Just deserts

11th May 2009 – 5.30 pm

One of my annoyances in MMORPGs is a lack of personal responsibility that comes from a sense of anonymity and few, if any, consequences from anti-social behaviour. There are occasions that can elicit rebuke from a GM but, in general, it is possible to act like an oaf and treat others poorly without any fear of repercussions. I can get quite frustrated when my only options to deal with rudeness are to reward the behaviour, by leaving the area so that I don't have to put up with it thus letting the player continue in peace, or by resorting to the same underhanded tactics, propagating the idea that it is okay and expected to act like a buffoon. But sometimes it is possible to make a point.

I am in Dalaran awaiting the start of the next battle for Lake Wintergrasp and have taken the initiative to start the first raid group. I invite a few of the people lingering in front of the portal and start to promote them to assistants within the raid, a standard courtesy to allow everyone to invite others to fill up the raid and provide a better co-ordinated force against the Horde in Wintergrasp. With the raid filling up nicely I trot over to the fountain and start fishing. I have never been a fan of fishing, but the new change that allows anyone to fish in any body of water regardless of skill gives me the opportunity to be at least a little productive whilst I pass the time waiting for Wintergrasp to start. It was always odd before to find out that I am not skilled enough to dangle a line in some water.

As I fish out rags and driftwood, clearing the water for others to find fish and coins, the raid becomes full. And then I notice something odd: one player leaves the full raid to be replaced quickly. It is not odd that he is replaced quickly, as there is plenty of interest in Wintergrasp at certain times, but that he should drop out in the first place. What piques my interest is that I recognise the replacement character. Earlier in the day I was building up another Wintergrasp raid and someone runs in to the area by the portal ten minutes before the battle is due to start and tells everyone to ask him for an invitation to form a raid. I found it queer that he would run in to a group of around twenty people and assume that he will be the de facto raid leader, particularly when the raids normally start forming fifteen or more minutes before the battle. But I think nothing more of it as he asks me to invite him and his friend, which I did with no fuss. It is this friend who has now replaced a different member of the raid, hence my suspicions.

I don't want to accuse anyone of impropriety with only a hunch, so I find out who left the raid group and ask him personally why he left. The reply comes back that he didn't leave but was kicked out, which is what I suspected. I apologise and try to get him back, kicking out the replacement, but he points out that he would probably just get kicked out again and lose his place in the second raid that is forming. He is right and I do not relish the idea of removing the assist flag from over thirty raid members to right this wrong, and although I recognise one of the pair of miscreants I cannot remember the name of the other. Instead, I ask politely in raid chat for people not to kick others from the raid group solely to make room for friends as it is rude and inconsiderate, which is unsurprisingly met with silence.

The bare-faced cheek of the situation irks me. Not only is it incredibly rude to boot someone from a full group there really should be no burning need to be in the same raid as friends in Wintergrasp. There are no limitations on player numbers in the zone and any communications you could have with your friends will either be stymied by not being in the same group anyway or unaffected if using external channels. If the convenience of being with friends is truly desired you ought to accept the burden personally by dropping out of the raid and forming a second one so that you can be together. It certainly is not acceptable to kick out and inconvenience other people to suit your own purposes.

Then I have an idea. I certainly recognise one of the pair and with them sticking together so closely it stands to reason that they are in the same guild. I find out the guild of the character I recognise, then I see how many members of the Outlaw Stars are online currently. With only a few of the guild on-line it is easy to recognise the name of the other member of the pair from earlier. With no ceremony I kick him and his partner from the raid group. It is perhaps a harsh measure to take, so close to the start of the battle for Wintergrasp, but I consider it to be just, equal to the iniquity they displayed. And as I had mentioned earlier in the raid chat channel that I quite clearly noticed what had happened I am sure they knew why they were being kicked out. Indeed, confirmation comes in the form of swearing at me in a private whisper, so I feel safe to assume they know who kicked them and for what reason. It is pitiable how they consider themselves treated poorly when they showed no concern about doing the same to another earlier.

I think I did the right thing under the circumstances. I could not simply let people act like jackasses and have them believe their behaviour was appropriate or condoned. It clearly isn't offensive enough to provoke sanctions from a GM but I had measures available to me for player-based justice, and I took them. My only concern now is what petty retaliations I can expect from the Outlaw Stars. I would hope that being shown what it is like to be kicked from a full raid group will make them correct their ways and act more charitably towards others in what is essentially a co-operative game, but instead I fear that I will be a target for unwarranted reprisals. Of course, there isn't too much that they can do, but if they get in to the same raid group as me for Wintergrasp I may find myself kicked out in short order. I will have to deal with that if it happens, and will not be giving any Outlaw Stars assistant privileges in any raids I lead, and hopefully it won't spoil my enjoyment of the regular PvP battle.

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