That Game I Was Playing

Friday’s post got more of a response than I expected.  It was just something I wrote on a whim.

I am declaring this the stopping point for the poll.  I won’t delete the poll itself, but I am doing my count now.

The results as of this post are:


There were varied attempts at logic in answering this question.  One of my favorites was the claim that if my response from the company arrived in “many hours” it couldn’t have been EQII as that would have required several days.

Somebody else decided that, since I was currently only playing EVE and WoW, it had to be one of those games.  But I did not say the event happened recently.  In fact, it happened a while back.  Still, with that logic did their answer did end up in the “right action/wrong reason” quadrant of the decision matrix.

But most people took the bait and chose EVE Online.  It is, after all, that bad game where your ship can get blown up and you can get scammed by other players.

Which, as some people rightly suspected, was probably related to some point I was trying to make.

The correct answer, which came in second place, was World of Warcraft.  In fact, the event in question was something I mentioned in a post a few months back. (Minor congrats to Spinks for mentioning the right zone!)

The summary is that while doing the Defias Traitor escort quest in Westfall a group of high level horde players were standing along the route, just meters before the end point, and killing the traitor before the quest could be completed.   Once the traitor is killed, the quest cannot be completed and must be abandoned.

Annoyed by this, I submitted a ticket.  The response came back that the Defias Traitor is flagged PvP so the horde players can kill him all they want, thank you for playing WoW, please let me know if there is anything else with which they can assist.

In a way this amuses me.

People complain about the harsh reality of EVE, but I face player griefing a lot more frequently in WoW, especially in low level zones.  There are reasons for this, of course.

First, the way the Azeroth is laid out relative to the population, you spend a lot more time in close proximity to other players.  It is a rare location in WoW where you don’t have somebody else close by. (The exception being the Outlands, which are rather dead of late.  All the better for my harvesting activities though!)

While in EVE, out where I am generally based, I might only see one or two other players over a couple hours of time.  And even when in a trading hub, only a dozen or so might be visible, in their ships.  And even then, ships passing are like… well… ships passing.  You tend not to wave or make small talk unless you see somebody you know.

Second, my tolerance for being griefed, and even my definition of what constitutes being griefed, is wildly different in the two games.

WoW is a shiny, happy, amusement park and when a bunch of surly teens start wrecking the fun for other people, it gets on my nerves pretty quickly.  I expect Blizzard to keep that sort of thing to a minimum.  But this happy, amusement park-like feeling also seems to let some people’s sense of responsibility off the hook.  They can bounce off the walls, get in your face, and generally make things unpleasant and there isn’t much you can do about it without going to Blizzard.

EVE is a rather more harsh virtual reality, being a PvP based game.  So somebody coming into a mission I am running in a low sec system and blowing up my ship… or somebody just blowing me up on general principles in a low sec system… is just part of the game.  CCP isn’t there to shepherd your enjoyment or make sure nobody takes advantage of you.  Ignorance gets punished pretty harshly, so you ignore the tutorials for things like contracts at your peril.

Does that mean I am happy when I lose a ship, get a jet can flipped, or have somebody try to con me? (And I am told you aren’t anybody until you’ve been hit up for the Goonswarm initiation fee scam.)  No, I am not happy.  But I can accept that this is part of the game.  Doing something wrong just has a more tangible price in EVE.

So what is the point of all of this?

Well, really, there was none.  I just wanted to see how many people would vote for EVE.

But, since I have gotten this far, I feel compelled to get this all summed up in a handy package you can take home with you.  And what more could be more appropriate way to do that than another poll?

Call it “Choose your own moral to the story!”

Tell me how it turns out or add your own summary to the comments.

33 thoughts on “That Game I Was Playing

  1. Reatu Krentor

    I wish I had written my choice on the poll in the comments, can’t for the life of me remember what I picked, prolly Eve-online though. Then again I might’ve thought that was too obvious.
    Kinda lame that a quest like that is so predictable all the ‘for-shits-and-giggles’ crowd has to do is camp one spot, well… lame in a game such as Wow


  2. Sara Pickell

    Another part of it, from my perspective, is that in EVE you are almost always only helpless for moments at a time. Sure if a couple battleships drop in on your hulk in low sec, there isn’t much you can do. But you can often get some friends together, or hire some mercs to get a bit of payback. On top of that, there’s usually a lot you can do to insulate yourself from most of the straight griefing.

