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World of Warcraft:

By Shamus
on Wednesday Jul 2, 2008
Filed under:
Game Reviews


Goldshire is the name of one of the newbie areas in the game. It’s the hub town for human characters between levels 5 and 12. (Give or take.) It’s a cute little farming village surrounded by woodlands. It’s also a natural crossroads. It’s just a two minute walk from both a major city (Stormwind) and the spawning area for new Human characters. I don’t think there are any other towns that offer this level of access.

For whatever reason, Goldshire has become a nexus of insanity and idiocy. Despite the fact that each server has its own self-contained copy of the world, every single iteration of Goldshire on all of the servers of WoW is a raging madhouse.

During busy hours you’ll find high-level characters dueling in the street. There are often several duels going at once, so the center of town is a swirling tempest of colorful particle effects, fire, and summoned beasts. Characters run naked (underwear) through the buildings and roleplay obscene or preposterous vignettes. The chat box is a rushing torrent of strange emotes and melodramatic shouting.

Like a town in a Stephen King novel, the place <em>looks</em> peaceful but is <em>filled with crazy people</em>!
Like a town in a Stephen King novel, the place looks peaceful but is filled with crazy people!

In order to explain further I’m going to have to resort to anecdotes:

At one point I’m moving through town and I encounter some low-level characters, dressed in commoner clothes (instead of armor) which is something you almost never see. This causes me to pause, because for a second I mistake them for new NPCs. I’ve obviously come in the middle of a scene they’re enacting by typing in all caps. I don’t know if this was planned or improv, or what the hell. But here is the scene:


(All the names but the last are made up. Otherwise, this is as close as memory allows. Keep in mind this was mixed in with about a half dozen other slightly less insane conversations.)

Another time I went into the leatherworking trainer in town. While I’m dealing with this NPC, I glance over and see that two female characters have stripped down to their underpants and are bumping together in attempted eroticism that’s about as sexy as watching a guy ram two naked Barbie dolls into each other repeatedly. One of them glares at me. (Really, using an emote.) I’m not sure what’s more insane: That two guys pretended to be girls and tried to have pretend sex in a high-traffic area, or that they expected privacy while they were doing it.

Last one:

I was at the Inn, standing in the common area near the fireplace. Some sort of melodrama was going on. Somebody said something to some girl (character) that upset her. After /yelling I WANT TO DIE several times she went over to the fireplace and stood in it.

As it turns out, at level 70 you heal faster than a fireplace can harm you, so she was engulfed in ineffectual fire. I went upstairs to see my class trainer and purchased my upgrades, but while I was doing that I could still see her chat from downstairs. She was yelling for someone to come kill her. This went on for a while, and finally someone took her up on it.

As I came downstairs they had begun a battle, and she stood there while he cut her down. Afterwards some people called him a murderer. What followed was about the most idiotic debate on euthanasia you could hope to construct.

These are by no means the worst Goldshire stories you’ll hear, but these are ones I’ve witnessed personally. They should give you an idea of what the place is like. (I understand there is a mirror to the Goldshire on the Horde side called the Barrens, but I’ve never been there.)

What’s interesting is that for the most part the rest of the world is fairly normal. Shawn once said about Goldshire, “[…] I used to hate it, but now I love it as the Asshat Moron Mecca that it is. Anyone challenging people 50 levels lower than them to a duel, or dancing naked on the mailbox, or “RPing” their romantic encounters in the Inn, is not out in the rest of the game being an idiot. They all congregate in one easily avoidable place. Unless your leveling a new Human character…”

This is a position I fully endorse. Whatever its faults, it does seem to act as a bug light for the goofballs of the world. I am very glad my first character was a Night Elf and not a human. I would have run into the Goldshire within my first hour or so of playing, and that would have warped my perception of the entire game.

But what fascinates me is how universal the Goldshire anomaly is. As far as I can tell it infects all servers, everywhere in the game. It caught on at some point, and now it’s a self-sustaining system. I’d love to know when it formed. Is there one server in particular that first exhibited the Goldshire Effect, which then spread to other servers as players moved around and brought their habits with them? How old was WoW when it formed?

Is this effect present in other MMOs?

Comments (100)

1 2

  1. Dirk says:

    Mind boggling, isn’t it? I like going there when I’m feeling down because it makes me feel better just to realize I’m not them.

  2. Septyn says:

    Wow. Just….wow. It makes me glad I play Horde.

    Barrens is obnoxious in the global chat channel (Oh Chuck Norris, how I hate thee), and when Alliance come to Crossroads for NPC killing. Other than that, I’ve never seen drama as you’ve described *anywhere* in the Horde towns. Could be luck, but somehow I think not.

    • Tzeentch says:

      Pah, you’ve never had the occasion to visit Orgrimmar during a massive raid attempt. They were playing it out like it was the Battle of Helms Deep for crying out loud. It went on for hours like there were 10 horde and 10 alliance players just mounted staring at each other /yelling insults and making melodramatic speeches. Then they finally flagged for PvP and attacked and it was all over in under a minute.

