Introduction


Everyone knows that when you step into a virtual world, you can become any persona you want. You can even become multiple personas at the same time. This is the story of how I took this to the extreme when I played Asheron's Call 2.


Before you proceed...


Some portions of the story make ganking and griefing (basically harassing lower level players) sound fun. However I do seek not to promote nor encourage such actions; The story is a recollection how of how things were, and back then I possibly perceived such action as fun, but since then I've matured a bit and like to promote an enjoyable virtual environment for all.


Fallen Kings


Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings by Turbine Entertainment, released on 2002, was a great game. Though this article will not be a review of that game, but rather a personal recollection of my experience playing this game, which was the first MMORPG I ever played. A review of Asheron's Call 2 will be published in a separate article.


Roleplaying


I have a background of playing Table Top RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). This requires lots of acting and roleplaying, hardcore. So when I started playing Asheron's Call 2, I decided that I will keep the D&D roleplaying spirit alive and roleplay. Plus, I figured, I might as well role play since it is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Not to roleplay would have been a waste of time (and subscription money). I did a bit of research and gathered that Frostfell was an unofficial roleplaying server, and thus begin my adventures in Dereth (The world of Asheron's Call)


Alignment


In Dungeons and Dragons, a character can choose to be one of several different alignments, from evil to good. My favorite alignment had always been chaotic good, and I opted to have my character follow that role. I rolled a human defender, and named him Ridley Freeborn (After the hero from the Dungeons and Dragons Motion Picture). I faithfully followed the role I had taken upon myself, defend virtue and justice. I joined a big and reputable guild (called Hellhawk) and spent a lot of my time helping others. I would help newer players with quests, loot, helped them find their way around Dereth and it's portal system, and otherwise organize guild activities. I had a pretty good reputation, and other players would turn to me if they needed a hand, and I also had no problems raising parties to face some more difficult and rewarding challenge. I had established myself as a leader type and that had kept me busy, until...


Lex Luthor


Something was missing in the game. As they say, every hero needs a villain. And there was no such villain in that server. And I am not talking about some NPC boss which is supposed to be hard to kill but you still kill him over and over. This was an MMORPG and I was hoping for a player rival. But since nobody stepped up to the challenge, it struck me that I should step into those shoes. I figured this would also be the ultimate exercise in roleplaying, having to be in constant flux between good and evil. And so I rolled my new character, Qix, a Lugian Tactician. Little did I know that soon things would spiral out of hand...


The Calm Before the Storm


Tacticians were a great class. They had little mobility, but they could build small fortresses with turrets and defensive walls. This was perfect for leveling fast. If you knew the best spots, you could set up camp and plant your turrets and let them kill monsters while you reap the experience. And Ridley, my “good” character was well connected, so I had no problem learning about the good spots to level up my “evil” character, Qix. I wanted Qix to level fast so that he could catch up with Ridley who was already at maximum level. And indeed, I learned how to play the tactician effectively very fast, and in a couple of weeks I had reached the level cap.


Pandora


Now was the time to open the Pandora's box. Frostfell was a non pvp server, however it did have some PVP (Player Vs Player) areas. The intention of the developers was that those who seek to PVP would go to those areas, and those who did not wish to partake in PVP would stay away. However, there was one flaw: some of the main portal routes went through PVP areaa. Portals were the prime way of transportation around Dereth, to get from point A to point B you would have to go through a series of portals. Sure you could get anywhere by running or mounting, but that would take a very long time. So I went and set up my Turrets near one of the contested PVP portals. Now at this point Qix was very powerful, or “Uber” how they would say in MMORPG slang. I had the best equipment possible, due to my connections to the Hellhawk guild with my other character. It was ironic that the equipment provided to me by the Hellhawk Guild would soon be used against them. Not only did I have the best equipment, but I also had learned a lot about proper set up of the turrets and strategic placement of the defensive walls and other skills in my arsenal. Turrets were armed, and I eagerly awaited to the first victim to pass through the portal...


