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?