWII results in some very dark moments and the introspection lasts long after the game is over - much the same as reading a powerful novel or history of the era. It makes for powerful literature, which is what role playing can be. The strong themes of discrimination exist historically, and since much of role play (including this work) often pulls from history, to exclude those aspects is to whitewash who we are and have been as human beings.


    • Holy crap. What sided-die do you use to see if you escape the gas chamber?
    • Re:Morons! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AceCaseOR ( 594637 )
      As a role player, I've played racist character (both for human races and various clans and/or species), sexist characters (try playing a 150 year old vampire from the deep south with*out* being racist and sexist), sadist, psychotic, mentally deficient, masochist, martyr, zealots of various natures, and members of the opposite sex plus a dozen races, species and creature types.

      There was a long discussion/flame-war on about this - specifically, what to do when something in-game ceases to b

  • No comments posted and the server is already Slashdotted. Of course the story doesn't say anything meaningful: "[...] a developer-run event used openly discriminatory language against the female gender. Details on the event can be found at the [host not responding]." So the question is: what was that event? Shouldn't it be mentioned in the story in the first place, assuming it is not only submitted to drive ad traffic to the website?
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:10PM (#10602716) Journal
    Historicity aside, the last time I checked, at least within the USA, First Amendment rights still applied to everyone?

    I understand that a large number of people seem to think that speech that falls outside of their personally "acceptable" boundaries should be prohibited, and sadly, a number of craven legislators have catered to this intellectually empty point of view.

    Sticks and stones, stupid. If you don't like it, maybe you could simply turn off the computer? Vote with your feet. Play another game perhaps?
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tassach ( 137772 )

      within the USA, First Amendment rights still applied to everyone

      Common misconception. The Bill of Rights does not give *YOU* the right to do anything. What it does do is tell *CONGRESS* that they're not allowed to infringe on the rights that all people already have. Repeat after me:

      Amendment I:

      Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assembl

  • riot? how? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zed2K ( 313037 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:13PM (#10602758)
    How exactly do you riot in a multiplayer online game? I mean run around yelling? Can they destory buildings and burn fields? Storm the castle?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:26PM (#10602935)
      ATITD itself doesn't have a whole lot of options for player conflict. It's primarily a non-combative nation-building game.

      Essentially what happened was this guy was a trader, and his presence in an area was announced over the global channel. Thus, people came and lined up in the dozens/hundredish to see him.

      Eventually one of the women stepped up to her place in line, the guy asked her 'Who is your master, woman?', and from there the righteous indignation began.

      Players littered the area by dropping piles of sand and mud, filled the NPC's inventory (thus preventing him from moving) by giving him tons of sand, lit bonfires, spammed the chat channel constantly, etc. Eventually the NPC was forced to withdraw.

      The ultimate motivation, as it has been said, was to pose a moral challenge to the players of the game. Do they trade with the nasty sexist NPC, or do they spurn him and his rare and exotic goods?

      Personally I found the whole reaction to the event beyond pathetic. People rioted and basically trashed the area around the trader, but after that they went and bitched and moaned for 20ish pages on the message boards about how the developers were at fault, how they were so offended, how they were cancelling their accounts, blah blah blah. Pitiful.
  • This is nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:13PM (#10602760) Homepage Journal
    Discriminatory language, riots, angry people... This is nothing! I once heard about an online game where one of the characters has commited a murder! Can you imagine?
  • explanation of event (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chollowayss ( 653233 ) <`knightmare' `at' `'> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:13PM (#10602767) Homepage
    In the event, the trader was from a far-away land, not Egypt. He was role played as a trader from a land where women were considered property, and was just expressing his beliefs. And really, I don't see how it can be considered sexist since many males play female characters and vice versa. Another point that can be made is that there has been "sexism" in the game since it was first created, since female avatars have always been able to weave canvas and linen faster, as well as reproduce certain vegetables and vegetable seeds better than males. It's strange that only once the tables are turned do we hear the complaints.
    • by The Queen ( 56621 )
      Exactly! Quit yer whining and do something about it, like refuse to produce food for the males in the game - or withhold sex IRL. Works for me. ;-P
  • realism indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork&gmail,com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:17PM (#10602812) Journal

    Should games take realism to the extent that they deny basic "current" human rights?

    Human rights are denied to the tune of millions around the globe each day. Can gamers truthfully cry foul when their "virtual human rights" are impinged? Go spend some time in Saudi Arabia as a woman, in China as a Christian, in America as an arab, in Thailand as sex slave, in an Iraqi prison as an Iraqi... then tell me how realistic the denial of human rights are in your game.

