Sunday, January 25, 2009


There are three different realms available for play in WoW:  one is a Player-vs-Player realm where players can attack each other at any time without rhyme or reason.  Another is a Role-Playing realm where all players agree to stay in character, and where no player can attack another without the specific consent of the other.  The third is a role-playing realm that allows PvP attacks. 

I prefer the Role-Playing realm because I don't like the idea of having to worry about players attacking me for no reason, and because I'd rather play the game against (and with) the environment.  Players will sometimes ask if I want to duel and I always say no.  Sometimes they don't take no for an answer and keep following you around and asking for a duel, and sometimes they insult you, hoping, I guess that the insult will provoke you to attack them. Such was the case when one player whispered to me once  how awful my armor was.  Instead of attacking him, I just became sad and insecure about my armor.

One recent interchange that I found disturbing involved another player,  a blood-elf, who hid himself in an area where players would normally go to turn in quests.  He had PvP turned on and somehow was able to attack me (I haven't quite figured out how this happened yet, as I didn't have PvP turned on.)  At any rate he was at least 10 levels above me so he would have killed me within seconds.  I pretended to be dead (you can "feign death") and watched him, and an associate, who also appeared from nowhere as they proceeded to kill my pet raptor.  He and the associate then began to spit on me, and emoted that they were "laughing maniacally."  They kept spitting on me, and once they realized I wasn't really dead, attacking me until I died. 

I figured they'd had their fun and would move on, so I resurrected (this is a process whereby you find your spirit at a nearby cemetery and travel back to your corpse where you resurrect at half the health you had).  It is considered bad taste to attack someone when they have just resurrected because it brings no honor to the attacker:  the victim is already in a considerably weakened state and easy to kill.  

These two were waiting for me, though, and they attacked, spit and "laughed maniacally" until I died again.  This time I didn't come back but stayed at the cemetery where you can ressurrect for a considerable penalty if you don't want to try to find your body.

Of course I've witnessed cruelty of all sorts in the real world, and this small bit of cruelty in a virtual world shouldn't have bothered me as much as it did.  At the end of the day I didn't lose anything that valuable, just a bit of time, and I wasn't physically hurt.  But it did bother me, maybe because the kind of cruelty that bothers me most comes from those I can't see.  

Recently my real-life car was vandalized:  some unknown person or persons spray-painted "BLOODS" all over the entire passenger side of the car, covering both car doors as well as the windows.  I have been unable to get the paint off and will wind up having to have the entire car painted.  Our garage was also vandalized around the same time, with odd symbols from a gang around the neighborhood painted all over one side of it.  When the vandalism happened, I wanted to know who had done it.  It mattered to me.  I wanted to face the vandals and tell them what cowards I thought they were.  If you're going to be cruel, I would have said, be cruel to my face.  Do something to me where I can see your face, not in a dark ally at night when I'm sleeping.  

And I wish I had had the opportunity to see the faces of my attackers in the virtual world as well.  Maybe it wouldn't have mattered.  Cruelty is cruelty whether you know the cruel ones or not, whether you can see their faces and smell what they had for lunch on their breath or not. But it seems to me that cruelty in a virtual environment is especially cowardly and deserves a special place in hell.  

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