David Bowers is fond of suggesting that a good role-player is a good person first. True, and his points are worthwhile. But is this really true?
Let’s try this scenario: You’re playing an Alliance character, maybe between levels 45-55 or even higher. It’s a PVP/RP server. You’re passing through Hillsbrad (let’s face it, it’s a common place to pass through) and you spot a lower levelled Hordie attacking the Southshore farmers. Now, these aren’t PVP flagged mobs, they’re quest mobs for the Horde.
But damn it, those farmers provide your food. You launch into battle and one-shot that poor sucker.
He dies swiftly, and you go about your way. But then, a few seconds later, he tries again. Rarr! Die puny Horde!
And again. And again.
Sir or madame? You’ve just become a griefer. You’re pointedly screwing with his ability to finish his quests. As did I. Yep, I was that griefer. The person in question was a blood elf rogue, and my gnome rogue proceeded to shish-kebob her a number of times. It was a somewhat troubling experience, enough so that I opened up a ticket with a GM to discuss the issue. Not a bad discussion at all. But effectively, here’s what we worked out.
- Doing what I was doing was not a violation of the ToS or any policy. If I’d started killing the quest giving NPCs over and over, that would be different.
- I was in no trouble. So legally, go ahead and do it all you want. After all, ganking is not a bannable offense.
- But morally, I was on my own. Since it wasn’t against the rules, Blizzard couldn’t tell you if it was ethically or morally wrong. That’s up to you to decide.
So, which was I? A bad person? A bad role-player, or both?
I think the answer is that I was a good role-player but a bad person. I mean, you couldn’t not step in for the farmers and still claim to be a good heroic character. You couldn’t. But I was a bad person, for sure – I got in the way of that other player’s fun.
Would another approach have been better? Perhaps had I sapped the rogue when she was out of combat and then used the /no emote to show that I would protect these farmers… would that have been better? I say no. It still would have done the same thing in the end.
The simple fact is: She wanted to kill those mobs. Going by role-play standards, I was honour bound to stop her.
Sometimes, being a good role-player means being a bad person.