173: Aggro Management

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Aggro Management

When does World of Warcraft stop being "just a game"?

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I've seen this a lot. People won't associate with someone from the opposing faction, even in real life. I think it's stupid. Some of my best friends are Alliance. I'm Horde. Its not that I don't like Alliance, I just prefer the Horde races and quests.

Besides, on my old realm, the Allies were the ones ganking low level Hordes and camping their bodies. It goes both ways. It just depends on who runs the server.

FOR THE HORDE!

See I don't get this hostility thing.

I play World of Warcraft, i have nine lvl70 chars... one of each class. (I was unemployed and needed something fairly cheap to spend a lot of time on). All of them are on Horde, same guild, same server.

Now, certainly, I will endeavour to murderize the Alliance at every opportunity I get, yet one of my best friends plays on Alliance on another server. I don't hate him for it, or even despise him for having gotten further in the game pre the big nerf patch.

It may be that I'm just a mellow kind of guy. Or it may be that as the proud inhabitant of a PvE server, I didn't get ganked, much. I certainly got griefed by a lot of alliance, and ganked when they could, but... meh. I don't care. It's a game. In the end, what I want from it is shiny objects with which to cave mob heads in. I never gank lowbies; I want them to enjoy the game and have rose-coloured specs on so they can get to 70; only THEN will I endeavour to make them bleed from all bodily orifices... of which there will be forty six by the time I am through with them.

Hmm, wait a second. Gnomes. Them I really hate with a vengeance. The player may be Gandhi and be running around giving away flowers, gold and cake; gnomes must all die, regardless. DIIIIIIE gnome, DIIIIIIIE! Go back to Gnomeregan, contract leprosy and ROT IN DIGITAL HELL!

You have to be a certain level of asshole in real-life to treat someone different based on their faction choice for a video game. As much as I despise the opposing faction (I've changed sides a few times) while I'm playing, and occasionally have gotten riled up at someone on message boards, I can't recall a single time when I actually brought that kind of attitude to bear on a person in a face-to-face encounter. There is just no excuse to be a jerk to someone just because of a video game.

"But when he introduced her to some of his Horde friends that gathered each day between classes, they gave her a frosty reception. She tried to stay positive and asked for advice, but only got insults in return."

Then those guys are just douchebags and I'm glad I don't associate with anyone like that. If they are willing to ostracize someone for a faction choice, what other ridiculous criteria are they going to come up with to exclude people from their circle?

Hey, when people get into shouting matches and fistfights over which sports team they support, it's hardly surprising that people with some actual time and effort invested into a game faction might feel that way, or worse.

However, hating someone for being a different game faction is as ridiculous as hating someone for liking your favorite team's rival, and it belies some pretty serious insecurity. I have to wonder what sort of fragile ego a married professional has to have for him to throw his job and spouse around to make him feel better over a 20 year old college dropout that insults his game guild. That's not 'ganking someone in real life', that's being a defensive, insecure jerk.

That pretty much goes for most of your examples. To dismiss someone out of hand because of what amounts to a recreational preference is rude and bizarre.

It's always a shame for the people who lost their MMO virginity to World of Warcraft. I went into World of Warcraft without the same mind frame as you as "Realm Pride" is little to none in WoW. In fact, I would bet most players hate more people on there own faction then on the opposing one. Honestly, people who judge you in real life by what faction you play are tools. It's not like sports team where you root for the home team and hate people who diss your team as in World of Warcraft there are MANY different worlds, hundreds of servers and very few people play strictly a single side for there entire career on the game.

I can't imagine favoring one faction over the other anyway. I have over a dozen characters, of all races and classes. It lets me explore and experience everything the game has to offer. Why get caught up in silly sports-team style cheerleading and bashing?

And a side note: The article says "I'd played online RPGs before, but never an MMO." What does that mean? Often on WOW forums I've seen comments like "Go try a single-player RPG if you don't like WOW," but they never manage to give an example of one.

Not a solo-shooter, but a single-player RPG: ROLE-PLAYING game. Do such things even exist?

Stuff like this makes me more jittery than ever to invest so much into a fantasy world. The Myst games called this years ago: the behavior in virtual worlds will eventually spill over into the real one. Not literally (though part 3 was about that), and not figuratively. But when you have two places where you think and act differently depending on the place, then eventually those forms of behavior are going to overlap.

