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Ten Ton Hammerâs managing editor, Cody âMicajahâ Bye, filling in for John âBoomjackâ Hoskin on this lovely morning, and I expect youâre all absolutely awash in uncontrollable enthusiasm for whatever Iâm going to write about. Even if youâre not, I encourage you to continue reading, for the tale Iâm about to tell is awash with mystery, intrigue, and some plain-Jane weirdness. By the end, youâll be saying: âOh my gawd! That wasâ¦.nutritious!"
Relationships â they come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. You have a relationship with your best friend, your parents, and your dog. They are inevitable part of being human and theyâll crop up even if you donât have another human being to interact with (if you donât believe me, just watch Tom Hanks and Wilson in Cast Away). But sometimes relationships push the boundaries of moral behavior, and authorities are forced to intervene.
As MMOG players, weâre used to developing relationship with individuals through our friends, guildmates, and our random group encounters. We take relationship building in stride, either crushing any l33t d00ds we bump into with existential philosophy or fostering the growth of relationships with the individuals we respect and trust. And in MMOGs â unlike life â we tend to be more honest and forthright with our feelings, thanks to the anonymity of the computer screen. Unfortunately, this anonymity can dissolve and weâre faced with a situation that we do not know how to handle.
Such, it seems, was the case of Tamara Broome, a 31-year-old individual that flew to the United States from Australia in an attempt to meet up with her online partner, a 17-year-old boy from North Carolina. The story, which ran on news.com.au, did not go into the details of their relationship, other than that Broome had started âan intense relationship with the boy, then 16, a year ago through medieval-themed online role-playing game World of Warcraft.â The report also stated that the two individuals âplanned to marry.â
According to the report, the woman said that her ticket to the U.S. had actually been purchased by the boyâs parents, who wanted to fly her to the U.S. so they could âsort it all out.â When the woman arrived in North Carolina, she was met by three detectives as she tried to board a train.
Despite my hesitancy to write about another âscandalâ for video gamers, I had to interject my thoughts on this particular nugget of news reporting. To be honest, I find this story to be incredibly sad and disturbing at the same time. Although the exact information of the relationship the two individuals had was not revealed, I find it incredibly difficult to assume that there was any mention of age when the individuals met in-game, nor was there probably any sort of predatory advances initiated by the woman.
From personal experience, I have never been solicited in any MMORPG, except from gold buyers. Even then, it was not persistent, nor was it anything but an annoyance. And, for all intents and purposes, if there is someone in an MMORPG whom advances any sort of online sexual activity, itâs usually the male counterpart in the game rather than the female, quite the contrary to what this article suggests.
While neither I, nor Ten Ton Hammer in general, would ever condone any sort of illegal activity with a minor, I find it disturbing that the parents of the child apparently flew the woman to the United States in an effort to get her arrested. How else would the detectives be at a train station exactly when the woman arrived? Instead of laying any sort of blame on their son, they instead chose to exact their punishment on the Australian woman.
In the end, it again looks as if poor parenting is responsible for yet another âblame the gameâ sort of incident. World of Warcraft, like most MMOGs, can serve merely as a large chat room with graphics attached. Like any sort of Internet messaging service or chat room, these parents should have been making sure that their child was acting appropriately and not attracting the wrong sort of people.
Even if the woman had the wrong intentions in mind, the situation should have never occurred in the first place! Instead of monitoring the online relationships their boy was engaging in, these parents were forced to make a reactionary decision to the situation, which landed Tamara Broome in jail.
Please, if you are a parent, monitor the online behavior of your children. Developers should always provide as much support as possible to help protect your kids, but itâs up to you, as parents, to insure your childâs overall safety.
Jeff âEthecâ Woleslagle reported on this last night, but it still should come to everyoneâs attention this morning. NCsoft via the Auto Assault website announced that they were closing down the servers to the short lived auto-warfare MMOG at the end of this summer.
âThe service will close at midnight on August 31, 2007. As of today, any player currently in the service with an active billed account will not be billed again. If players have previously purchased time via multi-month billing or time cards that extends their service past July 31, NCsoft will reconcile these accounts appropriately. There will be more announcements coming soon regarding the shut down of Auto Assault and its impact on current accounts.â
That said, NetDevil has an extensive devotion to all of their products. If Jumpgate is any evidence of the determination of NetDevil to revitalize an older product, then donât expect a total and complete demise of Auto Assault just yet.
Iâm in the process of contacting NetDevil as I write this, and Iâll hopefully have word of the details of closure soon.
Congratulations to Theresa "Prynnie" Perkins, grand prize winner of our "Trip to BlizzCon" contest! Theresa will be flying out to Anaheim, CA to enjoy the sights and sounds of BlizzCon, staying at a top rated hotel, and enjoying some food and spending money courtest of Ten Ton Hammer. Congratulations are also in order for runner-ups plynrnds, Aerynne, Kellias, and Medeor, who get a free BlizzCon pass to attend one of the summer's hottest events!
