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This week's video games made me do it story takes a particularly dark cast, as a Seattle teen stands accused of the rape and murder of a developmentally disabled neighbor. What game are the police investigating? Something from the Grand Theft Auto series or Mafia II? Nope, it's an MMO.

Ok, so an M-rated one like Age of Conan? No, but if you guessed that the police are investigating the suspect's links to Dungeons & Dragons Online, you're either an incredible guesser or you've seen the news story. More on this unbelievable story in today's Loading... The Usual Suspect.

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We all knew it was only a matter of time: DDO's active combat system has produced a real-life adolescent psychopath. Since 2006, the game's been working its insidious magic on the MMO masses, teaching our children that combat abilities can be tied to key presses. That rather than the much safer auto-attack toggle, which promotes the virtues of the global cooldown and patience among our youth. I blame Update 6 personally, with its nonchalant destruction of violent fishmen and nuanced rendering of underwater combat.

For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, according's to today's news a Seattle teen stands accused of raping and murdering a developmentally disabled teen. After a string of alleged cruelty most worthy of one of the hotter places in hell, he played DDO, apparently to help him forget. That's the tie-in that the police are investigating, for surely a kid couldn't be capable of such barbarity just on his own, right? 99.98% of us pass through those formative years without so much as a speeding ticket. He had to have been influenced by something, like those foul video games that kids play these days .

I'm hitting the story with what little Swiftian wit I possess because I hate that DDO's name (or our collective names as fellow gamers) have been dragged into this at all. The horror and tragedy of this story shouldn't be lost on any of us, and I don't mean to make light of it in my stupefaction at police investigating an online video game for possible motives.

I shudder at the double standard for video games versus other equally influential means of entertainment. By the time most of us are 18 we've watched thousands of movies and TV shows that graphically illustrate a profound disregard of human life - where are the police and their dour looks and notebooks here? Why aren't directors and scheduling execs being called to account for the "damaging impact" they've had on society? Why is the number one suspect always video games?

Maybe we should start looking at the obvious suspects in every known case of kids killing kids - lack of any real parenting or moral guidance. Maybe parents should stand trial alongside their kids in cases like this. The truth is that we all have a monster inside of us that has to be tamed before it goes out of control, and if you haven't seen a tendancy towards violence in kids, you haven't been around enough of them. Every horrific crime like this one is borne of lots of bad choices along the way, and while no one needs bad parents, everyone needs good parents and mentors. I'm especially impressed at my friends that didn't have good parents and still turned out to be stellar human beings, but in every case they had someone along the way to steady their progress.

Video games are an easy target because we can pull the plug on our kids' consoles or PCs, clap the dust from our hands, and congratulate ourselves on a near miss. To me, by and large that's just lazy parenting. Games like DDO are social experiences, and the fact that it's free to play makes it that much easier to play alongside your kid. Parents could actually get involved in their kids' interests and their life so they'll have a measure of respect for you when you have to lay down the law. It seems like common sense to me, but that's just my admittedly childless take - you parents out there, what's yours? Share it in the Loading... forum, and have a great weekend!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Guild Wars 2 General Discussion forum

Wanted: Your GW2 Questions for PAX Prime!

PAX Prime. Guild Wars 2. Your questions for the developers. That's
really all you need to know to understand what makes this thread Epic
with a capital E. Our Guild Wars 2 community site is seeking your
questions for ArenaNet. We'll do our best to get them answered, but
you've got to hurry. Post your questions (as many as you like) today!

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

No quotes, just your awesome questions!

and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

2 new and exclusive
Ton Hammer
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Intellectual Properties and MMOGs – Cure or Curse?

have been a number of MMOGs based off strong existing intellectual
properties, from Star Wars Galaxies, to Dungeons & Dragons Online,
to The Lord of the Rings Online. It would make sense that the huge
existing fanbases for these IPs would render any one of the MMOGs based
off them a smash success, and yet, so far, none have lived up to fan
expectations. Are intellectual properties a boon or a curse? Check out
Mattlow's editorial and see if you agree with his take on IPs and MMOGs.


StarCraft II - Campaign Research Upgrade Guide

a point of no return in an RPG, the campaign of StarCraft II offers you
some optional upgrades that you cannot change your mind about. Choosing
one blocks out another, and while all of these upgrades are useful,
some simply shine more than the others. Conventional wisdom doesn't
apply if you're used to multiplayer, so use our guide to ensure that
you don't end up regretting your decision and forced to replay the
campaign for the research you'll need to handle Brutal difficulty!

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- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
and the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.