I see this as being quite similar to two boys playing war or wrestling. At first you're just playing, but as soon as the first punch is thrown, it becomes entirely real. It's difficult to separate pretend from real life. On the one hand, you can't always tell the difference between a pretend insult and a sincere one. At the same time, even a "virtual" insult stings in a very real way.

The parallel drawn earlier between sports teams and gaming is an apt one that can be taken even further. In sports, such as hockey, violence is often a strategic way of breaking your opponents concentration. However, it's hard to see it as just that, and it often results in an all-out fist fight. Even if it's just a part of the game, it still becomes personal.

L.B. Jeffries:
It's difficult to separate pretend from real life.

I would say it's not difficult, but it does take a personal effort to not act the same way in real life that you might in a game. I mean, you wouldn't say that it's difficult not to attack someone with a sword after playing your warrior, would you?

What...... I'm sorry but these people really need assisted suicide to wipe thier stupidity from our gene pool. It's a freakin game.

Goronmon:

L.B. Jeffries:
It's difficult to separate pretend from real life.

I would say it's not difficult, but it does take a personal effort to not act the same way in real life that you might in a game. I mean, you wouldn't say that it's difficult not to attack someone with a sword after playing your warrior, would you?

I dunno, it sounds like some folks over in China would beg to differ. I don't think some grand plague is sweeping the land or anything, but the essay just made think. If personal prejudices induced in an fake world can spill into this one, what else can?

Nice take on the whole faction differences. Not being able to speak to each other is such an awesome thing. Can't wait to read more of your articles.

I've played WoW since day one (and EQ and DAOC before that) and have many friends and family members ranging in age from 14 to 55 who play. No one I know would behave like the people in that article. It's ridiculous that people would snub someone in real life because they play the other faction. In my experience, people are pleased to meet another WoW player because it's fun to share experiences. Maybe some people have trouble separating cartoonish, completely fantastic games from real life, but no one I know does! It's a game with orcs and gnomes and magic spells: if you can't separate that from real life, you're kind of delusional. I think the article gave a very biased and unrealistic view of most MMORPG players.

I played WoW off and on for two months, getting to a "high level" as determined by the system. I decided to play Alliance on one server with most of my friends, and played Horde on a seperate server with fewer of my friends. I can't say that both sides were completely hostile towards one another, or that they were all "lets be friends" either. There are extremists for both factions.
I think the article did an accurate job of portraying a standard player. Starting off at a low level, Horde/Alliance would come and slaughter/camp my character for a good 10 minutes at a time. A month or so later, I was staking out areas for the opposite faction to wander into so that I could camp them. It just seems that the COB will never fade, because there is always someone who is out there to just camp people, whether it be the WoW veteran player, or the newbie. Also, age does not a whole lot to do with the maturity of people, although it is a factor.

Alliance...Horde...You're still playing some sissy MMORPG. Pick a real facti*I mean* genre like a FPS. :P

One of the many reasons I quit the game.

On the point of conversing with the "enemy", I have had some intelligent conversations with other students who were of the opposing faction. That didn't stop me from feeling slightly pushed aside sometimes though... It's kinda rough when you've made a reputation on a server and everyone else is playing the opposite faction on that same server. Can never settle for any compromise whatsoever...

Thank Tzeentch for WAR... I still have issues with opponents, but ganking is much less frequent as the game is designed around PvP (RvR). So overall, it's much more relaxed.

Yeah Ive played the Trial version of WoW for 2 weeks free(lucky me), once i got my LvL up i went questing with a new friend and we were both Allience.

Both of us were LvL up in the snowy pecks when a LvL 70 Horder came riding over swinging a Big Axe over his head.
I ended up eating snow as he/she was making insults about my Mum and dancing on my grave.
Then he/she went to hunt my friend down (who was legging it to the nearest town) and made him a bloody mess.

I had characters on both sides as well and i followed one rule : Dont attack me, I dont attack u

This reminds me of when my ex-guildies told me about their encounter with hordies while picking up their TBC at the launch in NZ.
Basically what happened was this.

They were queuing up and were waiting for quite some time and these bunch of friends in front of then said hi. They continued talking and pretty quickly discovered they were from opposing factions but it didnt bother them. It bothered their guild leader though. From these bunch of hordies their guild leader actually forbids them from making alliance characters. On any server period. These guys had alliance characters and told my guildies not to tell anyone that they did or they'll get gkicked.

Incredible and simply fantastic hostility no?