Missed out on the BlizzCon contest but looking forward to SOE Fan Faire? We couldn't leave out the SOE fans in our community, so we're sending one lucky person to Fan Faire, August 2nd-5th in Las Vegas, Nevada! Click here for details!
In other news, the latest Fury gameplay trailer has landed in our laps. Jeff and I both agree that the line, âWaste enemies, not time!â is pure marketing gold. Kudos to Auran and Gamecock for making a tremendous looking, fast-paced MMOTPS.
Finally, make sure you donât miss Jeff Woleslagleâs numerous articles from his two-day trip to San Francisco. Today's Loading... features Jeffâs interview with Crypticâs lead designer for City of Heroes/Villains, Matt Miller., and yesterdayâs article previewing Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures can be seen here.
What do you think about parenting and MMOGs? Is it too difficult for parents to monitor their childs online activity? What are your thoughts on the Auto Assault closure or our latest contest give-away? Comment in the blog (now with direct link goodness) or email me directly.
Win an All-Expense Paid Trip to SOE Fan Faire!
We've just chosen the winner of the Free Trip to BlizzCon contest, but we couldn't leave out our friends that enjoy SOE's fine and growing lineup of quality MMORPGs! That's why we're choosing one premium member from our community to send to SOE Fan Faire, all expenses paid! In addition to the event pass, we're paying for airfare (roundtrip within the contiguous United States and Canada*), hotel, and $200 expenses as a grand prize!
Blog: I Want to Be Different
"Ralsu says he wants his character to stand out from the rest in the end game. But what does different mean and how does he achieve that unique character? All that and more in Ralsu's blog."
Blog: More Than Meets The Eye
"Cody "Micajah" Bye went to the opening of the Transformers movie last night and reports on the incredible success of the live-action giant robot flick. Read about this and why you too should go see Transformers in his blog."
Blog: Revisiting Female Elves and the Men Who Play Them
We once again revisit the controversial topic of men playing females in World of Warcraft. "Heal Plz" takes a clear and cut view at this topic in this interesting blog update.
Blog: When WoW Interferes with Real Life
In Messiah's latest Blog entry he talks about how WoW can take over your real life and gives an example of why you should take everything in moderation.
City of Heroes/City of Villains: Lead Designer Matt Miller Interviewed at Cryptic Studios
"As the team behind City of Heroes / City of Villains prepares to launch its tenth free expansion, we spoke with Lead Designer Matt Miller and a handful of the crew on-site at Cryptic Studios in Los Gatos, California last week about Issue 10: Invasion and, in general, what it takes to keep a subscription game fresh and compelling long after the release date."
Dungeons and Dragons Online: A Cry for Help!
"Into the lair of the Rakshasa of Gianthold. These nefarious backhanded (literally) spirits have taken a hostage, and you are entering their lair to save their hapless victim. Learn how to survive the attentions of the vile rakshasa and their followers with Khalas's new guide to: A Cry For Help!"
Everquest 2: Tradeskills Guide Levels 1-10
"Are you a EQ2 tradeskill newbie? Its nothing to be ashamed of, I promise you! With the next expansion a long way off, it is time to get your feet wet learning how to craft. Join Savanja (also a tradeskill newbie), as she stumbles through the first 10 levels of crafting, sharing her not quite painful experience."
Gods and Heroes: Sea What I Mean?
"Water you talking about? Why, I'm talking about the creatures that inhabit the wonderful world of water! These powerful swimmers and, in some cases, dangerous enemies, are the subject of our latest bestiary update! Come look them up before they smack you down!"
Lord of the Rings Online: The Black Book of Ettenmoor Chapter 2
"The next chapter of our comprehensive PvP guide is up today. This one continues where the first chapter left off, detailing the rest of the quests."
Lord of the Rings Online: Prospector Recipe List
"Digging in the rocks and dirt isn't easy, but a Prospector does it day in and day out. What can you make and what levels can you obtain in this skill? Ten Ton Hammer has your complete list available right here."
World of Warcraft : Horde Leveling Guide Update
"Finding quests got you down? The rest of your friends or guild mates already blown past you to 60 or even worse 70? Want to get to level 60 as quickly as possible to experience the Burning Crusade content? Join the crowd! Find all the details on how and where to level quickly in out Horde Leveling Guide."
- 38 Studios: Interview With Brett Close, President and CEO
- Age of Conan: Preview
- Warhammer Online: Interview With Mark Jacobs
- LEGO Universe: NetDevilâs Open House
- Fury: Exclusive Environment Images
- City of Heroes/Villains Lead Designer Matt Miller Interviewed at Cryptic Studios
- Win A Trip To SOE FanFaire!
- LEGO Universe: Preview
- Pirates of the Burning Sea: Interview With Kevin Maginn
- Warhammer Online: Interview With Jeff Hickman and Paul Barnett
Man Arrested for Posing as Merle Haggard's Son
Merle Haggard fans are singing the blues.
Paris Hilton's Trash Pulling Big Money on eBay
You too can own Paris Hilton's old crap!
For Sale: Dracula's Castle
Ancient bloodsuckers not part of deal.
Thanks as always for visiting TenTonHammer.com.
Cody "Micajah" Bye