Griefing refers to the act of a player ruining the gaming experience of another player, either involuntarily or on purpose (though this is debatable from one server to another - see below). The most obvious form of griefing is constant stalking of a player, by either following him or her for no reason, whispering useless messages, repeatedly sending them invitations after they decline, etc.
Griefers are those who engage in griefing.
Types of griefing
Griefing can take numerous forms. Some forms are obvious attempts at griefing, while others may be considered by some to simply be good-natured jokes or even fair play. Bear in mind that the intentions of the apparent griefer may not be what you expect.
Some forms of griefing are prohibited by Blizzard, and can be reported via GMs, while others are generally considered fair play or simply irritating behaviour. However, usually the most important factor is the severity of the behaviour. For example, insulting other players, or repeatedly killing lower-level characters are not generally considered to be serious offences. However, taken to extremes, these behaviours may be considered harassment, and can be reported.
For a fuller explanation of Blizzard's in-game policies, see the Battle.net In-Game Policies articles.
All these actions are against the ToS ("Terms of Service", as in TUA) and if reported action may be taken against the player or players involved.
- Ninja looting (Though in groups or parties, it is a violation of ToS only if the raid leader explains the loot rules before the raid starts then goes against them.)
- Spamming (Though all topics are usually allowed in General chat, unless they are profane or insulting.)
- Spreading personal information about another player, even if it's false information.
- Harassing, mocking, insulting players or gamemasters. (This includes creating pointless GM tickets such as asking for game tips or gold.)
- Scamming, i.e. fooling others by pretending something that is actually not happening.
Blizzard makes a specific distinction between same-faction griefing and disputes involving members of the opposite faction on PvP realms. This is to prevent players who are simply enjoying the ruleset of PvP realms from being punished for doing so. In general, players on PvP realms should expect to experience far more direct and engaging interaction with players of the opposite faction. GMs will not intervene in cross-faction player disputes on PvP realms, except in cases of extreme or excessive harassment.
In these cases, players are encouraged to find their own solutions to conflicts (see below). This follows the spirit of PvP and PvP realms, and can result in satisfying and even highly enjoyable resolutions to disputes. For example, players being repeatedly killed by others may call guild members or friends to assist them, turning one-sided stalking into full-scale world PvP. On PvE realms, many forms of PvP griefing can be prevented simply by turning off your character's PvP flag.
The actions below, although seen by some as dishonorable, are considered legitimate PvP tactics and will not be addressed by GMs.
- Corpse camping
- Graveyard camping
- Killing lower-level characters
- Kill stealing
- Training mobs
First of all, note that just because a player does not follow WoW etiquette does not necessarily mean that he or she griefs other players. Griefing is generally always relative and is subject to someone's decision, rather than a granted thing. It is always preferrable to let the person know that what they are doing is upsetting to you before considering them potential griefers.
Some actions to take in response to griefing:
- Griefing that breach Blizzard's in-game policies can be reported to a GM, and action may be taken against the player or players involved. See In-Game Policies for details.
- Griefing that does not breach these terms (such as "PvP griefing") can be dealt with in other ways:
- Any griefing that involves whispers or certain other types of personal interaction can be prevented by simply choosing to "ignore" the griefer's character. If a griefer uses alts to continue to whisper you, this may be considered harrassment and can be reported to a GM.
- In any PvP griefing, perhaps the best solution is to get some friends or guild mates to help out. Friendly players should be ready to assist you, for the pleasure of the fight as well as the opportunity to help.
- When griefing is due to your character being too low-level to fight back, one solution is simply to log a higher-level character (if you have one) or otherwise to seek help from someone with a higher-level character.
- Corpse-camping can be prevented by simply logging an alt; the griefer will waste their time waiting for you to respawn, only to be disappointed, while you can continue to enjoy playing on a different character.
- A cycle of corpse-camping can also be broken by resurrecting via the Spirit Healer at the graveyard. Be sure though that the Spirit Healer is far enough away from your corpse; when you resurrect, your previous corpse will turn to a skeleton, alerting the griefer that you have resurrected, and they may head to the nearest graveyard to find you. If necessary, travel in ghost form to another graveyard, and speak to the Spirit Healer there.
- With any type of PvP griefing, remember that you can always simply log off for a while, or play on another character. Griefers will quickly get bored, return to regular playing or otherwise forget you, leaving you free to return a little later. If a specific player continues to grief you, this may be considered harrassment and can be reported to a GM.
- Griefing is not to be confused with exploiting, which is also mainly against the ToS, but in some cases thereof more than just a group of players have their gaming process stifled. Also, unlike griefing, exploiting can only be addressed by the GMs.