  • by Wile_E_Peyote ( 805058 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:18PM (#10602833)

    Let's not forget this is just a game. It is not some grand social experiment. It is a service that people pay for and when you type something out it is being read by a *person*, not an Avatar. If someone is playing the game and paying for it they have no responsibility to treat is as anything but a game. In college, you were payed to be experimented on. I think they have every right to expect a certain level of protection from this kind of insulting behaviour.

    Would calling someone on another team a racial slur in the middle of a baseball game be okay? If it was just to get a reaction and not meant with ill will?

    The "social experiment" of slavery and sexism has already been performed and it didn't go well. There is enough racism/sexism on the net without it being officially sanctioned by people who are taking your money...

  • Rise up! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryen ( 684684 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:23PM (#10602892)
    Over thousands of years women have been treated as the 'lesser' beings, unable to vote, own land, etc.. etc.. etc. But I dont remember ever hearing about women quoting a disclaimer, a EULA, or the lack-therof. Instead, women have empowered themselves and have won liberation.

    If these women want to be treated "equally" during a time (Ancient Egypt) where the game most likely accurately portrays them as "unequal", then they should be playing the game as women have been subject to sufferage for many years.
    Keep the whining, the finger-pointing, and the who-said-whats in the game where it is meant to be and work it out in there. After all, its a game, so my advice to these women is: WIN!
  • Slow down, guys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AdamHaun ( 43173 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:25PM (#10602917) Journal
    Historical accuracy aside, it's important to realize that the discrimination is taking place outside the game, not in it. Inviting women to play the game and then suddenly telling them that they can't play part of the game in the middle of the second season does seem kind of rude, if that's what happened.

    A better question would be if this is consistant. Are women universally treated as slaves in the game? Have there been other side quests and story elements that locked women out? Are there any female-only parts of the game? If women are otherwise treated as equals in ability and options, then it doesn't make sense to cry historical accuracy now.

    You can't say that this is ridiculous solely on the basis of the Slashdot writeup. Hopefully someone who knows more about the game will post further information, since the article is slashdotted right now.
  • by Morpeth ( 577066 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:28PM (#10602959)
    I'll take the woman's side, since most people are either making a case against her point, or just flame-baiting.

    Are there any boundaries in role-playing? Some people seem to say no. Well, what if someone dresses up for an SCA event or Halloween as some offensive type character, and starts going off on someone in way most people would view as inappropriate (say, a person in a KKK costume and using the "n" word towards blacks/african-americans, etc.) Is that ok?

    Since we don't live in ancient egypt, should we behave by today's standards in-game -- totally, partially, or not at all? Does role playing imply total immersion in character, or are there limits?

    I also acceptable behavior should be very clearly defined so players know what to expect. I'm not well informed about the game, but I'd be curious what their policy states.

    There was an incident years ago in EQ I think where someone playing a Dark Elf, either roleplayed or wrote about raping another in-game character (not a NPC, it was a PC acct). I recall it was quite graphic and, to me anyway, disturbing. I believe the player was banned, some said it was role-playing, others said it crossed the line. Was a huge debate. Thoughts?

    Ok, some stuff to mull over -- I think it's an interesting topic as mmorpgs and rpgs continue to get more interesting and immersive.

    • There was an incident years ago in EQ I think where someone playing a Dark Elf, either roleplayed or wrote about raping another in-game character.

      You're missing an important point...the person wrote a story about her character being raped. Basically it was "look, I'm a Dark Elf, I'm evil, this is the background of my character that explains why." The character was underage; don't remember if the player was or not.

      It was written and posted in some sort of fan board, not in the game (I don't recall if the

  • by zoips ( 576749 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:28PM (#10602974) Homepage
    An example of a game going to far would be a game that causes a direct, linkable physical effect on players. This is just people getting bent out of shape because they still have the mentality of a 10 year old.

