Harassment Stories

A popular WoW streamer asked people to share stories about being harassed in game. Here are some stories from the YouTube comments:

I’ve dealt with wow stalking before. someone harassed me publicly and privately. he would continue to make new characters to continue this harassment. after 3 months i reached out to blizzard to help me with this. i was sent a crappy “not our problem just keep ignoring those characters” response. issues like this have made me apprehensive to join new guilds or even pug with other people. i have encounter a lot of hatred and ignorance in this game just for being a woman. i know that the best thing is to be silent and say nothing. i shouldn’t be forced to feel like this by a game. i should be able to report people that continue to harass me and they should be punished for their actions. ty for talking about this asmond.

As a female gamer, harassment happens all the time. I’ve recently had to change my battle tag to a random generated tag instead of my original gaming nickname which has always been “DaniGirl” because I couldn’t handle the rando’s adding me, spam messaging me, and asking for nudes. I also don’t play competitive Overwatch with randoms anymore because I refuse to use a mic. I would get harassed at least every other game. If we lost it was always my fault, but only because “I’m a girl”. I really prefer not to join guild discords because I really would get “in game” stalkers sometimes even from guildies and its so utterly uncomfortable. I truly hate how much I have been told “I bet its nice to be a girl in gaming, guys will give you any items you want or carry you through dungeons, raids, and pvp.” I’m not dissing on any females who do play that way, It’s just absolutely not the way I want to play the games I enjoy.

Around the time of Cata a guildie started harassing me with extreme lude comments. I reported him and put him on ignore. Each time I did this, he just made another toon and would continue with the same stuff. This just seemed to escalate his anger. He was threatening me and my kids stating he would find me and what he would do to me and my kids when he did. A couple of people called Blizz (back then you could actually call them with complaints) and our rival guild apparently was reporting him as well. Since he was on my ignore I couldn’t see what he was saying but I was told “you really don’t want to know what he’s saying about you in general chat”. I figured it had to be pretty damn bad when our rival guild is putting in complaints. He was put on a 3 month suspension about many many months of this going on. His first day back he contacted my friend to tell him to make sure I know he’s back. My friend contacted Blizz by phone to tell them this and I heard he was banned from the game. I ended up making a toon on another realm and came very close to quitting.

My boyfriend, me and his colleagues all started to get back Into wow for shadowlands with the goal to get 2100 in rgbs. Since you always Need 10 people and we were only 10 people it sometimes occured ( of course) that Not all 10 people are available in the evening. But hey you can invite randoms right? LOL. I Was Our Teams target caller because i played ret and everyone agreed that im the Best for the role, since ive got the most knowledge. I think we Never had a random for more than one bg in the group. As soon as they joined the voicecoms they would immedietly leave ( often in the bg) or after the Match, telling me that women shouldnt Do shotcalling. The higher Our rating got the more toxic it became. To a point were we only played when every one of Our 10 man Group was available. Playing wow as a women and especially wow pvp is an absolute nightmare. I really really appreciate what you are doing for the community, much love

I’m a woman who’s been playing somewhat casually since Legion. When they changed how fast it is to level 1-50 in the Shadowlands pre-patch, I decided to finally level a resto shaman - had always wanted to try healer but healing made me so anxous. I had just set up a healing addon and was clearing some levelling dungeons to get used to it and had an instance where a DPS pulled by mistake and died before I could heal him. He saw my feminine name, called me brainless whore egirl and then proceded to contstantly pull everything and get the party wiped ON PURPOSE. This happened like 4 times and I think they were premade and wouldnt kick him so I just left. He then whispered me and carried on spam insulting me. I genuinely cried, ik its dumb but I was so anxious about healing and it made me feel awful. I don’t use feminine, girly names or ever go on VC anymore on any game because it just seems to invite these incel pigs to attack you.

Not precisely the racism or sexism story you asked for, but one day in BFA I was down by the docks doing table missions. I randomly got an achievement for some arbitrary thing. The game automatically puts the achievement into the chat for anyone nearby. Someone messages me and said “nobody cares about your” whatever the achievement was called. I ignored him and he continued to message me with vulgar messages and belittling me and I had done literally nothing but play the game. It didn’t bother me too much, but I remember thinking " what if I was a new player experiencing this? " I would probably have immediately quit the game if that was my first experience and who could blame me? Weird stuff like this happens in every game, but it does seem to happen more in WoW from my own personal experiences.