    In games like WoW… there just usually isn’t any recourse for you. The rules protect the griefer not the aggrieved.

    Of course on the other hand, losing a quest and losing a battleship are very different levels of grief so I suppose it evens out in the end.


  3. Igor

    In a previous poll I have dismissed WoW as a choice because I really didn’t believe that you would write a ticket over that kind of situation. Killing escorted NPC is nothing new or strange. I don’t say it’s OK. I’ve never did or will ever do such a thing. But NPC is PvP marked and it’s more than clear what that means. Equally, statement that quest was 100% impossible to complete is, from my point of view, misleading too. It was possible to complete it, but at later point in time. It happened to me too, once, not far from Ratchet. I was annoyed too, especially because I got close to finish it, but to write a ticket over it…


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Igor – But somehow you believed I would write a ticket in another game? I would not, for example, even bother in EVE. But I have some (mis-guided it seems) idea that Blizzard would frown on griefing the noobs in Westfall. An opinion you obviously do not share.

    As for the statement that the quest was impossible to complete, I stand by that 100%. When a quest shows “Failed” you have to abandon it. That makes it hard to complete right there. That I could get the quest again and make another attempt is different, and it is possible in all of the games I listed.


  5. syncaine

    I call shenanigans on the ‘impossible’ claim, which is why I raised it in the other post. You could have had a few 80s come by and clear out the griefers (I think, or do they not flag for PvP on a PvE server?), or as mentioned above, you can simply abandon the quest and complete it later. You get that same ‘failed’ result if other NPCs kill the escort as well, so it’s well within the games rules that he might die.

    Impossible would be picking the ‘wrong’ quest reward for the Rend Blackhand line in UBRS, and then being gimped as a DPS class because you don’t have the 2% crit trinket. It was impossible in vanilla WoW to make up for that choice once you made it, short of starting a new character, which I think falls outside of ‘reasonable’ choices.


  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Syncaine: You are drawing in other circumstances that do not apply to the situation. Once the Defias Traitor was dead, the quest was impossible to complete and had to be abandoned. That it could have failed for other reasons is irrelevant. We had the NPCs well in hand. But a level 80 player was well beyond our ability to handle.


  7. syncaine

    Well in that case accepting certain lvl 4 EVE mission is also impossible if you go into them solo, but would you submit a ticket about it? Just like in the WoW example, the problem can be solved in-game by utilizing the ‘multiplayer’ aspect of MMO.

    Also nothing during the quest happened that was not planned for. The traitor dying is a possibility of the quest, be it from NPCs or other players. If it was not, instead of ‘Failure’ the quest would bug out.

    I agree with your point overall, that while in EVE that’s acceptable, in WoW anything interfering in your game is viewed as an issue, but I think in this case the other players were well within the rules of the game and not ‘breaking’ your game in any way.


  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I disagree about nothing in the quest not being planned for. If Blizzard put a level 80 NPC there that killed the traitor, people would scream bloody murder. But if a level 80 player stands there and kills the traitor, that is something that I should have expected and planned for? I think you are pushing credibility if you are suggesting that a level 18 player needs to have level 80 escorts to do quests like this.

    In the end, you and Blizzard agree that, as things are now, what the level 80 player did was within the rules. However, I do not believe that it ought to be. Allowing players at level cap to grief the noobs is bad business in an amusement park game like WoW.

    And, as a side point, I have found no level 4 mission that I could not do solo, though a number of them took a lot of work when I was new to battleships and those missions. There were a few where I warped in and out of the mission a dozen times. I just drag along my alt because it speeds things up and I need to build up standing for him.