      This happens every time theres a city raid anywhere. Ironforge, Stormwind, Thunder Bluff, Undercity, or even the idiots who try to raid Sanctuaries thinking they can and get disappointed when pvp is toggled off (you know who you are, stupid Alliance idiots Shattrath is a Sanctuary.) its even dumber when trying to party up near endgame instances and raids, everyone is ganking each other and no one is partying up. Thanks, Gul’dan server, you continue to astound me.

  3. Kevin says:

    Yeah, totally familiar with the Goldshire phenom, but truthfully, after a while playing you just kind of tune this sort of activity out. I stopped even clicking the “refuse” button on duel invites years ago, instead just going on about my business. I barely even really register the alert text anymore.

    It’s kinda funny seeing you write about these things, because I think, “Oh yeah, I remember when I used to notice that.”

    I don’t know when it first occurred, but I DO remember a time before Goldshire became Asshattia.

  4. Ellimystic says:

    A similar phenomenon happened in RuneScape.

    A looooooong-ass time ago, someone decided “Hey! Let’s trade where it’s convenient!” and the free players started trading in Varrock’s west bank, the members started trading in Falador’s park [right by its east bank], and various “hot spots” appeared for trading. They traded “certificates” in Draynor, right by the people who made certificates for you. They traded crafting supplies in Al Kharid, the crafting hotbed. They traded PvP supplies [healing items, magical reagents, ammunition, and so forth] right by the edge of the PvP area.

    Now, in RuneScape, you can play on any server you like, so there arose trading worlds. World 1 for free, World 2 for members. If you wanted to sell or buy something, you had to kick emersion upside the head, log out, log into a different server, and trek to the trading spot.

    None of this was intended by Jagex, the company behind the game. It was an emergent behaviour that eventually got out of hand. You had to turn off your chatbox because you couldn’t read it anyway, and it was the only way to stop trade offers being drowned by “SELL R2H 55K ELLIMYSTIC” “BUY 55 DDS 50K EA ELLIMYSTIC” and so on and so forth.

    I think I know how it happened, too. A bunch of people must have independently had the common sense to go “Hey! Let’s trade near a bank, so we can barter with stuff that isn’t in our inventories!”. (Varrock West and Falador Park are the respective “hubs” of the free and pay-to-play games. They’re the areas that any level of player can get to more or less effortlessly, but that aren’t inundated with brand new players.) Eventually, people started to notice that “Hey, a lot of people trade in this bank on this world”, probably by accidentally stumbling through it. Word eventually spread that it’s easy to find a buyer or seller in this location on this server, and eventually so many people jumped on board that there was a 24/7 mob.

    Literally 24/7. 4 AM my time. 9 PM my time. Noon my time. Around the clock, World 1 and World 2 were so full you had to wait on the world select screen until the server would let you in. Once in, everywhere except the trading nexus was a ghost town. If you managed to cram yourself into a trading world, you could train ANYWHERE with virtually no competition. Those two servers were used for nothing but trading.

    Then Jagex killed the second-most powerful emergent behaviours their game had ever seen by instituting a Grand Exchange (kinda like the Auction House). Don’t get me started on the most emergent behaviour, I’ll never stop.

  5. Teppesh says:

    The key there is your initial description: “It's just a two minute walk from both a major city (Stormwind) and the spawning area for new Human characters,” thus making it a natural nexus of two types of both inanity and insanity: bored high-level characters, bored low-level alts of bored high-level characters, and genuine new people who are caught in the middle of all of this, and tend to get sucked into the insanity by virtue of the fact that, at their level, there aren’t too many other places they can go safely. While it may be “bad,” you have to admit, it’s nothing if not interesting. Just remember to laugh *at* them, not with them.

  6. Eric says:

    If you can’t take it, I’d suggest going elsewhere to level. It’s easy for a human to go to the dwarf/gnome starting area, for example.

  7. Derek K says:

    The Barrens is both better and worse.

    There’s no one central location, and horde is full of Uglies. So there’s no cybersex between an undead and an orc. There’s no RP drama, or naked dancing (much – Crossroads has some).

    But The Barrens is basically the prime levelling spot for Horde from about level 8 (if you’re crazy) until well in to your 30’s, if you’d like. So you have a *huge* range of people that have access to one giant global chat.

    There’s a reason you can buy this shirt.

    Go to the Barrens, and say “Chuck Norris” or “Where is Mankirk’s wife?” or “Where is the silver?” or “Why do Pallys always try to tank? They can’t!”

    It’s an experience.

  8. Hal says:

    Y’know, I played WC3, I currently play the WoW TCG . . . Shamus, your posts almost had me wanting to try this game out. Then you wrote this post and I remembered something:

    I hate playing games online with the brain dead masses.

    I guess I should be grateful; you’ve just given me a good glimpse of what I almost subjected myself to. Dodged a bullet there.

