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Getting Dirty

July 27, 2011

Dear Reader,

I didn’t want to tarnish my own blog by stepping in this steaming pile of fire druid poo, but I got up early, I’m cranky, I had to re-read two comments directed (even indirectly) at me to establish their tone, and frankly, I’m pissy because the last of jobs I applied for called me and said no thanks, dooming me back to part-time land for another year.  It’s been a bad few days, so now I’m going to address something I otherwise wasn’t going to address: PvP attitudes.

I commented on Cynwise’s blog yesterday – that was my first mistake – after seeing MMO Melting Pot being fair enough to link the pro-pvp blogs.  The message I tried to convey was that the real problem was the lack of empathy and intelligent debate that went on between the two factions, while admitting that I understand why PvPers want to PvP on a PvP server (repeated for grumpy emphasis).  Read for yourselves:

Note that this comment is as much to the other comments as to Cyn’s write up.

What bothers me most about this debate is the lack of empathy shown for other players. I despise world PvP but ended up on a PvP server before I was aware of the difference so that I could play with my friends. Despite the fact that you may think this shows my friends don’t care about me, what it shows is that I do care about my friends and am not going to ask them to lay down hundreds of dollars to move all their toons to another server.

Now, I’m aware of my personal responsibility in this matter, and I don’t gripe too much about it (no more than an ordinary person, I’d think). I don’t like that people advocate ganking, but that’s the spirit of the server, so fine. I understand that I’m the one out of place, not the PvPers.

What bothers me is that so many people out there who clearly get a kick out of this sort of thing will sit by and pass judgment on others, suggesting their friendships are invalid, that their spouses and friends – who may of course have jobs and lives and not play at the same time – have abandoned them, that the only solution to the problem is becoming a pvper yourself or leaving (typical argument, by the way; love it or leave it. There’s few stupider arguments in the world).

I can appreciate another player’s right on a PvP server that I signed up for to engage in PvP. I can’t fathom why, though, such a complete intellectual and emotional void exists in discussions over the matter.

Most of this was in response to the typically stupid “If you don’t like PvP, leave our server,” or “Where are your friends?  Why don’t they help you PvP?” type argument, though I was irritated by one – and only one – small part of Cyn’s argument, which was that if your friends “make” you play on a PvP server, they’re not really your friends.  I feel I did a pretty good job taking responsibility for my situation and making my point.  Two more comments came in afterwards, and while I don’t remember signing up for follow ups via email (I never do; I just go check myself a day or two later), I found them in my inbox this morning.

I had to read them a few times, but chalk that up to my early morning, pissy state of mind more than anything else.  The best I can gather from them is that they have no sympathy for me and I should just leave my server.  They were both politely and eloquently written, but what they both failed to grasp was that was exactly my point. There is no empathy or middle-ground seeking thought in that argument

So we’re clear about my otherwise private situation, I’m on this server because I joined my friends there.  While they certainly wouldn’t “hate” me if I moved to another server (hell I play on 4 servers now anyway), I would lose touch with them if I moved.  They were friends I had in New York – not in the town in which I live, which kudos to you if you’re that lucky – neither particularly well off financially.  One is unemployed as he takes care of children his mother and father adopted before they passed away who have many and varied special needs, so he lives off the small stipend the government pays his family for taking these kids in.  Essentially, his entire life had to get put on hold for these kids that he didn’t even have a choice in the adoption of, or he “sends them back,” which of course would be a guilt-ridden, soul-destroying decision.  The other still lives with his parents (it’s pretty common in New York, actually, since real estate and rents are so expensive) and works a part time job because, honestly, he’s a commitment-phobe.  He’s a nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but that’s the deal.  They don’t have tons of disposable income to spread around, which of course, nor do I, since I seem to be unhirable.

We don’t see each other at all outside of the game, so the suggestion that I simply leave the server is really out of the question, as is the suggestion that we’re in a Bad Friendship because I won’t ask them to spend a lot of money to move toons.  So I gripe about PvP from time to time, though pretty rarely overall, but grin and bear it.

Sure, we could use real ID, and I’m sure that’d suffice for a while, but like all relationships, time and distance work hard against them, and without the digital geography available in WoW, we’ve all said that we’d probably not speak anymore.  It’s the nature of living apart, which any of you college-age youngsters out there will learn ALL ABOUT in a few years.

