Frustration and Agony in MMORPGs

Even the most independent MMORPG player has to deal with the human element in these games. While fairly uncommon, every player has at one point or other been annoyed or angered by the selfish or malevolent actions of another player. The following are narratives from players who were asked to describe some of the most negative experiences they’ve had in the context of an MMORPG. These stories highlight the social nature of these games as well as how emotionally invested players become with their characters.

Some very common stories center about camp-stealing or KS’ing.

My RL nephew was helping me kill the Black Dire in Mistmoore for the shaman epic - results in the black fur boots, as well. We cleared to the wolves, and killed the 4 around the Black Dire. We then pulled the Black Dire and began working on it. At this time a group of players, all in one guild, came up and stopped a short distance away. They seemed to pause for a few seconds, as if talking, then ran up and proceeded to KS the epic mob from us. Then one of them sat down and logged off, and a shaman showed up with an almost identical name, same guild, and looted the epic piece. I was so angry I could not type in /say, and could barely type at all. I ended up apologizing to my nephew for burning his ears. [EQ, M, 53]

I remember long time ago, I was still considered a 'newbie' then, I came across a camp and as far as I could see no one was camping it, I /ooc a few times to make sure and after a few minutes I then /ooc for group members, it must have been about 5 minutes till I got a full group together, when up came running two peeps claiming that this was their camp and I should get lost. After a lot of verbal abuse and my guild coming to back me up ... I found I was actually crying (RL) I couldn’t believe that I let them affect me in that way... that it was just a game. I then realized that day, that it isn't 'JUST' a game and I never let anyone talk to me that way again!!! [EQ, F, 29]


Other players describe immature actions or behaviors that annoyed or angered them.

The ogre camp in west karana. I was with two guildies, very close friends. We got there to see two halflings pull the entire camp and run around like chickens with their heads cut off. They yelled for help after they died: so-and-so's corpse yells for help, literally. So, we figured they were out of their league (they had not signaled for help at any time throughout the fight), and decided to camp the spot. Later they come back, and they get upset we were there. They start calling guildies. An obnoxious gnome arrives and starts telling us 'friend, that's not how the game is played,' etc. The halflings are screaming accusations that we 'let them die on purpose' at this point. More of this guild arrives. They are shouting throughout the zone, loudly proclaiming their bravado and tight-knittedness (a friend who had been in this guild later referred to them collectively as hyperactive children). Much more than 6 people are here by now, challenging our 3 man group for the spawn. We did offer to share it, but that was met with cries from the original halflings, declaring our evilness. Eventually the obnoxious gnome threatened they would KS everything we pulled if we didn't leave. So we pulled one more, which they failed to KS successfully (much to our amusement), pretended we got something and rolled on it, then left to cries of 'run like the cowards you are' from Mr Gnome, just as their guild leader arrived after much shouting and cavorting across the zone. God damn it, I should have /reported his quip about ksing everything. It would have been too easy, but we didn't. Nothing would have given me more pleasure than to see a GM arrive and blow them all to smitherines. I'll never forget their guildname, either. It was extremely stupid. Of course, the guild is dead and buried now, but that's little consolation. I just know they're all still out there... [EQ, M ,19]

We had a group of 5 in one of the Gnoll dungeons. A caster (I believe it was a wizard) asked if he could join us. Since we were full & he was a good 10 levels higher then us we politely declined. He then complained for a bit & went invisible. We forgot about him & proceeded to start fighting. We ended up having a large number of adds & most of us we very close to dying so we were running for the zone line. I was a couple steps from the zone when the wizard decided to cast an area effect spell & kill almost all of us. It was a extremely rude & childish thing to do just because we wouldn't let him group with us. Then there are the times when you're about to kill something much higher then you when someone comes along & kills it in the middle of the fight. That's always frustrates me, all that work for nothing. [EQ, F, 27]


But for some players, the event that was most agonizing occurred in the context of a group or a guild. In other words, the pain was inflicted not by a stranger but by an acquaintance.

After months of camping a particular spawn in a tough zone, a small group of all guildmates invited me to hunt the SAME spawn with them, since they already had a druid I asked if I could hunt for the item with my Mage. It would be more helpful to us all, and they agreed I would roll on the item with my mage and they would hold the item so I could take the item on the druid. We hunted and hunted and sure enough the mob spawned, we pulled it and killed it. The item was visible, my goal was in sight. So we rolled, the necromancer, the cleric, the druid (who HAD one) and my mage. Turns out NO MATTER who won the cleric was going to get it, I got ONE chance out of four. I was SO mad I just could not group with them after that, I spent three weeks saving up to BUY the item as they were STILL hogging this spawn. After about two weeks I just could not stay in the guild much longer, the animosity was too much, I discussed it with an officer and the officer told me 'Druids just aren't important enough to get decent gear first'. I disguilded IMMEDIATELY especially since I had worked hard helping this guild's members get epic pieces. [EQ, F, 34]