  9. Calle says:

    As far as I’ve seen, what you describe only happens in Goldshire. I’ve yet to find anywhere on Horde side that even comes close. Yes, the Barrens general chat can be strange and somewhat annoying, but that’s more an effect of player boredom (the Barrens is a very large zone with quests spread far apart and where three races tend to spend levels 10 to 25ish… many people spend a lot of time in the Barrens) than anything else. It certainly comes nowhere close to the rampant idiocy you see in Goldshire.

  10. Fred says:

    I’m guessing these stories are in a RPG realm. Sounds like brutish, amateurish, childish role playing…

    I played in two servers (PVP and PVE) and have come across my share of… hmmm… idiots.

    The idiots I come across are not, Crom be praised, role playing, but after reading this post I have a very strong suspicion this would be their way to go about it…

    In game I would have ignored these happenings but reading the “anecdotes” here sure makes me laugh!

    Enjoyability in all things “democratic” is directly proportional to the amount of crap you manage to ignore.
    And you can quote me on that :)

  11. Aaron M says:

    You missed one thing about Goldshire — the walking. You can always tell when someone is a Serious Roleplayer, because they’ve set their character to always walk instead of running. It’s more immersive that way, you know.

  12. Khoram says:

    “Is this effect present in other MMOs?”

    Oh yes, yes it is. It is as old as MMOs and the MUDs and MUSHes they grew out of, probably.

    I think it first exhibited its Goldshire-like state first in Everquest, though. There were certain areas (zones) in EQ that functioned similarly on virtually every server. Namely, Greater Faydark (GFay, high elf and wood elf newbie zone – also the only outdoor zone that included a city zone) and East Commons (there was a tunnel in the zone that functioned as the unofficial trading area on many servers, as did GFay). All the same forms on inanity and foolishness you describe were found there as well.

  13. The Lone Duck says:

    @ Fred: Democratic? More like democraptic!
    Stupid joke aside, people flock to their peers. If I were an annoying immature brat, I wouldn’t wanna hang around people that were always telling me I’m stupid and need to shut up. I’d wanna hang around people that support my behavior. I’d also say that those locations (Goldshire and Barrens) are almost memes at this point.

  14. I think I can explain the Goldshire Effect in one word…


    I was equally flummoxed by the craziness in Goldshire when I first started playing the game. Out of curiosity I attempted to have private conversations with a few of the more outrageous characters. After taking a few minutes to establish some level of trust and making them realize that at 41 I’m probably older than their mother, most of them will divulge their real age to me.

    Usually the answer is 14. Or 16. Or 12.

    Through the hazy lens of time it’s hard to remember that at that age we were probably just as big a dorks as they are. We just didn’t have the internet as our playground.

  15. Ran Kailie says:

    We have Pocket D in City of Heroes/Villains. Its pretty much the exact same thing, people role playing their romantic encounters, being obnoxious over broadcast and doing things on local I don’t want to see or remember.

    Alternatively Atlas Park on hero side can be equally as stupid and frightening and its basically one of two newbie areas when you play City of Heroes.

    But really this sorta sums up Pocket D:
    Pocket D Motivational Poster

  16. GreyDuck says:

    CoH players have this. It’s called Atlas Park, and luckily you don’t have to go back there very often once you’re past level 6 or so. (Rigged) costume contests are the most concentrated form of nuisance you’ll find in the game. Oddly enough, the same phenomenon seems not have taken off on the Villains side. (I’d worry about jinxing this, but after so many years after game launch I think that the threshold has long since passed.)

    With that said, if you turn off Broadcast chat and avoid the area underneath the Atlas statue… you can pretty much avoid the worst of it. This isn’t to say that the CoX environment lacks its fair share of idiots, but they’re remarkably easy to get away from after you’ve spent a couple of hours leveling past the starter zones.

    Ran Kailie: (I was typing mine up while you posted yours, so this is an edit.) On Protector, Pocket D is a ghost town. Almost every time I go through, I’m the only person in the entire place. I often run a /search for amusement’s sake just to see if I’m alone again. As for Atlas, I should add that this is the leading cause of my picking Back Alley Brawler in GC as my starting contact/location…

  17. Dave says:

    As to whether it’s present in other games… When I played EQ, East Commons was the trade area. That was where everyone went to trade. And as a result, people went there to be dumb. They eventually introduced a bazaar in the game (not quite the same as the auction houses you see today, you actually had to leave your character online to sell stuff) and there was always crazy crap going on there too.

  18. Dev Null says:

    Yeah, I was amused by your earlier comment about going Alliance to avoid the idiot children playing Horde – on our server there is nothing like this anywhere I’ve seen Horde-side, but the Alliance towns seem full of it.

    Mind you, our entire guild made up blonde blood elf paladins, leveled them to level 6 (so we could bubble), ran a conga line through town and then held a race through a level 60+ zone to an Alliance town, dodging guards and dying repeatedly to the finish line at the bar. But we only did it the once, and I like to think thats a little less annoying than role-playing rape in public. Still, I’m sure there were people shaking their heads at us too.

  19. Cadrys says:

    Dev Null: i organized several “Great Gnome Races” involving level 1 alts in the dwarf/gnome starting area, and finish lines in such places as Gztan, or Lordaeron.