I don’t think it’s so mind-blowing that I’d expect a little empathy from others over the situation.  I clearly stated I understood that I’m the one out of place, but the only meaningful responses I got boiled down to, “So leave.”  I appreciate the kindness of the tone of  “Don’t do that to yourself,” but you see, it’s yet another choice to do that to myself because I don’t really see another way this situation works out.  It’s great when you’re in a guild with all your friends and you get to shoot the shit all the time, but I’m a 30+ year old man who’s moved over 1000 miles twice in the last 7 years, whose friends are all becoming “adults” and are moving away from silly things like “games” to more adult interests like “lawns,” “sports,” and “Barbeques” (shudder) which makes keeping in touch with them nearly impossible as we no longer have things in common, so I cherish the few friendships I have and am not willing to risk them.  I have a hard time understanding how that’s a problem to others.

I’m not sure whether the debate has just raged so hot that it’s impossible to come to any middle ground any more.  I only started blogging a few months ago.  I wrote on the other “pro-pvp” post that MMO linked that I thought his post was absolutely excellent and was a step in the right direction.  He suggested simple tactics that non-pvpers might not be aware of to help defend yourself.  He was trying to teach those who were out of place how to survive.  That neither apologizes for pvping nor treats carebears like children (or worse), which the condescending tone of several of the comments did.

Of course, the irony is that I do PvP from time to time.  I took expansive part in season 9 to really make sure I felt the way I thought I felt about PvP.  Being a pally, I went holy, and have plenty of gear for it (about 3k resil).  “Defend yourself,” a lot of commentators suggest.  Sure thing.  I can choose between my holy pvp set or my tank set.  Of course, neither can win in a solo PvP battle with a dps, so really it’s just about delaying the inevitable as much as possible, but I guess that’s my fault, too.  Silly me for stepping up and doing the hard jobs instead of just being a pvp Dps so I could maim others.  How stupid of me.

The writer of that blog, Cryptic, responded to my comment with this:

Thanks. I know no one is going to change their minds over this, but I also understand both sides. It sucks getting camped, sometimes for hours, or being prevented from doing dailies. Sometimes individuals take it so far that even most PvPers would frown on it.

I don’t know why such a nice, sympathetic thought is otherwise so foreign in this debate.  This is how we come to a middle ground.  This is how we can all go home feeling good.

Unfortunately, I’ve not seen any of the PvPers that he mentions; you know, dear reader, the thinking, feeling kind.


Stubborn (who’s putting on his fire suit)


18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2011 11:39 am

    I think most people (few trolls aside maybe) actually do sympathize with such a situation, Stubborn. It’s understandable why you don’t want to leave and it’s very understandable if someone who never wanted to PvP in the first place, dislikes the (sometimes petty) interruptions of his game time. so at least in your case, one can see why you keep “doing it to yourself” and why it’s really no fun. it’s a shame because people (should) play on PvP servers for the fun and excitement of it.

    I’m not sure what more I could say to you, though; my opinion on the general topic is very much like Cynwise’s. at least for myself I can say that my comment was generally directed at people who are not like you, but expect PvP servers to become “un-PvP” just for them. I guess I’m also not the only person who doesn’t always read all previous comments in a thread, though I usually try to, so your case wasn’t necessarily omitted on purpose.

    Imo it’s a pity that you consider it a mistake to have bothered to comment; your view is valid just like other strong views are. maybe sometimes we shouldn’t hope for much more from stating our mind than having stated it. you’re adding to a whole and while you might not have been met with much agreement (or empathy as you say), you’ve made the picture more complete for other readers who might be in a similar position.

    That’s my 2 cents, anyway – and I pray for some rain for you! 😉 (we sure have plenty of it here at the moment!)

    • July 27, 2011 12:00 pm

      Yeah, I don’t really have any problem with your or Cyn’s opinion (the one small exception regarding the friendship thing aside), but I get annoyed when I see comments like
      “If your friends or spouse got you on that PvP server, and you’re being ganked, where the hell are they? REPRESENT.”
      “In my opinion, they’re all PvE servers. On a PvP server, Players are also considered part of the Environment. Deal or GTFO.”
      (mostly the second one) that are mostly just ignorance or attitude in contrast to the kind of thing you’ve written here or what Cryptic posted.

