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On Being a Good Person July 25, 2011

Posted by Stormy in Moar Ranting.

Last week there was a bit of a dust-up here in the Azerothian province of Blogistan when Chase Christian of WoW Insider published a guide detailing how to stop your fellow WoW players from completing their Molten Front dailies by ganking and camping them. The blogosphere quickly divided into two camps: those who think the greatest thing one can aspire to in WoW is inconveniencing and upsetting other players, and those of us who think we have a civic duty to be good citizens of Azeroth.

I quicky voiced agreement with MMO Melting Pot‘s Hugh Hancock that Christian’s guide was appalling and in poor taste, and I went so far as to engage Cynwise rather inelegantly (yes, *that* Cynwise…and frankly, given the fact that I knew who Cynwise of Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual was long before I ever started blogging and I have serious respect for the man, it wasn’t one of my finer moments), then let the matter die. Today I got home from a particularly excruciating day at work and decided to slog through MF dailies on at least one toon out of a sense of obligation. One of today’s dailies was the turtle-chucking daily, and as I was standing on top of my first mob of the day killing it so I could get to the turtle directly underneath, I watched as a draenei shaman walked up and grabbed the turtle I was standing directly on top of and walked away…and then did it to me again. I hearthed, dropped all my quests, logged out, and now I’m here.

At this point it’s pretty clear that WoW players can be divided into three distinct groups: decent human beings, people who take the “role-playing” part of MMORPG entirely too seriously, and rapacious fuckwits who derive sick joy out of angering others. But here’s the thing, y’all: you don’t check your humanity at the login screen, and neither do I. Just as you have a responsibility to be a decent human being here on Earth, you have a responsibility to be a decent human being on Azeroth as well.

To the role-players: in response to Cyn’s post there were a number of people who argued that they were proud members of the Alliance/Horde, and it was their civic duty to go out  of their way to deny success and gratification to members of the opposite faction at every turn. “It’s war!” they cry. “It’s my duty as a draenei to make sure the Alliance wins the war at all costs, and to ensure crushing defeat for the Horde!” I respect where you’re coming from, really, I do. But ask yourself: are you either a) perhaps a little too immersed in your character, or b) really doing these things because you think it’s funny to annoy and upset others?

To those of you who derive pleasure from the knowledge that you’ve wasted another player’s time by sending them to the graveyard, to those who regularly give deliberately false answers to earnestly-asked questions in Trade and then snicker to yourself, to those of you who call other RDF party members offensive names, to those of you who enjoy PvP because you know you’re getting a reaction out of the player behind the toon you just killed: you are, not to put too fine a point on it, an asshole.

To everyone: again, you don’t check your humanity at the door, and neither do I. You are not playing World of Warcraft with a series of highly-developed AI characters. Every player character you encounter in Azeroth–with the exception of bots–is being controlled by a living, breathing human being. You wouldn’t walk up to a coworker and accuse them of sucking, call them a fag and walk away, so why would you do such a thing in Azeroth? You don’t firebomb your employer’s competitor’s warehouse, so why is it acceptable to go out of your way to ensure your fellow human beings fail at their quests in Azeroth? If I was moving an item on a store shelf to get to the item behind it, you wouldn’t walk up and grab that item and walk away from me, so why would you do it in Azeroth?

TL;DR: Think before you speak/act in Azeroth. You’re not talking to Ipwnulol. You’re talking to John Smith, the person behind Ipwnulol. Act accordingly.



1. Awryt - July 26, 2011

I couldn’t agree more! I would rather be nice. My character is the champion I aspire to be. The anonymity of the Internet has the potential to bring out the best and the worst in people. Why can’t we just agree we’d rather be heroes and friends? Maybe some of that could bleed over into the real world too. 🙂

2. Cynwise - July 26, 2011


To be blunt, I think this is a better response than the one you originally left on CFN. 🙂

I too had let this one go, so I was surprised to see this pop up in my feed reader last night.

