The people you meet

I have often — far too often — posted stories of players acting badly in the game. Today I am going to tell you a different story, a small incident that made a huge impression on me.

A couple of nights ago I was grinding out some World Quests, among them that one in Highmountain where you have to kill the brown bears that have invaded an area. I love doing this quest on my hunter, because it is easy and quick, and also because lots of non-skinners do it and thus give me a chance to quickly gather up a ton of leather.

The skinning profession is one that Blizz has admitted is not well executed in the current game. It is not a multi-tap activity like herb gathering or mining, and on top of that, if multiple people tap the actual mob for killing, no one can skin it until everyone has looted the corpse. The game does not give any preference to who can skin at that point, making it easy for greedy asshats to swoop in and skin a mob you might have tapped first, and for which you have waited patiently until everyone looted. On top of that, there are players who see that a skinner is following around behind them, and for some reason take pleasure in purposely not looting corpses just so a skinner cannot get the leather. These are not skinners, mind you, just pathetic people who take pleasure in denying something to others for the sake of meanness or for the power rush it gives them.

My point is, there are a lot of fail points when you are skinning. Sometimes it is not a problem and you can gather a lot of leather, sometimes there is no chance, even if there are a lot of corpses lying around. Knowing this, I am always careful to not steal leather from another skinner, because I know what it feels like. Usually it is clear that another player is not a skinner, because they will kill the mobs, loot, and immediately move on. In those cases I just follow them around and get leather. If they seem to hesitate after a kill, I will whisper them and ask if it is OK for me to skin. Almost always, if they remain in the area for any length of time, I will offer to trade them some leather as thanks for letting me skin their kills. I figure I have plenty, and they might appreciate either the mat or the opportunity to sell a bit of it for some gold.

Anyway, that is the background for my story. As I said, I was busy killing bears, as were some other players. I was picking up some leather from other people’s kills as well as from my own. I noticed a priest in the area, doing what seemed to be a speed run for the quest, killing rapidly and not looting. I muttered a couple of bad words to myself, thinking this was someone deliberately not looting just so I would not be able to skin. I wrote the priest off as an asshat and moved on with what I could do in the area.

Then I got a whisper from the priest, something along the lines of “I see you are skinning, I’ll go back and loot my corpses so you can get those, too.” Not only did she do that, but we then proceeded to do some rapid killing together, me sending my pet to aggro a bunch at a time, then both of us AoE-ing them down. After a few minutes, the priest whispered me that she was done, nice running with me, and good luck. (I say “she” — the character was female, I have no idea who the actual player was.) I opened a trade window with her to try and give her some leather, but she refused, saying she was an alchemist and could transmute anything she or her friends needed, thanks for the offer but really not necessary. In the end, when I was done for the night, I sent her a bunch in mail anyway, telling her I knew she didn’t need any, but maybe she could put it in her guild bank or give to someone who did need it, and thanked her for a few minutes of real game enjoyment. I got a really nice reply thanking me for the leather, which she said she did put in the guild bank.

The whole incident felt good, and it gave me a warm, positive feeling that lasted the entire evening. Maybe even beyond.

So, a couple of things about this very minor incident. First, sadly, it was unusual these days. It seems like, even when players are not being deliberately nasty, that everyone is single-mindedly pursuing their own goals and woe betide anyone who gets in their way. I can’t remember the last time I was part of an ad hoc group formed just for a certain area or bunch of mobs. I am as guilty of this as anyone — not only do I not get invited, but I do not issue invitations. I seem to have lost sight of the idea that this is a social game, and it really is more fun when it is played in a group.

Second, this priest went very slightly out of her way to help me — it maybe cost her 20 seconds of time to whisper me and quickly loot her corpses — but it made a huge difference to my game outlook for several hours. And I paid it forward, not only with the mailed leather to her, but I also took a little extra time to help out a couple players in other quests that night who seemed to be struggling with some mobs. Now, I usually do this if I notice someone is having a problem, but the priest’s actions earlier made me pay more attention to my surroundings and notice others having difficulty when otherwise I might not have noticed.

I don’t have any grand insights into this, no major pronouncements about the state of the game. But I did gain a renewed commitment to small acts of kindness. I haven’t been doing enough of that lately, and I need to do better. Small acts, as this priest’s behavior reminded me, can have a big impact.

Go forth. Do good. Rinse and repeat.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

5 Responses to The people you meet

  1. Marathal says:

    I can never understand not looting. Maybe back in the old days when it was so much junk, but grey items are worth so much now. I loot everything I kill. And if there is someone following behind cleaning up my mess? I never minded. I have taken to say a few things when Hunters of opposing factions misdirect things on to me. That’s fine. It may have given them a laugh. I just wait until they pull a little too much, watch their health plummet, and jump in at the last moment. When I see they are ok, I give a little wave. Kind of a, we are all out here for a reason, we don’t need to be jerks about it. I have had people switch to a horde character to tell me thank you, or sorry about that. The way I look at things. If more people are successful gathering things, then the server economy becomes more stable for everyone. Maybe it’s just me.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, I really don’t get it either, why would you leave gold — no matter how much or little — just lying there? Once in a great while I get myself into a situation where looting one kill is not worth the effort if it is already surrounded by respawned mobs, but in general I loot everything. When I am not on my skinner, I actually like it if someone can get leather from my kills.

      The only time “nefarious Misdirection” annoys me is when someone tags a bunch of mobs, then MDs them to me or leads them to me and then drops aggro so that I will kill them for them. I have been known to follow these players for several minutes, misdirecting everything I can find onto them until they die. Not very accepting of me, I know, but it certainly feels good I am ashamed to say.

      • Marathal says:

        I have always held to an unwritten personal code. If I’m out and about, if I see someone in trouble, I will jump in to help. If someone jumps in to help me, I say ty, and if opposing faction, I try to stay awhile and help them. I do believe that if I had started on a PvP realm, I probably would have quit long ago. Ending up on PvP servers for world groups, getting ganked after helping kill something? It’s like the Scorpion and the Turtle. Please help me, I promise not to kill you. Why did you kill me? I helped you.

        Maybe it’s just where and who I play with. But it does seem more people appear to be helping. Maybe it’s the start of a better gaming world.

  2. Grumsta says:

    I’m pleased to say that my experiences with WQ have been overwhelmingly positive, people forming ad-hoc parties or even helping to kill mobs around a node before picking the herb that’s there.

    Sharing nodes is still an alien concept. I find myself racing towards a node if I see one, and blinking if there’s anyone else in the area. I do try to remind myself not to panic but it’s a hard habit to break. The odd thing now is a node disappearing just as you get to it, or even half-way through picking it, because someone picked from it 10 seconds ago. That can be frustrating if you went out of your way to get to it, but no worse than a Druid in flight form swooping in and stealing it from under your nose as I saw so often in MoP. 😀

    I am seriously missing my Loot-a-rang, perhaps if that hadn’t been taken away a lot fewer corpses would be left unlooted? Regardless I loot everything I can, because if I do ever drop a Legendary it’ll be off a Kobold or a moose or something equally unimpressive.

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, I miss my loot-a-rang on my alts, too. Luckily Blizz has not (yet) taken the Fetch function away from hunters with pets. Also, the Mother-Somebody’s Skinning Knife (forget the exact name now) you get from a quest line is a godsend, basically a loot-a-rang for skinning at a distance.

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