6 Awkward MMO Moments
by Tyler Edwards, July 11, 2012
MMOs are social games, and as such, you can expect to experience the full range of social interactions as you play. Some of your interactions will be fun, some will be frustrating, some will be forgettable. And some will be just downright awkward. These are moments that will have you squirming in your chair, desperately typing out apologies and explanations, or logging off in shame to avoid the indignity of it all. For this list, we'll cover some of the most awkward, uncomfortable moments possible in MMOs - perhaps prior warning will help you avoid them.
6: Friendly fire:
This is a special one that would mostly apply to people who play both sides in a faction based MMO or people who play games with free for all player versus player.
You're in the middle of a PvP brawl, busy kickin' ass and takin' names and feeling pretty proud of yourself, but then you pause and actually look at one of the names you just took, and you realize the broken body beneath you belongs to the leader of your guild on the opposite faction.
This is a good argument for showing a basic level of decency when fighting other players. You never know who is behind that lowbie you just killed. You really don't want to have to explain to your friend why you ganked and tea bagged his low level alt while he was trying out the opposite faction's starting quests.
5: Bad time to DC:
Being randomly disconnected from your game is frustrating at the best of times. It tears you out of the game and leaves your group wondering what happened to you. If you take too long in getting back, they might just remove you and find someone else to do your job - and for some people, "too long" is not long at all.
But some timing for disconnects are worse than others. If you just called your guild leader a stupid idiot, you really don't want to DC while typing the "lol jk." That would make for a very difficult explanation when you log back on. Likewise, if you disconnect just as a nearby guild member is asking for help fighting off an attack by enemy players, you might have a hard time explaining that it was an accident once you get back.
And if you're a tank, disconnects are not only the bane of your existence, but also the bane of everyone who plays with you. If your connection cuts out during a raid boss pull, the best thing you can expect to come back to is several very pissed off players nursing a high repair bill and mocking you with cries of, "LEEEEEROOOOY!!!" The worst is a warning from a game master because the group reported you for griefing.
4: Accidental ninja:
Everyone hates ninjas. Whether it's someone stealing your gear in a group environment or just a player who swooped down to steal a resource node before you could get to it, no one likes losing what is rightfully theirs to some unscrupulous player out for their own gain.
But sometimes things aren't so black and white. Sometimes, you or someone else hits the wrong button, and you end up with a piece of gear you never wanted. It was an accident, but try telling that to the other people who wanted the item. Or perhaps you were entitled to a piece of gear, but someone else feels they're more entitled. You'll be hit with the label of "ninja" even though you've done nothing and be forced to deal with the verbal abuse that comes with it.
Similarly, perhaps you just snapped up a resource node and only noticed afterward the player standing a few feet away and /sighing at you. You just stole their node without meaning to. You can try to apologize, but there's no guarantee they'll believe you.
With so much competition over loot and resources in MMOs, these are situations you're bound to run into sooner or later - even if you do nothing wrong. There's no easy solution to them, and a lot of times, you just have to live with the distrust and accusations.
3: My friend the noob:
Playing with someone who is "less than skilled" can be an awkward moment at the best of times. Do you try to help them improve and risk hurting their feelings? Do you try to replace them with someone better and guarantee hurting their feelings? Do you grit your teeth and hope the rest of the group can compensate for their stupidity?
These questions become doubly difficult when the bad player is a friend or a member of your guild. This is someone that you will play with on a regular basis. If you upset them, you will not have just one awkward moment but potentially weeks or even months of discomfort for both of you.
One can hope that they're reasonable enough to accept some constructive criticism, but even if they are, it can still be a very difficult subject to broach. If they still prove unable to improve, the situation becomes even worse. It would be horrible to remove someone who is genuinely trying their best from your groups, but if you don't, you're doomed to endless runs full of frustration and failure.
In a worst case scenario, you may be forced to simply avoid them and try to do your dungeons and raids when they're not around, but even that's a very imperfect solution.
2: Dude plays as a lady:
There's a stereotype that says all female characters in MMOs are actually played by men. While this is most certainly not true, it's a fact that there are a great many men playing female avatars out there. Some may view this as odd, but when you consider this is a genre that lets people play as zombies and space aliens - among other things - the idea of someone choosing to play a character that happens to have breasts doesn't seem so out there.
However, it can nonetheless lead to some very awkward moments.
You see, there is a surprisingly high number of men in MMOs that are looking forů let's call it love. Some of them actually are seeking a meaningful relationship - and you'd be surprised how many succeed - whereas others are seeking to fulfill less refined urges. Either way, they may not always think to check if the woman they're talking to is actually a woman before they begin hitting on "her."
In such cases, it's best to tell them you're a guy before things get too out of hand, but honestly, there's no way for this to not be awkward for both parties. The best you can hope for is to stop them before things go from "horribly uncomfortable" to "the most uncomfortable moment of your life."
1: A private moment:
As we said above, some people go into MMOs seeking a "more intimate" kind of interaction with their follow players. That it is usually impossible to make one's avatar nude - outside of Age of Conan, anyway - and that game mechanics in general don't support their desired actions are obstacles that do not deter them at all.
Now, to be clear, what goes on between two consenting adults in private is nobody else's business. If they want to play "spank the Gnome," well, at least they aren't hurting anyone.
The trouble is that most of these people do a very poor job of keeping their actions private. Despite participating in a genre of game usually full of private instances, these virtual swingers for some reason never consider that they can conduct their business somewhere other than the shared game world.
There is absolutely nothing more awkward and immersion breaking than rounding a bend in the enchanted forest and coming face to face with a Halfing /kneeling in front of a naked Elf.
There is only one solution to this situation: run. Run as if all the demons of Hell are at your heels, and never look back.
Once you have put several in game miles between yourself and the amorous avatars, take a deep breath, calm down, be thankful neither of them was a shapeshifter class in animal form, and begin counting the days until the invention of brain bleach. Because as much as you might hope for it, you will not be able to unsee what you have just seen.
Believe me. I've tried.