Online Ethics: When would you become a ninja?

I came across an interesting situation last week, so to protect the innocent names are going to be left out. I joined a 25-man Vault as I was still in need of off some Deadly leggings in the off chance that they drop. I learned that the raid leader had the intent to master loot any gear that drops to anyone he wanted to, regardless of who actually won the roll. The person in question even went so far as to leave the guild to prevent negative publicity for the guild.

And I made my feelings known on Vent which prompted an interesting discussion. And people were more than willing to share their viewpoints of the situation. I stated that given our current recruiting situation causing bad blood among the general population wasn’t exactly in our best interest, not to mention treating other people like that is wrong anyways.

The counter-point was that with all the shenanigans this person has pulled, the next day recruiting from the Guild recruitment channel or even Trade chat, no one remembers anything he does. And that given the sheer number of guilds on Illidan with guild turnover among most guilds at what seems to be an all-time high, bad publicity may be the best publicity when it comes time to do Uldar. And of course “Vault is srs bzness” was tossed in at least once.

One person made themselves feel better about the whole Vault situation by stating there had to be a clause stated in raid ahead of time that said “If you suck, you don’t get loot” as a justification.

Obvious points made by me and a few others included things like:

  1. Just because we made up a majority of the raid, are we really in a position to distribute loot based off performance?
  2. Not all players are created equal, and just because they appeared to suck on our meters doesn’t mean they weren’t trying their best.

Some other interesting scenarios were laid out as well in later conversation. For example, 2 Rogues are in 25-man Vault. One Rogue, about to break 2200 with their Arena teams, pulled great DPS while the second Rogue barely breaking 1300 ratings did very mediocre-borderline-terrible DPS. Two Rogue gloves drop. PvE and PvP. The PvP Rogue who did great DPS won the roll for Valorous while the other Rogue won the roll for the Deadly gloves. Despite all manner of convincing from the Rogue with good DPS and high Arena ratings, the Rogue who won the PvP gloves doesn’t want to trade.

One person in this conversation stated they would just loot the Deadly gloves to the PvP Rogue and give Valorous to the second one regardless. Would you switch the gloves or distribute them properly?

Here is another situation brought up, and as far-fetched as it may be, it makes you think. Pretend you are going to be getting a near world first Kil’jaeden kill back when it was new content. For whatever reason you have a PuG Hunter who ended up dying 6% into the fight or so. Lo and behold, Thori’dal drops and you are forced to roll against the dead Hunter and he wins the roll. The Master Looter whispers you and says “Do you just want me to give you the bow?” What do you respond with?

Sure it’s far-fetched, but perhaps that scenario would be your breaking point.

One person shared a great story, which unfortunately is true. This person convinced their mother to play World of Warcraft. She ended up playing a Death Knight instead of another class and leveled it to 80. They were happy their mom was playing and enjoying her time in the game. She got into her first 25-man Vault, showed up and did her best to DPS as far as her understandings of DK mechanics would let her.

Valorous DK gloves drop and she won the roll. However the raid leader decided she sucked and gave the gloves to someone else. She was devastated. She didn’t grasp why she didn’t get the gloves although she won the roll for them. Could you be the person who ninja’d from some one’s mother? A mom who is trying to embrace online games and see what her children love about them so much?

There are situations where I think it is so astronomical that anyone would become a ninja-looter. For example, you’re running 25-man PuG Naxxramas and as your just about to finish Kel’thuzad on your Ret Pally/Hunter/DK/Warrior/etc you get a call from Bill Gates offering you $1 million for your account if you have a Betrayer of Humanity by tonight. And of course, as you check the body, there it is. Who wouldn’t take the Betrayer of Humanity for a million dollars? I am sure you could make it up to anyone you ninja’d from with 10 grand or so.

Sure, a lot of these are hypothetical scenarios. And most people rather treat the people on the other side of the characters as the people they are. Some have fewer moral restrictions when dealing with people they don’t know. So you have to wonder, how extreme would the situation be until you voluntarily took an item from someone else even though they won it? How much time has to be invested in an online world before something has real-world value and it actually makes you a thief?

Thoughts, opinions, breaking-point scenarios. Post ‘em!

EDIT: I forgot to share this story.

When I was playing my Warrior, my guild decided to raise my reputation with the Thorium Brotherhood for crafting items. I dropped Mining and picked up Leatherworking. Our guild’s first 2 Ragnaros kills yielded two Eyes of Sulfuras. And much to my dismay, the first one went to oe of our Paladins, Bubblez. Now Bubblez is an awesome guy (he commented on the blog recently) but I won’t lie that part of me was quite upset that we were giving our first Hand of Ragnaros to a Paladin before Retribution even had hints of being viable.

The time came where we were ready to craft the first Sulfuron Hammer. And yours truly had to make it for Bubblez. I remember crafting it, and having it sitting in my bag, right next to my own Eye of Sulfuras. And despite the promptings of a lot of people, I couldn’t being myself to right-click the Eye to create my own Hand of Rag and rob someone else, especially a guildie, of their Hand of Ragnaros.

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About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.