    Nothing “livens up” Barrens chat like a horde (!) of level 5 or so gnomes running through Crossroads. Flagged, of course.

  20. Sarah says:

    In Role-play, the characters usually refer to Goldshire the same way you might refer to Vegas…or a strip club.

    There’s actually an ongoing mythology that Gnomes are born from eggs placed in mailboxes, but that they’ll only hatch when a night-elf dances naked on the mailbox.

    …because “the stork brings them” is too boring I suppose.

  21. Ran Kailie says:

    To GreyDuck:

    I’m primarily on Virtue so Pocket D for us tends to be packed day and night with a variety of, well frightening people. Consequently I’ve gotten some of the best mis-tell screenshots from people who were in Pocket D.

  22. Aaron Nowack says:

    Anecdotally, Goldshire isn’t always that bad. On US-Turalyon (non-RP PvE) I’ve leveled a number of characters through it, and there’s occasionally some people dueling, and maybe once I saw some unclothed characters, but not the circus of insanity described here.

  23. Robert says:

    Ahh the TUNNEL in EQ I. That brings back some (mostly awful) memories.

  24. Deoxy says:

    Through the hazy lens of time it's hard to remember that at that age we were probably just as big a dorks as they are. We just didn't have the internet as our playground.

    Speak for yourself. At that age, I had one good friend my own age, and the rest were in university. I have NEVER understood most of that behaviour.

    This is not to say that I never do silly things, only that I (apparently) achieved a level of maturity early, such that the silly things I enjoyed then are (mostly) still the silly things I enjoy now (such as telling people about Monty Python movies in such ways that, when they see them later, they come back to me and tell me that I was actually funnier… which is rather disturbing, really).

    As to such behaviour on MMos – I MUDded for a long time (back before Al Gore invented the internet, no less), and such behaviour was rampant on some games (which I avoided like the plague, once I realized), so it’s nothing new, merely a larger scale of on old problem.

  25. MRL says:

    @Ran Kailie:

    You play on Virtue? My main’s on that server as well! Razorthorne, 31 spines/regen scrapper. Drop me a /tell if you want to say ‘hi’!

    And oddly enough, whenever I’m in Pocket D it’s pretty empty – though I’ve been there more on Guardian server than Virtue. I love the design of that place, though. Just wish that you could go flying outside the windows!

  26. Adamantyr says:

    A similar thing happened in Ultima Online, but it was initially influenced by the game’s design and map layouts, and it stuck around a long time.

    In the early game there was only three banks, one in Britain, Trinsic, and Vesper. Banks were the only secure storage in the game; thieves could take stuff right out of your backpack or you could have your house key stolen and all your stuff taken by player killers. So banks were the hang-out place in the game. There were also guards in the area, so thieves could usually be disposed of with a single shout.

    So, Britain is the capital city, so naturally, most starting players chose to start there rather than elsewhere. The result was a total lag-fest around the one bank in Britain that would create a latency black hole in that portion of the map.

    EA/Origin dealt with the issue by first adding a second bank in some locations, and eventually added banks to all major cities and towns, so players didn’t congregate in one area. Eventually 100% secure housing also reduced the threat of theft as well.

    But on most UO servers, the trade hub has always been the first bank in Britain. So all the clowns, morons, and weirdos hung out there too for attention. The result was it was still laggy (although not crash-laggy like the old days), but a good place to get stuff, since no auction system exists in the game.

    Interestingly, on my old server, Pacific, one of the quest creators actually spawned a mass monster attack in Britain. It lasted a few weeks, and when it was over, the bank was deserted and remained that way; everyone moved to a different city in one of the expansion areas that was better suited for trade, and never went back. So it was pure inertia that kept players in that one place.

  27. bryce says:

    Never have played WOW, but in Star Wars Galaxies every iteration of Mos Eisley was a den of attention whores and gankery instead of scum and villainy, although the full Goldshire effect as you describe it was split right down the middle between Eisley on Tatooine and Coronet on Corellia.

    Sometimes I miss that game, but thinking back on those parts, I’m quite glad to have escaped.

  28. LazerFX says:

    Hmm… never had that on the server I was on. Sure, Goldshire was interesting, but the real nutter place was Xroads in the Barrens – always about 30+ lvl 60/70 (Depending on pre- or post-BC) Allies attacking, killing all the guards, questgivers, etc.

    Damned annoying.

  29. Dirty Dan says:

    Ah, the paradox of MMOs.

    The unique factor that sets them apart from other RPGs: you get to play in the same world with everyone else.

    The fatal flaw: you have to play in the same world with everyone else.

    If there were an option to instance the entire gameworld for individuals or selective groups, then it might be an improvement. People who want and know how to RP could do so unmolested. As for me? The d20 beckons, and I heed. *capeswoosh*

  30. Neil says:

    Is it bad that, after reading this, I want to roll up a Alliance character?

  31. Tom says:

    In Ultima Online it was the west Brit bank. First of all, you have to realize that in UO (in its early years), you didn’t have a chat box; your text showed up over your character’s head. So everything everyone said was floating around in the air around them, in whatever garish font color they chose. The traders would stand around shouting in all caps whatever goods they had for sale. Newer text would overlap older text. It was a textual cacophony (oddly appropriate).

