Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

Today's topic is one that is going to probably be a bit deep and dark and possibly even controversial. But, it's something that I feel needs to be talked about. I am not going to go into huge amounts of depth, and please, if you ever feel endangered or something, take the proper course of action. These are just some of my experiences...

So. Creepy stalker types on WoW.

I've run into quite a few. Some of them are creepier or stalker-ier than others. Pretty much all of them have had the creepiness resolved in one way or another, and I regret to say many of those were not resolved by me. Many of these are gender-specific (people tend to pick up on my "femaleness" fairly early on; the way I type, perhaps? I dunno) but I imagine they could happen to anyone.

Here are a few examples of the ones I've come across in my year of playing the game, and how they turned out:

1.) The Guy Who Wants to be Friends a Little Too Quickly

I've met a few of these types, and to be honest, some of them really are merely people whose way of making new friends is a fast as the speed of light. But I chose to throw this into a sort of low-level Stalker Category simply because some of these people do launch into questions such as "Are you really a girl?" "Are you single?" and "How stable is your current relationship", and come on, being asked those things five minutes after you have met someone is kinda awkward.

My Reaction: Usually I just refrain from giving out any details; if pressed, I'll say "I'm not comfortable giving out information like that over the internet." Now, good friends and guildies can pretty much read me like a book but for the people who seem to want to be best friends in three minutes, it's a little different.

How It Was Resolved: Some of these people still whisper me on occasion and we will have decently friendly conversations (although none of them have ever reached "Bestest Friend Forever" status with me like they all seem to want so badly to attain), others have stopped communicating. Typically I don't see something like this as warranting immediate action unless it's really bad, but again, please use your judgment and what you feel comfortable with.

2.) The People who Simply Give You Bad Vibes

Now I am, in general, a very highly optimistic person who tends to see the best in people. That's why when somebody gives me "bad vibes", it's a huge red flag for me, because that rarely ever happens. I have met one or two people in WoW who seem genuinely nice but for some reason give off a vibe of "I've got a certain reason for talking to you" or "I'm just pretending to be nice".

My Reaction: I am never sure what to make of this "vibe" because I am always so used to seeing the best in people. And who knows, maybe I'm completely wrong and these people really are being sincere-- I'd like to hope so. Still, I would say... go with your gut instincts.

How it was Resolved
: Again this is one you really can't take action against especially since at face value these people are usually being very friendly even if you sense an ulterior motive. Maybe let a good friend know, if you are feeling very uncomfortable, and get a second opinion-- that is what I have done in the past, and not just on the internet.

3. The Guy Who Wants Cyber (May or May Not Have Mental Issues)

Yep, these people are out there. A lot of you have maybe, unfortunately, had to interact with them. My particular story involves a guy who for a span of a few months was incredibly notorious in trade chat for being a jerk. It also turns out he had a tendency to find out who on the server was a female, and start whispering them. His whispers to intended targets were typically very highly charismatic and appealing at first but then he'd start spewing out random sexist and/or racist tirades intermixed with nonchalant "Oh here's my progress on soloing Sunken Temple/farming rep", and subtle requests for cybersex. You definitely got the feeling that something was quite "off" with this guy.

My Reaction: I have a big problem that I really need to work on: I don't like to put people on "Ignore". It makes me feel bad somehow. So after this guy had whispered me a few times and was sort of starting to creep me out-- I regret to say I really didn't do anything. I half-listened to his rants usually without responding and then consistently turned down his advances. (Admittedly it was also sort of like watching a train wreck or something-- you can't stop looking at it).

How it was Resolved: A few weeks after he started bugging me, he disappeared completely from the server and never came back. Now I don't know the details, but I've heard it said that he said something extremely offensive in Trade and got perma-banned for it. I think he's still around, though-- on other servers.

4.) The Guy Who Wants Cyber in an Unconventional Way

These are the people who ask you for weird favors that may seem almost hilarious at first but no, these people are serious. The best example I can think of is the guy who repeatedly asked me to, um... /fart on him. Cause he liked it. I regret to say that I actually obliged at first, because I thought he was joking, but... he wasn't.

My Reaction
: After several pestering whispers of his asking me to perform, followed by him trying to come find me in the game world, I told him "Look, I was just joking at first, I'm not into this kind of stuff and I'm not going to do it." He proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes going into detail about how horrible and evil I was and then he never talked to me again. All's well that end's well.

How it was Resolved
: See above.

5.) The Anti-Roleplayers

This is kind of a phenomenon that you will really only see on RP servers, and some might say it's not really considered "stalkery", but it can certainly get to that point. Most Anti-Roleplayers are the people who will stand in the middle of your RP event, /dancing, /nosepicking, and typing random keys into their /say box to try and provoke a reaction; and most of these people can be safely ignored.

Sometimes it can get bad though.

Silver Hand is in Battlegroup Nine, "Bloodlust", a battlegroup which apparently has quite a reputation for housing the most "hardcore" PvPers in WoW, consistently churning out world-best arena teams and the like. Because of that reputation, serious PvPers flock to that battlegroup which further fuels its "hardcoreness". Oh, and did I mention that Silver Hand is the ONLY roleplaying server in that battlegroup?

One time it was Arathi Basin weekend so I queued up and wound up in a game with what was otherwise a premade-- fourteen people all from the same server and me as the fifteenth person. Those fourteen people were all from a particular server that is seen as being the "hardest of the hardcore" in terms of PvP, whether or not that is really true, I don't know, but the sheer reputation does make them rather daunting when you see that server name floating above their head.

So here comes this little girl from the RP server to fill out their team and all heck breaks loose.

The entire time I was mercilessly teased and taunted and battleground chat was filled with sarcastic "DARESAYS" and "FORSOOTHS" (a joke which is not funny by the way; things are only funny to me if they have some semblance of truth to them), and again at some point they deduced that I was a real girl and then the chat turned decidedly sexist and I got whispers from people telling me it was my lucky day for being able to get into a winning premade because apparently that's the only way a female from an RP server can win an AB.

My Reaction: Now, believe me when I say I can take a joke, but if something lasts the entire duration of a battleground and segues into sexist comments, that's a little excessive in my book. I would have put the entire team on ignore but I felt that as I was in a BG, it was my duty to be able to know what was going on and warn others for "incs" and the like. So I just focused on the battleground and eventually topped the chart at the end (which I hope that whole premade team took a nice long hard look at).

And then ya know what? It happened again, in an EotS a few days later. I showed up as the fifteenth member of what was otherwise a premade from that sever, and I was teased into oblivion. /headwall

How it was Resolved: After that second game I was seriously angry and sent a ticket into Blizzard, asking what sort of action I should take. They replied promptly and told me "Any sort of excessive teasing for any reason, including server type, is reportable, just send us their names." Now I didn't remember anybody's names from the two incidents, but rest assured if it happens again I'll be prepared. I'm not gonna take that kind of crap. I am here to be judged on my merits as a player, not on server type or gender. /rant

Well, that does it on my rundown on run-ins with various unsavory types of people. I suppose the point of this post is not to tell you what you should do in these situations (seriously, don't use me as an example, I'm bad at that), but to remind you that these types of things are out there and you will probably have to deal with them at some point, if you haven't already. Sure, the majority of my WoW experience has been a positive one... but, as with anything, you will always have the weirdos who you can't always avoid.

Stay safe.


Yunkndatwunk said...

I used have have little Yunkndatwunk the gnome and she started a "Sidekicks Inc." business where I had her run around and be a sidekick for money. (People paid me but it was usually people I RPd with anyway who kinda knew me). And i'd compose songs and yell them in cities, etc. Anyway one dwarf kept asking me if I had any male gnome employees to be his sidekick. I had none it was just me.
But every few weeks he'd whisper me and ask if I had a male gnome employee. He said he wanted to "dress him up". I still shudder.

Yeah, it's funny how players from pvp servers give you no respect, but these same players are often the ones fighting on the roads and ignoring flags. Teamwork and achieving battlefield objectives are just not part of their repertoire. I used to lead WSGs and ABs but too often people would just say "go cyber on your rp server noob!" as they camped the enemy spawn point and the enemy was busy capturing nodes behind them.... /headdesk

Boozsha said...

Very good topic and well put. I think this would be a good read for younger folks that are just starting out on a MMO so that they can readily identify this kind of behavior. Especially some of the ones that start out subtle and escalate.

Elphalba said...

I had an experience of the first kind. I was highly suspicious of the guy, didn't tell him any of my alts, and just generally remained careful and a bit distant with him. Six months later, I now run lots of instances with him and consider him a pretty good friend. Sometimes, like you said, it really is just someone who goes from zero to super-friendly very quickly. But caution is never a bad thing.

Nomakk said...

It is a shame you have to go through this being a female. The only creepy stuff I get is "you stole my herb" to which I usually like to reply "and I am already high". I commend your patience, you a good woman to be able to take so much and remain so put together. Good work Pike!

bobo&sgtpork said...

Learning to use /ignore is a very good thing. Someone challenges me to a duel 3 times in a row, /ignore (I wish there was a real Carebear server, where you couldn't flag or duel. I loathe PvP like I loathe RL bullies). So many people forget there's another person behind that toon they're interacting with, we aren't just NPCs in game for their amusement. (eek! /rant off)

Anonymous said...

Hopefully some of those examples you listed will convince ya to use /ignore more often. Though some situations it just seems odd how they escalated the way they did. Glad those incidents didn't scare ya from playing anymore

Hunter and pet said...

Tichondrius. <_<

The only time I've ever witnessed teasing in our battlegroup based on server type was in an AV the day s4 came out (Tuesday). First time I've ever heard that, too. This troll priest from Silver Hand was being very polite when talking in bg chat and it warranted an "RP moar" type of comment from somebody. He laughed, though.

And Pike, I have yet to run into you in a battleground. What gives? Prolly for the better as I still go smush in two-three shots. Hahah!

I do have to say to one of the earlier comments, not all PvP servers suck at playing fair in BGs. But yes, the majority of them do, and it's a shame. Coming from Bloodlust, I've had really stellar groups and really sucky ones. A Ner'zhul premade is awesome because we almost always win and we work together well because we all know each other. Ner'zhul really is a tight-knit server even with a high pop. I know people Horde and Alliance side.

I have been in bgs, tho (I usually just pug them), where people are mean and rude, and it sways the battle. Too much internal arguing does not equal a 5-cap in AB.

But I don't necessarily think that all PvP servers are bad. Sure some of us may have a big "PvP ego" ("lookit at me I'm already in all s4 and I come from a big bad PvP server"<-- I know him), but I've also been in mostly PvE bgs that have the same problem.

Some people just suck. It doesn't matter where you are or what kind of sever you are on.

Tichondrius people are rather notorious for being rude, though. Lol!