      This isn’t a battle that ever needs be fought, because as has been pointed, non-PvPers should avoid PvP realms, and those that are there should accept it (which I generally do). What fuels the flames and irritates me to no end is inhumanity not of the play style, but of the people on the other side of the screen. That’s what keeps the fight going. I don’t agree with people who expect PvP servers to become PvE servers (and thus refuse to understand the PvPers) any more than I do the people who enjoy ganking and think its fun to upset others (and thus refuse to understand the nonPvPers). However, while the first camp may come across as ignorant or naive, the second camp often comes across as vicious and mean-spirited, and sometimes superior. If forced to choose (which I’m not and won’t be, but if), I’d have to go with the stupid seeming ones over the mean ones.

      I realize that’s an enormous oversimplification, and intentionally so, because there’s no end to the complexity of every individual players’ situations. People like Cyn or Chase (I have to assume) or even you aren’t looking to upset others; as you say, there’s probably a lot out there who can sympathize. It just seems in a debate over the rightness or wrongness of ganking, you don’t see that. You don’t see people trying reach a middle ground, because it might appear “weak” to give in to any of your “opponents” points. You just see the same flame-driven rhetoric. It’s not even agreement I’m looking for, just an admission or concession towards the other side. Too many comments are flatly devoid of it.

      Chalk it up to a bad few days on my part. Thanks for commenting and better explaining your position, and I apologize for being ego-centric and assuming the comment was directed at me. I think it’s probably part of being a blogger. Thanks for the rain thing, too. This heat wave’s nuts!

  2. July 27, 2011 12:28 pm

    Hey, what do you mean “even me” lol – I never look to upset others! =P
    And sadly, the attitude and behaviour you describe are the same we find so often in WoW’s forums, trade chat, general chat, for almost every type of discussion. I think there’s always been a remarkably low level of maturity like that in WoW, I for one have never encountered it as badly in other MMOs. that’s not to say that WoW doesnt attract a big variety of folk (it sure does), but yeah – lots of different people and lots of lol-kids, too. there’s a natural attraction to PvP for s-o-m-e childish people who will then mistake the open and “everything goes”-mode of it for an excuse to be jerks freely and treat others rudely in debates where they disagree.
    I dont see what you have to apologize for by the way; I didn’t assume I was being attacked here and I certainly didn’t attack you in my own comment. so no harm done anywhere! =)

    • July 27, 2011 2:24 pm

      Well, to be fair (I realize you’re jokingly asking, but still), I meant “even you” because you hadn’t posted a blog about the topic, only comments. Hence my starting with Cyn and Chase.

      I’m fully agree with the maturity issue, and having played other games as you have, I also agree that it seems mostly localized. That’s a double whammy, too, since it means not only do we get that attitude on WoW, but when we play other games, WoW players are frequently looked down on or derided due to the stereotype. I remember defending WoW players as a whole on LotRO just to ask myself afterwards, “Why bother?”

      At any rate, thanks again for your comments, which are always welcome from everyone, even you (;
      Especially you!

  3. July 27, 2011 1:13 pm

    What I don’t understand, and have never gotten the grasp of, is how camping can be fun.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some world PvP, but like you my Paladin is Holy. I have done exactly zero Firelands quests with her simply because she’s on a PvP server and I know it’s a royal gankfest. Ironically my Warlock is on a PvE server, and nobody is ever flagged 😦

    I like killing someone once, maybe twice if they’re being REALLY annoying. It would be awesome if Blizzard could give you some kind of debuff that prevents you from being killed by the opposite faction for like 5 min, but then you’d have that guy who follows you around and as soon as the debuff wore off /murder.

    I guess I’m of the base opinion that it’s a PvP server, and you can either deal with it or not. It sucks getting camped, but I just go do something else. I make that choice, I’m not expecting someone to make it for me (not saying you are either). Really, there’s nothing to discuss or debate about it – it’s a pretty binary equation. Of course it sucks when you can’t participate in content, but I’ve seen a lot of people clamoring for more world PvP, which is exactly what this does.

    I know my instincts are working overdrive on the PvE server – Carbonite shows me an enemy, I’m clicking to kill them, but they aren’t flagged. Maybe I’ll just run around flagged and see what happens.