  9. syncaine

    Expected maybe not, but options exist if you REALLY want to accomplish it. Think of it as a ‘hard mode’ quest, due to the uncertainty of player involvement. If there was a lvl 80 mob, it would be a lvl 80 quest. If the quest involves other players, it has potential to be a PvP quest, which at that point the issues with WoW PvP become clear. Regardless whether its intended or not though, it’s not impossible, or even requires anything outside the norm of an MMO (play with others).

    In WoW land it is bad business, which is why they removed so many of the group and elite quests, and nerfed raiding. Changing the NPC to not allow others to kill him would not make the quest possible though, it would simply remove part of the challenge, which again is something blizzard is usually quick to do. I guess not enough forum posts were made about it, or it would have been changed long ago. Perhaps this post will spur that change :)


  10. Igor

    Let’s look at another situation: you need to collect X of something, that drops off some mobs. In the area where these mobs can be found there is a bunch of horde players, tagging and killing every single spawn, obviously for fun of it. It will be 100% impossible to complete quest at that moment and you will be forced to come later to finish it. Will you write a ticket?

    My comment was related to WoW only, which I play regularly for years. I know what EVE is so it was out of the question. So, yes, I thought it possible that in other mentioned games that situation would be something to write ticket about, since I don’t know what stance related companies take on griefing in their games.


  11. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    “Expected maybe not, but options exist if you REALLY want to accomplish it”

    @Syncaine: That is a cop out. To say, “Well, if you really wanted to do this quest little level 18 noob, you could go plead in Stormwind for some higher levels to come help you.” is just a typical ‘leets shitting on the noobs reaction, or so it seems from my perspective. Why should level 80 players be allowed to kill the defias traitor in the first place?

    @Igor: Not a parallel situation. What you are describing is not the actions of another player in the game causing your quest to be flagged as “Failed” after you have walked half way across a zone. What you are describing has happened to me before with people just competing for the same mobs in a kill quest, so motivation does not enter into it. And there is a simple recourse right there, be quicker than the other people. The act of tagging a mob first is not comparable to a level 18 player facing a level 80 player who is flagged pvp.


  12. Igor

    Yes, it’s different but not THAT different. One situation is when you meet players sharing the quest, the other member of opposite faction deliberately spoiling your fun. Result is the same but motivation not. In that situation they even doesn’t have to be PvP flagged, so they don’t even have to be top level. No fear from retaliation. And I can give you examples where you won’t be fast enough. In the end, whether it is marked failed or not doesn’t matter since you can’t finish it anyway and it still can make you walk over half of the zone.

    Blizzard made that and other similar NPCs kill targets on purpose. Whether it is a good or bad game design is another topic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither trying to defend Blizzard nor trying to convince you to accept it, but that is a part of the game. I just don’t see it as a reason to write a ticket.

    It will never cross my mind, in any game, to QQ to GM (and you have to forgive me here, but that was, for me at least, a plain example of QQ) over something that game design allows. WoW probably is amusement park game (with every coming expansion more than before), but that doesn’t mean that really everything in it have to be tree hugging.


  13. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I think you’re really reaching trying to come up with a scenario, and what you are going after still doesn’t come close to how a high level player is able to pooch a low level quest so quickly, easily, and with such deliberate malice. But I get what you are going for, there are lots of ways people can be jerks in the game. I just think this one is particularly painful and burdensome on newer players.

    So maybe you see it as QQ’ing to the GM. I don’t agree with the notion that just because you are able to do something in the game that it is automatically right. But you are free to endorse the griefing of low levels if you like.

    I complained not so much because I expected immediate divine GM intervention, but because if nobody complains, nobody will even think to look at the issue and decide if they really did make that guy killable by other players on purpose.

    Well, that, and because I have a faint hope that flagging some griefer to the GMs will put a black mark on his account record so that some day he’ll do something that isn’t allowed and it will go badly for him because people have complained about his behavior before.

    Probably more of the latter actually. I heard people complaining about him on Westfall chat for a while that day and I really don’t like people who grief noobs.


