Fail MMO groups: Erotic role play, abandonment, and more
I’m a longtime fan of single-player games, but I’m relatively new to MMOs. I’m finding that the social and community aspects of MMOs fascinate me. The ability to group up with people in order to quest together, run BGs together, and so on can be wonderful, especially when your combined knowledge and your characters’ strengths can help each other.
But, as I began to explore in my corpse camping post (and as we discussed potential remedies for camping in Jacob’s follow-up post), playing with others can have a dark side. Those of you who do PvP know all about, for example, the fail battleground group, in which people spend more time insulting their team members than trying to win, and the group predictably loses (on many levels). Today, I want to tell a story about a fail group I joined over the weekend that also ruined my day.
In WoW, I only have time logged on the Horde side, so recently I’ve spent a little time playing lowbie Alliance characters to get a feel for the other side. On Friday night, I made a Human Hunter named Ailsa (not her real name.) Ailsa was picking up quests in Goldshire when an Alliance-side friend in game made a comment that Goldshire was known for late-night erotic role play. I then discovered a group of characters RPing domestic violence! I took that as my cue that it was too late to be playing anyway, and went to bed.
On Saturday afternoon, I went back to Ailsa. She went into Goldshire’s Lion’s Pride Inn to turn in a quest, and accidentally went into the Inn’s back room; three characters had taken their clothes off and were staring at her. oops, sorry!!!! /embarrassed
Ailsa promptly left the Inn. A higher-level male character (I’ll call him “Party Leader”) asked if I wanted to hang out with him and invited me to a group. I thought, “Well, MMOs are social, I’m not busy with anything else, and if this turns into ERP, I’ll leave the group.” And then accepted his group invite.
From there, things just became… bizarre. Party Leader kept challenging me to duels, which of course he won because he’s higher level than me and laughed at me. Party Leader then informed me that his best friend was on now, but that I could play with both of them. So Party Member 2 joined our group. Next there was a few minutes of Party Member 2 calling Party Leader for help, Party Leader telling me to wait at various places he left me so he could go help Party Member 2, and so on. I wasn’t getting any questing done, but I couldn’t make myself leave the group. As a constant observer of human behavior, I wanted to see what was going to happen.
Since I’m (1) unfamiliar with the area, and (2) the most spatially challenged person in WoW, I continued to follow Party Leader. We ended up in Duskwood, which is a level 20ish zone. A few monsters started to attack us. I attempted to help kill them, but Party Leader killed them easily, telling me he had my back. OK, then.
We approached Raven Hill Cemetery, at which point Party Member 2 and Party Leader started speaking in code to each other, I believe. Party Leader told me he had to go to Party Member 2′s house to help him out, and then he dropped me from the group. Within seconds, I was dead. I rezzed at the Spirit Healer that happened to be right where my body is – several times. But, I kept getting killed within seconds. I tried to hearth back to Goldshire’s Lion’s Pride Inn, but NPCs called “Flesh Eaters,” which appeared to me as Level ?? Undead things, killed me before I could hearth back. /nerdraging, I logged and gave up on Ailsa for the day.
The next day, a friend I’d told about the experience offered to see what was going on and thankfully came to the cemetery to help me. He watched me rez, and he watched the Flesh Eaters attack as predicted, but his higher level character killed them for me so I could hearth back to Goldshire. He told me that perhaps I could have backed up to avoid the Flesh Eaters long enough to hearth, but that having Level ?? Flesh Eaters right at a graveyard was highly unusual and understandably difficult for Level 9 Ailsa to handle. He also said to watch levels of the the NPCs as you enter a new area, and if they’re higher than you, you should leave. I knew this, but I wanted to trust my oddball party members to see what was going to happen.
I reflected on this situation while cleaning the house (hey, RL’s gotta happen, even when the game becomes terribly intriguing). I considered how in an MMO, as in any social setting, we have to look out for ourselves. We must be aware of the strengths and vulnerabilities inherent in our personalities. For me, because I don’t intentionally mislead anybody for any reason, it is difficult to imagine why people would want to mislead/abandon another player… especially when the player is not even a threat to their success or failure.
How do people find this bad behavior fun? If you’ve done similar things, or can provide insight for me, please comment on this post and help me out! Also, is there anything I should watch out for so I don’t encounter these situations again? (I’ve had very positive experiences with random groups, but not this weekend.) I hate to be a broken record, but this is an information seeking problem: how do players find out whether other players are good group members? It almost seems as though we need something like a rating system for each other, as we see in social media when we can rate others’ posts and comments. You can report people to Blizzard for certain behaviors, but I’m not sure that what happened to me would be reason for reporting them.
In any case, there’s my “fail MMO group” story of the week. To finish the story: once back in Goldshire, Party Leader was there (did he ever leave?) and invited me to join a group as soon as he saw me. I declined, put him on ignore, and smiled. Sometimes *not* joining an MMO group can be liberating, especially when you know it’s going to be a fail!
Be careful about who you group up with. But even if you’re careful, you might get killed in Goldshire by some higher level bully, as the boys of South Park know.
Ding! You’ve leveled up! Please see your local librarian for training.
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