Agents from the FBI have raided and shut down the L2Extreme website and servers, which operated an unauthorised server for NCsoft's Lineage II massively multiplayer game, and claimed to have half a million registered users.

Working with NCsoft, the FBI carried out raids in multiple cities across the United States - presumably after a few false starts when their main tank had bad lag or their healers had a strop over loot allocation - and while its estimate of L2Extreme's popularity is rather lower, at 50,000 active users, it does agree that the operation was costing NCsoft millions of dollars a year. The owners of the site are being questioned and the website itself has been replaced with an FBI holding page which is impressively nasty both in terms of web design and content.

NCsoft, for its part, is obviously glad to see the back of the rogue operation, which it reckons was defrauding the company's paying customers by "stealing" from the firm, a wanton misuse of the English language which makes us wonder if IP lawyers actually understand why nobody talks to them at parties (which they'd probably describe as "stealing" from their social lives).

"In the end those losses impact our customer support, product development, operational areas and ultimately they impact our player communities, most of which are trying to play games legitimately," NCsoft's North America general counsel continued, which is much more reasonable than the "stealing" nonsense. He went on to praise the FBI, and pledged to continue to fight future operations in the future, before riding off into some form of legal sunset.

This isn't the first time that there's been a legal wrangle over the provision of a "rogue" multiplayer service, of course - Blizzard fans may recall the protracted case of BNETD, a piece of software designed to clone the operations of Blizzard's Battle.net multiplayer service. However, the L2Extreme case seems to be altogether more clear cut, since unlike BNETD (which was a project to develop a compatible server that could run Battle.net games, which is a tough one to call on a legal basis), these guys were actually just running ripped off server code for Lineage II - which certainly falls under the naughty heading.

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Rob Fahey

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.

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