  14. Igor

    No, I don’t endorse griefing (of any kind) and I’m sorry you got that impression. I obviously failed in getting my point over. I do, though, accept it as a part of the game I decided to play, since it IS part of that game and isn’t ruled out by company. Yes, high level player of opposite faction can come and kill my NPC. I shrug, drop quest and do it later or skip it entirely. I don’t write ticket about it. It’s not game-breaking, because there are ways around it. But, OK, you have different take on it and I will accept that.

    As a last note: you will forgive me, maybe, but: “In frustration I submitted a ticket asking for redress of the situation.” looked like nothing but QQ to me. The way you put in your last response is something different.


  15. syncaine

    So wait, you are trying to get this guy flagged and ultimately banned because you don’t like how he is playing the game, even though he is only playing by the rules you both signed up for? If anything, Blizzard should flag your account for GM abuse, wasting their time over a completely valid situation in their game.

    “Why should level 80 players be allowed to kill the defias traitor in the first place?” is a question for Blizzard, not the other player. Rather than submitting a GM ticket, make a post in the suggestions forum, as that would be the correct location for your feedback.

    Blizzard either wants this particular quest to be a possible PvP situation, or made a mistake and allowed others to kill him. Either way, it’s Blizzard’s fault and not the other players.


  16. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Syncaine: Oh dear, that poor level 80 horde player. He didn’t know he was griefing I’m sure. He’s a victim too.

    That’s like saying that the government let you buy a car that would go 80 MPH in a school zone, so its the government’s fault you hit that kid in the crosswalk.


  17. syncaine

    If the government set the school zone speed limit to 80, then yea, blame them.

    What you call griefing others call playing the game, and unless the griefer is breaking a rule set by Blizzard, he has just as much right to do what he wants as you have to do what you want, and considering its 2009 and we are talking about a vanilla quest, clearly Blizzard is fine with allowing other players to kill the NPC, even lvl 80s.

    Your issue is with Blizzard, not the player.


  18. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I disagree completely. The player was being a jerk on purpose. He went there deliberately to make the lives of low level players miserable. That is griefing whether you like it or not.

    And if you go back and read the terms of service, Blizzard is quite clear that just because you can do something does not mean that action is allowed or condoned by Blizzard.

    And, as I was pressing back with Igor, if you take the stance that if you can do it, it is allowed (despite the fact that the EULA says that is not the case) and that complaining about something is wrong (in which case, physician heal thyself), then I am going to have to assume that you are giving the big thumbs up to griefing noobs? Is that your stance on this? Does your WoW hate burn that bright that you are happy to see new players get griefed?


  19. syncaine

    But Blizzard would NEVER ban someone for killing the Defias traitor, nor does the EULA in any way object to that action. You can type racist remarks in trade chat, and that is bannable, but lets not try and lump killing an NPC legit into that area.

    A player selling a worthless item for 999.99g on the AH is also being a jerk, should we ban him too? He is just griefing the poor noobs who can’t read the AH correctly. What about lvl 19 twink premades beating up on lvl 10 noobs in WSG? Ban all of them too for picking on helpless players who don’t stand a chance, since clearly Blizzard did not intend for lvl 19s to have high-end enchants and 1000s of HP?

    When you go to submit a ticket about the player, in the hope that his account gets placed on a list of quick bans accidentally, it’s YOU who are trying to grief him, because what you are doing IS wrong and if the GM had made a mistake, that other player would have been unfairly banned. Lucky for that guy the GM did his job and informed you that nothing violating any rule occurred.


  20. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    The EULA doesn’t cover specific situations, so claiming that as a defense is pure BS.

    You have a defense against the AH scam. You can SEE what you are buying. He can’t take it from you without your willing cooperation. And the WSG scenario you site is just silly and you know it. You might well suggest that we ban people for using voice in battlegrounds to coordinate.

    But I have no qualms about submitting a ticket about a player who is deliberately and maliciously griefing low level players. The player was doing this on purpose and he can man up and take responsibility for his actions if he gets reported and banned. You cannot convince me that he might not consider that a possible outcome from his behavior. Only a completely amoral ass would think that such behavior was fine.