I don’t have any personal stories, I’m pretty lucky with having a deep voice, but one reason I stopped playing WoW back in Wrath was how often I’d get in a pug, a person with a feminine or childish voice would enter voice chat, and immediately they’d be pounced on with all sorts of misogynist comments. I had a healer friend who was the best healer I ever played with, and she would never talk in voice chat in the guild that was full of her personal IRL friends and her fiance because of how many bad experiences she had. People using “autistic” and “cancer” as a general insult also got to me in Legion times. My wife is autistic, I am ADHD, and my dad has cancer. None of us are your punching bags, women deserve to be able to talk in voice chat, and these jokes aren’t funny. And Blizzard doing nothing about it is why no Blizzard game has ever been my favorite game for longer than a few months. I love WoW, I love Overwatch, I spent a lot of time in HotS, but I always just left because of how often chat would fuck things up for me.

I’ve been G Kicked for being black before, lol it was hilarious, and around early Wrath, I linked social media and just got kicked. One time I was in with a clique of friends who constantly dropped the N Bomb, and after the run I linked social media and never heard from them again :rofl::rofl::rofl: I’m old school, my skin is pretty thick, so stuff like that makes me laugh. However; I understand how annoying it can be. Being a black kid on the internet in the early 2000s really just desensitizes you to casual racism.

G kicked means kicked out of a guild.

I dealt with more creeps in WoW than I ever had to IRL, and that’s considering I was a dancer for 5 years. Specifically WoW - I played MMOs since iRO, and nothing compares. My TBC experience was made up of two things: The best world pvp I can remember after vanilla, and a guild full of Axe-spray-instead-of-showering neckbeards that understood I was female and was “worried that I would be too sensitive.” so they spent half a year insulting me all day long, berating, abusing, accusing me of bizarre stuff, ridiculing me for religious beliefs, politics, how I handled friends, how I didn’t handle friends. How I didn’t rush to cap to level them in arena (got 2100+ without em though so no loss). I think they only logged in to bother me. I kept to myself and a friend of mine, but we met the leader through pvp and were kind of close in wow terms (i.e. i guess you remember the name and do content rather together) Like it was straight up abusive, but I thought sticking around and showing that I could tolerate it and roll with the punches would make us closer. It just got worse and worse until the day I said I’m done fighting and blocked them, then 3/4 of the guild gquit around us moments later. To this day it’s hard not to wish each and every one of them drowned for putting someone through that, pretending it was anything but what it was. I hate to use the word “misogyny” - it’s overused and the people who use it aren’t the kind of people I associate and share problems with.

I also played on RP servers, and I didn’t just get creepy meme whispers. I got people who would “groom” you into ERPing with them. And it wasn’t even like, oh wanna erp? you into that kinda thing? hey me too lets do it. You thought you made a friend (Man I loved the idea of meeting new people once… WoW ruined that) but they were spending weeks making sure they want to stick their e-dong into you and you wouldn’t block them the moment they told you it’s out, and one night when no ones around they lay it out, out of no where. It’s greasy. Unclean. Naturally weaseling out of that situation without blocking them = they have little to say to you after. Worst part wasn’t losing an imaginary friend, the worst part was that I played on the RP servers - I never engaged, because there were too many narcissists, gatekeepers and flat out weirdos. But one day realizing the only PvPers you played with would have never made it on a real PvP server. Like “I played on an RP server and all i got was this lousy sexual harassment and psychological torture”

In Shadowlands I tried to play the game normally, forget all the horrible in the past, and engaged in banter with the randos in BGs, and rather than the kind of nonchalant back and forth you get during Alliance raids in FFXIV, I got 50 different non-offensive messages reported (e.g., “lol”; no.";“you’re ridiculous”) in 3 days and after a 24 hr chat ban in a community I get whispers now in telling me to kill myself and public callouts from idiots no where close to the objectives calling me worthless because I wasn’t over THERE too to heal them, yea. Or some asshole protection warrior who sits at spawn, goes ignored, but targets me and keeps me there - team doesn’t help me but they all band together insulting and screaming and crying about no heals/ Like I can’t begin to tell you how horrible the experience is now healing people. Everyone deserves the worst in that community. Being female or black or whatever in Shadowlands doesn’t matter - the community doesn’t care what you are, they hate everyone equally.

I’m not a high road type, but the amount of hate I have for WoW because of the community is something I can’t put into words here. When Asmongold started playing XIV all I could think about was him dragging these people over to my world and hated him at first. But it’s not like that. And his community has nothing to do with these people. But there are few things that could cleanse that community.

Being a gay man and existing in the WoW space has exposed me to some of the most volatile hate speech ive experienced in any online game. I cant try and find groups in LFG chat unless I want to bear witness to some of the worst discourse and slurs that exist.

