Fear is one of the basest and most natural of human emotions. Amidst killer clowns, psychotic killers, and paranormal monsters, we can find this fear burgeoning and oozing from our fleshy seams from experiencing even the plainest of scenarios. It’s hard to find “scary” moments in MMOs because let’s face it, when we normally play MMOs, we know that they’re games, unlike some single player terrorgasms. But within the right circumstances and the right situation, we can find terror wherever we look.
Below are a few moments that truly freaked me out through sheer terror on a visual level or because of a powerful feeling of dread that loomed around me like death was imminent.
1. Rift’s Old Gods
While games like Rift aren’t exactly made from the stuff of nightmares, there are those flashes of horrifying brilliance that evoke the age-old emotion of fear. One quest, in particular, while I forget what it’s called, bring you face to face with an old god that tries to invade Telara’s plane of existence. Complete with the eerie Lovecraftian feel, its deep and visceral voice speaking in its unfathomable language, it announces your plane’s destruction in monotone, finely accompanied with a fearsome and maddening visage.
It’s not the creepiest of creepy MMO quests but it does manage to do a damned good job of tingling your spine at the prospect of this gigantic, and supposedly omnipotent being, nonchalantly breaking apart the logic and reason we have on our plane of existence. Only a few things really frighten me, and an effectively presented old god is one of them. It didn’t help either that I was playing this alone at home and at night.
2. Virgula Divina
Oh, Richard Sonnac, how I love your smooth voice with that posh South African/British accent commanding presence and smart appearance, but no amount of cool can ever make me forgive you for forcing me to get a drink over at the Horned God, starting what would be one of the scariest MMO moments I’ve ever had. There are literally hundreds of storylines in The Secret World that will make your rectum forfeit any control over itself, but if there was one that I’d pick out to be the most frightening, it would certainly be the Templar story mission, Virgula Divina.
You traverse through the underground of London in this mission, uncovering one of those “horrible experiments gone awry” plotlines. It doesn’t sound so terrifying at first but with TSW’s flair for the atmospheric, spine-chilling sensibilities, and their wanton training of players to always expect the unexpected, Virgula Divina takes you on the riveting experience of being led by a dead girl, ala F.E.A.R, into a seemingly certain death.
Against all logic, you’ll follow this lead even if it makes you encounter moving dolls, bloody laboratories, and of course, a malevolent and creepy-as-hell ghost of a little girl. I don’t want to risk spoiling anything for you folks because this is best experienced personally, so I’ll just leave you with a little piece of advice: If you have a heart condition, beware of checking surveillance footage all willy-nilly. You’ll thank me later.
3. Voices In Ahn’Qiraj
Being a Panda-generation World of Warcraft player, I wasn’t able to experience the epicness of older WoW that veterans rant on and on about. I take their comments with a grain of salt but I do often wonder about how it was probably as awesome as they said it was. So, from time to time, aside from the reason of looking for interesting transmog and the occasional mount, I frequently did a lot of the old world raids just to have even a whiff of their former glory, especially in the dead of night when most of my guildies had gone to sleep and I was left all by my lonesome on Vent.
Little did I know that I was getting more than I bargained for when I headed into the vastness of the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj. The majesty of the raid was matched only by the creep-factor it exuded all throughout my travels. Large talking bugs, Anubisi, and creatures that I simply could not fathom lined its hallways, tunnels, and corridors. Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the beginning of it. Eventually, as I hacked my way through hordes of monsters, my ease of mind was suddenly disrupted by a low and booming voice in a slow monotone and broken speech:
“Death… is… close.”
The hairs on my back stood on end as a cold chill ran up my spine. It was as if someone or something actually whispered those words right into my ear. “JESUS H. CHRIST!” I exclaimed, as I quickly alt-tabbed to see if anyone had come into the vent channel. Unsurprisingly, no one was on other than me. With my pants clearly shat, I quickly exited WoW, tore off my headset, and dashed for the light switch at the end of the room to remove the shroud of darkness that enveloped me the entire time.
