Guest Post: Abuse in WoW, A Personal Story

(This is a guest post by Kat from Shaman Nebula. No, not the Kat on the Matticast. This Kat plays a Resto Shaman in a raiding 10 man team.)

Yesterday, I was accused that having the privilege of being a girl. Whatever special effects our sex brings to the table has helped me climb the ranks of standard raider status for my guild’s raiding team. That I was offered numerous perks, contrary to what a man would ever imagine of receiving as fast and as efficiently.


I mean.


Let me introduce myself.

My name is Kat and I’m an adult female playing video games. One of many and one of plenty. Make no mistake, the rumour of girls not playing games is only but a myth. I’ve always enjoyed gaming, whether that was defined by a tennis court or a pc screen. Gaming of any sorts compliments my competitive nature and soothes my need to keep myself constantly busy. I take pride in the fact that I never give up and that although I’m a sore loser I make it up by persevering and carefully planning my come back. If I’m told I’m not good enough you can be sure I’ll bust my ass come next day in order to prove you and myself the opposite. I’m the kind of person that will spend countless hours on improving my character and my skills. This means reading copious online guides, spending innumerable hours grinding dungeons and consolidating with fellow players, not to mention countless hours of testing addons in order to squeeze that little extra of what any spell can give me (with the vicious God of GCD becoming  my only reason to hesitate).

So when this guy accused me of using my sex to climb up, I burst into flames.

His exact words were “I wish I had your pair of <upper female parts> to guarantee me a raiding spot and a whole guild raving about my skills and people constantly trying to get my attention for doing absolutely nothing else but existing, rather than ignore me when I log on”.


I was bewildered by how blind this person could be to their own faults. Instead of blaming his own inadequacy for being left out, he felt the need to put me down by insinuating that beyond my genders physical characteristics, I didn’t have anything to offer to my team.


So the fact I have <insert upper female parts> is enough to solo heal HC Ultraxion. (Matt’s note: That’s actually pretty flippin’ impressive).

Silly me, I can take the green buff while my <insert upper female parts>  take the red and blue one respectively, actively making me and them a team of 3.

Makes you wonder what their combined item level would be.

This is not the first time that I am being haunted by such an accusation in the game. When it happens once it’s easy to let it go, but when it keeps occurring you feel the need to stop and reassess the way you let other people influence you, not the way in which you behave or look at yourself.

Make no mistake that this is bullying and it should not be tolerated.

Truth of the matter is I enjoy as many advantages of being a woman playing WoW as I do the disadvantages. A team could either welcome me because I’m a woman or also reject me because of it. It’s not a secret that women are usually not regarded as top players. Top women players are considered to be the exception and not the rule. Hardcore guilds base your petition by your skills, your experience and your logs, not your bra size.

I was left wondering how sexist this guy really was, how ignorant or how right he could have been. The question isn’t about how good I actually am. With skills equally compared to a male fellow player, which one of us would make the cut? 

It all comes down again to the battle of the sexes.

Digital Azerothian edition.

Who would think something like this would even occur to a universe where anonymity rules?

I am somewhat bitter. I want to believe at the end it all comes down to skills and character. I hate to think that I was given something I didn’t deserve just because I am a woman. I read innumerable posts of female WoW bloggers documenting the exact opposite. Of how much abuse they have received because of their sex. Guild masters not promoting them, raid members not accepting them into their all guys team. And the list goes on.

At the end of the day, we need to realize that a guild, the WoW community, is just an extension of real life. Real people are involved after all which means real problems are going to transfer into Azeroth. Is this natural?  A while back, I was studying for my degree, a classmate accused me of getting a bigger mark from him because I’m a woman. What he didn’t know our professor was homosexual of course which made his accusation even more hilarious.

My point is this.

All these people are nothing more than bullies.

It doesn’t matter what world you live in or play in. They are feeding their insecurities by putting you down. From the bully that made fun of you because you were overweight at school to the guild master that didn’t accept your opinion because of your sex. From the bully insinuating you are getting a raid spot because of your sex or being denied one for the same exact reason. And one doesn’t hurt less than the other because real people are involved.