    Political Correctness is an example immaturity, and these people railing against something that has no effect on them except through their self-deluded state of being offended is not what anyone should classify as news.
  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) <> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:29PM (#10602978)
    Do these games ever have character's that are at a disadvantage from their beginning/creation based on characteristics other than sex? If so, do people identify with those characters and complain to the developer? I am quite serious, I don't play these games so I don't know.
  • by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:30PM (#10602995)
    Women are to these geeks as alien as Frankenstein or a visitor from another planet. Not understanding these creatures, and having such limit access and exposure to them, (I like exposure better) they lash out. It's a sad day when a young developer, starved for female attention, turns to loathing and ridicule. It's a cry for help, I tell you!
  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:33PM (#10603050) Journal
    Vivid Video Disembowelment Inc to split three for one. In other news, we have one bankruptcy to report. The company that labored to develop the multi-player computer role-playing game called "Political Corrections" has gone out of business. To date, the open-sourced code for the game has garnered zero downloads. Simon Pure, former CEO of the company, released the source when no buyer could be found for the rights to the game and the producers of "Barney and Friends" dropped their options on the game citing its unreality and lack of relevance to any known target audiance or demographic. A few conservative christian customers had purchased the game but returned it when they found the game's filters and rules made it impossible to create what they considered realistic characters for John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, or anyone from Massachusetts. Reaction from customers was muted. One player said "I liked the cool laser cannons and way the flesh would blister when you zapped the other players but when it wouldn't let my character call Kerry a douchebag, I tossed it.
  • Kids Today. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:36PM (#10603091) Homepage Journal
    Is it a social event, or an RPG? Let's be clear, RPG stands for Roll Playing Game.

    It's like acting. Kevin Spacey isn't REALLY dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. He didn't REALLY cut what-er-name's head off and stick it in a box to freak Brad Pitt out.

    Kids today. Never played a real (paper & pencil) RPG. I used to play a character that was always shooting off racial slurs at Dwarves. In fact, once he was at quite a high level, he engaged in a campaign of Dwarficide. THAT'S NOT REAL.

    So, if you are in a game, playing a character that should be treated a certain way within the context of the game let's try to do two things. 1. Don't be surprised and 2. Remember it is one FICTIONAL character mistreating another FICTIONAL character. You are not your fucking character.

    Hallelujah, holy shit, where's the tylenol?

  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @06:07PM (#10604124) Journal
    As a progressive male, I agree that this has to STOP!

    I understand your plight, sisters. I can't play Counterstrike without getting called a "fag". They also call me a "pussy". To be equated with female genitalia! How demeaning!

    Oh, but it gets worse. It goes way beyond male/female, and into slavery. Your game's character asked who your master is. My game's players insist that they ARE my master, or that they "0wn" me. As someone who knows someone who is of a descendency that was slaved at some point in history, it offends me to my very core.

    But it's not all from players. It's company sponsored too. One company advertised a game whose lead guy insisted I would be made "his bitch".

    Sister, stand strong. We won't tolerate this kind of treatment!

  • by PrimalChrome ( 186162 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @06:13PM (#10604185)
    ...and got away without even a slap on the wrist.

    Why....I remember it like it was yesterday. There we all were...the greatest race in all of Norrath. Trollkin for as far as the eye could see (or at least as far as the swamp gas would allow). We were happy. We danced...we frolicked...we were peaceful and loved our neighbors and the wilderness of the swamp. All those stories of barshin' an squishin' were racist attacks by those anti-trollkin light-skinned races. The man was trying to hold us down but we remained free and happy....

    Then the frogs came. In a blatantly racist attack, Sony sent legions of racist frogs in to take our land, rape our livestock, and kill our children. We found ourselves a broken people, forced to wander for years and years.

    Even now we find ourselves singled out in towns. Children point at our warty skin and bulbous noses. They complain about the smell of our uncured hide armor.

    How can we, as free thinking Americans, Europeans, Asians and the like allow this kind of blatant racism to exist in fantasy worlds!!!! Have you seen how they treat Dark Elves in EverQuest II?!?!?! It is shameful!!!!

  • Event motivation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teppy ( 105859 ) * on Friday October 22, 2004 @06:40PM (#10604460) Homepage
    While those saying "it's only a game" are making an often heard point, I haven't seem much discussion along the lines of why I think this was an interesting event. (BTW, I'm lead designer of ATITD [].)

    To a new player, ATITD can seem like a game about building "stuff." You build your camp, your compound, your character. If you play a long time, or play smart, you can excel in all of that. But the real challenge is that it's a game about building a perfect society, and that is *hard*. It's hard in RL, and if I'm doing my job correctly it should be hard in the game.

    Along comes a foreign trader, with shiny new goods, and an attitude that's totaly offensive, totally out of line with the culture that has developed in our Ancient Egypt. Would you trade with him? Would you put aside your morals, if it meant you'd get an advantage that many people don't have? In real-life, would you patronize a store that had a "no jews allowed" policy? What if they had *really* good prices? Would you do it and hope nobody saw? Maybe feel guilty?

    The best books, movies, television - can provoke a range of emotions. I like books that make me feel happy, enraged, triumphant, guilty, enlightened, sad. I want to have all of those emotions available in an MMO, and emotions occur in players, not characters.

    So, to create emotions you have to do things to characters that the people behind them will react to. The only question is how hard is it ok to push? So hard that the person kills themself? Of course not. Did this event push too hard? Certainly for some people it did.

