I’ve put off writing about this because I hate to be “that person”. In reality, most of the people you meet online have no importance in your overall life whatsoever. Online reputation is as hollow as the eye-holes on a masquerade mask. But in the end, I’m still human, and I still have feelings, and this blog is meant to help me work through things that bother me.
I play World of Warcraft. I have played this dumb game on and off since it was released into beta, and it has been both my joy and the bane of my existence. When I was younger, it took over my life and was an addiction I couldn’t shake, to the detriment of my higher schooling. “Hardcore” raiding took up much of my time and sanity, and my real life suffered for it.
Nowadays, I’m much more casual about the game. I enjoy the social aspect of it most of all, and still find the content pretty enjoyable. Recently, my sister started playing as well, and that has brought a huge spark of life back into the game for me. Seeing the game from a fresh perspective and being able to share the things I love about this online world has been such a positive experience, as well as the opportunity to spend time (albeit online) with my sis.
So where’s the drama, you ask? Well, let me tell you….
After finding the horde side of my realm (Emerald Dream) to just not be the playstyle I enjoyed, I swapped my characters to the Alliance faction (they’re at war). I joined a guild called the Salty Sea Doggos, who do many aspects of the game, but in particular, they roleplay a crew of pirates. I’d heard a lot of good about this group, and sure enough, they welcomed me and I made some new friends there.
But inevitably, drama hit, and the GM of the guild was outed as having sexually harassed several women within the game. There was discussion about how to handle the situation, and eventually he was asked to leave the guild. But somehow the entire thing devolved into a terrible witch hunt, even though this person tried to own their mistakes and assure people he was working to get help. No, that doesn’t excuse what he had done or grant him reprieve, but it should have at least meant we didn’t run him off the internet with toxicity and threats. We’re supposed to be better than that.
Then I did a stupid thing, where I found out another guild’s GM was using the guild as a way to recruit people to his bitcoin referral link. He was trading guild/discord rank promotions for signing up, and even mentioned a “VIP” level if you referred 10 people or sent X amount of bitcoin to his wallet.
The evening I found this out, I was pretty in my cups (not an excuse, just setting the scene) and I decided to try and warn people that this was happening. So I whispered some of the low ranked guild members and asked if they knew much about the guild. If they said no, I just told them to use caution, as it seemed the GM had other motives. If they asked about other guilds, I recommended several others based on their preferences within the game (pvp, pve, rp). I did not promise membership, I did not tell them who they should talk to, and I didn’t press on any particular guild.
My mistake was that, being the naive heart that I am, I told the GMs of the Salty Sea Doggos and another guild I had alts in what I was doing. Being intoxicated, my language was a lot rougher and less expressive than it usually is. I used terms I thought they, being more “normies”, might understand better. So rightfully, the GMs got worried about it causing drama and potential issues of poaching. When one of the GMs brought that up, I snapped back to reality and realized what I was doing was stupid, and stopped. But of course, I’d already set the fire.
So, to feed the flames, two male friends of the old GM, with whom I’d had an argument about the previous happenings, decided to try and throw me under the bus. They used modified and out of context screenshots of private confidential conversations I’d had with them to paint me in a terrible light.
Yes, I had considered these men friends, and had confided things to them about my mental health journey, things I’d done in the past, and we were openly trading R rated content like memes and videos. I had sent photos of myself, none explicitly sexual (the worst was a “sexy ewok” burlesque costume, which can be found on my Facebook, and also be seen in a video on public domain/Youtube).
These men tried to paint me as a pervert who sent unsolicited nude/sexual photos to people, and harassed men for pictures of their penis. They even went so far as to imply I would do this with underage boys.
Naturally, when this “evidence” was presented to the GMs of the Salty Sea Doggos, they were concerned and scared that another incident like with the GM would happen. So they asked me to leave. I tried to defend myself, even going so far as to seeking legal counsel to see if there was a way I could get the “evidence” that was given against me (NOT with intent to sue – I had hoped they would realize I was being serious when I said they were false allegations). But instead of listening to me, or wanting to find the truth, I was simply blocked, and in a way threatened if I didn’t leave the guild and discord of my own accord.
Needless to say, it upset me. A lot. For all that I am, with my perverted sense of humour, TMI openness, and awkwardness in most social situations, I would never ever want to hurt anyone or make them uncomfortable. That might have been me many years ago, but it’s not who or how I am now. ESPECIALLY given that I’ve accepted myself as asexual and am happy with that.
I was blessed that some other members in the guild were concerned and confused by what had happened, and worked to get to the bottom of it. They managed to get a hold of the “evidence” presented against me, and we started to compare the modified/out of context information to the full context I had downloaded from discord. My evidence included chats that showed the true context of the conversations that had been presented, as well as a very damning conversation in which one of the two men posted a “tell Cersei it was me” meme when I asked him about the situation.
This information was compiled and then presented to the GMs for review. At the time of this writing, it is still “under review”, and has been for almost a week now.
Here I’d like to present a small shred of the “evidence” and counter-evidence that to me was the most incriminating of it all:
There are a myriad of other screenshots, and I held no punches. I had nothing to hide, whether they judged me for the terrible memes and perverted jokes or not.
And I believe all this came about because, during the discussion of what was to be done with the last GM, I had argued that he step down from being GM. Then, later in the argument, I misinterpreted/misread something one of them had said, and thought they were defending the GM’s actions. My response was to be upset, saying “And I bet you think Brock Turner should have just gotten community service as well.” I realized later that I had misread it, and apologized for the comparison, explaining that the idea they would condone his behaviour was upsetting to me, and it was said in the heat of the argument. But for some reason, that one sentence stuck in their craw, and they decided to try and do to me what had happened to their “bro”.
At this point, I’m pretty over it all. I have no desire to go back to the Salty Sea Doggos after how they handled not only the issue with their past GM, but this incident as well. I would never be able to feel comfortable in that guild again, nor would my sister. But I would like them to understand that I am not the predator these men made me out to be, and to admit that to their own guild and others they have turned me from. I want the TRUTH to be known.
I’ve made my own guild, which is small, but slowly filling with people who just want to enjoy the game without drama and toxicity. I called it <Ship Without a Name> from the Nightwish song “The Islander”, which reminds me so much of my father. It was kind of a spur of the moment name, with the idea that if we got bigger and people wanted something different, we could change it. But for now, it’s in honour of the man who gave me so much love, strength, wisdom, and kindness that made me part of who I am now. Even if it’s just a place for new or returning players to get their bearings, everyone is welcome to chill. And if it’s not the place for them, then I hope I can use my knowledge of other guilds on Emerald Dream to suggest other places they could call “home”. And perhaps we can co-op with the other Alliance guilds for roleplay sessions, fun events, raids, pvp, etc, once the truth gets out there.