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Real-life griefing

I’m going to tell a pretty geeky story, but it has a point, I swear.

A few weeks ago, in World of Warcraft, Jodi and I were at about level 18 or so, and were questing in one of the newbie areas’ hub cities, The Crossroads. In WoW, a city is basically just an area to work on your crafting skills, sell your vendor-junk, pick up and turn in quests. It also provides a flight path to the bigger cities on the Horde side, for which you have to talk to a Flight Master character.

The Crossroads, despite (or probably because of) being a newbie area in a fully-Horde-controlled area, finds itself regularly under attack by Alliance-side players. Luckily, opposing faction players can only attack you if you have your Player-vs-Player flag turned on, which can either be turned on manually, or gets turned on by attacking city guards or choosing to attack opposing faction characters who themselves have their PvP flag enabled. Once the flag is turned on, it can’t be disabled for a while, so you’ll have to commit to either guerrilla tactics or returning to safety after a successful attack, lest you get counterattacked while you’re running about in the opposing faction’s city looking for things to kill (an action known as griefing — making life miserable for the people using that city). Since we had not turned our flags on (and had no intention of doing so), the several high-level Alliance players who were engaged in killing everything that moved, could not also attack us. They DID, however, kill the Flight Master we needed to talk to in order to fly to a different zone, and while we were sitting around waiting for it to respawn, they could also repeatedly challenge us to duels.

Duels are fights that don’t give you honor, and that don’t result in death, as the loser “begs off” as soon as their hit points run out. There’s nothing done to even the playing field between characters, so we would have been basically one-hit killed. All you win is bragging rights and another notch on your belt and a one-digit increment in your “duels won” statistic. When we both declined the kind offers of a duel — not willing to let them add injury to the insult of making us wait ten minutes for our flight master to respawn — they used in-game emotes (as opposing-side characters don’t speak the same language, emotes are the only way to communicate), in order to spit on us both and call us chickens. Then offer to duel again.

Seriously. They would have wiped us in a single hit, and they expected us to submit to this behaviour.

So we called in our guildmate who has a level-80 (max level at the moment) character, who came to the Crossroads and killed the pair summarily. Hilariously, she arrived only moments after they spat on us. Once they realized a level-80 paladin was standing behind them they started running. They didn’t make it very far before they fell over. Jodi and I used the /lol emote — which, naturally, makes your character actually laugh audibly. I also threw in a rude gesture.

I only hope they heard it before they “released” — that is, allowed themselves to respawn in a graveyard — and I only hope they understood what kinds of dicks they were being… though I doubt they cared. Fine, if you want to kill the flight master, he’s just an NPC in the area as well, and I see no real reason to be angry about it since I plan on doing likewise to the Alliance when I’m a high enough level. But to treat the newbies, who are actual humans, the way these jerks did? Nope. I’m above that. We even assisted an Alliance member who was in a tough fight with some monsters later that week.

DanJ tells a similar story, only he also ties it into the ridiculous antisocial politics of the Teabaggers. The parallels between WoW / other MMO griefers and the Teabaggers are honestly quite uncanny. While insurance companies are presently in the business of taking your money and refusing to provide you with service in turn, and entrenched interests are busy griefing town halls and such, preventing actual debate from ever happening, people on the blogosphere are also busy sowing misinformation, insulting the proponents of health care reform, intentionally misunderstanding the bill and economics in general and whole political systems, and generally being asshats to boot. The question is, what do they honestly get out of intentionally increasing other people’s misery?

Comments

  1. sinned34 says

    And of course, I decided to join my friends on a PVP server where you don’t have to turn your flag on to get ganked by level 80 assholes.

    Glad I chose rogue as my class, and let me tell you, I’m awesome at escaping!

  2. says

    Brought back memories of some Diablo (and Diablo 2). I remember when the hacks were rampant and people had “Townkill” so that they could cast combat spells in town, normally something that was impossible.

    I’ve always enjoyed RPGs, but never got into the PvP at all, particularly when it’s one-on-one and extremely one-sided, as it was in the WoW scenario you describe.

    I had only played Quake’s deathmatch a couple times. I was not impressed, either by the gameplay or the attitudes of other players. Co-op mode was the only way of playing the game that I actually found enjoyable.

    I’ve found Resistance 2’s deathmatch games to be something a bit different, however. It seems as though the people playing are actually having fun, whether they’re dying every ten seconds or not. Actually talking with them while playing is great, too.

    How much of it is the game itself, and how much of it is the people playing the game? I’ve seen and heard it mentioned by several people that the players on the PlayStation Network seem not to be “dicks” so much as the players on Microsoft’s network are. Why would there be much of a difference?

    Is it age-related? The mean age of people who regularly play video games online has been increasing. Why would there be a difference between systems, though? Do the different systems really attract a different type of player (or player of a different age or socioeconomic group) to that extent? I think that may be the case, but I don’t have any data to back it up.

  3. Steven says

    Strange, that’s never happened on my WOW server (wonders.mine.nu). I did have an 80th level character say “Boo” and “Moo” to one of my 10th level alts (in a PVP guild) but he was just trying to be funny. The only downsides to the World of Wonders server are that it’s a bit behind (v3.09) and sparsely populated. You may want to give it a try. I’m on for a couple of hours on the weekends slowly levelling a druid named Talyessin (lvl 42). Nice that your fiancee (I think?) is interested in the game. My wife has zero interest in it but I love her anyway.

  4. sinned34 says

    Really, Steven? Two nights ago, I was doing the Ootek escort quest in Tanaris on my 51 Priest when an 80 Human Death Knight went running past the opposite direction on his mount. The second he realized I was about 30 seconds away from finishing that escort quest (which is a supreme pain in the ass because it requires you to run across the entire zone map, diagonally), he turned around and killed me.

    Of course, that’s ganking, not griefing, but it still supremely pissed me off. By the time I got my 80 rogue to Tanaris, the DK was long gone. Yet I still couldn’t bring myself to run around killing all the Alliance lowbies I came across.

    Damn, I’m still mad about that…

  5. says

    Steven, that’s a special case though. You’re on a private server, and the bar is automatically raised significantly by virtue of that fact alone — it takes at least a modicum of extra technical knowledge to get onto such a server, let alone know they exist. So you’re going to get at least a slightly higher caliber of player on there. Plus, the close-knit society (your page advertises that the Vault is a meeting place for both factions!) means everyone pretty well knows and probably respects everyone else.

    Sinned: yeah, it’s shit like that, that makes me never want to play on a PVP server. Also: I HATE ESCORT QUESTS. In any game, but in WoW especially. (*slow plod* *bolt after a group of mobs three levels over yours half a zone away* *once they’re dead, bolt back to where they left path, then continue slow plod*)

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