If you’ve spent any time on the Internet, particularly gaming, you’ve encountered at least a few people who believe themselves to be trolls. Such individuals are often thoroughly abrasive, and tend to take a sort of perverse joy in making the lives of others miserable. Their reasons vary. Perhaps they’re making an effort to forget how unfulfilled they themselves feel, or maybe they’re simply jaded, bored sadists.
Whatever the case, most of them are entirely uncreative. There’s no artistry to what they do; a trained chimp could carry out their actions at least as effectively as they. Trolling is, as many are aware “a art;” most self-proclaimed trolls are by no means artists.
But occasionally (and strangely often in the world of MMOs), someone will step up and set themselves apart from the crowd. Their reasons are always their own, but they inevitably carry out plots and pranks so cunning, unique, or thoroughly vile; one can’t help but be at least a little impressed. Today, we’re going to pay tribute to some of the most legendary trolls of MMOs past.
Most parents cut their kids off when they’re playing too many video games. They take away their consoles, remove Internet privileges, or, in the worst-case scenarios, send them off to addiction camps and counselling. Not Mr. Feng. He decided on a slightly different course of action.
Frustrated that his son Xiao Feng wasn’t making any headway finding a job, Feng decided that his gaming habits were to blame. He further reasoned that if Feng the younger didn’t find gaming fun anymore, he’d stop – and maybe start making an effort. So, in true evil overlord fashion, he hired a cadre of assassins to kill his son.
These assassins all played the same games his son did, and all of them were, to a man, better than him. Every time Xiao Feng logged on, his character died. Eventually, there was no point in playing any longer, and Feng Jr. decided to stick up to Feng Sr. He informed his father that gaming was not, in fact, the reason he hadn’t found work – he was genuinely trying to find the job he wanted; a job that suited him.
Feng was “relieved,” but it’s unknown whether or not he’s called off the assassins.
There was once an Everquest server by the name of Sullon Zek. It was a corrupt, violent, and lawless place, geared almost entirely towards faction/alignment-based PVP. Naturally, this meant that the population of the server almost universally tended towards the evil alignment, with good checking it at around 10% of the server’s population. The forces of good were scattered, broken, and weak. They needed a hero. They needed…
A level 5 bard?
Yep. As it turned out, one of the few rules on the server was that characters below 6th level were unable to compete in PVP combat. Fansy, of course, used this to wander about to his heart’s content. His character – a chaotic good half-elf bard – traveled from one end of the server to another, clad in bright colors and spreading joy and happiness wherever he went.
Likelier than not, the number of times he was called a “fag” or some derivative thereof was somewhere in the thousands.
Here’s where things get really masterful. See, the only real combat ability a low-level bard is equipped with is the ability to run really, really fast. In that context, Fansy quickly realized three things:
1. Since his character was level 5, any mobs present in higher level zones would be extremely keen on crushing him into a paste.
2. They can only do this if they can catch him.
3. They will kill everything in their path until they are able to do so.
So Fansy the bard made his merry way to Oasis, provoked a bunch of sand giants, then proceeded to dance merrily away. As expected, they followed him, and had angry sex with anyone and anything that got in their way. Since this was in the days before mobs had limits on the distance they’d chase a player, Fansy effectively cleared an entire continent of evil simply by being really good at running, like some twisted combination of Forrest Gump and The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
All the while, he responded to the torrent of abuse resulting from his antics with oblivious, good-natured cheer.
Of course, the evil players who just hours ago had said ‘lol, no rules bro, deal with it’ immediately started complaining about the exploit. Eventually, the complaints grew so loud that the server admins changed the rules, and made low-level players targetable. That’s right – he trolled so hard he brought rules to a no-rules server.
Then he came back a year later and used a bug with the bard’s charm skill to repeatedly slaughter a bunch of neutral characters…who then petitioned the GMs. Said GMs made yet another exception on the ‘no-rules’ server and punished him for, well…playing as intended.
Many of the others on this list crushed entire servers under their iron heel. Chrae changed the course of game development with what he did, and exerted a very real influence on one of the most legendary MMO franchises in history. You see, back in the early days of Ultima Online, there were enemies known as slimes. If you’ve ever played an RPG, you know what they are – they more often than not define ‘low level’ just as much as goblins and zombies. Back when they were first introduced, they had this irritating tendency to split when they were struck.
