Elves, Ogres and Drama Queens: Stories of Digital Intrigue and Drama

Soap operas on TV are an ironic form of entertainment - an escape from the real world into a fantasy that is stricken with constant strife, tension and drama. MMOs in a way extend that irony. Players are both audience and actors in a world that encourages strangers to interact in stressful or sustained interactions. Tension and drama caused by differing personalities and interpersonal conflicts are perhaps most unavoidable in sustained social networks such as guilds where these issues have time to fester before erupting.

Most MMOs play it safe - greatly restricting the likelihood and ability for players to harm each other in the game. The following story revolves around a well-executed murder that was the result of a failed guild alliance in EverQuest - a game in which murder typically doesn't happen outside of PvP servers.

Death by Drowning

Well, this drama was not only within my old guild, but also involved a guild we had been allied with at one time. Actually there were no problems in the alliance between the members, but the leadership of both guilds definitely collided on many different occasions. These were always petty arguments over trade skill items, and other trivial things such as that, brought up by our allied guild's leader.

Eventually the allied guild's leader broke off the alliance pretending it was because we could not see eye to eye on many issues. Really the reason, or what we were almost 99% sure was true, was that once we broke into a certain point in the game through flags and keys and such the allied guild's leadership saw no reason to raid with us anymore, and caused conflicts to hide the truth. Our guild was smaller than theirs, much of the time making up only a third of the raid force, which sometimes exceeded 80 people.

What we lacked in numbers we made up for in skill and talent. Our guild was much more experienced, had better equipment, and all around had better players. We had knowledge of all the raids we were doing, but the other guild had the numbers, so it was a symbiotic relationship, they needed us, we needed them. Apparently they felt they no longer needed us and ended up dropping us like a bad habit, and not surprisingly recruiting some of our members, which is funny now as that guild has for the most part stagnated at the point where they left us.

Now, a lot of the people from our guild were, needless to say, angry at this turn of events. I myself had a strong disliking for the other guild's leader to begin with and this just fueled my dislike even more. So, eventually a little while after our alliance was dissolved I took it upon myself, although others did join in, to exact my revenge upon said guild leader. This guild leader tended to AFK for long periods of time close to water, and in EverQuest you can 'push' characters that are levitating over water, and when the levitation wears off they drown.

So, one night I decided to take some time, about 2 hours, and push his character over the water and drown him. A few people did help me, and I got screen shots of the events as they unfolded. Well, I wasn't satisfied with just that, I felt the need to display this and make it known why it was done. So, I got the pictures hosted and posted them over many guild boards on my server with a nasty little message about the guild leader and in turn causing some massive drama between guilds. Now, this was coupled with tension already between the guilds because our new alliance clashed with their guild many times when we headed for the same target. In fact in a few instances they did steal our targets, but we never resorted to their level stealing their targets.

So, the whole server found out what happened, or at least anybody within the higher level raiding guilds, and on the guild's website there was a huge argument with me about what I had done. Basically everybody from the guild attacked me for attacking their guild leader, which obviously would happen because guilds tend to be fiercely loyal. Well, so as to save face my guild issued a warning to me and I was put on probation for what I had done, but that was just on the surface, behind that mask most everyone congratulated me and the other members involved for doing this. [EQ, M, 19]


The most common cause of tension in guilds arises from conflicts between casual and serious players. The following story illustrates the second most common tension - how to divvy up loot when it drops and how the process can tear a guild apart.


My RL boyfriend and I were founding members of a guild that we belonged to for about a year and a half. The guild largely consisted of people that were in a former guild together and broke off from it to start our own guild. We were all online 'friends' and in the beginning things went very well. Over time, however, there began to be conflicts over the rules of the guild, especially regarding recruitment. I felt (as well as a few of the other founders) that the recruitment rules were too lax, and the guild was letting in anybody as long as they met the minimum level requirements, even if they were not good players, were using us to gain equipment, etc.