I was an officer in a guild and we were small, we had just started raiding. We had a raiding task force that was designated to run the raids. These were officers that had agreed to run them. I was not one of these officers, I hated to lead raids. Well, one day I was helping one of these officers scout a location, thinking it was innocent and all I was doing was porting. The raid was the next day and when raid time rolled around, the officer was nowhere to be found. The guild leader told everyone that I was leading the raid and to send me all the tells and questions. This came out of nowhere and I was infuriated. I told him that I would not be leading, and he told me that I HAD to. I came to find out that this was arranged between the officer and the leader and that the other officer told the leader that I agreed to run the raid. What made it worse is that the leader was present for the raid and was sending me very angry tells asking why I hadn't been faster, why we weren't mobile, why was I being such a pain in the ass? I wanted to quit the game right then and there. I do not like being forced to do anything, and the loyalty I felt to the other 30 or so guild members there was a sticking point to do something I really had no idea or want to do. It was very stressful and even worse when we wiped out because I took a wrong turn in the dungeon. I felt responsible and I had to deal with the crappy morale that ensued. [EQ, F, 25]


For other players, the insensitive nature of other players in a particular event was painful because it was associated with an attack on their self-worth both in the game and in real life.

My boyfriend and my two closest online friends and I were hunting giants in Rathe Mountains when a warrior asked if he and his partner could join us. We talked it over in group and decided that would be okay for a while, so our leader invited them into the group. I was playing my enchanter at the time, and his partner turned out to be an enchanter, a level higher than I was. I was medding up after buffing the group and switching my spells back to hunting/guarding spells, when the new enchanter started casting everything I had just cast, overwriting everything I had done, telling the group what to do and commenting on how they obviously hadn't had a chanter with them who knew how to take care of their group and they were lucky he was there, he'd make sure they didn't get into TOO much trouble. He started bossing them all around and trying to tell them what spells to cast and who to go where and telling me to just sit back and stay out of the way. I disbanded and headed for the zone, in tears of frustration. I had always felt that I had something to offer my group, that I could be an effective part of any group, as I had a variety of skills and spell lines and knew how to use all of them.

To be overwritten, pushed aside, and belittled was unbearable. The rest of my original group also disbanded and followed me, preferring to hunt with me elsewhere and ignore his Out Of Character berating our leaving them, but to this day I still doubt whether I really can, really do, contribute my group. I always have to try harder, do more, because so very little of what I do is really visible... unless you're standing in a crowd of mezzed mobs waiting their patient turns to die, what a chanter does is simply grease the skids, and that's so hard to see ... and so rarely appreciated. I had never doubted my usefulness, until then. And even now, knowing I can be overwritten and cast aside as negligible, leaves me uneasy. Knowing how cruel others can be in casting people aside as useless, negligible ... and how badly that hurts, though you can't see the tears ... has left me unwilling to tolerate people in my groups speaking badly to or about others. My groups all operate on the Thumper Principle - 'if you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.' =) i keep hoping the concept is contagious. :-\ [EQ, f, 36]

My first and most beloved character is a paladin. Being who I am, I prefer to solo - a hard thing to do sometimes. Loving the game, I purchased a second computer and account to two box. I moved the cleric I had to second account and once she was high enough, the 'twins' soared to the high 40's easily. My guild is a small family guild of soloers. Some 10 or so characters were reaching the 50 mark at roughly the same time. The cleric was always in demand, sigh. I should have seen the problems coming. When cleric was 40 and pally 46 (estimate of level - can't remember exact details), our guild started having mini raids. These were 8 to 12 players strong, PoP had just been released and we needed practice grouping, working on tactics, using raid window, loot for armor upgrades, etc. My paladin showed up for a 45+ raid (cleric too low). She was the only tank option. We had a 55 shammy and 2 druids over 52 for healers.

I explained my tank strategy and the drawbacks of a paladin (takes longer to get aggro). I made a hotkey to call for assist. The shaman was pulling with slow so I asked the druids to root the mob near me to help me get aggro (and save shaman from needing more healing). Despite multiple pleas for them to wait, all would immediately jump the mob. Naturally, we could not keep the heals up and my paladin could not get aggro. Casters simply attract attention when they cast before the tank has time to hurt the mob. I had talked on guild forum about how hard it was for my paladin to get in groups. No one wanted a not good enough tank or inadequate healer (both were excuses given me by groups looking for members).

About 10 minutes into the raid, one of my guild mates said 'we need a real tank.' I held my breath. Not one of my mates backed me up. The guild leader (one of the druids) took maybe a minute to offer his 42 warrior. (this was a 45+ only raid, guildies who weren't high enough were turned down) 2 others said sure. I stated, one last time, that I could get and hold aggro if they would let me call for assist before attacking the mobs. Yet again, I was ignored. The tank was logged on and when he arrived, I told all goodnight and jogged back to a safe zone. I was crying too hard to play. My own guild didn't want me.

Now that time has passed, I realize that I was in a real life low spot but the betrayal still stings. See, despite their assurance that I play my paladin well ... when I show up with pally, they say 'but we really need a cleric.' It got worse the higher the cleric got. I finally moved my paladin to the higher fee server and have found welcome there. Now my problem is - I like the people in both guilds (old one cleric is still in and new one pally has joined). I feel some loyalty to the old guild but also a lot of who knows what to call this mass of negative feeling. Do I dare move cleric to Stormhammer? I enjoy playing her but now that the pally is welcomed, even requested - I'm gritting my teeth when I log onto my old server. If I move the cleric will the new guild prefer her more? (yes, clerics are in great demand on at least 4 servers, sigh, lol) [EQ, F, 41]