I play Horde on a PVP server, and developed a healthy hatred of Alliance due to repeated gankings of my low level characters by far more powerful ones. I always left people alone, /waved to allies, and yet, I was ganked. What did I do to deserve this? So unfair! Every ganking would outrage me.

After trying many approaches to deal with it, the one I settled on was just to gank Allies when I had the opportunities to. We are at war, after all. So now, when someone sneaks up on me and kills me while I'm questing, I just figure I had it coming :)

Skip ahead two months. With a crazy gleam in my eye, I chased down a low-level Hordeling in Southshore on my epic mount, hell-bent on mercilessly nuking him to the nearest graveyard. We had never crossed paths before that moment. He hadn't threatened or attacked me. In fact, he was innocently questing when I rode up to drop him like a bad nun's habit.

I stood over his body emoting: /fart, /spit, lol, lol, lol. I wanted the bastard to really feel how much I hated him. He looked grotesque. He smelled bad - in my mind, at least. And his worst crime of all: He was a low-down, dirty, no-good Horde.

Sounds like your typical Alliance toon to me. Notice I say "toon" and not "person" because many of the people who act like arseholes in-game are actually rather nice in RL. I know a lot of people (many of my RL friends) who play Alliance, and I respect their choice (I may be disappointed with it, but I respect it). It doesn't affect the way I socialise with them outside the game, nor should it you. If it does, you have deeper psychological problems that need addressing.

Actually, to be honest, most of these friends have since rerolled Horde due to the average Alliance player age (maturity-wise) being under 12 (usually excluding long-time raiding guilds). I can't generalise too much, because I have come across really nice Alliance players before, they just seem rather rare (on Proudmoore at least). By the way, PvP zealots, PvE is not "care-bear", it's about not being an arsehole to other players just because they clicked the other column when choosing a race. Remember, they're still a person, and the golden rule still applies. Have some honour and common decency when you come across the opposing faction. That goes for both Horde and Alliance, as I know some rather disrespectful Horde players on my realm too (no names mentioned).

mrobin604:
I always left people alone, /waved to allies, and yet, I was ganked.

...and this is exactly what I'm talking about. Killing nice people just because they're an easy target makes you a sadist.

Edit:

nekolux:
These guys had alliance characters and told my guildies not to tell anyone that they did or they'll get gkicked.

My raiding guild is ridiculously friendly. There is absolutely zero yelling or nastiness in any raid, and as soon as someone starts getting a bit narky, the raid leader whispers them and tells them to play nice. If someone makes an honest mistake, or is having problems doing their job, there is no public ridicule like in some raids I've been in. The raid leader will generally whisper them and ask them what the problem is and/or if they need help. There needs to be more guilds like that.

Blast to read
Great article

My theory for the a-hole phenomenon is lack of maturity, lack of self-control/self-discipline, and lack of home-training(as we old-schoolers used to call it). Also possibly a lack of ability to separate fantasy from reality and taking a game way too seriously, but maybe I'm being too harsh in my criticism.

** Puts on asbestos suit cause he hear a few flamethrowers getting heated up **

geizr:
My theory for the a-hole phenomenon is lack of maturity, lack of self-control/self-discipline, and lack of home-training(as we old-schoolers used to call it). Also possibly a lack of ability to separate fantasy from reality and taking a game way too seriously, but maybe I'm being too harsh in my criticism.

** Puts on asbestos suit cause he hear a few flamethrowers getting heated up **

I don't think you are being to harsh in your criticisms. I think it's 100% correct.

It basically comes down to this:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

I don't know, I've never really had this problem. Back when I played, I leveled two characters to 70, had another 55, and two 48s. Alliance was my first home, then I alternated between the two. It was fun. I enjoyed it.

I never got the ganking mentality. When I hit 60...I was the 60 warlock that would see enemy lowbies about to die and go help them. I wouldn't mess with anyone unless they messed with me first. Up until I hit 70, I had MAYBE five kills on innocents of the opposite faction. If they were my level, they had to show hostile intent towards me. If they were lower than me, as long as they didn't crowd control me, we were cool.

The only night I killed people without having a reason to was during halloween...when I went to zangamarsh with a pumpkin head on my felsteed. I bought black cloth armor, and became the headless horseman. Even then, I killed maybe like 9 level 62s. I just don't have that mean streak, I guess.

To sum up, pumpkin heads make even the nicest guys turn to jackasses.

