There is an attitude out there in the World of Warcraft player community that goes like this: If you play on a PVP server and get ganked you deserve it.
Frankly I am sick to death of hearing this response, no matter how it’s phrased, and here is why.
Once upon a time, 3 years ago in fact during the Halloween event of 2006, I walked down the road to EB Games and picked up this MMO I had heard some of the guys at work talking about – World of Warcraft. My partner and I had just finished watching the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy over a rainy weekend and somehow as a spur of the moment thing we decided to go out and buy a copy and give it a whirl.
At that point in time I may have played the occasional Age of Empires map or gone through some of the Heroes of Might and Magic campaigns but playing games was something I enjoyed only if I had nothing better to do. I didn’t buy my own copy of World of Wacraft right away. I decided to just use the 10 day free trial, expecting to get about as much play time out of this game that I had out of other computer games. So I let my partner choose the realm during the character creation process. And he chose to play on the realm that his work mates played on.
This is where I first heard the concept PVP and PVE. I had no idea what this meant in reality. We made the choice that we were going to play horde of Frostmourne because my naive boyfriend had been told that PVE is stupid and nerdy all the good people play on PVP.
Perhaps it was fate, I’m not sure, but Frostmourne was so full, with horrendous log in queue times, we were unable to create new characters straight away. I wonder where I would be if I had ended up playing as an Undead Rogue on Frostmourne as I originally intended. Things would be so different I’m sure! So while we waited we went to the server Blizzard recommended: Barthilas. And created some Alliance characters. So we could still tinker around temporarily.
Tiantha the Warrior and Lutherin the Mage were born. And we had a blast blundering around in Elywnn Forrest getting freaked out while stealing candles off Snobolds in a spooky cave we didn’t think we could ever get out of. One night we were wandering about and came to a crossroads between Elywnn Forest, Redridge and Duskwood. We accidentally crossed the border into Redridge and the alarming message came up on the screen:
You have entered a contested area.
We were scared! The spiders were huge and level 19 to boot, we scampered back to the relative safety of Elywnn wondering what the hell a contested area was.
My first experience with ganking was when I was about level 23 and had wandered into Redridge Mountains because that is where the Westfall quests took me. While successfully looking for a necklace at the bottom of the lake I swam back up to the surface to find the town being demolished by 2 horde who were sitting on the roof of the Town Hall obliterating ever player and NPC in their range.
It was pure chaos and I was terrified. I tried running to the Inn thinking I could hide in one of the upstairs rooms but I didn’t stand a chance. I was one-shotted before I made it to the front door. Eventually some level 60 alliance players arrived and the horde ran off through a mage portal while the rest of us picked up the pieces of a shattered town.
So this is what contested means.
Perhaps I should have realised that this point that ganking was entirely senseless and that things would not get better as I leveled. I didn’t. All I could think of at that point was the awe I had for these level 60 horde and wished I was at max level so I was that powerful.
A few weeks later I ventured into Stranglethorn Vale for a quest and it was a nightmare. In fact the ganking was so bad, I got tired of being picked on and spirit running, that I ended up not completing my quests in STV and surfed the net for an alternative questing zone. I then hitched a ride over to Desolace which was basically deserted and quested there instead. I wrote Stranglethorn Vale off as a bad area to quest in and still didn’t realise that ganking would be a part of life while playing on a PVP server.
By the time I had entered contested zones I was still a complete noob (I played a Warrior and chose to wear the cloth armor I looted because robes looked waaaaay prettier) but I had found a guild and also convinced my brother and sister to start playing as well. We played as a group and it took months to get up to level 40. There was no chance we were moving to another server or rerolling. It just seemed much easier to cope with the ganking than spend months doing that leveling again. From scratch. Besides, apart from me, the others all really liked the character classes they had chosen.
I get really sick of hearing people say, “you choose to play on a PVP server”. When you first start up this game with absolutely no comprehension of what the hell PVP or PVE is you get suggested a server from Blizzard and you just choose it. In my case there was no “choosing” whatsoever.
Before you know it you’ve made friends and found your niche on a server which has begun to feel like home. So, yes, you can pay extra money to move off to a PVE server but when you are a social person who has become attached to the people you’ve met in your travels you stick it out to stay with your friends and suffer the PVP because most of the time the trade off is worth it.
That does not mean we can’t get cranky at the stupid futility of teenage gankfests those few times they get really out of control. It is also my experience that the people who spout “tough luck” are either people who have never ever played on a PVP server OR are the types of people who find it hilarious to gank people at the drop of a hat and camp them.