Legitimised Bullying – WoW’s PvP Realm Policy

So I thought I’d try something different. I’m going to do some commentary on the stuff that has popped up today in my news feeds. Specifically my WoW one, though I’ve some general MMO/gaming ones that pop up in there occasionally too.

First off is a blue post courtesy of MMO Champion Blue Tracker. Actually its not the blue post I’m interested in as that’s just a standard thread lock comment. Its the original post that I think could use a “well duh” response:

A level 90 Killing Lower levels who have an unfair advantage IS NOT I repeat IS NOT PvP. It’s just you making the game unfun for lower levels trying to quest and Harassment.

http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/264511-gankers/

Sigh, Blizzard built this boat that way from release. I commented at the time, before I even got into the last couple of weeks of pre-release Beta, that Blizzard’s description of PvP servers was terrible. It effectively legitimises ganking and griefing exactly as this poor person points out. So, unfortunately, whilst it is harassing, it isn’t against the terms of use harassment. Here it is in its full glory:

PvP Realm Policies

Actions that would typically be considered “dishonorable” are considered legitimate PvP tactics and will not be addressed by our Game Master (GM) staff. Actions that fall into this category include, but are not limited to:

  • Corpse camping.
  • Tricking players into getting flagged for PvP (i.e. jumping in the middle of another player’s area effect spell).
  • Killing players well below your level.

https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/player-vs-player-server-policy

Check that second bullet point out! Pretty much the definition of griefing. I’m still just as boggled now as I was then as to why Blizzard decided to turn their PvP realms into a home for douche-baggery like this rather than promote meaningful consensual open world PvP. This policy basically legitimises people being dicks. The aggressor gets nothing out of corpse camping or low level steam rolling other than the perverse satisfaction of having kicked someone who can’t defend themselves. It really feels like they’ve said its okay to bully.

What were Blizzard intending with this policy? The only thing I can consider is that they couldn’t come up with some game mechanics to mitigate against these sort of actions, and knowing this also knew they weren’t going to police these sort of actions, and therefore put this policy up to prevent the swathes of people who would be raising harassment tickets otherwise. And to quickly and easily shut down the swathes of tickets from people who hadn’t read the policy.

Maybe this all sounds a bit care bear. Quite possibly. I’m not a fan of PvP much anyway, as I’m not a fan of dying quite that often. Whether I’m dying because I’m terrible, or whether dying lots is just a factor of PvP I don’t know. I suspect mostly the former. The things is, when I do PvP, I enjoy nice pitched battles between two closely matched factions. I don’t mind being ganked when its in a situation where had I been better geared, more aware, and a better player, it might otherwise have been a competitive fight. Sadly this is more like cadet camp being overrun by special forces, followed up with a couple of air strikes, just to make sure.

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