Ambush


Sure after, a player from Hellhawk, 20 levels lower then me, materialized through the portal. Wham! He stood no chance. The turrets killed him as fast as a blink of an eye. Just so you understand, there is a second or two loading time when you exit a portal. In that time you cannot move or otherwise act to defend yourself. And those 1 or 2 seconds were enough for my turrets to chew through any armor. And this went on for several days, people would come out of the portal straight into my ambush just to get killed. My turrets would sometimes wipe entire parties. Until Qix showed up there was no concept of a villain, the players on the server did not know what to do with with this situation. Perhaps they thought it was temporary and that the problem would go away by itself. But a few more days passed and I kept sitting there undisturbed. I did not know if this was funny or sad, but the slaughter soon became boring. Someone had to challenge me...


Counter Ambush


Enough was Enough. I logged in as Ridley and called in a guild meeting. “We have to do something about this Qix” I pointed out the gravity of the situation. “We are a whole guild, and Qix is just one player who is ruining everybody's playing experience” I argued. “As the largest and most reputable guild in AC2, we have to step up and stop him.” Ironically, I was put in charge of a task force to do just that. I came up with the plan to send a 10-player party around the portal and attempt to Ambush Qix from behind. I coordinated and scheduled the ambushes myself, and of course we never found Qix there when we got to the portal.


Chaos


Back to Qix, ambushing the same portal slaughtering everyone coming through had become a bit of a routine, and as such boring Plus more and more players were now trying to go around the portal and attempt to kill me. This was never successful as I had an exit strategy myself, as soon as an enemy was spotted, I would rush into the portal transporting myself to a non PVP area. I would then go set up camp in a different PVP portal. The failure to kill me increased frustration amongst the server. Still, I knew it would not be long before they adapt so I found alternate ways to grief. For example, one day I managed to infiltrate Hellhawk. How did I do that? Well AC2 had this flawed guild system (later corrected, probably because of me) where only the person who recruited the guild member could boot that member out of the guild. It was a hierarchy system of sorts. Sure, the guild leader could boot him too but only if he knew who the recruiter was, and at that time there was no such means. And so I had Ridley recruit a newbie player who had not yet heard of Qix, and then Qix would go to that player and get recruited into Hellhawk. Soon, the server was wondering how come Qix is a part of Hellhawk and this hurt the guild's reputation greatly until they figured out how to boot Qix from the guild. And there were many other ways I would grief but I don't want to go into to much detail as you get the idea by now. At the same time, I would also play as Ridley and keep helping other players, even the same ones whom I had just ganked as Qix.


Notorious


Soon, everybody was talking about Qix. I had become notorious. There wasn't a single player on the server who had not heard of Qix. Forums were raging. Guilds would unite in an attempt to stop me And there was also a sense of frustration and rage the he could not be stopped. Complaints to the Customer Service Game Masters (GMs) would not help as well; Anyone who complained was told that I was not breaking any of the game rules. Like every great arch-villain, Qix now had followers and even copycats. There was a huge spike in ganking and griefing. The quiet days of the server were long gone.


Epilogue


One day I decided that things were spiraling too much out of hand, and I quit the game just like that. When I talked to guild members later about Qix, I learned that despite the griefing and the ganking, Qix was missed because he made life on Dereth oh so interesting and once he was gone there was this unexplained void left. A few others though told me that they were so frustrated from the ganking that it made them want to quit. But most agreed that Qix had a positive influence on the server. I planned on returning (This time just as Ridley) when things settled down, however the game shut down a year after (an event not related to what I had caused... at least that's what I hoped). And I never told anyone this story until now, and people still remember Qix as the evil arch-villain and Ridley as the good hero (Well most likely nobody remembers Ridley anymore as Qix stole his show). And thus concludes the story of how I single handedly threw a server into chaos.



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