Back when I first got the game, I read that disclaimer on the box.

I imagined that the game itself would account for about 95% of the actual experience, and the amount of interaction I would have with other people would only be about 5%.

I based this impression off of my experiences with another MMORPG, City of Heroes. In City of Heroes, I was able to solo pretty much all of the content I was doing, and without crafting or a marketplace, interaction with other people was purely at the player’s choice.

I was in a guild, but it was purely for social reasons. You didn’t really need other folks, and with darn near every real quest taking place in your own private instanced dungeon, interaction with others was at the street level while farming random thugs.

Well, I think you all know how naive I was.

I’d say that, as awesome as the game itself is, World of Warcraft is massively affected by the other people around you.

I’ll leave behind the whole issue with a guild. It’s obvious that if you choose to join a guild, how you experience the game will change dramatically based on how good a fit your guild is with what you want to do.

You want to run instances all the time? If you’re in a guild with 3 other people online at the same time as you, you are likely to feel the game is dead and boring. “Sigh, PUG or PvP? Or maybe another alt?”

On the other hand, if you are in a highly active guild, you may feel the game is way too hectic, that all the things you are asked to take part in place too many demands on your time.

Or maybe you’re the third bear, and everything is just right. Awesome!

But you control that part of your game. No one can make you stay in a guild you’re not happy in. If you can’t find just what you want on your server, heck, you can try and start your own.

But what about the rest of the time? What about the affect complete strangers can have on your game experience? How much control do you have over that?

I would like to describe two contrasting experiences I had this weekend, that took place about 15 minutes apart from each other. Keep in mind, I play on a carebear server. Consensual PvP only.

This weekend, I blew off all Druid activity to concentrate on playing my Priest. I was at level 64, and sick of it. I was done with Zangarmarsh, and had all of Terrokar Forest to begin. Time to level, damn it!

I was working on the Quest chain concerning the Shadow Council, which starts at Private Weeks (Alliance). The first thing you do is put on a disguise, wander into Grangol’var Village and talk to the bad guys there. As long as you stay out of the way of the Shadow Council hunters, you’re good to go. Wander around and talk to folks, gather info, and report back to Private Weeks.

The last part of the quest is to fight your way back into Grangol’var Village, slay 10 Shadowy Executioners, 10 Shadowy Summoners, and their leader, Shadowmaster Grieve.

Everyone else is in the village walking around, but Shadowmaster Grieve is in the one large structure. I cut my way into the Village, burning my way through everything that stood before me. I took no breaks, I simply killed and drank water, killed and downed Mana pots, killed and killed. I had a blast, and left a trail of broken, melted bodies behind me.

Unlike every other time I’ve been in the area, I had the Village to myself. It was kind of nice, I was getting the quest done fast. I burned a straight path into the building, lined up on Shadowmaster Grieve, verified that all my buffs were still active, my Mana was good, and started my Mind Blast cast for the initial pull on Grieve.

A player, mounted on his Elekk, rode straight into the structure over the dead bodies I had left behind, all the way into the center of the one large room where Grieve and his buddies sit, and was AOEing before he had even dismounted, nailing everything before my cast time was up, tagging everything so he got kill credit no matter what happened.

I interrupted my cast, since I was damned if I was going to pull aggro after he tagged Grieve and finish the fight for him, and watched as he downed the leader.

Now, I’ve done these quests twice before, on my Druid and my Hunter. I’m well aware the boss is on a fast respawn timer, so I’m only out 3 minutes. But I’m irritated. I was into the groove, I was having fun and enjoying myself, and wham! Bam! Dead stop.

I whisper the player, who was Alliance (notice I said he was on an Elekk), and asked him why he felt the need to run in and AOE instead of just grouping with me for it, after I cleared the path for him?

His reply? “I didn’t see you, w/e” and then he put me on ignore and left. That’s right, He put ME on ignore.

Yeah, whatever is right. But here is the funny thing. The guy was in Divine Might, a guild I had actually been in for a long time before Burning Crusade came out. It’s a damn good guild, with a very well deserved reputation on our server for mature, intelligent players that are into progression. I’ve been gone from that guild for over a year, but my time there was a very happy one. Great people. But every guild has it’s share of asshats, and they are usually smart enough to only show their faces to non-guildmembers. So, hey. Whatever. For all I know, that was one of my old ‘friends’, him on an alt and me on an alt, neither of us recognizing the other. Yay. A moment of extreme irritation, but screw it. Settle down for 2 minutes, get the respawn, and head back out.