More stories:

  • Wrath of the Lich King + MoP Experience: Had someone remove me from the raid, when a few of my guild members asked why I was removed as my gear was higher than most of theirs + I was a healer, the leader responded with “I removed him because he’s Australian.” / the other expansion one said additional unsavory things about Australians. (Top notch guildies / other raiders left the Anti-Aussie guy’s group & we reformed without them, no reporting felt needed due to such aftermath. ^_^)

I learned quickly to keep private due to harassment/gossip in wow, especially in guilds (my previous mythic guild was a “beauty” and filled with gossip which quickly turned into nastiness in part of 1 officer which poisoned the well and several people suffered, it got BAD), the amount of harassment I faced for standing up for one of our female players after she was being harassed and pried about her private life to no end was UNREAL, just for being a female, I quit mythic raiding and the game cold turkey after that experience, too bad because even though the game direction hasn’t been what I would like, raiding has always been fun for me, but that single experience of constant negativity, harassment and walking on eggshells did it for me, I tried to contact blizzard as it continued even after several people left the guild but to no avail, I’ve seen how bad it can get, I can only imagine how it is for female players in a toxic community.

I’ve been called heinous things based on me being from South Africa. The level of anonymity in retail leads to an insane lack of ownership to the words that people say. I’ve had a few bad experiences in Classic as well but in most cases, people still want to keep a certain level of “server reputation”. (I’m on Ashbringer Alliance).

My guild run by myself and my ex girlfriend were focused by trolls on Boulderfist horde from WoD to Legion over the women in my guild since my ex ran it mostly it was a “safe place” for them. We had guilds made just to mock my ex and others over and over and blizzard did nothing. A lot quit the game from stress

As soon as I got on voice comms for raiding, suddenly all the male guild mates were my best friend and wanted to help me, give me items or just chat with me…a little too much. I had a couple ask me for pics, I had some ask if I was single and got mad that I wasn’t single and that I was PREGNANT. The guy ended up gquitting after ranting at me! I ended up never raiding again and just did Mythic+ with a few buddies I knew and never did voice comms with randoms. I honestly lost interest in the game after that, I stuck around for BFA but I just ended up playing on my own. The toxicity I saw in BFA and Shadowlands was enough for me to quit. I stayed for the story and I regret that now.

I have read a lot of the comments from other female players - it’s upsetting and mind blowing to see how many stories are similar to each other, similar to mine. Harassment, stalking, threats, explicit unwanted sexual content said and sent to us. Having to change names, leave guilds, not talk in vent, transfer servers, quit the game. Damn … just damn.

I played Baldur’s Gate when I was a little girl and have been hooked on games ever since. Unfortunately, that meant I was exposed to a lot of harassment early on in life for simply enjoying my hobby.

As a woman who plays the game regularly, it really is sort of a death by a thousand cuts situation. But the thing is, all online games are like this.

The perfect example of what Zack is talking about here is the players from Latin America, everytime a Latin player joins anything, BG, LFR, Mythic +, etc, people start harassing them, no matter if the player is good or bad, I have a collection of screenshots of people saying bad stuff to Latin players just because Blizzard doesn’t care if you report them.

Had a friend of mine during Cata and MoP organize small Ulduar runs for the chance of getting the mount, my friend is female. And without fail the first 20 minutes of trying to form the group was spent trying to weed out the people who could not handle a female being a raid leader and in charge of the run.

Thank you for making this video. I’m a female gamer and started playing wow in 2005. I have put an enormous amount of effort into protecting myself from toxicity and harassment. At first, I avoided getting into voice chat and never revealed that I was female. When I eventually found a guild where I could be myself, I stayed in the bubble of that guild for 14 years. I used to pug a lot, but gradually, my pugging slowed until I had a very toxic dungeon run during Cata. After that, I swore off pugging.

I grew up with mmos, and I played them all my life, but I had to change my name in WoW name from my real name to a generic fantasy name because of the shit I had to deal with ingame. Worst instance was someone asking me if I was a girl, then following me a whole dungeon while typing derogatory shit in chat and not playing the game. People would often chat shit regardless of how well the raid/dungeon was going, I could top dps and ppl would still say derogatory shit to me, and thats piled on top of the regular toxicity everyone experiences. Yeah everyone gets the ‘youre trash dog’ messages but those are way less personal than derogatory sexual remarks/threats because of your gender.

Yeah, in the end I dont really care about words on a screen and you can ignore people but at its core mmos are meant to be a social game, but getting rape threats/sexual messages/harrassment from random people in orgrimmar because you have a female name just makes you not want to play it.

As a female gamer, I appreciate content creators bringing this to light. I’ve been stalked and harassed in WOW for being female, and despite me reporting it, and my whole guild reporting it, the player was never banned. I’d block him and he’d make new toons, in different accounts. He faction changed so he’d follow me around and tag all mobs so I couldn’t complete my dailies (Wrath expansion), he’d pay other players to send me messages. I had to stop playing for a while so he’d forget about me, and eventually my guild transferred servers.