Samah:
It basically comes down to this:
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/

Or maybe this:
http://pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF020-Skub.gif

Actually I think the author may be on to something when he noted the combination of close proximity, inability to communicate and most importantly: the sharing of rare resources. It's actually a quite common phenomenon in psychology. I am referring to the prisoners' dilemma.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoners%27_Dilemma

I think the author has something here. I have seen this gotta kill 'em mentality in other gaming situations. I believe it is a compulsion of sorts and gaming really does get our juices going. We mostly don't go out and slay the dragon and save the princess in our everyday lives. We work in small cubicles that force us to stuff our emotions so that we can get along with the jerks in the small work spaces we are all required to be in for 40+ hours a week. So ganking the Horde or Alliance player is a way to get rid of some of the extra bile. You have to admit it is a lot safer for everyone than road rage...

I have played many MMO's from EQ to now WarHammer online, and no MMO have I seen people act like complete idiots more than WOW. Even WOW players moving over from WAR that join our guild only 1/2 of them just don't fit in. The other half seem to be immature twats. There seems to be something about that game the draws the worse of the game players out there, which was usually reserved for FPS games online.

Personally I could start a convo with anyone who plays WarHammer regardless of which side they play on, but then maybe I can work our real life and games better than I thought? What is it about that game?

I have played WOW from the second week it went live to present, the game its self is awesome but the dark side of it can be the real hurdle. My wife and I play together, we started with Alliance and then went Horde when our friends joined and life is great. We have played on both sides and we have friends on both sides and even went to a group event held by our Horde guild to meet in real life the people who we talked with over chat for months. Meeting that level 60 troll priest who you looked up to and see him in real life and realizing that he really is just another guy is a sobering feeling.
Not to say that I have not had my share of griefers or angry revenge fueled runs on the other side for what a group of players have done to me. I have been curb stomped by both horde and Alliance, Only once have I seen someone emote tea bagging me and lucky for me I had a few friends on both sides to track the offending player down and explain why that wasn't a good thing to do! I have had the escort quest in westfall where I am two yards from completion when a horde undead rogue rubbed out the npc and the escort quest in Stone Talon Mountains where you have to escort the tauren captive and been clear of the fight and had an alliance gnome wizard kill the NPC and two of my party because he was bored and they got flagged healing a hunter. A few bad apples can keep people hating for months just by griefing an area and sadly the most of the griefers I have seen are mostly on the Alliance side.

Hostility between the two factions in WoW is at least partly due to the somewhat broken PVP system. In WoW, there is no penalty for killing a low level or defenseless player, nothing to discourage it. Let's start small: there's a debuff on players who have recently landed from a flight path; this debuff makes you worth no honor, so there's no reward. There's also no penalty, and this is the crux of the problem. You will find corpses near many landing points.

On to the wider world, there is no penalty for a level 70 running around Southshore killing lowbies. I did not play the game until about six months ago, but it is my understanding from guild members that at one point (possibly in the beta) there was a concept of "dishonor," which would cause your own towns to be come hostile to you if you went about killing low level players or unarmed NPCs. It was apparently scrapped.

I can understand being vengeful towards the opposite faction: I started playing late (just this year) and made the unfortunate choice of playing on a PVP server. The raids on some low level areas like Southshore by level capped players made it nearly impossible to level up there anytime except the middle of the night. I did eventually make it to 70, but it was such a crappy experience that I won't be leveling any alts for this game. Carrying in-game hostility back into the real world seems a bit excessive to me, though.

I believe people from both factions are defending honor in some way or another. If you were "ganked" while trying to level a character, or if you're just defending a friend who was in need of help because the other faction kept killing and camping them, in your mind there's still a good reason for killing. If people have an issue with the immaturity side of it, they should play on a PVE server. That is, after all, why the PVE server's were created. Everyone has differences of opinion, weather its politics or which faction to play. There's always going to be a competition and the slight urge to want to prove "I'm better than you," even if it's in a small way. Hence the reason the player Livret took to heart that even though the horde's guild was better than his, he was still better than the 20 yr old in SOME way or another. It's life, there will always be agreements and disagreements, it just depends on how seriously you take them.

I'm excited to read more of your articles! I love the sense of humor in it... Have to keep things light, especially after I've read some of the comments on here.

I've befriended Horde and Alliance in my WoW career, and while I prefer the ways of the Horde, I've never had anything against my friend, who happens to play an Alliance rogue on my server. But I have seen folks getting angry over something like that... it's rather pitiful.
And When I was leveling up and such, I too was constantly ganked. Rather irritating, but that fast-paced action and constant fear is part of the server styling. Anyone who dislikes it should either shush or simply switch servers. It's like $10 US.