Fast forward 15 minutes.

I’m in eastern Terokkar Forest, and I’ve got a quest called the Firewing Liaison, that I got from Allerian Post (near the Blood Elf area).

Deja Vu… I need to cut my way into the Fel Orc stronghold to the southeast, and then into the single large structure, where inside I will find the Firewing Liaison, Lisaile Fireweaver, and I need to kill her.

There is another quest along with it, Thinning the Ranks, to kill 10 Destroyers and 6 Backbreakers, while I’m there.

Yes, it’s the EXACT SAME QUEST. Are you shocked? Yes, I know. Who ever heard of Blizzard having the same types of quests, over and over, just in different areas. Ah, but I digress.

So, down I go, and once again, I buff up and get into the groove. I burn my way into the Fel Orc Stronghold, and melt faces straight up to the single large structure. I slaughter everything on my way inside, and face off on Lisaile Fireweaver. I make sure my Mana is topped off, my buffs are live, and I get all set…

And two players burst into the large structure on their mounts.

One is level 70, and they are both Horde.

And one of them does a /salute, the other /waves, they both dismount, and they stand back out of the way against the wall to wait patiently while I take care of business.

I stopped casting when they came in, and I laughed when I got the /salute. I saluted back, set myself, did my Mind Blast pull, brought them in, feared the group, burned down Lisaile and played the rest like ping pong balls, bouncing and burning them down.

Once the room was clear, one of the Horde gave me a /cheer, they both moved over to the ledge to wait for respawns, and I /waved again and moved on out of the building.

Two very similar situations. The only difference between them was my feelings on interacting with other players casually met in the game.

One of those players I would never group with or help in the future, and if I didn’t already know Divine Might is a great guild, I’d think pretty poorly of them in general based on the way that player acted. Unfair to judge a group based on the actions of one person, I know, but that’s how it is. Everyone is, at all times, an ambassador for their guild. What you do, for good or bad, will reflect on your guild.

The other two players, if they had been Alliance, I would have buffed, chatted with, and thought extremely highly of their guild in the future, and offered to help them with quests if they needed it. I would have been on the lookout for players of their guild to help if I saw them asking for it. That’s how I roll. I see people do nice things or just be friendly, and I watch for them and their other guildies to do nice things for in return.

I did walk away from that encounter with a smile on my lips because it is always fun to meet friendly folks in the game. It really enhanced the whole experience for me, especially in contrast to my earlier encounter.

Game experience may change during online play…. words to live by.

28 Responses to “Game experience may change during online play”
  1. kakalaki says:

    That ticks me off too! Whats the toons name? I will flame him from a million alts. I’ll make his ignore list fill up faster than a fountain drink dispenser.

  2. Dionket says:

    That infuriates me and is one of the reason I wish that Blizzard would A) let me tag *why* someone is on my /ignore list and B) expand my ignore list. :)

  3. Ithilien says:

    Dionket – plenty of addons around for (a) and for (b) the only real solution would be PVF – player version faction. Allow Alliance players to pvp other alliance players. Useless on a PVE server of course but imagine the possibilities on a PVP server :D

  4. Asara says:

    That is so rude. I am almost always very careful of other players when I am questing, even so far as to ask if they’d like to group if we’re doing the same quests. I have my selfish moments, but I wouldn’t be all “w/e” at someone if I screwed them over like that, I’d be extremely apologetic, and stick around to help them, since I had zerged their first opportunity.

    Encounters like that are part of the reason I play on a carebear server myself, I know that there are plenty of asshats who would like nothing better than to watch me work on a quest, and gank me when I’m at low health, just because they can. I can’t handle that sort of cutthroat environment when the game itself is frustrating enough at times.

    I tell ya what though, if the GM of your old guild is still the same, I’d at least mention to them what happened, because any GM worth their title cares about how their members interact with others. I know I would, if it was me.

  5. bigbearbutt says:

    The very reason I didn’t mention the guys’ name is because that kind of ‘oh well, w/e, talk to the hand, I’m here for me’ behavior is so common.