    • July 27, 2011 2:27 pm

      I’ve had precisely the same problem when playing on PvE servers. Dead mobs have always been warning flags to keep your eyes especially open, and I forget sometimes on a PvE server that you don’t need to bother with it, usually with a sigh of relief and a lessening of tension in my shoulders at the same time.

      I also don’t understand why camping is fun. I, like you, know I’m going to get killed from time to time, but when you’re sitting there wasting your own time to waste a strangers, it seems like a case of cutting off your nose to spite some strangers face. I get the impression that’s why a lot of people got upset by the WoW Insider article.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Kierbuu permalink
    July 27, 2011 1:56 pm

    I’m always amazed at the people who jump up to defend the jerks of the PvP world. I’ve rolled on PvP servers my entire MMO playing time (where available) and I’ve also had a firm rule system in place. I call them the “Inigo Montoya Rules”.

    Fairly simple really. Based of the scene in ‘The Princess Bride’ where Inigo lets the man in black scale the Cliffs of Despair and rest up before the fight begins. I don’t attack weakened opponents and I don’t attack people that aren’t looking for a fight or in a PvP area. The joy of PvP, at least for me, is proving I’m better at playing my ‘toon than you are at playing yours. Attacking when the other player isn’t in good shape is just not PvP worth having.

    The most fun to have PvP wise on the Molten Front (or the Isle of Quel’danis in BC, or Un’Goro Crater in Vanilla) is finding somebody ganking. RIp them to shreds. Debuff them in every way you can. Then when they have just a few hit points left, leave them to the mercy of those they tried to gank. Good times.

    • July 27, 2011 2:31 pm

      I feel a lot like you do. While I essentially never PvP, on the few occasions I’ve wanted to run someone off a Twilight Jasmine node (when I’ve been on my feral druid), I never kill them unless they won’t relent. I’ll bleed them up and let them run (as they frequently do when pounced). I don’t attack weakened targets, don’t engage people who are fighting other mobs, etc. I believe in a fair fight, which of course PvP never really is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strive for it.

      The one exception to all of this is like yours. If someone is murdering low levels or ganking/camping my wife or friends, I’ll follow them and make sure they learn a lesson about world PvP.

      Hello. My name is Stubborn the Druid. You ganked my wife. Prepare to die.

      Great idea, by the way, about letting others get the killshot on the people who’ve been ganking them. I’ve done similar things, dropping in to a battle and healing up the a hordie being tag-teamed to give him the advantage. Sometimes it works, sometimes I get killed too, but at least there I was clearly ready and willing and not trying to mind my own business. Thanks for the comment!

  5. July 27, 2011 4:36 pm

    I’ve stayed out of the whole PvP debate.. mostly because I’ve heard it all before, but also because well, I can see both sides.. If you _chose_ to play on a PvP server, you’ve got to expect some PvP, it’s what makes the game fun for some people. Then, I think of me, just trying to peacefully do my fishing daily in Wintergrasp, having limited time, and having some guy just waiting for me to cast before he attacked me. A lot. And I know that _had_ it happened at one of my really low moments it could potentially have been something that tipped me over the edge. I wonder how many people would gank like that if they thought it might be the final straw that drove someone to suicide.
    Yes, I know that’s extreme – I just wanted to push the point. But a lot of people use gaming as a refuge, and when it stops being a refuge, what do you do?

    • Kierbuu permalink
      July 28, 2011 12:08 pm

      If you said WInterspring I’ld agree with you, but Wintergrasp is a PvP zone. You gotta expect to get attacked in there. I did think putting a fishing daily in the area was a bad idea on the dev teams part. Make fishing in a PvP zone lucrative is good, making it a semi-mandatory part of being a good fisherman was bad.

    • July 28, 2011 4:19 pm

      Absolutely. Of course I expected to get attacked. Doesn’t make it any less irritating. I just think that pvping and *deliberately setting out to annoy someone as much as possible* are 2 different things. I liked the comment above about having a code. And I also have the absolute right to think that anyone who doesn’t is a total jerk.

  6. July 27, 2011 4:39 pm

    Sorry, I went a bit off topic – your post touched a bit of a nerve. I think it is a good gesture to play on a server with friends – even if you’re not entirely comfortable there.

    • July 28, 2011 10:44 am

      I agree with your point, especially regarding the consideration about how our actions can affect others on the other side of the computer screen. Also, you never need to apologize for leaving a comment here, no matter how charged it may have been. It’s a blog! It’s supposed to be charged.

