A hacker terrorised Guild Wars 2 for weeks and weeks. When the game's creators finally took action, they humiliated the crap out of the dirty cheater.
They took control of the hacker's character, stripped them naked, and made them jump to their death. Then they systematically deleted each of the hacker's characters and banned them. Here's how it all happened.
To hear Guild Wars 2 players tell it, a single player has been bending the rules -- or snapping them over their knee, clean in two, really -- to dominate the game's large-scale World vs World PvP for three weeks. Apparently this player could deal absurd damage, teleport and survive nigh-impossible situations, and their opponents could only grind their teeth and watch. Day in and day out, players reported, the hacker would warp into precious keeps and capture structures, all the while dispatching whoever dared get in their way. It was, to put it plainly, some ol' bullshit.
People came to assume that Guild Wars 2 creator ArenaNet didn't care enough to do anything about their game's equivalent of Loki, but then they hit them with Thor's banhammer. And they hit them hard. After fed up players posted a video of the hacker's dirty deeds, Guild Wars 2 security lead Chris Cleary finally took action. He explained in a forum thread:
"We don't need to see it in-game, sometimes good video evidence is enough for me to track down who it was. In this case, the video was enough for me to find out who it was and take action. Thanks for the video, and to accompany your video, I give you this video of his account's last moments."
"Oh yah, he's also banned."
Here's the video in question, which depicts the hacker's character leaping naked to his doom while under Cleary's control:
Cleary also said he banned other accounts linked to the hacker. So, case closed, right? Hardly.
While many players cheered at the hacker's public spanking, others thought Cleary went too far. They felt what he did was unprofessional, and that ArenaNet should spend less time on humiliating spectacle and more time sealing the holes that let hackers into their game in the first place.
Admittedly, there's some false equivalence there (time spent on one of those things does not necessarily equate to time taken from another), but I get what they're saying: this is a band-aid over a bullet wound. Yeah sure, you got one hacker and made them look silly, but it's not time to run around declaring victory yet.
Other players, however, thought Cleary performed the video game security equivalent of mounting a fallen foe's head on a pointy stick and displaying it for all to see. Hopefully, they said, this gesture will make players think twice about cheating. Or as one player put it: "One person's embarrassment is another person's accountability."
Others were grateful for both the justice and the entertainment:
So it's an odd situation, a case of people realising that maybe vengeance isn't always as sweet as they thought it'd be -- not once it breaches the pesky hurdle between oh-so-satisfying fantasy and real life. I reached out to ArenaNet to ask about why they chose to handle the situation this way, whether they felt like they handled all of this well in hindsight, and Guild Wars 2's larger problems with cheating/hacking, but they declined to comment.
What do you think? Was ArenaNet in the right here, or did they go too far? Certainly, hacking an MMO and using your ill-gained powers to dominate against other players is a dick move -- and it's damn satisfying to see people get what they deserve for it -- but should insult be added to injury? And given that a lot of cheaters are pretty unscrupulous, do you think it will even dissuade anybody? Or are cheaters too busy watching the world burn to care?