    A tree ninja is one thing (lol), or a jerkoff that swears at you or talks down to you on a PUG or other group, or some other over-the-top negativity, but this stuff is strictly minor league irritation.

    No matter how irritated I may have been just because it was jarring, I certainly don’t think it was enough to warrant sending anyone off to harass him.

    But I thought the contrast of the two player encounters was just too funny… at one moment, I’m pissed at having other players in the game interfering with my questing, and the next minute I’m cheered up at other players interacting during my questing. Same damn game, two different experiences.

  6. Merlot says:

    What a great post, thank you. I’ve had a string of bad experiences with other players and it can really grind you down, but you’ve reaffirmed my faith that there are good players out there too :)

  7. Messyah says:

    There is a guy in my guild that has 5 level 70s that he leveled himself and he gave me the secret to levelling fast. DON’T TALK TO ANYONE! He said when he is questing/levelling, he doesn’t speak to a soul. When he’s raiding, and he’s damn good at it, he belongs to the raid but when he’s not, in his own words, “its my time to leave me the f*ck alone

    (He doesn’t mean don’t ask him questions and such, just don’t ask him to do heroics with one of his 70s when he is logged in with a level 37 mage.)

  8. Felkan says:

    This happens quite often when I do the SSO dailies. If you pull with FFF you gain agro and a bit of threat, but you DO NOT “tag” the mob. So, someone else, of either faction, is able to tag the mob after you have pulled it but before you land your first DD hit. I don’t get too worked up about it. It is just a game and frankly dailies are just a time killer until I can get in a group to do something more fun.

    On the other hand I have helped more Alliance (I’m horde) than I can count. In almost every case it ends with a bow, thanks or salute. Sometimes, I wish PvE servers would allow mixed groups and/or could heal the other faction. That would make for some really nice chances to help out.

  9. Anna says:

    Great post Bear (as usual).

    I’ve had similar experiences – haven’t we all – but it seems like I have more trouble with people being asshats from my own faction as well. I’ve actually “helped” and been helped by horde characters when I’m in difficult zones with my alts. Always restores a little bit of my faith in humanity when that happens.

    Ithilien – what addon allows you to add notes to your /ignore list?

  10. Heather says:

    As a guild leader, I appreciate hearing about things like this when they happen. Yeah, they may not act like that when they’re playing with other guildies, but behaving rudely in the rest of Azeroth reflects poorly on the guild as a whole and I don’t like that.

  11. Kestrel says:

    I probably would have tried to find an officer in Divine Might and make the guild aware of the asshat’s behavior. I’ve done that before…to find out that a guild I once respected had turned into what we called elsewhere, a “griefer guild”–constantly causing grief for other people. Any chance that could have happened here?

  12. Rob says:

    So basically, experience A was due to an Asshat (capital A), and experience B was due to non-asshats. Most people don’t do this, but if you make a post in the WoW official realm forum regarding the hordies, sometimes someone in that guild takes note, and it helps that guild build reputation on the server.

    I’ve had a similiar issue as A, it was a player from the most progressed Alliance raiding guild, the GL did nothing. Now i pretty much always think of them as crap, regardless of what their progression is.

  13. ARA says:

    Had a similar dual experience over the weekend in two different 5-man PUGs:

    In the first, someone I’d met on a previous run, who knows the game really well, jumped in to help us on a final boss. I was grateful… but he was arrogant as hell (“I’ve cleared BT, I think I can handle this…” “you’re stupid, why did you do that?”). Having never raided before, I was willing to put up with his behavior, because he knew a lot more about the game than I did. I thought maybe a lot of raiders become like that, because you cant afford to make mistakes. And besides, he had taught me some good points on tanking the previous day, when I kept screwing up.

    However, the second case blew this theory apart, and we couldn’t have asked for a more warm hearted, more generous leader, who apologized for not warning us properly about the encounters when *we* made mistakes, and yet whose gameplay experience was obviously far in excess of our own. He also knew all about tanking and I learned a lot from him too.

    Two very different emotional experiences in a short time, in randomly selected groupings, and it showed me how much my experience of the game varies depending on who I’m playing with. It demonstrated that no matter what armor you wear or what weapons you wield, you can’t prevent your very human character from brightening or darkening the experience of others.