    The other thing to keep in mind is that you didn’t click on NPCs to interact with them. Instead, you spoke a keyword to them. To open up your bankbox, you needed to say “bank” within hearing of a banker NPC. Fortunately the bankers could hear you OUTSIDE the building. You’d have people stacked up four or five deep all along the outside walls of the bank building. And to save on macros, they’d have an all-purpose one set,such as “bank buy sell recdu recsu GUARDS!” It was like banking in Babel.

    The “GUARDS!” part was there to summon the town guards, who could one-shot kill any law-breaker. Long before the advent of Trammel (what today we’d call a PvE area), all of Britannia was PvP and thieves could pickpocket you as you stood around leisurely at the bank. You’d walk up to the bank at any time of day to see the naked corpses of thieves scattered everywhere. They were naked, see, because if they got caught in the act, and someone called the guards, then they wouldn’t lose anything when they died (UO was also a full-loot game in those days). Inevitably they did get caught, but in the meantime they would pickpocket stuff and drop it in their own bank vault.

    Also, there was a limit on the number and weight of items you could have in your bank box, so people would dump random stuff on the ground outside the bank. So picture walking up to a bank building with people standing staring at the walls, multicolor text all over the screen, and naked dead guys all over the ground lying amongst lit candles, hatchets, single logs, broken bows, crockery, chess sets, metal helmets, and hundreds of gray robes.

    Need I add: it was lag central!

  32. Riesz says:

    There’s some interesting things about MMORPGs (and WoW in specific) at The Daedalus Project.

    Humans and night elves are, by far, the most prevalent races in WoW. Followed closely by Undead. I guess most people simply want to play something close to humanoid.

    Secondly, players who pick the human race are, on average, younger than most races. Trolls and taurens are certainly much younger on average, but then again, there are so few of them.

    My theory: there is some kind of critical density at work in Goldshire. A great mass of relatively young, male players who just spontaneously gravitated towards a digital Sodom and Gomorrah.

    The Night Elves are almost as popular, but they have more females playing, who, on average, tend to be less… well, you know. They are also generally older players.

  33. Goldshire: At least it’s not the Barrens. :)

  34. RobertB says:

    What Eric said: take the tram from Stormwind to Ironforge. Run out the front door of Ironforge and you’re right in the middle of Dun Morogh, the dwarf newbie area. It’s not as nice as Goldshire, but it’s a lot quieter. You’ll probably want to run to Loch Modan from there and get that flight point too. Then you’ll have your choice of two sets of 1-20 levelling areas and can switch back and forth if you get bored of the same old scenery.

  35. Kleedrac says:

    Wow, well I’ve got to thank you Shamus. This is keeping me away from WoW in a similar method to the hanging with a newborn method of birth control. You’re away from that for so long (Quit WoW about a year and a half ago … son is 3.5) that you forget why you couldn’t fucking stand it anymore ;) Enjoy your WoW experience … I’m really liking Guild Wars again now :)

  36. Tom says:

    I recall similar behavior on MUDs, fifteen or twenty years ago.
    Oddly enough, I don’t recall much of that on Lineage (1; haven’t played 2). Maybe I just missed it.

  37. Eric C says:

    On PvP servers, there’s also the Stranglethorn Vale (STV) effect. Wherein everyone takes their level 70 characters, plop them down in front of the seemingly peaceful Nesingwary camp, and proceed to gank the hell out of level 30’s, who are just trying to kill some tigers. The first time I wandered my tubby dwarf self into the zone looking to take in some unique questing and lush jungle scenery, I instead got my rear end handed to me in ways which still smart to this day.

    Like Goldshire, the STV “battleground” persists no matter which server you call home. It’s nice to know that you can stay out of STV and avoid a lot of the mindless, irritating ganking that happens on PvP servers, but I still lament the inability to peacefully enjoy what must be the most colourful, unusual zone in WoW.

  38. Derek K has it right. The Barrens also tends to attract the attention seekers, but not in the same way that Goldshire does. Its Barrens general chat that is really bad, you can turn it off and ignore it. Goldshire… even if you can turn off the emotes, you still see the characters wandering around and grinding against each other. And at the same time, its not just horde characters that it attracts. Yes, Alliance come to the Barrens all the time. Its almost literally a 24/7 gank fest against Crossroads. I’d recommend leveling your horde characters anywhere else just so you can avoid having to wait for the current campers to leave so you can turn in your quests. But the sad fact is, you almost cannot avoid going through Crossroads at some point in your Horde career. At the very least you have to get the flight master to properly be able to navigate Kalimdore. Unfortunately theirs a lot of story that passes through Crossroads as well. Its really hard to avoid, theirs always some reason to go there.

  39. Laurel Raven says:

    I can testify that, yes, on Steamwheedle Cartel (my server), Godshire is, indeed, the armpit of Azeroth.