Over time the more senior guild members and skilled players seemed to slowly begin leaving for one reason or another and the newer members kind of 'took over'. Our dissatisfaction began to slowly grow, yet we still had a few good friends in the guild and we still wanted to stand behind the Guild Leader, whom we also considered a good friend. Eventually it all came to a head on one raid however, when a good friend of ours (also a senior member/officer) was put in a position of having to random roll on a piece of loot against a much newer member.

It ended up in a large debate, with people taking sides.... one side believing that no one deserved loot more than anyone else irregardless of time put into the guild, status, seniority, etc and the other side angry that after all we had put into the guild we were being called 'loot whores' for feeling that we deserved more than having to /random against some new member. The girl involved, her boyfriend (also a very good friend), myself, and my boyfriend left over this incident. I was very upset by the way the entire thing was blown out of proportion in the end and the fact that people I considered 'friends' later stabbed me in the back with their accusations.

We were all players that rarely asked for anything, yet the one time one of us did it ended up in world war 3. At any rate, more people left shortly afterwards. It was an indirect fallout, caused by the lack of high level skilled players in the guild that could get things done. The guild is still hanging on but seems more and more people leave now every day and it's only a matter of time before they dissolve. A shame really, the guild started out with some very talented players and could have made it's mark in my opinion. [EQ, F, 40]


While many dramas occur and are fully contained in the virtual world, there are interesting cases where the drama spills into real life. In the following narrative, a player describes how the drama spilled into real life before spilling back into the virtual world.

Dangerous Liaisons: An Accusation That Crosses into Real Life

(The names of characters in the following narrative have been altered to protect the identities of those involved)

Well, here's a story of guild drama that spilled over into real life. For a while, there was a person in the guild that went by the name of Vixen. She (and yes, it's a female playing a female, as I have met her in real life) was incredibly flirtatious on-line, even going so far as to apparently engage in cyber sex with some of the other guys in the guild (from what was relayed unto me).

Now, she was apparently paying extra attention to one fellow in the guild by the name of Ash. They sort of became an on-line item in a way. The real life component enters with the fact that the guild leader and his wife (this being the guild I was leader of for a good bit, but had since turned it over to a close real life friend when I got tired of dealing with all of the whining) regularly threw real life get-togethers for the guild at their house. Usually about once every six months, usually centering around the Super Bowl or 4th of July.

So, at their last party, thrown at this past Super Bowl (2004), Vixen and Ash met in person. According to the scuttlebutt, they had agreed to maybe 'hook up' if they hit it off upon meeting 'for real.' It should be noted that she was supposed to have engaged in 'cyber' with him in the game prior to this, as well as having phone sex with him. Now, these parties generally run all weekend, with some people sleeping at the host's house, some at hotels, some at homes of others of us that live in town, etc.

Vixen was staying at a local hotel. The first night of the party, a Friday, Ash was supposed to drive Vixen to the hotel at the end of the evening, because she planned on getting quite drunk. I and another guild member arrived around 10 o'clock, and there was a mass guys huddled in the foyer of the house. Apparently, Vixen was quite drunk, and was going around hugging and kissing every guy that crossed her path. Most of the guys were trying to avoid her, because they got tired of her being over affectionate with everyone. Some of them even resorted to fleeing upstairs when she got too close to the foyer. I myself managed to avoid her for most of the evening, but she finally sort of snuck up behind me and grabbed me. She asked who I was, I introduced myself, she replied she knew my character, and then she proceeded to grab me and kiss/bite me on the neck while squeezing the crap out of me. Then we talked for a few minutes before she wandered off to harass someone else.

Now, I could tell she was definitely drunk, but not falling down drunk, so to speak. Her words weren't slurred, she didn't have any problem standing or walking, and she could carry on a conversation without any trouble. Well, about 10 minutes after she accosted me, she and Ash decided to leave, so he drove her to her hotel. They both came back (he was staying at another hotel) Saturday and Sunday and both left town Monday.

Well, the drama part flared up a few months later when Vixen posted on the server message board in a thread about sex that she had been raped at a RL EQ party she had attended. She went on to say that a person she met at the party had taken her back to her hotel room and had sex with her, even though she was too drunk to consent. That after she had returned home, she had had to get a prescription for the 'morning after' pill, and had had medical problems as a result thereof. She also took shots at the party's hosts by saying that they turned their back on her.

