Sunday, May 3, 2009

Witch Hunters

In every MMO there is a group of players I call "Witch Hunters.” A Witch Hunter is someone who investigates other player’s activities with the goal of determining if they are cheating. These players are not sanctioned by the developers and have developed a playstyle which makes them act like online vigilantes. Similar to real-life vigilantes, these Witch Hunters lack any authority to accuse other players of transgressions. They also lack the tools to validate or investigate the accusation, but that does not stop the online Witch Hunter from harassing other players.

And, essentially, that is what Witch Hunters do – they harass other players. Now some are better than others. Some simply submit a report to the GM and move on with their activities. I’m fine with that because I have faith that the GM’s will either ignore the request or check me out and decide I’m not cheating. But it seems a rare breed of Witch Hunter who is satisfied with simply reporting someone and moving on. Most, it seems, would rather create a confrontation with the person they believe is cheating and use this confrontation as an excuse for online harassment.

As an example I give you this article from Eve-pirate.

This is a stunningly craptacular article on how to detect player that are macroing or farming. Why is it stunningly craptacular? Because it focuses on what the author assumes a macroer is. That’s fine, if you actually know. But, to me, it seems obvious that Aceoil has no idea what a macro player is, and is also happy to impinge upon the rights of others in order to chase her witch.

To briefly sum up her “Identifying the Farmers” section, Aceoil thinks the following indicates a Macro user, or a farmer:

If “they” (because all macro users do it in groups) are in a newbie corp for longer than six months

They share a creation date with someone else in the system (and you have to check everyone in the system, or at least everyone at the belts, if you’re going to be a good Witch Hunter)

They log on or off at the same time every day

They have a weird name

They stay in the same system all the time

They don’t react to chat requests or mild harassment (like bumping)

They speak English poorly

They use a retriever or covetor instead of a hulk

They have their own corporation

And what does Aceoil think you should do about this person you’ve decided is a macroer?

Wardec him if he’s in a non-NPC corporation

Try to trick him into using your can instead of his

Steal his ore

Chase them if they change systems

Suicide on them in Kestrels or Caracals

Bump them more

Make sure to join #macrointel in order to track who is macroing

So as you can see, the Witch Hunter does two things – she uses a poorly defined set of criteria to identify someone on the fringe of the group, and then uses harassment to harm his gaming experience. Not exactly a sympathetic character, is she?

More links to MacroMiner Haters:

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