  40. Will says:

    Goldshire sounds like the digital equivalent of Austin. Weird and likely to stay that way.

  41. Alvin Brinson says:

    Grrr, dang you shamus. Two years clean, and I’m downloading the client and thinking about renewing my account.

  42. Zaidyer says:

    We had this in Graal Online back when it was a free game. It was called “Level 13”, the town square of Graal City. It really didn’t help matters that players could build their own content and submit it to be included in the game, because all they ever made were gathering spots similar to Level 13 and eventually it turned into an urban sprawl that became the entire world. Incidentally it was right about then that Graal started getting popular enough to spin off extra servers featuring unique worlds, just to get around this problem.
    Then they screwed that up by adding a price tag to the game and forgetting to throw in some quality control, so players were basically paying $20 a month (yes, $20) for something that was previously offered free of charge. As a result, many of the good players left, and only the dorks and riff-raff from Level 13 remained. The whole game got very much inbred after that and is lucky to enjoy more than 200 players at once these days, down from 1000 at its peak.

  43. Nate says:

    Man. One of my favorite WoW stories ever comes from Goldshire. I rode in as a level 70 warlock and found some little newbie fellow fishing in the pond. So I pulled out a fishing pole and sat down next to him to fish as well.

    … of course, he did one doubletake at my armor. Then he did another doubletake when he saw I was undead. I like to think that was about the same time as I waved cheerfully at him. Then he ran screaming for the guards, or possibly for some high-level player, to come kill me. I couldn’t understand his weak little Alliance-speak.


    That said, I at one point rolled a human out of curiosity, and my experience of Goldshire was exactly the same. Craziness occurring in all public places, obscenity and vulgarity and poorly-veiled porn.

    Strangely, I have NOT found this to be the case Hordeside. Orgrimmar does get a bit crazy sometimes, but never anything so absurd.

  44. ThaneofFife says:

    When I started on Nordrassil (PVE), Goldshire was empty–there were maybe five other PCs at any given time. I don’t think I even spoke to another player until I was in my teens.

    When I go back, which is very seldom, it’s usually during the Darkmoon Faire, and I will admit to having dueled a lvl 20 using only my fists (I’m a 70 Warlock, but this is still a sure-fire way to lose a duel with anything 50 or above), but at the lvl 20 player’s request. It was mildly amusing, but it was asshattery too.

    On my server, the biggest issue is people screwing around on Alliance trade channel (and maybe horde too, but I’m almost never horde-side). For a long time, the running gag was to put “murlock” (the semi-intelligent fish-monsters you fight for most of the game) into titles, song lyrics, item names, and everything else. For example: “Murlock under water and they tell me to breathe easy for a while…”
    Lame, eh?

  45. Downtym says:

    A healthy chunk of my time playing WoW is recorded here.

    Warning: Blue language, sexual humor, racial jokes, and general asshattery can be found within. If you can’t take a joke or don’t laugh when someone trips on the sidewalk and face plants into a telephone poll then you probably should just avoid this.


    Sometimes you just have to dance in a wedding dress in Ironforge to appreciate the absurdity of it all.

  46. Danel says:

    @RobertB: Thanks – largely thanks to Shamus, I’ve recently started trying the demo of WoW myself, and the madness of Goldshire was a thing of wonder to me. Probably because I’m used to CoH, which is a lot quieter.

    I’m almost disappointed to find out that the rest of the game isn’t like this – while the rather unique charms of Goldshire might grow stale eventually, I’m actually loving them at the moment.

    BUt overall, yeah, there’s no real comparison in CoX to this. Atlas Park, maybe, but only at certain times of the day – at peak, it can be as busy as Goldshire is in the quiet times. And Pocket D is only really like this on my server (Union) when there’s an event going on. At least with Goldshire it’s explicable, though – I don’t understand why Atlas Park is like this when there’s a free choice between it and Galaxy City. Wouldn’t Back Alley Brawler be a more interesting contact to would-be tough guys?

  47. StingRay says:

    I was starting up a human priest once when I ran into a girl in the inn screaming about wanting to die and jumping into the fire. Amazing how prevalent that specific scenario is…. Anyway, I was a priest, and she was low-level enough to take damage from the fire, so I started healing her. It took her a few minutes to figure it out, and then she started yelling at me to stop. If I remember right, I kept it up for a little while longer, but finally logged out and never went back.

  48. noneofcon says:

    In EVE online, the major trade hub is a system called Jita. It is best known for the ammount of lag that happens in system. (If i remember correctly the lag is from people moving items from one container to another. I believe on weekends the system can easily hit 400+ people all trying to trade. I’ve only passed through there once, and that was on a weekday).

  49. Gary says:

    This sounds like the typical Old West town you get in movies. (Especially the kind with people like Don Knotts or James Gardner) Everything is as ridiculously immoral as possible and it is funny.

  50. Blackbird71 says:

    Survival tactic for WoW (or most MMOs for that matter):

    Every time I create a new character, practically the first thing I do is create a new chat tab. In this tab, I turn off all channels except for party, guild, and whispers. I then switch to this tab whenever I enter a major city, or whenever someone nearby becomes an idiot in general. It’s pretty effective at weeding out and ignoring the stupidity typical of the unwashed internet masses.

