The Darkness Behind Their Eyes: A Rockstar Story
So Take-Two Interactive sent a cease and desist to OpenIV and chaos has ensued eh? Well, seems like the perfect time to get my story of Rockstar woes polished up and out into the world, so that I can profit off of the negative attention that Rockstar is getting, and slurp up some sweet sweet hits for HTR. Let us get into it, shall we?
I have not played a video game in a little over seven months. I’m hardly a gamer, but I would dip my toe into the gamer pool (it’s a pretty rancid pool), from time to time. My gaming history is associated entirely with Rockstar, and if I was gaming, I was playing one of their games. But, then that all came crashing down on one fateful day last year.
On November 25, 2016 my account was suspended on Grand Theft Auto Online. This suspension was for one month, and I was told (via automated email), that I had violated Rockstar’s Terms of Service, and that after the month suspension, my progress would be reset. I held out hope that everything would be all right come December 25th, that I would somehow get lucky (Christmas is a time for miracles), and that my GTAO world would go unaffected. Unfortunately, as I found out on Christmas Day 2016, I had lost everything that I spent three years acquiring in GTAO, and would have to start a character from scratch. And, here is the kicker, I have no idea why I was suspended in the first place.
I’m not a gamer. I could go weeks without picking up a controller, and I generally don’t go out of my way (anymore), to buy games, or even research what the popular games are, etc. The big exception has always been Rockstar games, and my excitement for their new releases is always immense. My favourite game of all time is Bully, I played the online component of Red Dead Redemption a ridiculous amount (I never personally finished the campaign, because online just took up most of my time), I adored Max Payne 3, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on GTAV back in 2013. I have been playing GTAO consistently since 2013, moving from PS3 to PC once it became available, and transferring my character when I made the switch. When my hard drive needed to be replaced in Fall 2016, I wiped all my games, and the only one that I reloaded after I made the hard drive swap was GTAV. The GTAV campaign is strong, but the appeal to me about the GTA series has always been its open world, and GTAO finally allowed us to seriously explore the world the way that we wanted to. The amount of hours that I have put into GTAO is staggering (in FilmApe terms), and the amount of that time spent doing nothing except messing around, with myself or my friends, is probably gross to most people.
The alleged reason for my suspension, and the erasing of my account, was apparently because I “hacked” in GTAO. You can believe me or not, but I never once hacked. Certainly though, I associated with players who were running mods in GTAO, and given that I had been with the game since the beginning, I played through those lawless days when exploits ruled, and I certainly benefited from that. During my time on the PS3, I had hundreds of millions removed by Rockstar that was given me by other players, but never did I once seek to obtain riches for myself. Unfortunately, there is no reasoning with Rockstar, or any opportunity to state your case. You can be flagged as a “hacker” by their automated system, and that is literally it for you.
Obviously, when I found out that my account was suspended, I reached out to Rockstar to see what could be done about my situation. What followed was a series of email responses from them, each one reiterating the same thing, in an increasingly truncated way, that nothing could be done. It was incredibly obvious to me that I was not receiving anything other than automated responses from Rockstar’s customer service bot, given the wording of the emails and the insanely fast response time that I was receiving replies to my emails. I am sure that there is some way of getting behind the closed door and actually receive a response from a human being, but I certainly didn’t figure out how to do it.
Once I came to the realization that I was back to square one on GTAO, I decided that I was basically done with playing video games, and particularly done playing Rockstar games. I have placed a personal (and likely to be financially crushing for Rockstar) ban on playing or purchasing Rockstar games ever again, extending from this life and into the afterlife (when I’m in Hell with Rockstar, I’ll still refuse to play their games. I mean, there will be tons of other game companies down there to choose from anyway). Now, this is in no way an easy decision to make, as Rockstar has got upcoming titles that had me anticipating a console purchase just to play them, but I truly feel that to uphold what little integrity that I have, I can’t let them win on this one.
To wrap this all up, I should add that I hope that this isn’t coming across as complaining, or like I got wronged by some company, and now I’m trying to shame them (and get free stuff from them). If Rockstar offered to completely restore my account to exactly how it ways before it was wiped, I would decline that offer. The threat of knowing that the progress you’ve gained from time you’ve invested in an online game can be wiped in a second by a company was certainly eye opening to me. It dawned on me that despite giving Rockstar loads of dough for their game, it was never mine. The lords over at Rockstar were simply granting a peasant like me the privilege of playing around in their world. Thus, I have bid Rockstar adieu, with the realization that this is the state of video games at the moment, and little guys like me have no power. Making things worse though is that my case isn’t even unique, and this has happened to other players, in pretty much the exact same fashion as it happened to me. So, with what little power we have we post negative reviews, and sign petitions to try and make ourselves feel better, while the Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive fat cats sit on their thrones and laugh at us peasants down here on the ground…