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Reader Comments (120)

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 2:07PM Ace220X said

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Lawsuits have just gotten way out of hand. Playing a video game for 12 hours a day with routine must be a rare level of video game addiction, and there should be no way for him to win this case. This man's weakness should not be rewarded when millions of other people manage their playtime with ease. It's also ridiculous that he is making a claim for $3 million because even if he was in the right with this case (he isn't), I highly doubt his 5 year income would be anywhere near this value. More likely, it would be around $200,000. From that, I'd subtract the costs he cut from paying $15 dollars a month and using that as a sole source of entertainment. If I were the judge, I'd buy the guy a Happy Meal out-of-pocket and tell him to get that joke out of my courtroom.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:17PM (Unverified) said

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So how exactly is he going to prove his case? Saying "I'm a loser and wasted 20,000 hours of my life and it's all NCSoft's fault" is not really going to cut it. He has to prove that Lineage 2 is somehow overly addictive, and intentionally so. I tried Lineage 2 way back when. I played for maybe 2 days and then quit forever. For me, it wasn't addictive at all. For thousands of others it wasn't addictive at all. It was just addictive for HIM, and that is not the company's fault.

Also, NCSoft is probably one of the best companies when it comes to warning against excessive play time. Most (or all?) of their games include in-game warnings when you've been playing too long. If you ignore those warnings that's your fault, not NCSoft's.


Finally, 3 million dollars?! Lol, on what grounds? "I've been having so much fun for the past few years that I couldn't do anything else, so NCSoft owes me $3 million." *boggle* If he quit his job to play he could argue lost wages, and then maybe damages as a percentage of those lost wages, but $3 million is ludicrious.

I suspect the only reason this case wasn't immediately thrown out of court was due to yet another activist anti-gaming judge wanting to score a point against the gaming industry. Because, you know, it's evil and corrupting our youth.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 3:17PM (Unverified) said

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Go into court, show how the game mechanics work like a slot machine, spend a few hours camping and killing a boss for a slim chance at some loot. Show how the game starts off with quick levels then quickly climbs until you're killing mobs for hours to hit that next level. Show how the selling points of the game (PvP primarily) are basically inaccessible without inputting tremendous amounts of time.

It's obvious the game is designed to consume time and reward addiction. The only question is whether or not the judge and jury feel that the company is doing something wrong.

I personally think they need to tone it down. Nothing good comes from 0.1 % drop rates and 20 hour grinds for a level, and plenty of bad comes from it. A long-winded rep grind for a pointless trophy? Go for it. Basic game mechanics that require that kind of behavior to simply compete are a bane on the MMO industry, and NCSoft is one of the top contributors.
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Posted: Aug 27th 2010 1:32PM niakori said

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@SirNiko

Show the game in court? Mr. Smallwood's case will be in jeopardy as soon as the Extended Play warning pops up.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:20PM dudes said

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I don't think he can win this one.

But I would advise a therapy session or two before he gets sectioned.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:25PM Liltawen said

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NCSoft should sue him for the RMT.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:27PM toychristopher said

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This Smallwood guy sounds like a real winner. He must have a pretty keen eye to see through NCSoft's plot to get him to move to Aion.

Posted: Aug 22nd 2010 10:54PM (Unverified) said

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I lol'd.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:29PM Jade Effect said

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This guy plays over 10 hours a day for 5 years. Did it really need to take so long for him to realize he's addicted? Maybe he should have sought psychological help for his addiction instead of blaming NCSoft for not putting warning labels on their games?

When I read the article, I thought, "It's probably an American making another frivolous lawsuit" and was not surprised that (upon checking) Mr Smallwood is from Hawaii.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:43PM Its Utakata stupid said

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The public should be able to sue incompetent judges. Just saying...

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 12:56PM (Unverified) said

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http://www.state.hi.us/jud/opinions/ica/2008/ica27285.htm
Looks like my smallwood has a history of filing frivolous lawsuits

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:06PM Deadalon said

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Im starting to think this Mr Smallwood has bit more between his ears than half of the ppl posting on Massively atm. How many of them live on social benefits ? How many have regulare jobs ? How many are under the age of 20 ? How many are still in school ?

Now... your welcome to say whatever you like - but the fact is that you can claim to be the president of USA and ppl are as likely to belive you - when you say you dont live on social benefits and actually have a job.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:16PM Dblade said

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I'm going to play devil's advocate.

Everyone here is saying an addictive personality can get addicted to anything. How many addictive personalities play the boardgame Risk 11 hours per day?

