What is ganking? When does it become griefing? Why all the questions? Well this past week I was accused of griefing/camping, and after a bit of thought, I decided that I wasn't going to take those accusations lying down. No I would take them sitting down as I hammered out a strongly worded blog entry about the do's and don'ts of world PvP. So I bring to you: "Ganking vs. Griefing: A Rogue's Tale" also titled, "You're on a PvP Server, Stop Being a Pussy, Its Not World of Peacecraft."
First to clarify... what is PvP? PvP is Player vs. Player combat. WPvP is World PvP, that is PvP occurring in the "world" outside of Battlegrounds (BGs) or Arenas. I am clarifying this because just the other night a fellow in /2 was asking what people meant by WPvP and being mocked mercilessly. Hey, it's cool if you don't know the acronym as long as you are ready to get stabbed at a moments notice. That out of the way, let's move on, shall we?
So this past week I was out and about prowling the coast of the Darkmoon Faire looking for unsuspecting folk who wandered out of Sanctuary. When I do this, I typically stalk a fishing pool waiting to surprise a would-be fisher as they hope to catch the ever elusive Sea Pony. Usually, after a few minutes, a fellow Horde member would wander in and fish the pool making me seek out a new one to stalk, but on this occasion none had wandered in, and I had managed to build up a fairly obvious pile of bones along the coast by the pool of floating wreckage.
Let me paint you a picture: A thirsty explorer is wandering about out in the the natural world. This thirsty explorer happens upon a spring or pool of water. Being thirsty, they might consider drinking said water from said pool/spring/etc. Seems okay, right? Now, what if around that pool of water are piles of bones of dead animals, you know, some sun-bleached and others still fresh with bits of flesh that the carrion eaters hadn't yet picked off. Is that pool of water still as tantalizing as it was just a moment ago?
Now, let us take that back into the game. You are wandering about looking for fishing pools and you happen upon a pool where there are piles of bones along the coast surrounding said pool. Would that cause your Spidey-senses1 to tingle a bit?
And that is exactly how it was. A pool, with about a dozen piles of bones laying there on the beach. People would stop and fish, I'd kill them. Some would come by, see the bones, and keep going, I'd chase them and (at least try to) kill them. If they res and split, I'd leave them be. But then this mage wanders by. He stops, stands among the bones, and starts fishing. What do I do? I kill him of course. He come back and resurrects, and instead of taking off, he starts fishing again. So what do I do? I kill him again. He's back, another res, and I think he's learned his lesson and will leave... but no. He start to fish that same pool, so guess what... I kill him again. This same sequence of events repeats itself six times and by this time I'm thinking that I'm killing a bot. Then he doesn't res, but I get a hostile whisper accusing me of camping him and being a "fucking asshole."
Wait a minute, am I camping him? I mean, if it was him or another, I would kill them. I wasn't camping HIM, I was camping the FISHING POOL that HE WANTED. He could have run away back to Sanctuary, or even another fishing pool. Sure, I may have given chase for a bit, but I was mostly interested in stalking MY POOL. (Yea, I said it, that was MY POOL, and I was gonna be damned before I let some Alliance fish it.) So I fired off a response along those lines, but alas, the coward had already logged off... but what was that I saw... yes, he resurrected again and was trying to fish MY POOL.
I killed him again.
The next time he blinked away toward Sanctuary and went invisible as he ran back to safety. That time, he lived.
For that whole chain of events to even happen to you, a few conditions needed to be met:
- You would have to be out of Sanctuary - meaning you would have had to have left that safe place where no one can do mean things to hurt your poor widdle feewings.
- You would have to be PvP flagged - meaning you would have had to actively flagged yourself to be available for PvP combat, or attacked someone else automatically flagging yourself.
- You would have to be on a PvP server - meaning that anytime, anywhere, if you are out of Sanctuary, then you could be killed by another player.
All of these are choices one makes on their own. One chooses to cross the boundaries from Sanctuary into the hostile lands. One chooses to flag oneself manually or by attacking another player. Or, ONE CHOOSES TO BE ON A PVP SERVER.
Personally, I chose to be on a PvP server, because I LIKE PvP. I ENJOY the fact that at any moment, I could end up battling someone for any reason. In particular, I like the fact that there can be consequences for trying to swoop in and "steal" a gathering node. I learned pretty quickly, that when wandering about Azeroth for archaeology or any other reason, to be wearing my PvP gear, have my weapons poisoned, and to be ready to fight - AT ALL TIMES. That, folks, is what a PvP server is about.