She claimed this because she said she called them after returning home the day after the party to tell them she had been raped by someone in the guild, and as guild leader(s) what did they intend to do about it. They of course told her it wasn't a matter for 'the guild' and that if she was really raped, she should call the police if she wanted to press charges. They did express sympathy, but they told her they only had her word and that they didn't really see what they could do. I know them in real life (and have known them for, oh, about 15 years now, and I don't see them as being as harsh with her as she claimed).

So, to her, they turned their backs on her. Now, in her post on the server message board, she didn't mention any names, but for anyone that had been at the party, or knew of it through the game, it was pretty obvious who she was talking about, going by what she said and the descriptions she used.

The drama flared up because another close friend of the guild leaders that lives here in town saw the post, and then basically went off on Vixen in /tells in the game, accusing her of lying and making the whole thing up for attention. No one other than Vixen, the guild leaders, Ash, and one or two of her friends knew about it before that. This person, who goes by Khalon, didn't believe Vixen's story at all, and to be honest, neither did I or most of the others I discussed it with. Khalon was most upset because what Vixen said in her post made the guild leaders look uncompassionate and downright mean (once again, not by name, but it wasn't hard to figure out). So, when Vixen and Khalon got into it in /tells, Vixen of course, being a consummate drama queen (sorry if I didn't mention that before, but she was always a drama queen in guild chat, even before this incident) took it out into guild chat, which caused a flare up of people for and against her. This led to fights on the guild message boards, and Vixen calling for Khalon to be booted from the guild. When she wasn't immediately (though she was chastised and told to leave Vixen alone), Vixen took it upon herself to quit the guild and accuse the guild leaders and other officers of all sorts of things on the way out the door (which seems to be a common theme for a lot of people quitting guilds in the game, take pot shots on the way out the door).

Now, the reasons we don't believe her are quite numerous. For one thing, Vixen claimed she was so drunk she passed out in the car on the ride to the hotel and doesn't even remember getting into the room. Well, Vixen is a big lady, weighing in at a good 250 or so easy I would think. Ash isn't a big fellow, I'd guess he weighs maybe 140-160 or so, and not much of it is muscle. There's simply no way he could have gotten her out of the car and up into her room without her being awake to walk.

Another thing is, when she left the party, sure, she was drunk, but not nearly enough to immediately pass out in the car (at least not considering all of the energy she displayed running around trying to kiss guys goodbye), and the hotel she was staying at was only about 10 minutes away. Having experienced drunkeness myself, and seen it in others quite often, I don't think she would've come down that hard and that fast. I met Ash myself at the party, and he didn't seem like the sort to do it. I know, kind of cursory overview into his personality, but he just didn't give off that creepy sort of vibe. Add to that the fact that Vixen herself claimed that 'he probably didn't realize what he was doing was rape' and that he 'didn't have much experience with women' (those both said by her in her post about it on the server boards) leads myself (and the others in the guild that didn't believe her) to think he wouldn't have 'taken advantage' of her without her at least encouraging him in some way.

There's also the fact that she came back to the party the following two days and hung out around him. Granted, I've read about rape victims doing some strange things while being in shock, but going back to a place she didn't have to, and hanging around her attacker? Not once, but twice? That just doesn't sound like the behavior of a rape victim. Add to that the fact that she didn't call the police, or tell anyone in her real life family.

She did call Ash, and with a friend of hers in the guild listening in, she accused him over the phone, and the two of them more or less badgered him into admitting that 'maybe she hadn't said yes.' Then, she told him that if he quit the guild and the game, she wouldn't press charges. He did quit (not that anyone knew why other than the few in the know at the time).

When she posted about the rape and folks that knew him figured it out, there were more than a few that knew him quite well and didn't believe that he did it. Most of us don't really see him as quitting like that as a admission of guilt. To be honest, I think most guys might opt that way if they got to avoid being accused of rape and having the cops pay them a visit. Basically, to a good many of us, it seemed like you could call it bad judgment on both their parts, and then she was hit with 'buyer's remorse' and didn't want him around after that (especially given that she claimed to like playing the field in guild chat more than once, and Ash, according to others at the party, seemed like he wanted to hover around her at the party).