  14. Becca says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your post. As a somewhat shy but considerate player I always keep in mind that the people around me are **people** and a “do unto others” attitude is most definitely in order. It’s a shame how many people don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves, and I know we’ve all had to deal with more than our fair share of them.

    So many kudos to you. Beautifully illustrated point. =)

  15. Amika says:

    I experienced a different type of emotional encounter recently. I made a female night elf alt and from the start I’ve had male characters emote, /flirt and whatnot. Recently, I’ve gotten whispers from 2 different guys (human males, go figure) and some of them were vulgar!! It’s one thing to /dance, it’s way beyond that when you actually get whispers that are just profane.

    Anyone with a female night elf… have you guys had anybody say nasty stuff like this to you??

  16. Good story – I’m also on a Pve Server.. and sometimes help.. ( or be helped) by someone from the opposite faction I know asshats from both sides though.. If helping means one less death then I’m happy to try.. .im not sure that this would be so common on a Pvp server..I’ve a Horde toon on a PVP server – where people go out of their way to have their own special kind of Ganking fun – Hence stopping people from handing in a quest by killing them 20 times at Nesingwarys… Its not the ‘fair’ pvp thats the problem. its the level 70 in a level 30-40 zone.. but I imagine that there would be less cross faction aid on a Pvp server..

  17. Meegeekai says:

    From the start I have always lent a hand whenever I could, regardless of faction. I just have the mindset and expectation that the favor will never be returned or offered. That way it is always a nice surprise when someone does a good thing. I ran around on my mage buffing intellect on anything that moved when I first rolled it. Just because I could. I heal folks, bandages, on my warrior. The funniest one was this weekend though. A Tauren and I must have clicked on the Dead Scar bombing run at the exact same time. Our mounts were linked, pretty much through the run. As my Dwarf warrior was completely hidden by the Tauren, it was a bit disconcerting. At first there was a “WTF”, but then we both were trading “LOL”s. I only needed a few (it was my second run ;( ) as soon as I got my 2 more I sat back and let him have the run.

    Have seen what you described to many times though. Just makes me sad.

  18. Saresa says:

    I like Kestrel’s idea myself of contacting an officer in the guild concerned and politely letting them know what you thought if their behaviour (and the same thing goes both ways – in my old guild as an officer I often sent letters to guild leaders commending the behaviour and attitude of someone if I felt they deserved it, like those who we may have had to pug for Kara and stuck through all the wipes and were polite and encouraging).

    I have absolutely no respect for people who think they can just ride in and take the credit for someone else’s work, and it unfortunately happens alot – Elemental Plateau anyone? The approach many people take of then spamming complaints about them over trade is really useless as well, it just makes the person complaining look like a whiner. Like Kestrel said, take it to the guild I guess :)

    Polite players FTW!

  19. Lassirra says:

    As Kestrel mentioned, usually when folks of my own faction pull jerk moves like that, I’ll do a quick Armory search for their guild, see if officers are on, and send a quick tell asking how they handle inappropriate behavior. Sometimes I get positive responses, sometimes I don’t, but in the end I at least know for sure whether I should be writing off the guild as a whole, or just making a mental note that they’ve got an ass or two in their ranks. How you behave in game definitely has an impact on your guild’s reputation, which is why I contact officers–if they seem to actually care that their members are being jerks, then it’s obvious they’re aware that the actions of their members have an impact on their public persona and care about maintaining a healthy reputation amongst their peers on the server; if they don’t care what their members do, then neither do I.

    As to the rest, I’ve often found horde folks on my server to be pretty polite in terms of tagging mobs, being patient, etc. There’s always going to be a few jerks, regardless of faction, but my personal experience with horde on my server has been pretty positive overall. A quick example would be the other day there was some random world PvP going on in Westfall. I showed up to help some of my friends, and after we’d all unflagged, there was still a flagged horde shadow priest running around. He/she was mounted, just kinda hanging out, and I watched one random alliance hunter flag and try to kill the priest (which, laughably, didn’t turn out in the hunter’s favor) and after the hunter died, the rest of us /cheer’ed at the Priest, and danced with him/her. They /wave’d, /dance’d, etc. and we all just sort of had a nice time hanging out. Moments like that make me glad to still be playing this game after 3 years.