    As a side note, the AH comment of yours reminds me of a recent post on another, much more popular MMO site demanding that CCP police such things in EVE. Why aren’t you hounding that post? You just feel comfortable here?


  21. bluelinebasher

    TQQN — “Your issue is with Blizzard, not the player” is completely accurate IMHO. You may recall even the almighty Eve rewrote the noob training mission because of grievers, even though they were playing within the set rules. Complaint should be on Blizzard to modify the quest. I don’t play wow so I don’t know if they have restricted zones or what, but in DAoC, if there was a mission that required going out in the Frontiers, you can bet it would be known and camped, along with your Frontier entrance, and should be expected that people would be waiting to kill you. I imagine WoW gives some sort of warning that you or your NPC that you need to protect may die, even Eve warns when a mission is in low sec.


  22. syncaine

    I missed the EVE post you refer to, but don’t we almost monthly see a “CCP should protect the players” piece? Do link it though.

    The EULA does not cover the specific situation, but do you think if reviewed Blizzard would agree with you and find the players actions worth punishing? Or would they more likely tell you to stop using the GM report function incorrectly?

    The twink premade is deliberately and maliciously griefing lower level players. If they wanted good, balanced PvP they would not be twinking. And no, I would NEVER consider the possibility of being banned for killing the defias traitor as a lvl 80, knowing other 80s can push me out, or the lowbies can simply move on or wait it out.

    In 2005 my guild would often raid alliance towns and kill all the npcs, including the flight master (this was pre-BGs). We did it not because we wanted to grief the lowbies and stop them from questing, we did it to draw other 60s to that area and fight it out. It worked, and we got a lot of fun PvP out of it. I guess we should all have been reported and banned, since we were there blocking noobs from completing quests?


  23. Sok

    Late to the party here, but I figured I’d toss out some random thoughts:

    1) I was also led astray by the “impossible” tag. I was thinking the quest itself, and not your current… instance(?) of the quest, was rendered unfinishable. It sounds like you can drop the quest and retake it from the NPC, though. It’s just a nomenclature issue — is the quest the thing in your log or the thing the NPC hands out? So I guessed Warhammer; I’ve never played it, so I figured there may be situations where the game would give you a quest you could *never* complete because someone else screwed you over.

    2) I tend towards Syncaine’s side of things here. Yes, the people were being jerks. However, they were being jerks because a game mechanic, a correctable game mechanic, allowed them to be jerks. Do not flag the NPC as PvP, but still flag him as targetable by mobs — problem solved. If Blizzard does not want to do that, then that’s a design issue on their end.

    Still, it’s jerky behavior and I think it’s good to report jerks, so I would’ve reported them as well. If nothing else, it notifies Blizzard that this is a mechanic that players are using to annoy other players.


  24. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @BLB – But if nobody complains about anything, nothing will change. I may have held a grudge, but I complained in good faith feeling that the player in question was doing something that ought not to be allowed, since it specifically targets low level players whose only real recourse is to go away. If he’d been doing something like that in Stanglethorn Vale, a higher level zone where you start to come in contact with the other side all the time it probably wouldn’t have bothered me. By then players have a feel for the game. But in Westfall you’re still coming to grips with things and having somebody griefing with impunity is wrong in my opinion.

    @Syncaine – But your actions made clear what you were up to, which did not include griefing low level noobs. If I put in a ticket every time the other faction came along and slaughtered town NPCs, I’d be doing nothing on my horde character but writing tickets about how the alliance is attacking the Crossroads in the Barrens. (What is the alliance obsession with that?)

    This guy though was specifically targeting noobs. He wasn’t running around leaving a swathe of destruction or attacking alliance posts, which would have brought up the “under attack” alert. He was standing in the middle of Moonbrook picking off the Defias Traitor over and over and over. Trying to take that action and make a general statement isn’t going to fly. Griefing is like pornography, it attracts young males. no wait… It is like pornography because I cannot accurately define it, but I know it when I see it.

