Garwulf’s Corner #20: Touching Darkness


Touching Darkness

I think I understand the player killer culture a bit more now.

For the uninitiated, there actually is a subculture that has developed around player killers (strange, but true). I’ve so far been able to identify at least two levels: the player killer, and the player killer killer, who only attacks player killers.

(At the same time, I have no doubt that there are player killer killer killers who only attack player killer killers, and infinite variations thereon, to the point that it would cause a grammar checker to explode, killing the typist with shrapnel.)

My own revelation didn’t come out of Diablo, strangely enough, but Legend of the Red Dragon (mentioned last installment). As I write this, I had been playing it about a week and a half ago, and I came across a player (who shall remain nameless) who disliked me.

Now, player killing is a fact of life in L.O.R.D. Odds are that if you play, you will probably get killed at least once every two days by another player. At least it happens in the background, after you’ve finished your gaming for the day, and isn’t anything more than a minor nuisance. However, there are also little expansion sets called IGMs where you can do a lot more than just kill somebody.

I had logged off the previous night with a charm rating of around 120 (in short, Garwulf looked like Fabio), and quite a bit of experience. Things were looking good.

The next day, I came on to discover that I had been killed no fewer than four times during the night (at a loss of ten percent of my experience per), apparently made an announcement to the effect of “I want to be everybody’s b*tch,” been scalped, and lost around 90 charm points (making Garwulf look like a dog with muscles). It was easy enough to find the culprits; they were not that subtle to begin with, and one of them even identified themselves to me, but I’m getting ahead of myself there.

Now, the intelligent thing to do would have been to do a bit of fact-finding, contact the people responsible for this ruthless attack, and find out just what was going on before taking action. None of this even entered my mind. After realizing how all of it was done, the name of the primary culprit in hand, I headed off to the IGMs for revenge. Within a matter of minutes, I’d been to a witch doctor, and given the little twirp a hex, curse, and sex change. Then, I sent him a message to the effect of “Do that again, you son of a b*tch, and what happened today will be the least of your worries.”

Even now, I’m not certain what possessed me to do these things. It certainly wasn’t rational thought. Usually, I am a very gentlemanly player (I’d even mind my Ps and Qs to the Red Dragon itself, if it would refrain from biting my head off long enough). To say the least, this was out of character.

Well, as it turned out, the culprit’s roommate was online in the same game that I was, and we exchanged a couple of nasty emails (I was still in evil-as-can-be mode, as you can guess). Finally, he mentioned some complaint that had taken place long before the entire mess had started, causing me to ask “What the h*ll are you talking about?” As it turned out, they had gone after me because some third party had used my name to insult them.

I am convinced that part of my brain is a sadist. It never kicks in BEFORE I do something stupid that I’ll regret later, oh no, but always comes out shortly afterwards with some snide remark. Like Homer Simpson, my brain seems to have some disagreement with me, just waiting for a faux pas that it can laugh at.

Regardless, my sudden viciousness took me completely by surprise. I had gone from Renaissance man to caveman in under a minute. Any thoughts I had entertained of finally putting down my inner darkness had been roughly shoved aside.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I think I now understand the player-killer subculture. Having had a gut reaction along the lines of “I’m going to get that b*stard” over a text-only game, I can understand that bestial urge when player-killed in Diablo, where it is more than just a minor nuisance, to go and seek revenge. I can even see the caveman within, guiding our actions under a mask of civility. It is something we all share, I think, these primal, violent urges. Even ten millennia of civilization is not enough to suppress them entirely (I can only speak for myself, but there is a saber-toothed cat that ate one of my ancestors that I WILL have revenge on).

My inner caveman has faded, for now, at least. I can only hope that I will not see it again. I rather prefer being the Renaissance man.

 

Disclaimer: Garwulf’s Corner is written by Robert B. Marks and hosted by Diii.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of Diii.net.

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