      Thanks for your comment (:

  7. July 27, 2011 6:14 pm

    I have a lot of sympathy for your situation, but at the same time, I also completely agree with the sentiment of those you disagree with (though not any blunt delivery). When I first started playing, it was on a PVP server, because that’s where our RL friends were. I was one of those WoW rookies who absolutely knew what this meant, but my friend who I was starting the game with insisted, so I shrugged and went along with it. I grew quickly tired of the ganking and only PVP’d to defend myself, but my friend was outraged and eventually, we left for a PVE server.

    Does it suck to have to leave your friends behind? Obviously. But I don’t think the “love it or leave it” argument is unfair. The server doesn’t have a problem with ME, I have a problem with the server. Therefore it’s my responsibility to solve this problem, whether that is by becoming a PVPer, never venturing into contested zones, or leaving.

    Another way to look at it is that it’s just like moving to another country that has laws you don’t like. Let’s say the new country allows smoking indoors, while your previous country did not, and you REALLY don’t like the smell or health risks. You can certainly ASK your co-workers, your fellow diners, strangers you meet in a mall, etc., to not smoke in your presence…but they absolutely do not have to listen. And in this case, I feel sorry for you, sure, but I don’t feel like there is anything unfair or unjust happening. That guy who keeps smoking even though you asked him not to? He’s not a jerk, he’s not an asshole, he’s not any of those things. He’s not doing ANYTHING wrong. This place has a specific, clearly-defined set of rules, and you willingly agree to them when you arrive.

    That’s the way I look at this eternal debate. It’s really unfortunate, but I just don’t think there IS a good solution for players like you who are frustrated but essentially “trapped’ on a PVP server, for whatever reason. It’s not your fault, but it’s not the PVP player’s fault either. It’s just…really tough. :\

    • July 28, 2011 10:59 am

      I completely agree, really. It’s the acknowledgements that you’ve made, though, that are so upsettingly lacking in other discussions of the matter. Thanks for the comment!

  8. July 27, 2011 11:47 pm

    I reluctantly moved to a PvP server almost 2 years ago. And I rolled a character to play on another PvP server with some real life friends shortly after. Since then I’ve played and leveled several characters on both servers.

    And my reaction to the never-ending PvP server arguing is that, maybe I’ve just been really lucky, but the amount of ganking that happens is really exaggerated. I’ll get killed once in awhile. Sometimes someone will kill me twice. I think I was killed three times in a row on a lowbie once. But that was my record.

    Sure it sucks and it’s annoying, but it’s really not the end of the world.

    If I get the impression someone’s camping me, I’ll stay dead and go to the washroom, brush my hair, grab a drink. By the time I come back they’ll have lost interest and left.

    I’ve dealt with griefers during dailies once or twice, but when I stay near the NPCs or other people from my faction, they leave me alone.

    And holy spec is awesome when you’re getting ganked. Sure you can’t kill the other person, but you’re so hard to kill that they’ll either give up or have to get their friends to come help them. Which makes you the true winner since the goal of world PvP isn’t really to kill others but rather to be as annoying as you possibly can be ;D

  9. July 28, 2011 11:58 am

    I tend to agree, that the ganking happens pretty infrequently. When it does, it’s upsetting, but overall, it’s not a big deal. I’m also virtually never in holy, since doing dailies that way versus prot is much, much harder, but on the infrequent times that I am, I usually just try to run back to wherever I can get help before I die.
    Thanks for the comment!

  10. July 30, 2011 7:07 pm

    What I got from the whole thing was a dispute about PvP server culture.
    Some players advocate an honor amongst thieves approach and others the “game code is law” which basically means, whatever goes NO limits to ANYTHING.

    My comment would be, why is it that we argue the PvP server culture as being ruled by the last ruleset only. Why are people arguing the lowest denominator as being the way of things, the “deal with it or get out” comment that we see everywhere?
    Just because it’s the most loud and dominating voice out there doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

    If there are some people around on a PvP server who are not into the really griefy stuff (they might be fine with other world pvp stuff), why are they not treated as a legitimate part of that server’s culture and thus as their voice and opinions matter?
    PvP servers are not only full of careless griefers, all kinds of PvP’ers play there and of course a few non-PvP’ers. I understand and support your side of things, you voice is just being completely drowned in this debate.

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