  51. Thom says:

    This is exactly the reason why I left WoW… The game is nice, but there’s a lot of immature people in there.
    I switched to LotRo, and have ofcourse encountered immature people here too, but I can still count their numbers on the fingers of one hand. In general, the majority of the people is more mature, especially on the RP server I’m on. I’m in a kinship full of nutters, but we have fun in a funny way, not in this immature way you’re describing. To be honest… on RP servers in LotRo, the policy is quite strict, and you will get a warning from a GM if someone reports inappropriate behaviour.
    That being said, I couldn’t resist a smile while reading your post ;)

  52. neminem says:

    Weird. Here on Runetotem, I don’t think I really ever noticed that about Goldshire. As far as I can tell, all the loonies like to mess around on, of all places, /2 (nominally the trade channel). On the other hand, if you enjoy stupid memes like I do, sometimes /2 is actually amusing, and at least there’s not very much Chuck Norris-ing going on.

    My first MMO love (Kingdom of Loathing), of course, has no such concept, because chat is entirely unrelated to where you’re adventuring – and, in fact, you can be in every chat at once. /newbie certainly does have a similar reputation for ridiculousity, though…

  53. Avaz says:

    Back when I started playing WoW (Which was about a couple months after it initially launched, what, December 2004?), I got through Goldshire pretty quietly. I kept coming back frequently, though (for RP reasons (I was an actual roleplayer on a roleplay server (Feathermoon))) and I was there and I saw as Goldshire eventually turned into the trash you see today.

    I can actually say, I remember when Goldshire was normal.

    • Vidiot says:

      aah, the good ol’ days. I played from a year after release until shortly before the first expansion, and towards the end of my run, Goldshire was just becoming the madhouse that it ended up as. I did a lot of server hopping, but I just kept encountering too many people that reminded me why I only play with friends on XBL online. For a time, Goldshire was normal, peaceful, and quiet. Even on the PVE servers, the loony count didn’t seem to get too high until just before the first expansion. (I’ll admit to having a bit of fun there myself, but only on RP servers, and nothing vulgar)

  54. Andre says:

    My favorite quirky emergent Goldshire behavior is when a bunch of high-level Horde come in and kill all the NPCs, and then hang out at the inn, killing anything and anyone that attempts to stop them.

    The Horde pose no threat to non-flagged PCs, so it’s entirely possible for a lowbie to wander into the inn, stumble upon the fighting (hint: it’s usually upstairs), and just sit there in the middle of everything and take in the sights.

    Meanwhile, the whole town is so oddball that everyone else just goes about his business. While all this is going on, the weirdos are still outside dancing naked and dueling. The only people actually affected by the Horde invasions are the poor bastards who have legitimate business in Goldshire, because their quest turn-in is too busy dying repeatedly at the hands of ZUGZUGTWO to talk to them.

  55. Raine says:

    In the Barrens, the City of Crossroads is the closest you get.
    Barrens, If i remember right, is new to 30 or so. Its been years scene i played. and I really don’t plan on getting back on… but the Chat was the funnest thing to read while you lvled!

  56. Plasma says:

    Yes, I’m not surprised that Pocket D is often full on Virtue (the unofficial RP server) and completely empty on all the others (I play on Freedom (sometimes called Freedumb, but the ratio of stupids to non-stupids there is just the same as everywhere else, just the total population is higher, so there is consequently a higher base population of various sorts of noobs)).

    As for why Atlas Park exhibits a little bit of the Goldshire syndrome, while Galaxy City is always dead: Atlas Park has easy access to the Sewers, if you want to blaze past the first ten levels real fast, and the Hollows, where you can spend the next five or ten levels in comfort. It also has the only hero-side access to Recluse’s Victory (the highest-level PVP zone), an auction house, a portal to the Rikti War Zone, the City Representative, and Azuria (who people throughout the game keep sending you back to chat with). The only things Galaxy has to offer are an arena and a road to King’s Row, which is only convenient if you haven’t yet noticed that the tram exists (my first run through the game, I had a contact send me to King’s Row from Atlas. I looked on my map, and figured the best way would be to run through Skyway, which turned out to be a much higher-level zone, so it didn’t work very well. If I had realized it existed, I could have taken the tram straight from Atlas to KR). So mostly the only people who pick Galaxy are those who are consciously trying to avoid the inanity of Atlas broadcast.

    I think a factor in both Atlas and Goldshire may also be that a certain type of person is inexorably drawn to wherever the most people are, so it quickly becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. Witness Pocket D: It has no content, except during the Valentine’s and Winter Events, so most servers ignore it entirely. But it was basically designed for the exclusive purpose of roleplaying, so the roleplayers on Virtue hang out there, so I imagine even non-RPers are drawn to it, simply because there are people there. That’s just a hypothesis, though, I’ve never actually even been to Virtue’s Pocket D.

  57. Adalore says:

    I can see the bit about world wide chat channels getting used for alot of things, related to strange things.

