My First Time (getting corpse camped)
Today’s post is about corpse camping… the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, in my opinion, there is no true good that can result from corpse camping.
For people who don’t play MMOs and/or PvP: corpse camping happens in a player vs. player (PvP) environment. When another character kills you, you are sent to a graveyard to be resurrected. Within a few seconds, you come back to life and then can start playing again. (This is different from Pac-Man, in which when you die, you just die!) However, when characters “camp” your character, they wait by the graveyard until you are resurrected, and then kill you each time you resurrect, and you never have a chance to get back into the action. You can also read about camping in Caroline’s tl-dr post on “The Dark Side of Gaming” and on MMO sites such as WoWWiki. Also, here are instructions on how to corpse camp in WoW. (It’s always beneficial to understand the enemy’s thoughts and actions.)
So, with the definition out of the way, I have two questions for PvP MMO players:
1. Have you ever been camped? If so, I send you sincere sympathies. I think camping is bullying.
2. Have you ever done the camping? If so, shame on you! I know there are many players who are nice people and generally polite in game, but they freely admit to camping in PvP because they’ll do what it takes to win.
Let me describe as much as I can remember about my first camping experience. My hope is that that sharing this story will help players new to PvP feel less alone in going through this awful experience, make campers think twice about continuing to do it, and lead us to new thoughts about handling camping from both the gamer and the information science perspectives. (Jacob plans to write a follow-up post about how to handle camping, so watch for that!) Here’s my story.
It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and I was leveling a still-squishy damage per second (DPS) toon in Warsong Gulch, a World of Warcraft battleground (bg). When you’re squishy and inexperienced, you have to expect that you’ll die fairly quickly, but you also expect to rez (resurrect) and get back in the bg. In this case, however, I found that as soon as I rezzed, I died right away. I rezzed, I died immediately. I rezzed, I died immediately. It took me a few tries to figure out what was going on: somebody on the other side of the fight (an Alliance character, since I was playing Horde) was standing right there at the graveyard waiting to kill me as soon as I was alive again!
I am a stubborn person, and I don’t give up easily. I certainly wasn’t going to let this person win. Each time I rezzed, he killed me. Perhaps more sensible people would have just left the bg, stayed dead and gotten up for another glass of water, whatever… but oh no, not me. I stuck it through, cussing at the computer, feeling more and more sick to my stomach each time he killed me. I didn’t have any tactics in place to deal with it, so I tried things that were ineffective, like heading a different direction out of the graveyard… as if that would prevent him from seeing me. By the end of the bg (which lasted far less time than the 25 minutes maximum), I died 55 times, and I had almost no dps! *hangs head in gamer shame*
In case you’re interested, here’s what it looks like when you die in a bg (my character is on the ground, and another character (with the name in red) is on the opposing side.
And here is what it looks like when you are in the graveyard (here, with other players):
A few days later, after some emotional healing took place, I was in another bg, this time in Arathi Basin, another WoW bg. A few other team members and I started to get camped. This time, I said in bg chat (which is displayed in the game’s chat box to the members of your bg team) that a few of us were getting camped at one of the graveyards. A few of the living toons on our team came over and killed the camper. They had to do this more than once, but it took care of the problem so that the rest of us could participate. There are many tactics that you can use to get around campers that Jacob will discuss in his future post on this topic, but teamwork in bgs is essential. (Sometimes, your own team members can be counterproductive, even verbally abusive, when they call other team members useless and pathetic noobs – and so on – but that’s a post for another day).
From a gaming point of view: what does camping accomplish? Strictly speaking, camping can can help your rankings as a player if you are judging your success based on the number of “killing blows” you deliver (the number of times you are the one whose damage kills another player). I’m not convinced that it helps your team. If your team’s objective is to capture the Horde or Alliance flag (in Warsong Gulch), is standing around and killing one character going to reach those ends, or would it be more productive to play your role – healing, tanking, attacking, defending, whatever you’re supposed to do – to help the team (and the Horde! FOR THE HORDE!). So, not only does it make you appear like a bully, it’s also probably not that profitable in the long run.
From an information science point of view: how could game interfaces, in-game chat systems, help systems, and so on be better designed to help players who get camped? The bg chat “call for help” that I issued saved several lives many times over in the second experience I described above, but what if you’re too stressed to think about doing that? Or what if you’re on a randomly created team that doesn’t play well in the sandbox together? This is, for an inexperienced player, an information seeking problem: what do you do when this happens, and who or what can be of assistance? I am not sure that either Jacob or I have answers for this, but it is one of many areas within MMO gaming that needs more research and implementation.
I will let Jacob take it from here. And no camping!!!
Corpse camping is mean and unproductive. Don’t do it. Let’s identify ways to help people in game who are subjected to it.
Ding! You’ve leveled up! Please see your local librarian for training.