February 15, 2005

A line in the sand

There are dark currents moving through the world of online gaming. I do not mean casinos, I mean companies like IGE (no link provided, now or ever) that broker the sales of ingame data. Today, I went to the official Lineage II forums and posted this:

Cindy Bowens on the secondary market
One Vanguard fansite takes a stand

With these two links I am risking losing my privilege to post on these boards, but hopefully I will still be allowed to play. Make no mistake, I fully understand and accept the risk I am taking.

This is not a "conspiracy theory". These are facts. IGE has been approaching both companies and fansites in an effort to extend their reach into the gaming world and legitimize their brokerage of game data sales. This is not X-Files, Ash, this is being talked about at Terra Nova and other major academic sites. This is no longer smoke and mirrors.

IGE has drawn a line in the sand. There is no longer any fence sitting. Players, developers, website builders, all of us must choose which side of this debate we are on and be prepared to fight for what we believe in.

I stand opposed to any and all efforts to exchange ingame data for real life cash. No quarter, no prisoners taken, and no surrender. There can no longer be any waffling by we the players, or by the developers. I will not support any company that supports IGE. When this finally hits the courts, if IGE walks away with the prize I will no longer play online games.

We cannot allow the cheaters, the shortcut takers, and any others who treat legitimate players as mere background objects in their quest for ever greater egocentric self-gratification to dominate our games.

My friends, my enemies, my fellow players, and yes, even the staff at these official forums, I ask you,

Where do you stand?

I am so angry now I can barely type. Nothing in all my years of dealing with the worst humanity has to offer has prepared me for this outrage. The depth of hypocrisy, the attempt to hijack the American legal system for self-aggrandizement, the sheer ego of Brock Pierce in his drive for self-justification is so enraging I cannot see straight. While the mainstream press wallows away with elections in Iraq and the petty tyranny of Syria and North Korea, black-hearted Americans are eating away at the very fabric of our society!

Games and how we play them define who we are. The way we play determines the values our society holds dear. In play we open ourselves fully and the reality of our personal priorities pour forth for everyone to see. This is why cheating is always frowned upon and always dealt with quickly and severely. Cheating in any form derives from the same source: the cheater assumes they are morally superior to their fellow participants and therefore above the rules governing everyone else. Cheating dehumanizes your fellow players and reduces them to mere props in your personal quest for self-congratulation. Cheating is the first, foremost, most visible, and earliest sign of lazy thinking, sociopathic egocentrism, and elitist arrogance.

When it reaches into intellectual property rights it is also illegal. Pierce Brock should have been jailed a decade ago when he founded IGE, and he knew this, so he founded it overseas and put its corporate headquarters in Hong Kong. He deliberately put himself outside the laws of his homeland in order to better facilitate his fleecing of the American people! Now, after a decade of being allowed to treat the legal system of the United States of America as his personal playground, he has begun taking steps to legitimize his illegal, immoral, and completely self-centered pursuit of black market money!

IGE has drawn a line in the sand. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Whoever you are, wherever you are, please, take a stand now and do not support IGE or any company that supports IGE through any means.

This is a cancer that is eating at the heart of our modern civilization. This is exactly the kind of presumptive arrogance that leaves the disadvantaged feeling impotent in the face of our modern world and forces them into terrorism as the only way for their voices to be heard. The greatest problem facing our world today is not Islam, it is hypocritic self-serving business people from modern, industrialized countries.

The battle against greed and arrogance is the real battle we should be fighting. The backdoor maneuvering of IGE is but one example of this widespread presumptiveness. It drove the executives of Enron and Worldcom, it drove the inside trading of Martha Stewart, it raises its foul head every time you cheat the IRS out of ten dollars on your tax return. If we cannot personally live in an ethical manner, if we cannot demand good ethics from every private and public organization in our society, then friends, we will follow the Roman Empire into the history books until we too are nothing more than a dead language and a handful of half-forgotten myths.

And that is the real lesson of history.