    I have turned off 1-9 on EQ2, though I might turn it back on.
    Mostly besides LFG messages, theres things like…
    Fellowship for life (guild) has gained level 46
    That is a server wide message? same thing for Epics getting gained, there might be a string of “Whoot! way to go!”

    Though It quite useful for “Hey any one has any idea where X is?” :D

  58. Goldshire is why I turn off all public chat channels on character creation. It sounds like the Goldshire stuff is a lot worse on a RP server. On Stormrage, it’s only random duals. Hmph. When people repeatedly random dual me, I try explaining that this place (usually an Outland place) isn’t Goldshire.

    Luckily, this drops off quickly. There’s usually one or two people dualing in Westfall, and maybe an occasional one in Darkshire, but after that, nothing.

    On the other hand, Goldshire does host the Darkmoon Faire…

  59. journeyman says:

    While I have only played a little of WoW and didn’t make it to Goldshire, I think it’s probably a good idea that there’s something like this. It sounds like the /b/ of WoW – most of the idiocy is drawn to there, and thus away from everywhere else.

  60. Veloxyll says:

    Amazing! I was just wondering about how Barrens chat had formed a day or two ago, and Shamus goes and posts a thread on it’s Alliance-side Nemisis.

    Goldshire is pretty much the first place I’d tell people to avoid in WOW. the on;y comparable place is Silvermoon City on horde side, and then only on RP servers. There are several important differences between them, most prevalant being Silvermoon City is Deadsville, Goldshire has people running new humans through all the time.

    Barrens just has Barrens Chat. While a phenomenon in itself, it’s no-where near as annoying as Goldshire. Plus a simple /leave 1 gets you out of it. Also before the expansion, it wasn’t just the level 10-25s in Barrens. Any horde flying from anywhere on the south of Kalimdor back to Orgrimmar has to cross The Barrens. So it used to be a melting pot of people of all levels.

    For a slightly more fun take (although I don’t know if this is as widespread as Mankrik;s wife ect) in The Barrens, one of the general chat pass-times is the Murloc game – where you substitue Murloc for a word in a movie title. Giving you things like Lord of the Rings: The Two Murlocs; Me, Myself and Murloc; Murlocs in Black etc. Although this game occuring is rather rarer than Chuck Norris jokes. But it’s more fun (it can spill over into Horde trade on my server too)

  61. Bearmug says:

    Barrens is a VERY big area, one of biggest in game actually, with levels of mobs and quests from 10-25, and with 3 quest hubs (Crossroads, Camp Taurahe and neutral Ratchet). So, most people are spread around. Barrens chat, on the other hand is legendary, and usually starts with ‘WERE IS MANKRIRKS WIFE!!!’ (there is a quest to find her) and then start funny or less funny answers

  62. Dys says:

    I’ve not noticed the level of insanity you describe, on Quel’Thalas the largest congregations are between Ironforge bank and auction house, it’s where people hang out to trade and chat. I think I’m lucky in having a relatively sensible server population though I have been randomly offered duels many many times.
    Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by idiocy I just retreat to the blessed silence of Darnassus. Nobody goes to Darnassus.

  63. Stranger says:

    Want a slice of memories of the first hangout space I encountered in an MMO?

    broadcast Kraanan Enchants 50g, 80% Mends for regs, see me at Fams!!

    Meridian 59 had this bar ‘Familiars’ in a city called Tos . . . the charm of this city was simple: there was the graveyard at night which had a high spawn rate of undead, a faction headquarters was up the road at Blackstone Keep, the bartender of the bar sold some prized reagents, and the city was a gateway to the tougher regions in the game. Add to note, the blacksmith in town sold the most useful of skills to any warrior, and an Arena was set up right inside town where one could just go blow off steam or challenge people for duels without risking hard-earned items.

    It also originally had a HUGE amount of open space to congregate and settle in. Player-Killers would linger in there because nobody could touch them inside buildings and it was remarkably close to prime hunting locations for vulnerable people (the Graveyard). Most non-PK people would park there mostly to keep an eye on the PKers and warn if they so much as twitched towards a door. And because Tos was close to troll territory and trolls required enchanted weapons . . . people would hang around there and offer to do them for a small fee.

    Because of the shaping nexus of travel due to all considerations it just kind of became the place you go to sell things. EVERYONE knew how to find it, and nobody REALLY sold elsewhere until the Vaults opened up. Even then, inertia kept people going there due to tradition and because it seriously WAS a good gathering spot for people who were going to higher-end areas; it was the closest city to them.

    I used to play on server 106. I swear, four people had their names carved into stools in that bar. Most of em were cool people, too. It wasn’t a nexus of weirdness and immaturity as much as it was . . . just someplace people went. It was remarkable, but immaturity in M59 wasn’t NEAR as bad as it was in EverQuest later on, and definitely not in the same league as the crap which goes on in GuildWars sometimes. The worst you had were people smacktalking people player-killing or complaining about Bob the Troll (inside joke).

    Wonder if that’s got some sort of meaning . . .

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