But, while some players used the event as a way to grief others, other players began to take a stand against it. Heroes pulled out their swords, turned on their sense undead, and began vigils in the cities to keep them functioning the way they should. By doing something as simple as "playing along" with the event, the cities could be kept in their standard working order, letting business be conducted as usual.

When players didn't work together -- when they were more concerned with complaining about how bad the event was and how they couldn't do anything -- the result was catastrophic. I dropped by Stormwind one night to find all of the NPCs dead, bodies literally covering the streets, and only about 4 Alliance players attempting to make a stand against 30+ zombified players. The bankers were turned, the auctioneers were turned, the guards were even turned. Stormwind had literally fallen to the plague. The Argent Healers had retreated, and now no one was left in the town square but me and my horseman's sword.

So my guild was sick of it, and they didn't want to see it happen anymore. We all got together in Elwynn Forest, made a 35 man raid group (which ended up becoming 55 once more people heard what we were going to do.) Our guild mistress made a bold speech, everyone cheered, and then we mounted up and rode straight into Stormwind. With arrows flying and exorcises filling the air, we took back the city, posted priests and paladins to keep watch for the infected ones, and turned the Cathedral of Light into a refuge shelter for lowbies who needed aid and assistance.

Many in the Alliance kept up what we had started by particpating in a new channel called the ArgentDefense, and Stormwind began to function again. Complaints about how "no one could do anything" began to dwindle, because people had stood up and done something. Griefers got tired of griefing because they would either get killed much too quickly or find themselves being cleansed of the plague before they could turn by groups of priests. Even roleplaying, which was amazingly sparse on my RPPvP server, was more popular as people openly roleplayed the defense of the city streets. Amazingly enough, there was a way out of this "bad game design" by, gasp, embracing it.

"Most importantly though, people have an amazing experience to share with others, even those who may not play the game."

If this event was something you could "opt-out" of, or avoid, I don't think it would have anywhere near the same impact. Stories, like this one above, wouldn't have occured at all. Instead, people would have just looted their loot, sold what they wanted, and gone on with the constant improvement of themselves. This event would have gone mostly unnoticed, perhaps applauded by a few people, but it would have found itself forgotten in the history books of WoW lore freaks.

Now people have a reason to really hate Arthas and the scourge. People have a reason to journey to Northrend and deliver the fight to the doorstep of Icecrown Glacier. Most importantly though, people have an amazing experience to share with others, even those who may not play the game. All because a few people stood up for themselves and did something to fight back when everyone else said "it was impossible to do anything."


Colin Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who likes to fight against impossible odds. When he's not writing here for Massively, he's over running Epic Loot For All! with his insane roommates. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at colin.brennan AT weblogsinc DOT com.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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