Now, the MMO really isn’t the best genre to find something scary in. Sure, there are a few gems out there that are notably creepy, but let’s face it; you won’t be seeing literal Slenderman or Fatal Frame type frights. But at least, to a certain degree, the level of scariness is replicated in those little elements in the MMO that we take for granted that sure as hell horrify us 100% of the time. There is nothing scarier than these common events that can chill you to the very bone. Fear can be found everywhere in our daily lives; we just have to be able to recognize them.
Revolting Loot Rolls
No matter what you find yourself playing, loot rolls have always been either benevolent numbers or a set of randomized malevolence that can easily break your spirit and send you spiraling into a drunken stupor of flailing emotions. I’m sure that most of us have this common experience that that took 9999 hours and 9999 different raid groups just to kill this one boss, and get his stuff to drop, only to roll a crap number, assuring you that you’ll never get it for another 9999 hours.
Imagine that it finally dropped; that one thing you always wanted. You brace yourself as either the loot window comes out for rolls or your raid lead presents them available for your /rolls. Mainspec; There! She said it! It’s yours! You only have a few people to compete with and your feeling luckier than a leprechaun on horseshoes killing rabbits. So what are you waiting for? You cast your number. But then, as you see that roll, you mentally blackout, shocked at the gruesome outcome of an innocent action. Five. You rolled a goddamned five.
No matter how used to bad rolls you may be, it always shatters the soul to see an unfortunate number wasting all your time and effort simply by rearing it’s ugly head. There are many myths and legends about RNG (Random Number Generation) in many MMOs, making loot rolls somewhat akin to Sasquatch or the Jersey Devil, and come with all those crackpot theorists to boot. To those of sound mind, we tend not to listen to all these baseless information, but when we do encounter a bad roll, it makes us think twice about it. But I still believe that there’s a ghost in your PC, haunting you by giving you perpetual 1s on phat loot.
Boss Battle Bedlam
This is another MMO occurrence that I’m sure many of you are familiar with and my go hand in hand with the Loot Roll Horror. When you get to this really hard boss that your MMO of choice touts as one of, if not the most, difficult in its current state, you approach it with caution, but not without your own brand of bravery and confidence. The fight would start and you’d perform the mechanics with all your might and best performance. You may wipe once, twice, or even twenty times, but you’d continue on and progress inch by inch if not mile by mile. But when it gets down to the bare bones of it all, you most likely turn into a quivering pile of goo once you reach that 10% mark.
It’s close! So close! You can feel it! Your heart beats as quickly as it could, your mind is all a mess and you can’t think of anything else other than hoping this specific item drops from the boss. And then, at that moment, when your seconds away from victory, one by one, you perish under the pressure, under the weight of anxiety, chaos, and most of all, fear. As you finally fall flat on the fine surface of the arena, fluent of the failures and feints of fervent followers, you realize that the final fight had been over just as your mind drifts into despair.
This is one of the most frightening experiences one could ever have on any MMO; getting that boss down to nil and then fearing to lose it all with the blink of an eye. Imagine the most devastating mechanic to apprehend your group, like mind controls, and it so happens that it had to be your healers who got caught, or more than single dps gets in the crossfire of an unavoidable aoe targeted on another person. Or perhaps even the most common example, the enrage timer. The shakes get worse when you watch the enrage timer counting down at the same time you count down a boss’ health. It may indeed be one of the most heart-stopping moments in common MMO existence. Whether or not you get through this, it’s always going to make you shake and sweat in your seat, feeling as if nothing is more important in the entire world than downing that singular opponent. But it just so happens, you and your group’s misfortune kicks in. Enough said.
Nothing is more frightening than losing a character you worked so hard with and invested so much time on. This isn’t anything new to those touted hardcore MMO gamers who revel at the YOLO mentality in their perma-death games, but this is certainly something that is quite unwelcome in those games that don’t. Whether this is caused by a bug or an extremely unlucky case of server lag, when these things happen to you, the fear to be experienced is immeasurable; it’s as if you lost an appendage.
The image above depicts this meager issue that occurred to a group of TESO players. A freak lag spike happens and they all end up on the floor, neither dead nor alive, unable to move and interact with the material world. Nothing would work for the players and they remained in their ghostly catatonic state. Legend has it, since last month, that whenever you’d attempt to enter Spindleclutch, you could still hear them whining about Zenimax. WoOoOooO! Spooookyyy!
Another very noteworthy character cyanide mishap was WoW’s Great Corrupted Blood Incident of 2005. It was an entire week, since Zul’gurub was first introduced, where the Corrupted Blood debuff wiped out populated areas due to a bug that carried the debuff over from the instance via pets and minions. It was said that there were times that you could not resurrect at all because once you got back on your feet, you were infected all at once in a densely populated area, causing some intense perma-death scenarios. A lot of players even just gave up on WoW entirely.
Whatever the case may be, the possibility of losing your character forever is a thing to be feared. It’s basically a part of you and your life, considering you spent your time on it. It’s an accomplishment and a treasure, something irreplaceable even if you could just make a new one; it won’t be the same.
So, you’re hard at work at school or the office, and all you can really think about is this singular MMO you’re just so into at the moment. You think of all the things you plan to do when you get home: dailies, pvp, crafting, raiding; all the works. You drive home, giddy at the prospect of being able to play to your heart’s content or until the sandman calls for you to head for bed. Turning on your platform of choice, you get annoyed at the fact that it won’t load up as fast as you’d like it to. You expect your guildies and your friends to greet you with hearty hellos and jovial invites to play. But instead, once you get to the launcher…
Oh God, the horror! Why, <insert company name here>, why!? It was only today that you are free to while the time away! It was only today that your tank could make a raid! This might be your last day on Earth, so why can’t I log in!?
Whether scheduled or unexpected, server downtime is a horrible thing to deal with, and perhaps one of the unluckiest events you could ever encounter as a working person. Of course, we have to take into account that the people working on the game only want what’s best for their customers by ensuring that their game servers run as well as they should, eliminating problems existing and even before they arise. Still, most of us can’t help but feel the hollow grip of despair take hold of you and wrench your very life from you. It is something that many gamers fear no matter what MMO they find themselves in.
Fear Is Where The Heart Is
The number 13 has haunted the western world for many lifetimes, and the misfortune and terror that come along with it are never really found in very unique experiences and scenarios, but from everyday interactions with the world around us. Scares are subjective and we deal with them in different methods, but we can all agree that there are just some things out there that are just so universally frightening. With that said, take care of yourself this Friday the 13th; try not to explode if you roll a 3.Related: Event (In Game), Event (Real Life), Horror, MMOGames