Real feelings.

Real emotions.

It shouldn’t be perceived as natural that abuse will occur in our gaming world simply because it does in real life.

Next time you feel like making fun or degrading someone in your guild do yourself a favour and think about it twice. Or even someone in a random pug. You never know who this person is, what they have been through.

Discrimination, abusive behaviour, violence of any kind should never be tolerated. It’s my belief that the gaming community is purer than any other community in the world. And if you feel that you can’t make a difference think of this. Change starts from within and in this age, never before has a single voice sounded louder. 

28 thoughts on “Guest Post: Abuse in WoW, A Personal Story”

  1. Conquest: We love our women here.

    Actually, I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a significant number of players who have never really experienced failure or being wrong before. They don’t know how to react or adopt that mindset when they’re proven incorrect. As such, they’ll switch to the easiest/most convenient explanation “Oh she got all the loot because she was a girl not because she actually did phenomenally and I died standing in an ice wall”.

    (Speaking of icewalls, remind me to show you guys that Hagara clip I recorded of me getting almost flattened by one :\)

    But anyway, it’s a shame really. I learned early on in life that in order to learn how to win, you need to learn how to lose. Without losing or experiencing failure, you don’t learn the lessons and the humility needed to accelerate to the top.

    • Thank you Matt 🙂

      I can understand where most people are coming from, I can see through their intentions and even sympathize with them. That doesn’t make it ok however. It’s never ok to bush anyone, be it guy or girl , for something we don’t have.Everyone has a quality they should be proud of and they should try to promote that instead of wasting themselves into petty feelings of jealousy fueled by their own shortcomings.If nothing else, it’s really sad.

  2. While it always sucks to have your gender play a role in how people perceive your skill level (whether helpful or harmful) there is one thing that you’ve overlooked.

    Bear in mind that I am a female WoW player myself, please, because I don’t mean this as a criticism of the article.

    But the fact is that it DOES happen. I’ve seen situations where a guild has given preference to female players in terms of raid slots and yes, even loot. Of course when this happens the raid is generally doomed to failure since our -ahem- assets don’t generally help us heal, tank or DPS.

    While it’s usually meant to garner favour with the female in question it’s also showing a weakness in the choice of raid lead, loot officer, or even a guild leader, in that the person or people in question can be so easily led around by their… well.

    It does happen, though. More often in non-progressive guilds or within those groups of players where social interaction is higher on the scale than actual achievement. So yes, in this case he was clearly wrong (and cheers on solo healing HC Ultraxion, by the way) but that doesn’t mean he or others like him always will be. On some servers you’ll even see guilds fall apart because of issues like that.

    But I digress. The guy was a jerk, and if he says something to that effect again you ought to just tell him that when his gender stops giving us preferential treatment then we’ll stop abusing the hell out of them. Maybe.

    • Hi Lillian,
      Like you said it can go both ways. Certainly you will never read in any blog “Hey I’m a girl and I just got all loot just because I will have sex with the GM after this raid”, but also you will never read something like “Hey I’m a guy and because I want to boost my poor skills and I feel threatened by a woman I’ll abuse her in order to get some power back”. However and I can’t stress this enough, it doesn’t have to be a woman that is getting abused.It can happen to a guy in exactly the same way.
      I wrote this post from my point of view, so it was a guy bullying me. It could have been a woman. My story was a mere example, my point was that sadly abuse is a recurring event in WoW 🙁

  3. Good read kat. When I look back at people I’ve known, some of the people who I liked the most and who were easiest to get along with were self deprecating and humble, all alongside knowing what they were good at. People who smiled and laughed when they made a mistake instead of growing defensive and lashing out.

    Especially in a raid, you need the kind of atmosphere where people don’t hide and talk down their mistakes, and where people give each other time and have patience when they’re learning new mechanics. Exactly when it comes to optimizing their dps and healing in new circumstances.

    Having an insecure bully like that around, no matter the numbers he pulls, will ruin a raid night and destroy any chances of having a fun evening. Which is why we raid, isnt it?