In other words, hitting them caused them to replicate. Lovely, right? For most people, it was a minor inconvenience. You had to deal with a damaged weapon, a legion of boring, uninspired, doubling enemies; and the unnerving thought that you were an agent in their reproductive process.
For Chrae, it was a means of bringing an entire server to its knees. He managed to trap a few slimes in a house, and after some trial-and-error, equipped himself with a bunch of purple potions (extremely weak grenades, basically). Then he started throwing. After the house was full enough that his computer could barely handle it, he strolled over and opened the door.
The server crashed, but not before slimes slaughtered pretty much its entire population.
The next day, he decided he’d try a different approach. He stepped forward, identifying himself as the one behind the slime invasion. He laid out a few simple terms: the people were to pay him 10,000 gold, or his slimes would blight the land once more(he was planning to attack it anyway). Everyone laughed…until Chrae crashed the server again.
The day after that, the developers released an update that prevented slimes from splitting. That’s right – one madman with a house, some weak potions, and a few slimes changed the world of Ultima Online. Who says one person can’t make a difference?
How many people can say they’ve killed a god?
Rainz can, at least. Back in August 1997, Ultima Online’s beta test was in full swing. On the 8th o
f that month, Lord British – creator Richard Garriott’s in-game avatar – decided to pay a visit to the server, to be conducted as part of a population stress-test. Rainz decided he’d attempt to rain on the parade – quite literally. He targeted Lord British with a spell known as “fire field.”
To his shock, British keeled over.
Evidently, the whole incident was tied to an oversight on the developers’ part. Lord British was ordinarily flagged as invulnerable, but shortly before the incident, the server crashed. Garriott forgot to set his invulnerability flag when he logged on. End result? Rainz killed a character that belonged to the creator of Ultima Online. The massive amount of lag that resulted from the stress test coupled with the deactivation of the guards allowed him to steal away into the night, with only a few witnesses.
A short time later, Rainz was banned from the beta test. Not for the assassination, mind you – apparently, he’d been exploiting a number of in-game bugs to grief other players, rather than reporting them so that they could be fixed.
In other words, he’s a bit of a dick by necessity. That doesn’t excuse his behavior at a CCP-hosted Eve Fanfest convention last year, where he went up on stage to mock a player who’d expressed thoughts of suicide and followed that up by giving everyone his personal information and encouraging them to harass him into making good on those thoughts.
Though he has since apologized, been hit with a temporary ban and resigned from the player’s council, what he did was still completely out of line.
Angwe was a high level Orc rogue on the Dethecus Server, and possibly a psychic vampire who survived on rage alone. He gained his chops in Everquest PVP, and after some time playing World of Warcraft, he realized that he missed being able to communicate with the people he killed. He enjoyed being subjected to their ire.
So he created an alliance account by the name of Angwespy, and went to town.
There is a place in World of Warcraft known as The Wetlands. It’s one of the first Alliance PVP zones, and a major thoroughfare for mid-level characters besides. There’s also only one entrance to the zone, save by Gryphon or boat. Guess where Angwe set up shop?
By camping that bottleneck, Angwe forcibly established himself as one of the biggest trolls in MMO history. He’s been threatened. People have tried to track him down. He’s been targeted with every insult known to man, and more than a few previously unknown ones. He didn’t inspire rage so much as complete, full-blown psychosis.
The worst thing was, he was actually good at playing his class. He wasn’t targeting newbies simply because they were easy prey; that wasn’t his only goal. His real aim was to draw out the higher-level players so that he could kill them for honor – which he did, more often than not. The legions of angry newbies he ended up creating were just happy bonuses.
He was less a player than a world boss, and his mere presence defined an entire server. People went so far as to write elaborate and intricate guides centered entirely on avoiding him. Whole guilds formed with the express purpose of hunting him down.
That wasn’t all he did, either. On Angwespy, he had this little process where he’d worm his way into a guild, trick the leaders into granting him officer, and then run a macro to remove every single guild member. In his own words, “ganking lets you drink sweet tears, but wiping out an established guild lets you mainline them.”
I think we can leave it at that.
Honorable Mention: The Guiding Hand Social Club