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Drama Mamas: When friends feign death

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I can totally understand feigning death to escape from a horrific family life, organized crime or a group of extremists with an irrational vendetta. But fake your own demise in order to get out of playing a video game? Really?
Hello Drama Mamas,

I'm not sure if anyone else who plays WoW has this same problem, but I unfortunately do. I've had two WoW friends "die" then come back after a few months with the stories of: "My cousin stole my computer and told people I died," and "My parents took away my internet and told my friends I died." Now I have another WoW friend who died this past summer. I believed this death with the details his brother was giving, until I started to get outside friend requests from my friend's name.

Is there a point where we should just stop believing the stories of friends dying in WoW without outside proof? Should I mourn and then be happy when they suddenly reappear? Thank you for any advice you give.

Doubtful Mourner


Drama Mama Robin: Maybe your friends are Forsaken: killed and then reanimated to serve the Dark Lady. That would be so cool. I guess it's more likely that they are young (in age and/or maturity) and have that ridiculous notion that people on the internet aren't real people. That is completely uncool.

/rant

If either of those stories is even remotely true, what kind of parents are letting cousins steal computers or telling their kids' friends that they are dead? Parents need to be more aware of what online games are and that those words on the screen belong to real people with real feelings.

/end rant

Seriously though, the likelihood of either story being true is low. "My family member got on my computer and did X" is the new "dog ate my homework." With maturity comes the knowledge that people make mistakes, you're not going to die from embarrassment, and there are considerate ways to get out of something while still respecting your privacy. What I think happens in most of these faux death cases is that something embarrassing happens to keep the "dead" player from playing WoW for a while. Fauxdeadguy doesn't want to explain, nor does he want to deal with people bugging him to come back. So he severs all ties by claiming death. (There's also the side "bonus" of logging onto the guild forums and reading all the shock and undeserved sympathy.) What can possibly be more embarrassing than faking a death? Well, they don't think these things through, but here are some circumstances people may not want to relate:
  • Deadforattention lost gaming privileges due to parental displeasure (grades, bad behavior, other responsible parenting decisions).
  • Deathisfunny lost his job and can't afford it any more. (Losing a job is pretty humiliating, even if it isn't your fault.)
  • Igotbetter's computer broke and he can't afford to fix it yet. (This is actually the only reason The Spousal Unit stopped playing Asheron's Call 2 long enough to ask me out on a date. Trivia you didn't want to know.)
  • Nobodycaresaboutme hit on and/or harrassed a guildie and got turned down flat. Now he doesn't want to deal with the story getting around.
I am sure there are other reasons for this mode of departure from Azeroth. Regardless, there are other ways to exit that aren't so awful to the friends you leave behind. Here is how a grownup handles it:

"I have to take a break from WoW. Good luck, everyone, and I'll see you in a few months, hopefully!"

This covers all issues above, plus reasons like just wanting to leave the game until the expansion, or taking a break to get your studies in order, or deciding to play Civ full time. (Just one more turn!) And if people do bug you about why and whatever, you don't have to be specific. You can use any of the following clichés (most of which I solicited/stole from Twitter and work chat):
  • Real life is kicking my butt.
  • I've got life aggro.
  • My internet provider sucks.
  • RL crit me for X number.
  • My free time is on cooldown.
  • I need to grind RL rep.
  • Work/school has nerfed me.
  • I'm going out for a pack of cigarettes. (I'm kidding about this one, though my great-grandfather said that to my great-grandmother and never came back. More trivia you didn't want to know.)
I bet our readers can suggest other vague statements to use rather than, "Uh, your guildie, Uncreative, died suddenly of a hangnail. Please send condolences to my, I mean, his Paypal account."

Doubtful, I guess none of this answers your question. But I have a question for you: Would you rather feel like a fool when your friend comes back from the dead, or feel like an insensitive jerk when you demand proof of death and it's provided? I say just accept the news and then hope silently that it isn't true. When the ghoul does return, however, I wouldn't count him as someone to trust or rely upon. Have you thought about switching guilds to one less prone to the sudden death of its members? I'm just sayin'.

Drama Mama Lisa: Ah, maturity ... At a certain point, playing with friends who treat every turn of events as an opportunity to roleplay a poorly scripted YouTube saga just isn't fun anymore. That's when you start casting glances at one another and wondering, "Am I the only one around here who thinks this just sounds ... blatantly ridiculous?"

To answer your question rather bluntly: Yes, there is in fact a point at which you should stop believing the tales of death. Three incidents? That's probably one more than I would have given this particular group of friends. As to whether you should demand proof of death or mourn their passing, I think I'd be more inclined to allow them to mourn your own passing -- as you pass right into a guild that's more about playing and less about teh dr4mz.

... Unless, of course, you're willing to tolerate the constant drama drip in order to play with folks you consider to be friends. If that's the case, you've received a clear signal to ignore the antics of your Forsaken friends and carry on with life -- after all, that's exactly what those who've been mysteriously claimed by the Dark Lady are so obviously doing for themselves.

Drama buster of the week

On the other side of this issue are the Nosy Nellies. If a guildie says he has to take a break from WoW or your server or whatever, you don't need to know all the details. If you wish to reach out and provide support as needed, whisper, "If you want to talk about it or if you ever need to chat, let me know!" That way, if the guildie does need a shoulder, he knows you're there. If he would rather just be private about it, he doesn't need to make up some excuse to be left alone. And just say it once, please. Repeating your offer will just turn into an unwelcome nag.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas@wow.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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