    What’s being touched on in the comments by matt sounds suspiciously like Dunning-Kruger. I had a previous raid leader who was incabaple of looking at his own faults, and didn’t recognize skill in others. That particular raid didn’t get very far into tier 11.

    • Thanks Mury.

      In regards of your previous RL and..ahem also some other people in that particular guild I find myself at loss of how to deal with. Lets say I’m just glad I never had to raid with him since I lack your patience and understanding.
      I couldn’t agree more with you, humble people who know their strengths and are generous about their conducts is something we should take example of. I’m not always proud of my inability to be patient with peoples mistakes but I wont stop trying to better myself. In a way this is what this post was about.

  4. Well, I had a great comment all typed out. It had theme, plot, character development, twists and turns… but one of my coworkers has discovered the “joy” of ALT+F4, and has been sharing said “joy” around the office.

    So I’ll just say “Great Article”.

    It’s always amazed me how people can be disrespectful to women. Didn’t they have a mother? What if someone spoke to their mother with the same level of disdain? How would they react?

  5. I think that it really boils down to the fact that the internet has a dehumanizing factor. That makes it easier to be cruel towards another person.

    I know it sucks, but there’s not really much you can do about it. You can either fight, flee or ignore it.

    One last question, is there ever going to be another episode of the Matticast? 😉

    • Hi Amkosh.
      It’s interesting what you wrote about internet influencing people in a bad way. However my opinion is that internet is the equivalent of alcohol. Just a digital edition of an example of how people react when their inhibitions are lowered. Anonymity will do that. I don’t think that anyone will react in a way their character doesn’t already dictate them.
      Case and point.I run an LFR few weeks ago with my DK alt. It’s a tank but I run as DPS. Call me lazy. While in the spine encounter my dps was considerably low. But then again , my gear is not optimal and lets face it , it’s not really a dps race is it. I ended up winning the strength trinket that dropped and immediately I got an angry whisper from another DK complaining about how the worst DPS won the best loot. He wasn’t polite. Far from. He used harsh language with quite a few shiny insults. I responded politely to him telling him that if he was nice about it I had no problem giving him the trinket, after all it seemed important to him. He responded with more harsh language pointing out how he thought I would never do that. I thought oh well, maybe I can teach him something. I traded him the trinket and I was about to write him something about how a correct conduct is. Before I had time he whispered to me what an *blip* I was, *blip* *blip* down syndrome *blip* fat *blip* *blip*. Then he quit the raid.
      Now I’m asking you, how exactly different you think this person is in real life? I don’t think they are :-/
      But we should be able to do something about it. I don’t want to think we can’t.

  6. I suspect this player is merely insecure and so lashing out at what he perceives as a weak target in an attempt to make himself feel better. Sadly I think you get more of this in WoW even than in real life.
    As a GM of a HM raiding guild in wow I have certainly had to deal with more difficult people than in my time managing various teams in my professional life. I assume this is because while the vast majority of players are perfectly normal MMO’s do tend to attract more insecure people who find real life to hard to deal with.

    If it makes you feel any better I am certain that any guild working on HMs makes decisions about who to take based entirely on performance. Any guild that made decisions like that on the basis of something so irrelavant as gender would not be successful if it didn’t completely fall apart.

  7. The combined item level is, of course, 80085. *giggle*

    Sorry, I just had to. Great read, thanks!

    Solo healing H Ultraxion certainly is impressive. I’d like to pore through the logs or see the video if you have one of it. Even better it’s nice seeing shaman shine after what Firelands did to the morale of the class.

  8. This was a good read. So many valid points and painted a vivid picture. And it causes self reflection. I have to admit that I almost use my lovely lady bumps to get a little extra attention in the areas I lack. It’s sad, but true. I hang my head in shame of my own actions. But, the Post encourages me to try hard and become even better all on my own. And a curse on anybody that tells me otherwise.

    • everybody uses thier strengths to get ahead. It’s just life. Smart people use their brains, charismatic people use that charisma and women and men with good looks use them to get ahead. Often unintentionally. It’s a documented fact in many studies that good looking people get ahead and get promoted faster regardless of skill level.

      People like to be around pretty people.