    And, frankly, I do not make it a habit of opening tickets. I have a policy of trying to avoid the eye of authority going back to the days of MUDs when drawing the attention of the gods was almost always a bad thing. In fact, I think this is my third ticket ever, the other two being “our guild leader hasn’t logged on for a year, can you make one of the officers the leader?”

    As for that other post, you’ll find it over on VirginWorlds.

    @Sok – I’m not that far away from Syncaine as it seems some days. I just have a big old chip on my shoulder when it comes to griefing noobs in a game like WoW.


  25. syncaine

    My actions were clear to me, but were they clear to the noob trying to turn in his 1h timer quest and running into 15+ Horde characters camping his NPC and the flight point? I’m not trying to argue that the player was intentionally being a jerk, I’m just saying he was doing it fully within the rules Blizzard created, and so in no way should be banned, and so instead of a GM ticket a suggestion form/forum post is the way to go.

    What CCP think at VW? The bank CEO thing? I’m not seeing anything about the market in the blogs section…


  26. syncaine

    I’m not trying to argue that the player was NOT intentionally being a jerk – WP no edit fail.


  27. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Sending me to the WoW forums? Now you’re just being mean.

    I thought the blog post about EVE was a direct follow up to one of the show threads that was particularly down on
    EVE, including market and contract scams, but it appears to be a bit more general, though still in the vein asking CCP to protect people.


  28. bluelinebasher


    A grief player, or “griefer,” is a player who devotes much of his time to making others’ lives miserable, in a large part deriving his enjoyment of the game from these activities while he does not profit from it in any way. Grief tactics are the mechanics a griefer will utilize to antagonize other players.

    This should not be confused with standard conflict that might arise between two players. At our discretion, players who are found to be consistently maliciously interfering with the game experience for others may receive a warning, temporary suspension or permanent banning of his account.

    An example of grief play would be the so called “Can baiting” in starter systems. An experienced player drops a cargo container with some items in front of a station in a starter system and waits for a new player to take from it. The new player is flagged and promptly attacked and killed by the owner of the container. Doing the same in starter tutorial complexes is also considered grief play and will not be tolerated.


    Because characters have the ability to deal with their conflicts through combat and PVP, Game Masters will only be able to assist under extreme circumstances.

    Actions that would typically be considered “dishonorable actions” such as, but not limited to; corpse camping, graveyard camping, or instance zone camping are considered acceptable PVP tactics and are not considered harassment.

    However, inappropriate names, language, and spamming will still be addressed according to our current behavior policies.

    I think it just reinforces your poll — had you made your complaint in Eve while in a starter zone, your request would have been seriously evaluated and you may have even gotten the player banned for his actions. But in WoWland he was just being a naughty person. Maybe he needs to be pointed to the Tips for Being Nice page next time. But don’t spam the link or call him names! When’s Diablo coming out? I want to like Blizzard again.


  29. Keystone

    Lack of accountability of actions is one reason I don’t play WoW anymore.

    I always refer to the Siege Perilous shard on Ultima Online for this topic; the SP server only consisted of Felucca (Open PvP), and you could only have ONE character on the server.

    Well since you could only have one character you were accountable for your actions, and since it was open PvP, people would typically kill you when you screwed them over.

    The end result of this was generally more polite interactions between players- save warring guilds, factions, etc…


  30. Pingback: Killed in a smiling accident. » Blog Archive » In Jersey anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught

  31. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I am now able to see the what people entered into the “other” field. As of this date the responses are:

    People are weird.
    clicky clicky!
    No matter how much you wish, idiot-free MMOs will never exist.
    Did I leave my pants in here?
    You where trying to make a reasoned and fair comparison of unpleasant player interaction
    Darkfall sucks
    oooh, I hate those Defias
    I like tacos
    People are gullible and stupid
    Bacon on Toast is the best thing ever!
    i like unicorns
    people suck
    Winter is coming.
    Which do you prefer? Having to rely on a Big Brother or Anarchy?
    Sucking sucks
    All your readers are sheep.
    You lied about impossible NOOB!!!
    I miss Door games


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