Sounds a bit callous I know, but if you'd interacted with her as much as I have, you'd understand what I mean by that. So, anyway, when she quit, a couple others went with her, saying that they didn't like the fact that Khalon could 'attack' her and not get booted from the guild. There was the usual whining and moaning on the boards for a few days, Vixen tried to act like the guild leaders/officers had screwed her over by saying some nasty things on the server boards, but it eventually died down. [CoH, M, 32]


Guilds are perhaps only as strong as their leaders are. In the following story, a newly elected guild leader faces challenges from an old guild leader who has returned unexpectedly.

Return of The King: A Story of Leadership Change

Our guild has been around for approximately 11 months. Around 4 months ago our leader (one of the guild founders) had to quit the game due to RL issues. This left us in the position of choosing a new leader for the guild. Due to game mechanics it took 2 months to finally get a new leader voted on and in place. During that time another guild founder returned to the game after being away for 6 months. This returned founder would have been the natural choice to have as leader but both himself and the guild knew that he had been away for too long to take the role of leader.

I was officially the new leader of the guild with all the headaches that come from trying to lead an 80+ person guild with 40+ active members. The guild wasn't in bad shape but it had lost some of its cohesion during the period between leaders. Under consultation of some of the more active members I set about to correct the known problems with the guild. That is when the returned founder became an issue. He had helped create the guild with a set of ideals in mind. The changes I was busy trying to get pushed through did not conform to the original ideals of the guild. The returned founder did not hesitate to let his dissatisfaction be known to myself or the rest of the guild.

On multiple occasions I spoke with him in private concerning his issues with the direction I was taking the guild. The biggest complaint, it seemed to me, was that the guild was not the same as he had left it 6 months previously. We still held the same ideals but could no longer implement them as we had originally. I think he understood that but just couldn't accept it. What made it worse for him was that the guild sided with me on most matters that he took issue with. I continued to hear his complaints and address them. If it was a reasonable complaint I would do something about it. If it were simply a nostalgic complaint I would tell him it was and not address it further.

He began to find problems with guild members and citizens of the town in which we are based. Most of these problems were the result of sale prices on vendors. It was his belief that guild members should get stuff either free or for a greatly reduced price. We all share that opinion but leave it up to the individual to decide what they want to do concerning sales to guild members. The returned founder did not understand that vendor prices were for the public and that if you spoke to them, guild members would provide a discount and reimburse a portion of your money or give it to you for free and reimburse all of your money. Even after this was explained to him and he was reimbursed his money by at least one of the 'offenders' he continued to 'bad-mouth' the individuals. The drama in the guild had started.

While this was going on we were also getting a council put together to provide guidelines and policies for the guild. Now instead of just me, he had 5 new people to complain to and about. I had been trying to handle his complaints in a private setting as to not worry the guild with the drama and as diplomatically as possible to avoid it getting any worse. Like myself, all of the council knew him fairly well from the days prior to his departure from the game. They didn't all try to handle him as diplomatically as I tried. The guild started to become flooded by guild mail between the returned founder and those that had a problem with him.

Knowing that nothing good would come of it I continued to try to keep myself from sending out guild mails concerning the returned founder. This went on for a week or two. None of us were having any fun and both the council and myself were having serious problems having to deal with such drama during what was supposed to be our 'free time' to game and have fun. We were now losing up to 4 members a week over the situation. I decided that it was in the best interest of the guild to have him removed. I would not ask the council about it since I was going to do it whether they agreed or not. I also did not want the new council to have a black mark on their record for kicking a member that was opposed to their decisions.

That's when I lucked out. I escaped a black mark on my record as well. The day I logged on to remove him from the guild, I was greeted with an email that stated that the returned founder was recruiting for a new guild. I did not care if he wanted to start a new guild and recruit any of our members that might wish to follow him. I did care that he was doing it in secrecy. My line of thinking is that he was committing treason against the guild. Not only because he was recruiting but he was bad-mouthing the guild and causing internal strife in order to recruit and gather members so that he could make a stand and leave with some followers. That would have brought a nice dramatic end to his drama but luckily our members are loyal and made sure that we knew before he got very far.