MMOS by design encourage unhealthy and addictive use. They do this by quite a few reasons.

For one, they create a reinforcement feedback loop. The more you play, the more you are rewarded. However, the more you play, the longer it takes for your next reward: your next "ding" or level up, or next high from a dropped piece of raid gear. It's scary in a way: they "train" you through reinforcement and a lot of early rewards, then withdraw and slow them at later levels eerily similar to how your body develops a tolerance to a drug.

Also, they are designed similar to casinos, where they don't provide limits to abusive use. What people don't often realize his how much psychological tricks at a subconscious level can affect us. Casinos don't have clocks visible, for one: this is a planned choice to try and get you into a flow state which robs you of your time sense and encourages play to the point of fatigue.

I don't think MMO designers consciously intend this, but I have yet to see an MMO designed where that playing 11 hours per day gives less reward than playing 4. I've never seen an MMO designed to specifically prevent overuse.

A lot of people like to trumpet individual responsibility but forget that a lot of addictive behavior is bolstered by specifically designed psychological tricks that take advantage of our brain chemistry and the way our mind works. I can't even playing devils advocate condone suing a maker of MMOs for that, but I think people need to realize a lot of video games are designed both intentionally and unintenionally to encourage addictive play and mindsets. We really need to start asking some hard questions about whether or not this is a good thing to encourage.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:31PM remover said

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thank you for articulating what I was wanting to more clearly, I was tired.

My above comments weren't in support of the gentleman winning a large settlement (i'm undecided on that front, another topic altogether). Whether or not he won was irrelevant. My point was that his claims were not without merit.

Also, someone above said something along the lines of "he was playing for 10 hours a day for 5 years, maybe he shoulda clued in and did something about it"..

I don't think you understand what addiction is. We throw the word around pretty loosely these days, so I don't blame you. But in this context, we're talking about what is pretty much a developed mental illness. Part of addiction is usually losing sight of what's healthy for us individually and no longer being able to make that call.

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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:49PM Dblade said

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Thanks. I'm not sure about addiction as a mental illness in itself. A lot of people are addicted to exercise for the same reasons that are negative when applied to other things, and being health-conscious involves creating positive addictions-we just call them good habits. Maybe we'd need another term for that.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 2:11PM DeadlyAccurate said

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I have absolutely no doubt the guy was addicted, and I have no doubt MMOs are designed to keep you playing with their reward feedback loop. I've joked before that I'm playing to get more gear to do more quests to get better gear to...do even more quests.

My disagreement is whether MMOs developers have a responsibility to warn players of it. And I don't think they do. If something like subliminal messaging was real and actually worked, and the games used something like that to keep people playing, then yeah, they would be engaged in deceptive practices and should be slapped down. But they aren't doing that. They aren't tricking players into playing. A person may not be aware of how they keep you playing, but the game doesn't actually hide it. It's our responsibility to monitor our own behavior and act accordingly.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:18PM (Unverified) said

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@deadalon- FYI I am a 30 year old with 3 jobs, 2 kids, a wife, and still go to school, how about yourself? As I have said before I have been playing lineage 2 since it went into closed beta and I don't seem to have a problem with addiction. This smallwood character is trying to get a quick buck out of a company that provides a game to the public. Also as I have stated before the game does warn you about playing long periods of time. He chose not to pay any attention to them.

IMO, he is pissed off because they banned his account for RMT, which is very common in mmo's. How can he claim defamation when NCSoft does not disclose who they ban or what they were banned for? How can he claim addiction when it was his choice to pay for the service? This is clearly a revenge lawsuit which he cannot win.

Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:30PM Deadalon said

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Send me personal information to the following email and I will verify it.

deadalon@gmail.com

This includes full name, address and phone number.

Me ? Im the president of Libera !

BTW - there are now very intresting laws beeing put forward in the north European countries regarding restriction to social benefits to addictive online gamers.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:57PM Dblade said

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No offense man, but if you have three jobs, two kids, and are going to school part time, you either play Lineage 30 minutes a week, or you don't sleep. I think that's why he's a little skeptical of your claims.
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Posted: Aug 20th 2010 1:38PM (Unverified) said

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Yeah like I would send my personal info to a stranger in an online gaming community. Nothing personal against you at all. However, you come on here accusing many others of not holding jobs and reaping social benefits yet prove nothing yourself, Mr. President of Libera!! What I was trying to point out is that many gamers, in fact most that I have met, are reliable, hard workers IRL.

As far as the Euro countries restricting these benefits, I say more power to them. I for one am totally for keeping the people who can't afford to support themselves from paying for games with "government" money.

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