I eventually found out that it was just part of the raid but I won’t ever forget that one experience where I actually thought my house was haunted, or that a Lovecraftian Old God was actually trying to drive me mad.
4. A Guild Wars Ceremony
This next one isn’t a scary element of a game itself, exactly, but it’s something that can only happen in MMOs nonetheless. It may sound like a creepypasta, but I assure you that this is something I experienced personally.
Back in the heyday of Guild Wars 1, I was in a guild (which shall remain unnamed) that took guild governance quite seriously. No, it’s not the sort of totalitarian raiding guild most of us know from other MMOs because they were a casual guild that only wanted to build a very large family. Their goal was to make a massive alliance composed of several guilds, each maintaining their own autonomy, but all just having fun. As it was expensive to maintain a guild during my time due to all the actual work a guild leader of a subsidiary guild in my alliance actually did, the parent guild leader obviously made sure he picked the right person to lead.
Hooray and hurrah, he gave me all the responsibilities for what was going to be the newest subsidiary guild called “Archon”. But before I could ever be crowned as a guild leader (and receive near unlimited funding from our parent, hooray!) I had to participate in a semi-scripted ceremony that would occur at 3 in the morning, so I had to stay awake way past what I was used to at the time. That ceremony saw me booted from my current guild and then asked a series of questions of which he already gave me the answers in advance. If I so happen to get any answer wrong, I was banned from joining ever again. Yeah, again, it was scripted, but for all I knew at the time I could have just been getting trolled.
It was a truly grand spectacle that almost all of our guildies watched as it happened in one of our many guild halls. I’ve never been in a player-made event in any other MMO that matched the epicness of that entire exercise. He asked the questions on /say so that everyone could read it, but I had to whisper him the answers, giving a deep sense of suspense on my part and everybody else who was rooting for me to succeed. Cutting the long story short, he took his sweet ass time to confirm if I had answered a question correctly or not, making me crap my pants several times that night. When all was said and done, past all the other RP he was doing, I was then invited into the newly formed guild of Archon and was given my choice of which guild hall it should have (those were extremely expensive, by the way).
Once that was all done, he invited everyone in the alliance to celebrate the success of my new promotion and to run around Archon’s fancy new abode. But amidst the festivities, I suddenly received a whisper from someone named “Night Mare” speaking in spaced out and visually broken English.
“i have to go now you can be king now”
At first, I ignored it, thinking it was only a mistell, but he repeatedly sent me the same message every few minutes, varying in its odd spacing and capitalizations. My imagination started running wild as I was wreathed in darkness, illuminated only by the light from my computer monitor. I tried to engage in casual pleasantries with one of my many guildmates present, but the incessant whispering struck fear into me every time I saw it on my chat box. He whispered and whispered and whispered; I didn’t know what to do nor did I want to reply back to the mysterious person on the other end. I could have ignored the player instead, but I wasn’t thinking straight at the time as the surreal situation dug into me too heavily.
Then, the very last message I got was altered slightly, but it was the last nail in the coffin for me:
“i am goNe you aRe king nOw”
I immediately chatted to the alliance that I had to go to sleep and logged off immediately. I didn’t even bother closing the game properly, opting instead to alt-F4. The silence was nerve-wracking and I had to turn the lights and TV on just to keep me from freaking out. The next day, when I had my senses back, I tried to add that “Night Mare” onto my friend list but, to my surprise, the character didn’t exist. I could have asked our parent guild leader if he had anything to do with that but, frankly, I was too scared to do so. Not that I was afraid of the ridicule for falling for such a juvenile prank, if it was, but I was frightened of the possibility that he DIDN’T have anything to do with it.
Real? I don’t want to know.
What’s the scariest MMO moment you’ve ever had? Let us know in the comments.Related: Article, Guild Wars, Halloween, Horror, MMORPG, Rift, The Secret World, World of Warcraft