As a former Eve Online player, I was disappointed but not surprised to hear about poor behavior at the latest CCP FanFestevent. What did surprise me was that the behavior was attributed to a panel speaker. The incident involved the display of a player to player communication where according to Eve Player Kestrel:
…one of the players clearly indicated suicidal thoughts and showed “obvious” signs of severe depression. When this communication was shown to the audience the presenter, along with part of the audience of players and CCP representatives present all had a good laugh. The presenter went on to encourage other players of Eve Online to harass this player in the hope that he would eventually be compelled to act on his suicidal thoughts.
Eve Online is a “sandbox” environment, which allows characters to develop their skills without artificial restrictions like character class. As part of this philosophy, pretty much anything goes in terms of in game activity (with the notable exception of real life fraud). The end result was the fact that the more advanced a players skillset became, the more likely that the player would become a target of in game scams and setups. While most MMOs would label such behavior harassment or griefing, most of these kinds of shenanigans are allowable in Eve Online.
Unfortunately, such a relaxed game environment only encourages the antagonistic tendencies already present in MMOs that allow or feature player vs. player interactions, and further increase the gamers sense of entitlement. Honestly, what makes Eve Online appealing to some is the wild west mentality, so there isn’t much to be done about the overall game environment. But people (and specifically CCP) should discourage panel speakers from openly mocking and encouraging this kind of behavior, otherwise others will hear about it through secondary sources.