If you thought only your gaming buddies cared about your online activities, think again. The NSA and its British counterpart the GHCQ are both monitoring online video games, which they insist make for excellent tools of communication, training, and even money laundering, but gamers are not so sure. So far most of their effort in the gaming worlds are confined to popular games like these. There are ways to find people who do not want to be found as well via these games. Of course a good NSA agent would not have a problem but neither would an online detective who knows a missing or person one want to get into contact with plays a certain game, they can get into their social circle that they play with. This would be a long game type of discovery but online detectives as well as the NSA are relentless to say the least.
World of Warcraft: Leading MMORPG
After nine years, it’s still the biggest thing in the world of MMORPGs. For a mere $19.99USD (plus a $15/mo subscription after the first month), a person can download the game, log in and create a Dwarven Hunter, Night-Elf Druid, or any number of other characters. They battle monsters and complete story-driven quests as they journey around the world of Azeroth. Players can form groups to team up and tackle harder quests or major bosses, and gain new equipment as they level up. With the Mists of Pandaria expansion, players can grow their characters up to level 90. There is an incredible following of this game and numerous blogs and websites dedicated to the MMORPG. If you’d like to join the action and brag about your ventures, you’ll need a reliable web hosting company. You can even make money by selling the characters you have developed.
Second Life: A Virtual World
Second Life is a different animal. It’s not so much a game with rules and goals; it’s a virtual simulation. You create an avatar for yourself, and you do whatever you like with it. And you don’t stop there; you can create almost anything. Design yourself a mansion. Create a fashion line and walk around in your creations.
The sky may be the limit, but the name really says it all: for most players, it’s an actual second life. Their avatars live the lives of movie stars, prison inmates, and postal workers; if you can name an activity, there is likely somebody doing that vicariously within Second Life. It’s free to join, but you can buy virtual currency, called Linden Dollars, premium memberships ($10/mo), and there are upkeep fees on land ($5/mo for the smallest blocks up to $295/mo for private regions).
X-Box Live: Collaborative Console Play
X-Box live boasts a host of popular games like Halo 4 (in which you save humanity from the evil Covenant by shooting them), Tomb Raider (in which you guide Lara Croft through adventure mazes), and many others. The thing that makes it really great is X-Box Live, Microsoft’s online service that connects almost 50 million people together for multiplayer gaming. The X-Box Live basic service is free, but their gold service (as cheap as $6.95 USD a month) provides access to new game titles every month and streaming media titles.
Angry Birds: Addictive Mobile Fun
The premise sounds kind of odd: you shoot birds from a slingshot to destroy evil pigs. But given that various versions of Angry Birds comprise almost two billion downloads, the funny sounds of the different angry birds and the mind-numbing variety of puzzle levels built by those evil pigs just don’t get old. Some versions are free, and premium versions usually run around $0.99USD. It can eat up hours, but is simple enough that you can whip out your smartphone while waiting in line and get a couple rounds in. If you’re near a WiFi hotspot, you don’t even have to use your mobile data to brag to your friends when you beat that level they’ve been stuck on for a week.
Starcraft II: Shoot ‘Em Up in Space
Starcraft II ($44.95 USD) took the world of strategy games by storm when it arrived in 2010. Three races battle for dominance. The Terrans are humans who build versatile infantry and mecha. The Protoss are an alien warrior race with highly developed psionic powers and advanced technology. The Zerg are the epitome of evolution, creating entirely biological constructs by introducing new DNA strains. The idea is to manage your economy and build an army to destroy your opponents.
Starcraft II is also the birthplace of e-sports. People actually tune in and watch commentated matches between professional players. South Korea actually has two television channels which broadcast matches full-time. There are professional competitions with prize pools as high as $400,000 USD.
Most players of these games would say they’re just good fun. As for the NSA? “If they ever read these forums,” wrote a goblin priest with the user name ‘Diaya,’ “they would realize they were wasting” their time. If you do get caught doing something make sure you have legal representation. For a criminal lawyer in Prince George, visit this site and get some more information.