  9. I agree, yet disagree with this post. It is abuse if you really aren’t guilty of the accusations being leveled at you because of your gender. However, I’m pretty sure it would be wrong to say that his accusations didn’t apply to at least SOME girls out there.. even if we aren’t in that category ourselves. I would use caution in applying this post to all females gamers as a whole as imo there are several distinct sub-groups with very different views on how to accomplish things and what is or isn’t okay.

    • Hi Elumine,
      It’s true some women would use their sex to gain some advantage, as my friend pointed out being the GF of a GM or RL and getting say prioritized on loot would be, at the very least, unfair towards the rest of the team. But then, that girl would be the abuser.
      I didn’t apply this post to all female players, my point was that there is a certain level of abusive behavior coming from either sex that shouldn’t be tolerated. I’ve certainly had my fair share of abusive comments from pugs in groups that didn’t know whether I was male or female :-/

  10. Nice post; certainly paints a picture of a person who’s dissatisfied/insecure with their own performance/role and is projecting that unfairly.

    In my years as an officer and/or GM, I’ve always found female players who could exceed their male counterparts, and often celebrated it in the face of other gamers who held gender-based stereotypes. Truly, what matters in-raid is the ability to execute,learn from mistakes very quickly, and propel the team forward, not the individual. What matters outside of raid is the caliber of personality, and what it does to help us create & maintain an environment which is both fun and lucrative to recruiting. The latter part is influenced by many factors, of which gender is one, but those who imagine gender being a defining factor are distastefully short-sighted and likely lying to themselves.

    However, I’m not inclined to believe what was described is “bullying” unless others in your guild, or the guild leadership, started treating you differently as a result. Certainly the accusations are unacceptable and not voiced in a manner that’s conducive to finding any solution other than to yield future aggression, but you can’t really be bullied by someone who’s not your peer.

    • Hi Viktory,
      Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, it can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. I certainly understand the difference between a friendly or even unfriendly argument and believe me most of the things don’t make me lose sleep. But I can’t agree with you that you can’t be bullied by someone that is not your peer. In my situation this would mean that I can only be bullied by fellow raid members and not say, a social. And it would only count if my raid team treated me differently after this event. Nobody knew about this, I handled it myself, but the fact that I’m a strong person doesn’t mean this is something that should be tolerated. My intention in putting my experience in writing was to motivate this kind of thinking, that any sort of abuse should be dealt with appropriately and that it’s my hope that we can do something about it rather than watch from the sidelines.

  11. Ok he was completely wrong, but welcome to 2012 and the lingering effects of Civil Rights laws. They were very needed laws but when you have laws that lift one group up over another to level the playing field then the perception of the group being put down is always going to be that the other group is getting favoritism. This is a common complaint among minority men and women in business. People often assume they only got their job because of their race and or sex. It’s not fair but the sad sorry truth is to meet those government quotas things like that happen all the time.
    Thus we’ve started to create racism and sexism in individuals who get screwed by well meaning people trying to meet government mandates. That stuff then bleeds into every other part of life.

  12. Excellent post. While I haven’t had to deal with people like this since my 25-man-raiding days, I still can understand the frustration. Some people are ignorant and, in some cases, socially inept. Your attacker seems to have been both of these things, as he had absolutely no regard for your skill or how you would have felt after being on the receiving end of his verbal abuse. When people like this crop up in my guild, the other two GMs and I make sure they get a swift kick off the guild roster.

    He was likely just venting his frustration and jealousy, but the way he went about it was far from ideal.


  13. Amen!

    I agree 100%

    In this day & age it still amazes me the amount of insecurity that is covered by bullying. I am not the nicest person, but I do my best to be polite. Especially in the gamer community. I believe it to be even more important there than in the real world. Mostly I am commenting just to say you are not alone in this.there am not be many (yet), but the #’s are growing of people that won’t tolerate this kind of thing any longer.