He was not online when I removed him so I didn't get to hear his side of the story. I mailed him to explain his removal and to let him know that if he could prove his innocence he might be allowed to return. The reply I received inferred his guilt without blatantly accepting responsibility. After two days the guild was back to normal having fun and enjoying each other. We still have work to do but it is much easier without a 'drama-king' holding us all back. That's my story of how drama turned a guild-founder into an kicked-member within a month or so. [SWG, M, 27]


To take a break from long narratives, here are two gems that capture some of the wonderful surprises in store for us in virtual worlds.

The Mediator

Oh yes, i have been in a few guild-dramas ... like when a friendly clan declares war on you because of a misunderstanding. this resulted in a 5 hour long discussion between the two opposing clan-leaders, their subordinates (each had one) and me ... because the subordinate of the opposing clan was only able to talk English and all the others involved were native German talkers so the discussion was held in German ... and i translated for him on a word for word basis ... for 5 hours ... wow :) That's one memorable moment for me ... [Neocron, M, 26]

Puppet Master

One very strange one was a small guild I was once in that had only 9 people in. There was the Guild Leader, his online wife, and 6 others of varying age and sex besides myself. The guild was a living soap opera of colorful characters constantly in shifting internal alliances with romantic affairs, strong interpersonal conflicts. It was all very intense and wonderful. The guild constantly out raided guilds twice it size. After 5 months I accidentally discovered that the guild was actually me and one person (unknown sex) who was actually 8-boxing (using 8 accounts on eight different computers) all the other members of the guild! At the time it was a shattering experience to me as I had formed deep relationships with several of the 'guildies'. Often I had gone through exhausting emotional effort negotiating peace between two or more feuding members and all that time I as being HAD!!! It had quite an impact on me and I have never looked at a guildie the same since. [EQ, M, 58]


And finally, we'll end on a story involving betrayals, bounties and two guild hall heists.

The Heist

Me and a couple of friends put together a guild. After a while we got a couple people to join us. We had trouble with two people in our guild who said they were brothers. They donated a weapon to the guild. We kicked them out for their behavior and such, and they wanted their weapon back. We told them 'No, its the guilds. You donated it to the guild. Sorry' Him and his brother made a bog deal about it, and we put a bounty on them both. Secretly of course.

About the next day after we kicked them out of the guild, we decided we wanted to decorate the guild to show off our 'Donated weapon.' So we hired someone who decorates houses for other people. Well, we gave her admin, and the next time I logged in I guess she gave some people admin to the guild hall and banned everyone from it. Well I called my friend who was the leader of the guild, he hoped on and gave us admin back. We took a look inside, and everything was gone . But a backpack in the middle of the hall had a little message . 'Thanks for the Weapon back' We then realized it was the two brothers who wanted our weapon back.

Well we got pissed. I know a lot of people in the game, so I was able to find some people who knew them, I told them my story and they showed sympathy. So with some money out of my own pocket book (In Game Money) I was able to locate what they did with the weapon and all the contents of the guild hall . I then gave them a list of what we were missing and some credits 'half now and half later' sort of deal .

About a week and a half later I get word from the person I hired to get the stuff back for us. She said she had everything at such and such location, and she wanted me to deposit the rest of the money to her by via bank (In Game Money ). I did so and we got everything and a little more, witch I was surprised.

The next day I get word from one of the brothers to meet him in the cantina (Bar) in game. So I head over there and he told me that everything in his house was gone, and he blamed our guild for it. I simply told him we only got the weapon back, and the rest was just payment for the person we hired. I refused to give him a name. It turns out he had many people on his admin list to his house, so he couldn't pinpoint anyone who would have done it. I then told him I had a little info about him and his brother that they should know. he tiped me 1 mill (In game money) for the info. I told him Our guild has a bounty placed on you and your brother. Even SOE took our side after the two brothers reported us. Vengeance was ours and no one was able to do a thing about it. [SWG, M 18]