Now I happen to be on Emerald Dream, which is not only a PvP server, but also a Role Playing server. I'm not much for the RP, but I don't mind it when others do it. The thing is, these RP folk still need to realize that they are on a PvP server, and if they plan to hold their RP events out side of safe areas, they may be attacked. Hey, what was it that was said? "After all it's the World of Warcraft, not the World of Peacecraft."
The first week of the new Darkmoon Island, I was wandering about looking for other hapless explorers who might be lost in the woods. Being the good troll that I am, I was hoping to warn them of the dangers of these dark woods (read: stab them until they die). I ended up stumbling on two night elves in various states of undress making lots of "strange gestures." Well, being the good citizen that I am, I did indeed warn them of the dangers that lurked in the dark woods. Being that their levels were both in the mid-70s I left their corpses and wandered off to do more good deeds.
A while later, when I had finally circled back around the island, I found them in the same place! Obviously they hadn't realized just how perilous these woods could be, so I figured I would remind them. A few moments later, as I was wandering off, I got a whisper: "Hey, we're trying to RP here. Why don't you bother someone else?" I'll admit, that made me take pause for a moment. A small moment, but a moment nonetheless. I summoned up all my RP knowledge and skill and responded the only way I could think of: "Then RP being dead. I RP a murderous troll that hunts those Alliance foolish enough to leave Sanctuary." Lower level or not, that immediately put them back on my hit list, so I swung back around and reached them just in time to kill them once more as they were fleeing back into the Faire.
But is it all about killing just for the thrill? Of course not, sometimes the killing is done to help out a friend. This past weekend, a guildie was trying to win the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza, and I offered my assistance in the endeavor. I knew the drill, spot and call out available pools, kill any Alliance trying to fish, and stall other Horde. In this case, yes, I hunted the same people over and over. And over. I killed indiscriminately. A couple lowbies felt my wrath before giving up and hearthing out. I think I ended up killing this one hunter seven or eight times. He'd try to get away, I'd follow him, he'd think he was safe, he'd land and start to fish, and I'd kill him again. Now it wasn't that I was specifically targeting HIM, I was just targeting ANYONE who was competing with my guildie. Nothing personal, just business right? I'd also call out fishing pools to my guildie and park my mount on top of them so it would be difficult for others to fish until he got there. He was close, but didn't win. He had 39/40 fish and I was just about to summon him to Riggle Bassbait when someone else came along and turned in the winning fish. Oh well there's still next week.
So, we have three different scenarios, what is ganking and what is griefing?
- I stake claim to a fishing pool, and kill anyone who tries to fish it...or run past it. Victim keeps trying to fish the pool and whines that I keep killing him. Ganking or griefing?
- Two mid-level RPers are in dangerous woods. I alert them of nearby predators (twice) and they whine that I'm disrupting their RP. Ganking or griefing?
- I'm helping a guildie try to win the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza and kill the same people as often as I see them. I follow them and let them think they are safe, then kill them again. I do this until the end of the contest. Ganking or griefing?
If you say any of them is "griefing" you are wrong. Well, at least you are wrong by my standards. I honestly can not see any of those scenarios as "griefing." I see griefing as playing the game with the sole intent of intentionally causing other players misery or dismay. Blizzard essentially defines it as " Harassment abusing game mechanics/exploiting or disrupting zones/areas to cause another player grief or distress." If I go hunting lowbies and camp them just to be a dick - that's griefing. If I provide and escort to a lowbie and kill other enemy lowbies to protect my comrade - that is not griefing. If I kill you while you are trying to gather, and keep killing you to prevent you from gathering and let Horde members gather- that is NOT griefing, that's simple economics - keeping the server economy balanced in my faction's favor.
Bottom line: many people seem to think that any actions against them that they don't want by another player is griefing. It is not. It is just playing the game. If you don't like it, transfer to a server that better suits the game style you like to play, or don't flag yourself. You don't HAVE to PvP if you don't want to.
1Spiderman reference brought to you by @TheKevinDent who recently had a Twitter trivia contest where the prize was a 1 year Gold subscription to XBox Live. The question was (and I am paraphrasing) "where did Spiderman's Venom suit come from?" The answer being Beyonder's Battleworld. This was like the ONLY Spiderman storyline I knew anything about, so yay me! Follow this guy if you are interested in an uncensored take on the gaming industry, and, apparently, surprise Twitter contests.
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