I could repeat it till the end of times, but the point is simple: people you encounter are forced by laws and contracts to not harm you. Except game devs. There are absolutely no laws against damaging you in games and the contracts you sign by accepting the EULA are clear: the company owns everything and you are entitled for absolutely nothing. For example in the recently purchased beta Albion Online, I must forfeit my right for refund before even trying it out for a minute:
People sign such unfair contracts, because games aren’t essential, most people don’t care much and would just say "meh, uninstall" if the game – for any reason – is unsatisfying. But this means that a dev is absolute God above your in-game self. He knows everything about your in-game activity, he can do anything he wants to your in-game self, and you can’t do anything to him.
It is possible that in time, the video gaming equivalents of sporting laws and contracts will be implemented. If you cheat in a sport game, you can be sued for serious damages. Rigging games can get you jail. Independent third party organizations like WADA watch over fairness of games. In several sports you must have government license to be able to organize events. Try hold a boxing game without license and off you go to jail.
But for now, the only way to enter such relationship besides the casual "I can’t care less what happens", is complete trust that the devs won’t screw you for any reason. If you have reason to believe that they aren’t entirely fair and benign, you must stay away as you are at their mercy if you enter their game. This is why I’m so paranoid before being invested into a game. I must be sure that the devs are morally above defrauding me, because the law won’t stop them if they want to.
I’m fully aware that expecting high moral standards is ridiculous, just as Derek Smart (the guy who caught the $100M Star Citizen scam) said: "Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead …but don’t be surprised if we don’t uphold them." Tomorrow comes a post with a possible angle to legally address the problem.
An interesting read via Greedy goblin