Today I went on my first World of Warcraft (WoW) raid. WoW has two "sides" Horde and Alliance. The Alliance are the usual "good guys", humans, elves, dwarves and gnomes. The Horde are undead, tauren, trolls and orcs. The designers have created stories for the Horde side that tell of the suffering and struggle of each of the Horde races and makes each one justified and lovable. One of the many parallel layers of the game involves the war between Alliance and Horde. In addition to the normal experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests, there is a whole ranking system based on honor points, honorable kills and dishonorable kills. Basically, huge mobs of players get together and raid towns and castles of the other "side". Killing civilians, even from the other side constitutes a "dishonorable kill" and can hamper your ability to gain rank. You basically kill guards and other players who have "Player vs Player (PvP)" turned on, signaling that they are non-civilians. Killing the leader of the particular city, fort or castle provides special honor. The ranks are based on military ranks and after you gain this rank, it is prominently displayed even when you're not fighting the other side.
It was my first raid so most of my energy was spent figuring out exactly what the hell I was supposed to be doing, but the whole mission was organized in a somewhat dysfunctional military way with teams and squad leaders. I have no idea whether I was running with a bunch of 13 year olds or professional soldiers (the game has many of both) but the raid channel chat was a bit noisy. What was disturbing was the hateful and some of the over-the-top role playing. Other members of the raid were clearly disturbed as well. I imagined a bunch of leaderless young soldiers raping and pillaging some village. I felt a bit dirty afterwards.
This is only one sample so I probably should not make a judgement yet. Maybe I should try a raid with my guild members... Or better yet, maybe I should get our Orc guild tough enough to defend the cities from these bad humans. ;-)
I was a bit too low level to be on a raid and I kept dying, but here's a picture of me on the steps of the lower level of the big Horde Undercity.