  20. Kheldar says:

    yeah it happens a lot….seems to happen to often someone else comes in without thought – esp doing the Prisoner Escort quest in Skettis ?

    however i do find peope are sometimes more helpful / considerate doing the Netherwing Daily Quest to get the Relics ? The one where you stand right down besides the landing place with the 2 big 72 Elites standing guard. if i get there and horde are doing it i /w them as ask how many left and wait til the done or at least only pick up a mob when they are already fighting another.

  21. Deathrender says:

    I too would be a big fan of cross faction grouping/assisting. Both sides are fighting The Burning Legion and Arthas anyways..why not be able to group up for the greater good..at least on PVE or RP servers. I’d at least like to chat with them and learn other languages like we could in Everquest..

    As for the assisting, I help out when I can. If I see an Alliance toon getting jumped by multiple mobs, I’ll hop in there and help clear them out. We might be on opposite sides..but that’s no reason we can’t be civil. But as BBB pointed out, games like this will always have that…”element”…of people that try to ruin it for everyone else. Sure, BBB could have gotten mad, gotten eve, ran and tattled to a DM officer…but what would have been the point? That guy still wouldn’t have changed.. BBB took the high road and that’s commendable! :)

  22. I must be quite naive at times, ‘cos I’m normally quite surprised when someone doesn’t want to group or help with things…

    The Skettis Escort I’ve found to be very sociable on Anachronos, EU. Most of the time if someone’s hanging around one of the spawn points, they’ll happily group.

    The Blades Edge SSO quest for Smuggled Mana Cells is one that often frustrates me because of the “interactions” with other players… I’ve had them stolen as I’ve walked up to them after killing a mob, never mind whilst I’m doing the killing. I accidentally stole one myself the other day and tried appologising, but was ignored. I think I really surprised someone last night when I leapt in to help when he was being trounced by two worms at once – and didn’t take his Cell…

    In general on quests after “named”, I always look around to see if anyone else is looking like they’re after the same thing – meaning I’ve offered groups to others and have asked for groups, depending on my, and their, situation…

    I’ve even managed to include (and be included) mid-combat when someone’s turned up after it’s started, which is nice…

  23. Hip says:

    I’ve noticed on my server, Alleria, horde tends to be nicer than my fellow alliance. I rarely get mobs ganked from me by horde, but always by alliance.

    Yesterday I was at Death’s Door farming fel armaments on my mage. I had cast a fireball at a mob, and right before it hit the mob, another mage ice lanced it. It ticked me off, as he was alliance, but I continued on. He did this five more times! I finally had enough and we had words…He claimed he was verifiying I wasn’t a bot! Oh please, he could have just asked. Things got very heated between us, when he finally said “I said I was sorry.” At that moment, I realized I needed to let it go and apologized as well. He then opens trade with me and gives me 500g for him acting like a jerk. Of course I denied, but he persisted, claiming he has like 30k and nothing to spend it on. I ended up talking to him a bit and realized he was actually a nice guy…we were both just frustrated.

    So yeah, interesting twist to the mob-stealer story. =)

  24. Tikky says:

    I too hate silly people from my faction and I love it when I can play nice with folks from the other side. But on the subject of ‘experience changing during gameplay’… my experience has changed during and because of gameplay in WoW and now I’m a fanboy. Bear with me for a sec while I indulge…

    Before WoW I was a GTA fan. Loved that game, still do. But having played WoW for *shudders* three years, I’m now totally devoted to all things Azeroth.

