In our third installment of our weekly World of Warcraft Wisdom feature we discuss the fine art of the gank.
It is a fact of World of Warcraft, that there are certain places on a PVP server which are not safe for either faction. We know going there alone presents a solid chance that several members from the opposing faction lay in wait to gank.
We all know that Hillsbrad Foothills is one of the more difficult places to quest, not because the quests are difficult, but because high level players get bored and decide that it is just fun to go and torment leveling players. Then again, Stranglethorn Vale is nothing but a battle ground with quests and experience points. I can’t escape guilt here. For some reason, there is a level of guilty pleasure in going to South Shore and leveling the place. Isn’t that the reason, though, that we play on a PVP server?
It bothers me when other players whine about getting ganked. Sure, it is annoying when I am the midst of a fight and suddenly I find my health going down, not from the fight itself, but from the wandering Alliance member who sees me and fills my body with arrows or DOTs. Of course it bothers me, but I know that on a PVP server this is to be expected. If you're not open to the potential for ganking, then change to a PVE server. Players choose a PVP server knowing full well that there would be a good chance of ganking, and subsequently, we have to live with that choice.
If you don’t like it, that's why Blizzard opened up server transfers. A good chunk of the fun that comes from the games is the inter-fighting that happens. It gives Azeroth a bit more of the reality that come in the midst of a war. And, it can be fun to get into that spontaneous fight.
Regardless, the question that arises with ganking is one of morality and ethics. While I have done my fair share of ganking, there are some rules I like to keep in mind for myself. First, I never interrupt a fight, I want to give the player a chance to make his kill and get the XP. Second, I usually don’t hit players much lower than me, unless they have demonstrated they deserve it and I am retaliating.
Yes, there are those who deserve to have their heads ripped off, which I wouldn’t do in reality, but in the game, I will not hesitate for a second to hop on one of my high level characters, find them, and pummel them. As a rule, when I am leveling a toon, I keep one of my high levels near by.
You see, there is nothing more deserving of a smack down than a group ganging up on a solo player. It has happened to all of us: You are questing solo, then a group from the opposing faction finds you, ganks you, then doesn’t give you the chance to resurrect. Whenever this happens, I always give the gang one chance to let me resurrect and be on my merry way; however, should they continue to give me grief, I will not hesitate to hop on my local high-level, find the group, smack them down, then go to the nearest Alliance village, level the place, especially the flight master, and teach them all a lesson. Seems fair to me and, because there is a clear theme to the naming of my characters (just give Young Frankenstein a viewing and it will be obvious), the players might actually remember who they're messing with.
The best times come when vengeance leads to an all out fight between factions. It has happened a few times where I go to teach the offending party a lesson - then suddenly ten 85’s arrive to return the favor. But, after a quick call to the guild, who then puts word out on the Trade channel, suddenly the fight is on. There have been a few times I've caused a two hour brawl in Hillsbrad Foothills - and even more times when I have answered the call to fight.
I have learned, though, that there is a time and a place for a fight. Where reputation is at stake with a certain faction, don't take on the fight. I remember one time in Booty Bay on Pirate’s Day, a guild mate and I were doing the holiday quests when he up and decided to pick a fight. Like any good guild mate, I got right behind him and DOT’ed that Alliance kid up - and the fight was on. The battle lasted a good 30-45 minutes before we could no longer even resurrect without the Booty Bay guards killing us. To this day, I am not allowed within sight of Booty Bay, nor can I do any trading or even get a flight in Ratchet. The guards in Ratchet, though, don’t kill me on sight.
We all have memories of big fights, of ganking, and being ganked. We all know the difference between a battle ground brawl and a fight in the world. We have all felt our pulse quicken when we see the wandering player from the opposing faction and wonder if she will attack, or whether or not you should attack, asking yourself, “Do I quickly change into PVP gear and attack?” The fight or flight mentality kicks in and you decide what to do.
Again, isn’t this the reason we roll on a PVP server? In one word: yes.
Remember, there should be some over-arching ethics that are involved in ganking. In our culture, we have come to some sort of agreement on a standard that states that we should live and let live, that our actions should serve some utilitarian purpose; moreover, if you violate another person’s rights, we have laid out several guidelines for punishment. I don’t think the realm watchers from Blizzard have neither the time nor patience (nor desire) to deal with random ganking. Remember, the game simulates a war environment, one where there is no Geneva Convention guidelines, so it is up to us, the players, to maintain some sense of respect for the opposing faction.
Regardless, we play on PVP servers, in part, for the excitement of the fight, and the gank, it seems, is part of the PVP server ethos. It is so much more fun to engage with other players in this format. If all you want to do is run around and kill monsters, then I recommend you get a console based game with no contact outside of the game you are playing. In all honesty, that is part of what makes World of Warcraft and any MMO so much fun: the interactions we can have in real time with friends and foes alike.
So, what say you about ganking? Is it part of the game or an annoyance?
For more World of Warcraft Wisdom, check out past articles - HERE.