Just because it's a video game doesn't mean scenes won't play out like they do in real life.

In a post over at Keep It Up, a curious role-playing scenario from Guild Wars 2 is detailed: one where a character named Sylvia saw a human male giving a single drink to a female character—only to have the female character pass out.

Outside the game, the person controlling Sylvia knew what had happened: the 'unconscious woman' was really just a player that had to excuse herself from the RP (role-play) because of something in real-life.

In-game, however, the woman chose to use the "sleep" command at a tavern—which makes it look like the player falls in the floor in a heap. Which is to say, in-game, the 'dubious scene' presented a weird but interesting opportunity for role-play.


She wrote:

I saw it as a great opportunity to pursue some roleplay. My character, who was already standing near the exit, questioned him on his way out about the woman over his shoulder. She wasn't even aggressive about it then, it was casual. Mild.

His mutterings were nervous and dubious at best. He spoke about how he had "papers" to allow for such a thing, and he just had to get her back to his place.


Needless to say, things took a turn for the uncomfortable: they were playing out a scene involving a guy attempting date rape!

Things escalated from there. Sylvia tried to get the man to leave the woman alone or to at least get the woman to some healers; the woman needed help. She tried to call the local guards. No dice, nobody cared. The man became more agitated at all the 'libelous' and insulting implications of what he was doing.


Even worse than having most people not care was that Sylvia then came under fire for being a loudmouthed nuisance that was "making a fuss" about "nothing."

People were more concerned over the reputation of the guy than they were of the well-being of the woman, basically.

I had initiated RP with the other player for the sake of fun, but I had increasingly become more and more unnerved by the turn. It's only a game and it's fantasy and roleplay and silliness, of course. The other players undoubtedly took cues from the out of character nature of things. It's not, after all, as if anyone could force another player to RP out something they don't wish.

However through the time spent playing this scene out, the manner in which it mirrored real life behaviour that I've either seen or read about in such detail was unpleasant, to say the least. Not only in the casual disregard for the unconscious woman's well-being from an IC perspective, but OOC the things that were said were so jarringly similar to the sexist and harmful things you hear in real life.


You can read the full post here, which has more details in regards to what happened—but still, pretty crazy, right? Nobody forced folks to play along, much less in this specific way that mirrored real-life rape culture—doubting the veracity of the tale, protecting the guy, failing to help the woman in danger and so on. But they did.

J. Keep, the author of the post, recognizes that the way the role-play turned out isn't indicative of real-world sexism of the players. That, in a way, isn't really the point.


"It's noteworthy because of how unnervingly true to life it was," she explained.

EDIT: To clarify, I don't think acting out a date-rape accusation scene is 'fun' or even tasteful, but the fact that people would do it to me is noteworthy.


Games Imitating Life: Rape Culture in MMORPGs? [Keep It Up]