Mentioned this a few times on twitter already but I figured I’d put up a better explanation than 140 characters will allow.
The short of it is that my intellectual property was ripped off and I refuse to give them money because of it.
I don’t care if you believe me, in fact I expect to be heckled and trolled for saying this since in my experience men who abuse people (especially women) tend to stick together and cover for each other, and well, this is the internet. Despite that this has happened to many people in this and various other creative industries, people will pretend that it can’t possibly have happened, or try to tear down my character with various troll attack attempts. Hey, even my own friends refused to believe me at first, joking that I must be psychic and have unconsciously ripped off GW2 over a decade before GW2 was even thought up! Because a well-respected company wouldn’t possibly act like this right?
So, to offset the inevitable trolling, have any of your ideas ever been ripped off by someone, a boss, a coworker, a friend? How did you deal with it?
I hope, though I doubt it, that the ripoff occurred innocently, that the man who said he would steal my idea and give it to his friend in the industry did so without his friend (now obviously somewhere at the staff of GW2) knowing the source was me, someone who wanted to be in the game industry in the first place and who was prevented by starvation and lack of support from even getting a regular job or finishing college. Someone who didn’t believe the threats until years later when it did become obvious that yes, the creep was sending people after me to ruin my life, over and over. Without the friend knowing he was ripping off a woman who was homeless for seven years. Without knowing that the man was a complete disgusting piece of shit who looked in my windows and was emotionally manipulative and abusive even though I refused to go out with him because something tipped me off that the whole thing was a joke to him. I suspected he was actually married and was trying to cheat on her because she’d just had a baby and couldn’t have sex again yet. (He was on leave from work while his “best friend” – a “hot redhead” who was “crazy about him” – was on maternity leave.)
Knowing that man and the quality of his other friends, the conversation I imagine in my head goes more like this:
“Hey, bro, you know that idea for a race I told you about, the Sylvari? The woman who came up with that was homeless for seven years and can’t work anymore after all the stress of me and my buddies trying to drive her to suicide! Oh and hey, looks like she lost all the evidence it was her idea when she was homeless so feel free to include that in your game now.”
“Ha ha friend, serves her right for turning you down man! Bros before hos!”
“I know right? The nerve of refusing me just because she thought that me looking in her windows at night, constantly talking about golden showers, and making harassing phone calls was creepy! Oh and remember they have to be carnivores so she knows that not only did we successfully steal the idea but we shit all over it.”
“Sure thing, I owe you one for teaching me how to date rape women and get away with it!”
Obviously I don’t know the person at GW2 the idea was given to is even a man much less a date rapist but the creepy guy’s friends did include such savory characters so I don’t have much hope.
So assuming for even one instant that I’m telling the truth and that these people did commit an act of intellectual theft, what am I going to do about it?
Nothing. I can’t afford to sue them, even if I had the evidence after being homeless for so long and losing half my papers. So the only thing I can do is to not play GW2, and not give them any money at all – ever. Which sucks because it’s supposedly the Messiah of upcoming games right now.
So what am I supposed to do about this, write to them and nicely ask them to give me credit? If they wanted to give me credit it would have been given in the first place, not stolen.
Context is everything. I’ve given ideas to other games and seen them implemented, but those were GIVEN not threatened to be stolen then stolen despite my protesting that particular idea was NOT something I wanted used in someone else’s creative work.
Yes I know the idea for the race is kinda derivative and bland. I came up with it when I was a kid, ok? It’s still mine.
It’s also quite possible that the person at GW2 was spoonfed the idea for Sylvari in such a way that they were made to believe it WAS their idea, and they had no clue their friend was a complete dickheaded douche who was ripping me off by handing it to them. He was very hypnotic and manipulative. One of those super social savvy types who’s a completely sadistic psychopath underneath.
My one small comfort is that they got it all wrong. But the thing is, because I was delayed in publishing my own work, when I do finally do it people will be saying “Oh, Sylvari, you ripped that off from GW2 didn’t you?” Which is totally unfair after what happened.
My Sylvari were a race of plant-people, born from a Mother Tree, who had come to another world through a worldgate and settled there. Originally they weren’t even called Sylvari, half their race is Sylvari and half are Sylvani, so named for the brothers who split the tribes east and west.
They are not carnivorous but omnivorous, capable of eating what’s before them but preferring sunlight (photosynthesis) and meditation. To rest and heal they sink their magical roots deep in the ground. They are genderless and asexual but those of their race who became familiar with other cultures and races choose to manifest gender in order for the aliens such as humans to feel more comfortable around them.
The world-universe they are set in was one I came up with at the age of eight. It was more than an idea, it was an alternate LIFE for me, my escape from the bullying at school to a world where I mattered to someone. It was the world that kept me going when I was being beaten every day and the teachers looked the other way, allowing it to happen, punishing me if I hit back. I never hit anyone first.
The creep asked me a lot of questions about my world, I was flattered at first. Yes, I was naive and stupid and didn’t protect my ideas. I was also poor and had no way to register them. Not even registered mail.
So I guess I’ll probably be sued by GW2 for slander now despite that they ripped me off. Or they’ll just ignore this and let me be trolled. I doubt they’ll do the right thing. Speaking up puts me in a worse position than staying silent… but if I stay silent what do I say when people ask me why I’m not playing GW2?
Could lie and say I didn’t find it interesting, though I was very interested until I realized I wasn’t ok with being ripped off. A lot of the gameplay elements seemed to answer the criticisms I’d made of Rift to my guildmates. However, being ripped off just makes me wonder what else they ripped off and who else they ripped things off from to make the game.
So there you have it. I just can’t give them my money even if it’s free to play after buying the game.
I wish I could make my own game, with a great team like the guys at Trion. But I’m just a poor woman on welfare with no hope for the future who can barely afford internet. Yea, it’s depressing.