By Christine Roy
The very first lesson I was taught about joining massive multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPG) was this: never accept gold from random guys.
Despite that, I’ve still had my fair share of experiences as a gamer girl.
I started playing World of Warcraft after the release of The Burning Crusade, its first expansion. I hadn’t even reached the Outlands before I got my first in-game stalker. The guy played a level 70 Blood Elf hunter and was able to find me wherever I went.
He asked me for my real name once. When I refused to give it to him, he did a search for my guild members, found one questing in Arathi Highlands and went after him. He kept killing off the quest mobs my guild member needed to finish a quest and stole all his kills.
All because I valued my privacy and wouldn’t give him my name.
This kind of interruption can be very annoying. In the evenings, when you just want to sit back and play after a day of work, this sort of behavior can be very irritating when you’re trying to level a character.
I ended up lying to the stalker just so he’d leave my friend alone but it didn’t stop there. When I put him on “ignore,” he would come find me wherever I was and follow my character. This meant that if I ran, he stayed behind me.
I solved this problem when I was leveling in the Hinterlands. I took his character for a walk on the high cliffs. He wasn’t looking at the screen, since he could have easily gotten away. His character ended up falling from the cliffs and dying.
He logged off a few minutes later and didn’t bother me for the rest of the night.
According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), 46 per cent of Canadian gamers are female.
We’re out there. We’re ganking your asses, we’re playing alongside the guys and we’re getting stalked and harassed. To be fair, though, some of us are also abusing the guys’ generosity in-game.
But since I was told to never accept gold (or any gifts, for that matter) while playing, I found that guys were more willing to have me around. I “worked” for what I wanted through professions or by farming things in the game.
When I decided to give roleplaying a try, it was pretty amusing until I migrated to the Moon Guard server in the North American version of World of Warcraft.
Ever heard of erotic roleplay (ERP)? Moon Guard is known for being the capital of ERP.
I was sent whispers, little private messages, to gauge whether or not I’d be interested in ERP. When I flat-out refused to participate in that stuff, I was actually insulted, harassed and told to leave the server because “that’s what Moon Guard is all about.”
I cancelled my subscription and returned to European servers not long after. For some reason, my gaming experience has been far more pleasant surrounded by Europeans.
And then there’s the times when I lost some good guy friends because they wanted more than just an online friendship, despite the fact I wasn’t single or interested in such things. That’s too long a story with too many reoccurrences to mention here.
So all this happened during my time as a gamer. I’ve tried several MMORPGs and even I find it difficult to be friends with other gamer girls. In my experience, a lot of them are too reliant on the guys they play with to learn the game on their own.
It’s a sign of weakness and it’s one the hardcore gamers will prey upon. Until the girl cries about it in her guild chat and then you’re stuck in a flame war because you think she needs to not get carried along and play on her own.
It’s a vicious cycle.
My fellow gamer girls, I know it can be tough to learn a game on your own but trust me, it’s very much possible. You have the ability to make your own gold, get your own cool gear, trinkets, pets, mounts or whatever! Yes, it will take a bit longer but it’s not so bad and the pride you’ll feel in the end is totally worth it.
People online are harsh, I know. And there’s those sayings going around like, “There are no girls on the Internet,” or “The Internet: where men are men, women are men, and little girls are the FBI.” Don’t mind those.
If someone’s bothering you, ignore them. If someone’s harassing you, report them. Gaming platforms have options that will ensure we can play in safe environments, away from harassment and degradation.
It’s also a great idea to read the terms of service and the rules and guidelines. I know, it’s very easy to skip over them but it’s really to your benefit to know when you or someone else crosses the line. Stay safe and learn that stuff. Because losing your cool over some idiot who’s trying to get a rise out of you might get you reported or banned. Stay calm and don’t blow your lid.
Gaming can be an enjoyable experience. Some girls hide their gender, some are comfortable and confident enough to tell the truth about it. Either way, I hope that someday I won’t ever have to see the words “omg ur a girl irl” again.