Honor, Loyalty and Altruism

Player narratives provide unique glimpses into MMORPG worlds that numbers and graphs cannot. When players are asked to share memorable stories and experiences, a very common theme that emerges is the altruism that players find in MMORPGs. The experience is oftentimes accompanied by both surprise and lament - surprise that altruism exists in these virtual environments, and lament that it is seen so much less often in real life.

Quite some time ago, I was playing with a full group in the sarnak fortress in Omen. We had an ogre for a tank who seemed to be the most experienced of us all; in fact, I think some in the group were very inexperienced. We got in pretty deep and were holding our on for some time...I think we were all having a good time and exp was good. Then, like clockwork in the fortress, the adds began to stream in out of nowhere. Mr. Ogre ascertained that we were in over our heads and gave the RUN command (as he was in charge). Two team members were already well on their way and I tarried to watch the last of the group leave, except our tank who was holding way too many at bay while we made our escape. Being a druid (backup healer) it is my style to stay behind for a brief period to snare, root or heal during our escape. But Mr. Ogre showed rare courage by staying until everyone was clear, including me, knowing that he would probably not make it out alive. That was the most selfless thing I had seen done before or since. He stayed, knowing the corpse retrieval that awaited him, the experience he would lose, and the wasted time he was about to experience because of it. He could have ran and lived, but he didnt for our sakes. Since that time, I have played differently, making the same sacrifices in a druid's way. I've taken suicide missions, evac'ed people that were trapped or dieing, and attempted missions for people when I knew full well we were sorely outnumbered. But when you make sacrifices for people, they will remember, and the best groups are those built on loyalty, self-sacrifice, and courage. --- [EQ, male, 32]

There have been several people who have done completely altruistic things that still amaze me. Giving away valuable items when they could be sold for lots of money. Fighting to save me when I was going to die. Pulling my corpse out of a completely unsafe place that I had blundered into and would never have gotten out of (darn Frontier Mountains Giants...) without help. That is the one thing that amazes me. That people, with not only no incentive to do this, but the disincentives of loss of time and possible loss of life and definate loss of money, continue to act as very good and decent human beings. --- [EQ, female, 39]

I am guild leader of a small to medium sized guild on EverQuest and the longstanding members of the guild are in some ways like a family, certainly nothing less than very good friends. So, there are close ties. Recently, I, in real life, have had a series of crises, financial and otherwise. Firstly, my roommates stopped paying their bills and then, wihtout notice, moved out of the appartment, leaving me with over $2,000 of bills to pay. A couple of weeks later, I lost my job and a few weeks after that, my grandfather had an accident, and is still in the hospital because he has contracted numerous ailments just from being in a hospital environment. There is great concern on the part of his physicians that he will live through this experience. Not because I am guild leader, but just because I have become one of the guild "family" members, I have had more than one guild member offer to help me financially. One of the young members of my guild even offered to take money from his college savings to help me. I did not accept the offers, but just the fact that these individuals who only know me from the game have offered their support, say quite a lot of good things about people in this world. I am not the first person from this guild to experience this. Another member, who passed away shortly before my crises occurred, was ailing from a heart condition which prevented him from leading a normal life. These same guild members also offered him the same support, one of them sending this person's family money to help with bills, etc. These people had never met in person, but still, just as if they had known each other in real life for years, one helped the other and we all offered this person and his family our moral support. I think this shows that there is more to a MMORPG than just the gaming part for some people. It is a way of making contact and friendships with other individuals worldwide, that would be pretty much impossible otherwise. --- [EQ, female, 40]

A Friend and I were camping the Preacher room in Permafrost. Hoping to get a Rune Circlet which neither of us had. He was a Druid 32 I was Playing my Enchanter 32. We were doing well most were green. some of the casters and the preacher was blue. Well one Mob got away and i had my DUMB enchanter animation out. We promptly had 10 Greenies beating on us. My pet had aggro'd everything. We as you guessed it died. I popped up in Everfrost and rememed spells and prepared for CR. I get this tell. hey where are you. I said i have no clue. Meet me at zone this person says i will show you to your body. I met up with this high level Euridite mage. He leads me to my body. I forgot to mention that when we were fighting all those greenies the preacher had popped again. We had just killed him 5 minutes before. He helped to finish us. Anyhow me and the Mage go into the room ITS EMPTY. My heart sank as i knew this uber mage had killed the Preacher. The mage said to me, you died camping the preacher?? Yes i said. got mobbed by Greenies he had just repopped again. All of a sudden my Trade window pops up. THE RUNE CIRCLET he said i know what its like to camp something for so long only to die trying to get it. here i killed him for you take the circlet. I couldn’t believe it. I actually had a tear forming in my eye, my mouth was wide open. This guy could have taken the circlet and gotten an easy 400pp for it. Thats what they sold for when i got it. Instead he gave it to me. My druid friend had forgotten to bind in Everfrost so he was still on his way from NK when he got there the mage showed him the way to his body also. That is the single coolest thing that ever happened to me in EQ. Somone who acutally thought more of others then themselves. Its people like that Mage that make EQ so worthwhile to play. That one act of Kindness wipes out all the other greedy idiots who continue to plague Norrath. --- [EQ, male, 37]