    I'll continue to make it hard to build this perfect society. If that means we trade subscriber counts for a more memorable, challenging experience, I'm confortable with that. After all, if I were optimizing for subscriber counts, I'd have done a combat based game. Hell, if I were optimizing for money, I'd have been a lawyer!
  • Misplaced Outrage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by logicnazi ( 169418 ) <> on Friday October 22, 2004 @06:54PM (#10604633) Homepage
    Look people this is a fictional world. Many fictional worlds include customs which would be utterly inappropriate in the real world. Every MMORPG includes random horrible violence. Usually you kill things like goblins just because of their race. Why is this suddenly differnt.

    The ultimate point being that you can explore, and enjoy an online fantasy world without endorsing what occurs in that world. If we can't have discriminatory or asshole NPCs how do you acheive game conflict. Nothing I have seen suggests the game is *advocating* this position. I think this sort of thing can give important flavor and something for the players to campaign against.

    In a broader sense I think these outrages are not only misplaced but cause us to miss broader issues. There is no danger in the modern world that people will backslide and start treating women as property again. However, there are plenty of subtle ways in which women are kept down and oppressed. This sort of 'outrage' detracts from the real issue.

    For instance 90% of males I know, even 'liberated' males prefer to date women who are less assertive and intelligent than them. Girls who act like their male friends in assertivity and arguing about CS (or math or whatever) simply aren't found desierable. Guys who think logically are awarded with praise while often girls who do the same thing are chided for being too 'masculine'.

    Every time we waste our time and focus on one of these 'outrages' we make things worse. Men get to think of themselves as 'liberated' and supporting equality for women when in fact they are the heart of the modern problem. It is only by focusing attention of these subtle inter-personal interactions can any true progress be made.
  • Bah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobaFett ( 93158 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @08:13PM (#10605380) Homepage
    It's a game set in ancient Egypt. As such, it should have social interactions appropriate for the time and the place. A trader who refuses to deal with women is certainly not out of character, so it has every right to be there. You don't like that? Then you don't like to play a character in ancient Egypt, nobody said you must. You want to play a character in an Egypt-like land which treats women fairly? Well, may be some other game will accomodate you, or you can start your own, but even if not, there is no God-given right to have your perfect game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2004 @08:22PM (#10605455)
    Allow me for a moment to speak as someone who has actually played the game, rather than someone bitching about something they thought they heard about on some news post someplace.

    The ATITD games are basically games where the players make *all* the meaningful rules. It's pretty damn crude (and more than just a little bit boring) by some standards, but at the core of it is the players making laws for themselves. Whatever laws (and particularly the stupid ones) the players draft up, vote on, and pass into approval, the head developer implements.

    ATITD (the first one) had *several* hundreds of laws. Laws pertaining to right of way. Laws pertaining to where people can build. Laws pertaining to what happens when someone steals something. Laws for *everything*, well, everything except slavery and equal rights. ATITD2 is starting fresh, there's only a handful of laws in play at the moment, and so this time the devs apparently decided to prod the players a bit to see if they'd draft up the necessary laws outlawing slavery and so on, by having an NPC roll into town from a reasonably historically accurate neighboring land.

    Now you would think that if the previous run of the game had many hundreds of laws that after this there would be a flurry of Leadership petitions being assembled to formally outlaw slavery, racism, hatred, and cornish hens besides (I told you not all the laws made sense). Well, actually, there are. There is also a flurry of inflammatory reporting being done by websites without the first clue as to what actually went on in the game, being fed by a small number of dim-witted people who can't see the difference between their character and their actual selves.

    The "riot" wasn't so much that players were pissed off about the event as it was that the players were looking for that slaver to express their desire he get the hell out of Egypt.

    The black girl who was so put out by this event needs to *get a grip*. The game is set in ancient Egypt. Her character is a citizen there and her character saw another character acting like an ass. There's no need for her to be personally offended by it, and unlike other MMORPGS, she herself can login to the game anddraft a law, convince other players to sign it, and have that slaver removed from the environment permanently by exile. No messing about with GMs and policies needed.
  • by obsid1an ( 665888 ) <obsidian AT mchsi DOT com> on Saturday October 23, 2004 @04:36PM (#10610361)
    I just don't understand the big controversy here. It other games it is common for certain races not to train or help those of other races. In SWG, races other than human have to pay more faction points for Imperial items. All that's being done here is with sex instead of race. It's a game people, and the comments by the npc are within the context of the game. Saying the developers are being sexist is akin to saying the developers of id are satanists.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler