Tara has a post about why she dislikes PvP servers in World of Warcraft:
People hunt down and kill easy marks, just because they can. Then, when those victims get to a higher level, they do the same thing. I get beat, I beat someone else. It’s classic bully behavior, and it really bothers me. I’m not just talking about how annoying it is to get ganked over and over when trying to do the simplest things in game. I’m talking about what it says about people that so many of us find satisfaction in torturing and tormenting other people. They gain pleasure from wreaking havoc and making things difficult for others.
The PvP structure in WoW has created an environment where vindictiveness is encouraged and perpetuated in a continuous cycle. It brings out the worst in people. When they’re a lowbie and get ganked for the first time when they’re out questing, they feel angry. They want revenge. So they say to themselves, “When I’m level 60, I’m going to hunt that guy down and kill him” or “If those level 60s are wasting their time killing me, though I’m worth no Honour, I’m going to do the same to their lowbie allies. They make my gaming experience miserable, so I’m going to do the same.” When they do take their revenge, when they do gank those lowbies, they derive so much glee, so much satisfaction. How is it cool to take pleasure from making others miserable?
It’s irritating that this sort of behaviour isn’t discouraged enough. Getting a Dishonourable Kill doesn’t seem to be enough of a deterrent, since the disruptive and malicious ganking is so widespread.
EDIT: I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there is absolutely no deterrent for killing other player-characters that are “grey” (e.g. worth no Honour points). You only get a Dishonourable Kill if you kill civillian NPCs or vendors.
From the World of Warcraft FAQ:
What is a ‘Dishonorable kill’?
Any NPC that is marked with the green word ‘Civilian’ in its tooltip is considered a ‘dishonorable kill’. The ‘Civilian’ marking will be applied to general NPC’s such as vendors and quest NPCs as the level of the player begins to exceed the level of the NPC. This means that players of the appropriate level are allowed to kill general NPC’s that are considered to present a fair fight.
So this means that WoW PvP is even worse than I thought it was. So let me restate my suggestion: Getting a Dishonourable Kill Killing any player-character that is grey should be further penalised by getting a Dishonourable Kill and a loss of XP and/or money, which is then given to the victim. XP or money loss should be scaled so that you lose more if the level difference between you and the victim is greater. Maybe that would discourage people from ganking lowbies.
What would prevent a large mob of lowbie characters from ganging up on a level 60 to get Honour points? Well, I suggest that the level 60 should be grey to them. In addition, how about if you could only gain Honour by killing other player-characters within X number of levels (say 5) of your own level?
I was certainly angry when high level Horde players killed me without provocation and without the possibility of gaining Honour points. Killing me for Honour, I understand and accept; that’s what you’re supposed to do. Otherwise, people are just being assholes. I thought about the situation for a bit, and what this sort of behaviour said about the people behind those player-characters. Engaging in the sort of spiteful cycle of revenge that others so gleefully and thoughtlessly participate in is a dreadful practice, and paints a rather depressing picture of the people who do these things.
I am not sure that it would be fun for me if I tried to fight another player of a similar level. I accept my lack of skill and experience, and understand that it’s frustrating for anyone to go up against players who have been PvP-ing for a long time and who have learned the best tactics for fighting the various different classes. It’s not like I haven’t fought people in Tekken who are better than me, or been outscored at DDR by people of a similar skill level. I doubt that in any potential random encounter, I would have good odds of winning because I expect the opposition to be better outfitted than me and more skilled than me. Fighting against a more skilled player, I can deal with. It means I would need to practice, to learn some tactics, to understand how fights work in WOW, etc. However, I haven’t got the time to grind for uber gear, which can really make the difference in an otherwise equal fight.
I had a goal to try and make it as far as I could without killing any Horde. Obviously, I couldn’t avoid meeting any Horde at all, so my participation in PvP was strictly as a non-agressor, or “victim” if you will. I know it was perhaps a stupid goal to have, playing on a PvP server, but I wanted to see how far I could make it. It was a challenge I set myself.
Unfortunately, I failed. I managed to get 3 kills because I found myself in a Battleground, not knowing how to leave before my party started killing. I was in Darnassus, checking my auctions, when some random person whispered me. He wanted me to invite him to a party and get him in the queue to Arathi Basin. Obviously, his messages were more like, “Cn u queue me in BG in AB? accept invite! Plzzz!!!” rather than actual English. He was being really persistent, and like an idiot I tried to help him out. I wanted him to stop pestering me. I was just logging in to check my auctions, geez. I had no idea what he was talking about or who to talk to for this. I happened to be on the phone with Id, so he directed me to the relevant NPCs. I got in the queue, and before I knew it, I was transported to the Arathi Basin Battleground.
I wanted to get out, but asking people how to leave the instance met with no success. “How do I leave?” I asked. My character was inside a house of some sort. Someone replied, “Just walk out. LOL.” Gee thanks. I was getting more agitated. Before long the battle started, with Horde swarming all over the place. The Battlegrounds Leader was shouting at our team, calling people names, and saying stuff like, “I bet you all have grey gear!” Whatever. I didn’t know what to do. I wandered out and got killed a couple of times. I logged out, but that didn’t work either. I was at a loss, and this made me anxious. I made my character sit down. Finally, a guildmate happened to login, so I asked him. Apparently, I just have to type “/afk.”
God, I felt like a n00b. Anyway, as a result of that, I now have 3 kills on my record. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t even make it to level 30 without killing another player. While I didn’t technically kill, being in a party that killed other players made me an accessory, and therefore the computer says I have 3 kills.
I know that I wasn’t playing the game “right” and that on a PvP server you’re “supposed” to fight the other faction. Apparently, as a Warlock, I’m supposed to be really uber at PvP and that people will expect me to fight. I knew eventually that I would probably have to kill Horde to defend myself, but I was hoping that it would be when I was level 35 or higher. I am just about to hit level 26.
I will defend myself from Horde who start a fight with me, who I can’t get away from. I expect people to want to kill me, especially in Horde territory. I will not, however, start fights with players on the opposing side, even if I can gain Honour points by killing them. If a lone Horde player that is so powerful that I can’t even see what level the are (“?? Level”) approaches me and doesn’t immediately attack, I will /wave to them or /greet them and run away. If they start to attack, and I have time before they slay me, I will either /sit or /sleep. If people think I’m stupid for being a “care bear” on a PvP server, for not totally conforming to the server’s “requirements” and resisting the server’s cultural environment, I don’t care.
Will I call for help from allies in the area if people are ganking me and making the game difficult to play? Calling for help would perpetuate the cycle. Not calling for help makes the game extremely frustrating because of all the interruptions. If too many players are being disruptive to me time and again, I would have to call for help or else suffer. Unfortunately, I am another cog in this big PvP machine, which so effectively dredges up some rather deplorable examples of human behaviour.