Calybos:
I can't imagine favoring one faction over the other anyway. I have over a dozen characters, of all races and classes. It lets me explore and experience everything the game has to offer. Why get caught up in silly sports-team style cheerleading and bashing?

And a side note: The article says "I'd played online RPGs before, but never an MMO." What does that mean? Often on WOW forums I've seen comments like "Go try a single-player RPG if you don't like WOW," but they never manage to give an example of one.

Not a solo-shooter, but a single-player RPG: ROLE-PLAYING game. Do such things even exist?

Indeed, if you know where to look. Your in luck though. One known as Fable 2 came out recently. And if you miss the MMO too much you can hook that one up co-op style. For sheer single-ness i suggest something like Elder Scrolls by Bethesda, or perhaps the new Fallout game they are releasing.

Hmm...well...back when i played WoW this was a problem. Heck, look at a WoW video on youtube. Half the comments are about the rivalry between Horde and Alliance.

FOR THE HORDE!

And perhaps my views are lopsided but most of the time its a harde player instigating, as in the above example.
Below is another, much more subtle example. The player below seems to not be involved in the idiotic name calling, but they clearly view the average alliance player as immature. Also note that they dont mention anything with the rampant ganking that horde also engages in (although they do admit that it is possible for horde to be disrespectful). They refer to the behavior of ganking a newbie as something an alliance "toon" would do, rather than admiting that such activity goes beyond faction choice.
More subtle than shouting "for the horde" but also more insulting. The person quoted above didnt have to resort to calling anyone immature.

Sounds like your typical Alliance toon to me. Notice I say "toon" and not "person" because many of the people who act like arseholes in-game are actually rather nice in RL. I know a lot of people (many of my RL friends) who play Alliance, and I respect their choice (I may be disappointed with it, but I respect it). It doesn't affect the way I socialise with them outside the game, nor should it you. If it does, you have deeper psychological problems that need addressing.

Actually, to be honest, most of these friends have since rerolled Horde due to the average Alliance player age (maturity-wise) being under 12 (usually excluding long-time raiding guilds). I can't generalise too much, because I have come across really nice Alliance players before, they just seem rather rare (on Proudmoore at least). By the way, PvP zealots, PvE is not "care-bear", it's about not being an arsehole to other players just because they clicked the other column when choosing a race. Remember, they're still a person, and the golden rule still applies. Have some honour and common decency when you come across the opposing faction. That goes for both Horde and Alliance, as I know some rather disrespectful Horde players on my realm too (no names mentioned).

Now, the example below this, while also claiming that the griefers and gankers tend to be alliance mentions it almost as an afterhtought.

Not to say that I have not had my share of griefers or angry revenge fueled runs on the other side for what a group of players have done to me. I have been curb stomped by both horde and Alliance, Only once have I seen someone emote tea bagging me and lucky for me I had a few friends on both sides to track the offending player down and explain why that wasn't a good thing to do! I have had the escort quest in westfall where I am two yards from completion when a horde undead rogue rubbed out the npc and the escort quest in Stone Talon Mountains where you have to escort the tauren captive and been clear of the fight and had an alliance gnome wizard kill the NPC and two of my party because he was bored and they got flagged healing a hunter. A few bad apples can keep people hating for months just by griefing an area and sadly the most of the griefers I have seen are mostly on the Alliance side.

And before you all flame me i should mention that my very first few characters were Horde. One of my best friends is horde (undead even). Its just that when it comes to complaining and shouting out FOR THE ____, its usualy the Horde starting something, as in this thread.

Although in game, afte rplaying on both sides on all types of servers, the problem doesnt favor one race or faction over another, although lvl 19 Undead Rogues with 1000 gold worth of equipment in the battlegrounds is still annoying to a Warlock.

I myself spent a few years in WoW, taking characters to level 15-20 and then deleting them because i got bored and trying a new class/race. I enjoyed the exploration but leveling up so i could do it safely tended to suck, and i was always poor. I never did break level 40 with my favorite character (Human Warlock, RP server due to lower asshole %) but i had the joy of watching a dozen friends join after me and make it to max level. I quite this year, perhaps being tired of being mistaken for a newbie because i almost never have characters over level 25.

That was a lot more talking than i planned on doing.

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