    Hmmm… apart from the fact that I’ll need to buy a new console to play GTA IV, I’m a bit disappointed that Rock Star Games hasn’t tried to create something with the MMO experience of WoW. That would really Rock. So my experience of gameplay has totally ramped up a notch in terms of expectations. In other words, experience has changed during gameplay for me, for sure. And it’s all about the people. People like my nearest and dearest…

    My wife plays WoW. It’s a great thing to do together. And she’s way more social than me in the game, which is great ‘cos I need that. It’s a balance for my more technical style of gameplay, which I hope she needs too (probably not). We regularly talk about what’s going on with our WoW friends. It’s great. Also on the RL social trip, I have lunch nearly every day with my mate Daak (we work together) and the conversation always ends up on something WoW related…

    And here’s the point. The best thing that came out of the social side of WoW that I can confidently point to is this blog. Daak and I, over lunch (as usual), agreed that our mate Windshadow was writing some awesome stuff in the Sidhe Devils Yahoo group we belonged to, and we both agreed that Wind should start a blog – for sure. So we told our mate Wind how good a writer he was and encouraged him to start blogging. The rest is… well, you’re reading it. (I’m sure he’d already thought about it, we just gave him a few words of encouragement)

    So here it is, if there was ever an example of how our experience can change because of gameplay, then this blog is it. Fantastic!

  25. Mider on Kael’thas & Garona says:

    See we hordies arent as bad as some may say. Sometimes we are better. The horde has their share of ASSHATS that do the same thing…so its universal.

  26. Booraka says:

    As a person who has always tried to help out (both factions) whenever I’m aware and able, I have to say I’ve been on both sides of this. I help out all the time, I’ll help out Alliance (I’m horde) just for the heck of it. I’ve given away items, gold, I’m one of those that passes out any mage food I have before logging. And I’ve also been killing a mob just to get that node, and someone ninja’s it. What I find is that if I’m in a cranky mood, it bugs me. If I’m in a good mood, I just go on to the next thing. It’s more me than the other thousands of people running around.

    I have had it happen before that I’m out questing, doing my thing, paying attention to nothing but killing mobs/finishing that quest. I literally focus on nothing else. And then I’ve had someone (even people I know) whisper me just like BBB did. “What’s up, why’d you kill that mob/node I was working on?” I always say “I’m sorry, didn’t see/notice you” (because it’s the truth) and if it’s someone I know, I’ll offer to stay and help. Usually they just lol and say no worries, but I’ll help if I can.

    If it’s not someone I know, at least half the time my “Sorry, didn’t see/notice you” is met with curses and derision. Oh well, what can you do? I’d like to say I’m consiously aware of all the other people in the game 100% of the time, but the truth is that sometimes I play wow to totally escape, and that means other players. It’s not on purpose, but it happens.

    I guess the point is that, sure, it’s possible to be a dink on purpose, but it’s also very possible that just by playing the game, you’ll piss people off, even inadvertently. Frankly, while I try to be considerate and don’t go out of my way to irritate/annoy/grief others, Blizz kinda set this game up so that it’ll happen. I mean, what’s the right protocol? You’ve got one of the plentiful “get node” but node is guarded by mobs quest. Someone else is there… but there aren’t that many nodes.. I leave the node that is obviously being guarded by mob that player X is fighting, but I move on to the next mob/node… seems like the right thing to do.. but I’ve been flamed for it. Sometimes people think that it’s their “area”… I don’t know. I guess I’m just supposed to sit there for however long it takes them to finish?

    I’d like to not be called an asshat or have my guild get tons of spam about me if something like this happens. Like I say, I help out when I can, but sometimes these lesser things happen.

    Putting you on ignore was rude, though, that I agree with.

  27. Daelek says:

    Great blog, I’m going to start reading it regularly now.

    My experience vary too, probably more so since i play on a pvp server. The worst thing that has happened to me is i was doing a mining run just going around nagrand mining adamantite and all or a sudden i spy not one but TWO Rich adamantite ore veins about 10 yards next to each other. JACKPOT. But of course i get one lot of ore out of the first one when im ganked from behind by a rogue laughed and spat on (with a macro..no one types that fast) and before i get back hes taken both and left.

    But on elemental plateau i’ve farmed for hours peacefully with a mage called frosn who was busy with the fire elementals..we left each other and although my pet attacked him a couple of times because of aoe, i always apologised and he laughed and bowed. Even when i got ganked in the same place he watched but didnt help kill me and when i killed the ganker back he didnt attack me either.

    i’ve probably rambled a bit too much but great read and i agree completely…i always make sure people in my guild behave otherwise they get warnings in the form of missing raids or demotion…i’ve had to remove some people for absolutely despicable language and behaviour.

    Thanks for great read.

  28. Spider says:

    Ironic that opposite faction acted much much worse than friendly faction member… ;)

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