    Keep up the fight! & thank you for putting it better than I could have. 🙂

  14. Wow Kat I read this and felt the injustice of his comment to my toes… I’d like to say that I’ve experienced same sex bully behavior. Female A and female B scenario … A says hey guys let’s one shot this ” giggle ” instant mush from other players and comments like ” sure thing” and ” with your heals we will” B comes into raid having been invited by 3 guildies in this mixed guild group ….. They needed an extra healer so B says sure ” I’ll do my best ” After second wipe ( new content for B by the way) A states I’m using up all my mana on the first few seconds ” hey B you need to pull your weight ” Third pull B uses all CD’s and try’s as hard as possible. And stays out of fire to boot 🙂 A states ” B you really need to do better than this ( inserts recount) …. Dead silence follows B politely says Ty to group and states if u look at my gear level, I’m much lower than you and Druids geared out are spanking my lower leveled priest currently… Still no back up from fellow guildies either.. Exit stage rt B. disheartend and as Matt stated in a recent post.. I beat myself up I wasn’t good enough… Sooooo I got mad then I got even. I made a Druid And beat her out in gear heals and progression… Left the guild that threw me under the preverbial bus. As a side note this same player A had been harsh in other snide remarks while I continued to adjust and work at healing that raid and my assignment Never talking back with each stinging comment and lack of support from my guild mates It humiliated me Considering said guild mates had complimented me prior to this on how great I was doing and earned a spot on our raid team.. A bully is a bully Boobs or no boobs.. She repeatedly gushed and giggled with our GM She butt into our vent to flirt with others And brought friends to boot.. It’s the person who’s been bullied that can hold their head high And become better for it , recognize that u can walk away from ppl like that and find inner peace and pride in doing a good job for your team despite the Harpies and Dogs of this game Hugz Kat for being the best girl in WoW as far as I can see and one of the best players

  15. Good grief. It sounds like a simple case of sour grapes and this guy lashed out with a cheap shot. Big deal.

    I’m a female gamer, too, and can’t say I’ve ever been targeted either positively or negatively for raid spots or anything else because of my gender. I know plenty of other female players who also don’t have these issues … primarily because they themselves don’t make gender an issue. Hence, no one else does either.

    Sorry, but I’m unsympathetic. Your post strikes me as whiney, full of self importance and unjustified indignation.

  16. Hi Jayne,
    Of course, you are entitled to your own opinion, an opinion you drew without knowing me and clearly without having read my whole post. Well it was quite big; I can understand how some people do not really have the patience to continue reading after the first two paragraphs. That said I would invite you to read the whole post when you do find the time because I believe it has some insights that might be useful to you. You see this post was never about me. I used the example of how that person treated me as an entree to what I conclude my post with. The post was about abuse and bullying from my perspective and it just happens I am a woman. I could have chosen an example of how a woman has been just as abusive as a man has.  I could have used an example about a man being abusive to another man. I am not a man however and as my post implies, this is after all a personal story. In addition, this was just a blog post, if I wanted to touch all faces of the issue at hand even a book would not be enough. I feel obligated to respond to you because I cannot sit back while a person finds a post about ABUSE AND BULLYING to be whiney, full of self-importance and unjustified indignation. Are you implying that all the people in the world being abused and bullied right now are whiners? That they are coming out and reporting their abusers to any authority as a cry for attention since they are so involved in their self-importance? Is it unjustified indignation to write about a subject that not only seems to plague our real life but also the online gaming community? This post was trying to show how people seem to be free to be abusive in wow and hide behind their anonymity and I am truly appalled that ANY human being would find themselves unsympathetic about something like this. I am completely indifferent to what any person that doesn’t know me think about me, but I will stand for what I believe in and will fight against people that are helping maintain any form of violence, discrimination or abusive behavior of any kind.

    •  @Kat (Therya)I did read the whole thing.  My comments stand.  As for whether I am implying that all people who complain of abuse and bullying are whiners, etc., … nope. Only you.

    • Like I said I am completely indifferent to what anyone that doesn’t know me thinks about me. I certainly don’t like everyone so in consequence I don’t expect everyone to like me either.
      If there is something that you can take from my post that will be valuable for you that’s ok, if the only thing you took is that I am a whiner , that’s ok also. 
      All comments are welcomed, thank you for stopping by again. 
      Take care,

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