I agree with you that there are people in Warcraft who are rude, inconsiderate, and forget that there are people behind the avatars. Ninjaing quest mobs or nodes, insulting other people, parking your mammoth on mailboxes – this behavior is not right. It doesn’t matter if it’s because you feel that you’re better than they are, because they’re a different faction – basic consideration for other players is essential.

However, I strongly disagree with you with respect to PvP. If someone elects to participate in PvP, be it through joining an Arena match, battleground, flagging for PvP, or rolling on a PvP server, then that player is accepting that they may be attacked and even killed by players of the other faction. That result is a consequence of the original decision. Blaming the players in a PvP environment for engaging in PvP is blatantly unfair. There is no difference between BGs and world PvP when talking about the morality of attacking – both parties are participants who chose to be in that situation. Choosing to attack, or not attack, is a question of expedience and desire. Yes, PvP can be disruptive. If you don’t want it to disrupt your routine, don’t play on a PvP server.

I think the disconnect in our arguments has to do with the way in which PvP is conducted. If someone taunts another player through PvP – be it through teabagging, spitting, camping a lowbie with no hope of fighting back, or even ROFLing while attacking – it’s the taunting that’s the dick move, not the PvP. I don’t personally like to taunt people, but it’s up to me to not let taunts get under my skin. That’s letting the other player win. It sounds like your position is that the act of PvP itself is a taunt and behaving badly towards another player. The mere act of engaging in PvP combat becomes reprehensible in this model. If this is correct, I don’t know how to reconcile our positions, because I fundamentally disagree.

I don’t understand why you, Hugh, and others who have weighed in on the matter feel that Chase is somehow promoting cyberbullying when all he did was write a guide to rogue PvP in an 85-only zone. I’m trying to, but I don’t. He wrote a post on how Rogues can be sneaky and underhanded and strike from the shadows, in a PvP zone where all parties are willing participants.

That’s the key to my argument: all parties on a PvP server are willing participants. They may not like it, but they are there by choice. Casting them as innocent victims is wrong.

Chase didn’t write an article about how to trick people into flagging on a PvE server. He didn’t write an article about how to humiliate people, or taunt them, or insult them.

He wrote an article about how to kill player characters on a Rogue in an PvP-enabled area.

If you are going to call Chase an asshole for that, then I think that’s not only hugely unfair and wrong, but that – logically – you have to call me one, too.

I leave it to you to decide if calling calling someone an asshole for publishing helpful guides on how to play a video game is a nice thing to do, or not.

– Cyn

3. Responses to PvP - July 26, 2011

[…] Scribblings on the Asylum Wall: “To everyone: again, you don’t check your humanity at the door, and neither do I. You are not playing World of Warcraft with a series of highly-developed AI characters. “ […]

4. Eccentrica Jones - August 15, 2011

I take exception to the fact that you have drawn a line between “decent human beings” and “people who take the “role-playing” part of MMORPG entirely too seriously”.

Judge much? Or is it that it’s ok for you to pigeonhole people and pronounce on them provided that no one else does it?


Stormy - August 16, 2011

If getting wrapped up in your RP character means that you do things to people in-game that you wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) do to them IRL because “LOL it’s just a game LOL!” then no, you’re not a decent human being. You’re tormenting someone else just because you can and hiding behind the excuse of “LOL it’s just a game LOL!” out of convenience.

Also, thanks for stopping by and taking a giant dump on my porch over a completely unrelated issue. It’s nice to have new visitors.

5. Karegina - August 20, 2011

I’m a carebear myself. I can’t play on PVP servers and I can barely PVP on my normal server.

That being said: I’ve been the asshole that didn’t realize that those were people behind the toons, and when I realized I was a GIFT-er (greater internet fuckwad theory), I knew I had to make a change.

I don’t endorse ganking people to just piss them off. And I really dislike the people who do that. I love your post, and agree with it 🙂

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