My now wife was stalked by a guild member years ago. She used to be friends with him until he got sexual and weird with her. She asked him to stop, and when he wouldn’t, she cut ties with him and ignored him. He would continue to make new characters and would keep harassing her. The guy was even kicked out of the guild over it and she went over to Horde side to get away from him. He somehow knew about her other characters as soon as she would make them and continued the harassment. She opened up multiple tickets reporting the harassment and ignore evasions and Blizzard never did anything about it even though they said they would in their ticket responses. It drove her to just quit the game to get away from him. Just wanted to share this story so you know how common this is and how complacent Blizzard is about this.

As a girl who has played World of Warcraft for seven years now (recently unsubbed due to the controversy) thank you for addressing this issue with toxicity and harassment especially towards women, which I find often goes under the radar. WoW was the first game where I ever used voice chat, knowing that communication was important for raids. I distinctly remember the first time I turned on my microphone, after my guild members begged me to talk, that the first thing they did was mock me. “Isn’t it past your bedtime, little boy?” I swear, those words will be burned into my mind for the rest of my life. I was only fifteen at the time, but I panicked and said I was eighteen so that they wouldn’t think that I was a young boy. This, of course, made them believe that it was me giving them permission to say suggestive things to me and ask me for pictures of myself. No matter what I was doing, even if it was just running dungeons completely by myself, I’d get whispers from guild members harassing me.

After that, I hopped guilds, experiencing similar issues in every single one. It had gotten to the point where I had considered transferring servers because I had been in every single guild on the server, but I knew the harassment wouldn’t stop, so I took a break from the end of Legion until the last patch of BfA, where I came back with a more raid-focused and serious mindset. I joined a guild that had been progging on mythic Nyalotha, but hit a wall when their raid leader was poached by another guild. Having just come back to the game I was glad that I had been able to get on a raid team so late that had progged so far, and I stayed with them until the start of Nathria.

They still didn’t have a raid lead, and I understood the mechanics of the raid very well, so I tried my best to raid lead and shot call since no one else was stepping up to do it. However, it was only when I started talking that others in the raid thought it would be best to talk over me, with my directions always going completely ignored. I often had to raise my voice in order to get others to listen to me, which gave me the “angry woman” label, earning me even less respect. I brought these issues to the guild master, who pretended to understand my plight, assuring me that the problem would be addressed and that he would get others to listen to me, and that the worst offenders would be spoken to. So he called a guild meeting over Discord to discuss that, along with some other issues that had been going on with the guild. As soon as he began to talk, he changed his tune completely, telling me in front of everyone that I had no right to demand to be treated differently from everyone else, and that there was no need for me to raid lead at all. He humiliated me in front of 30+ people, undermining any shred of authority I might have had. I felt completely disrespected, and I knew that this wouldn’t have happened to me if I wasn’t a woman. I immediately left the guild, and in the last guild I was in before I quit, I was simply known as “the mute”. It’s better for me not to say anything at all than try to take things into my own hands, because this community is convinced that women don’t know how to play World of Warcraft.

I’m in my 30s and have been gaming all my life. I also happen to be a woman. I learned a long, long time ago to never give my gender away until well after I know someone because of the potential harassment and even that can backfire. I became friends with someone in WoW a few years back, and after getting to know him for a few weeks I stopped covering my gender up. He immediately started asking where I lived and if he could come visit me. The last thing he whispered me before I blocked him was, “What color are your panties at least?” I legitimately thought I was making a new friend and he went full creep mode in 5 minutes flat after discovering I’m female. It’s stuff like that that makes you not able to trust people, and that’s not even my worst story, just one of the sadder ones. The real sad thing is, any female gamer is going to have some kind of similar story to this and I’m so sick of how normal it is. I just want to play video games and make friends like everyone else, I’m really not looking to get hit on and sexually harassed constantly. Shocking, I know.

I started playing WoW at the age of 12. At 14 I helped lead some pvp premades and by doing so I learned what the term jailbait meant. I was constantly being hit on by older men and pretty much had to speak out to the other leaders of the vent at the time whenever someone would harass me. It really terrified me at the time due to other IRL trauma that I was experiencing and being preyed made me realize that I had to hide my gender in WoW if I wanted to continue playing.

I’m a woman with a rather masculine voice, and as you might imagine this has gotten me a lot of comments from the community. It’s honestly exhausting to hear the same shit again and again, “only guys on the internet” “if you’re a girl, prove it” “show us nudes and we’ll believe you”.

It’s at the point that I have a complex about my voice, and I dread introducing myself to new people because of the childish attitude from this community and most others.

I’m a girl. I’ve played WoW only since the end of WoD but I’ve had enough time to notice that the main chat in game has zero moderation. Tonnes of homophobic, racist and sexist comments remain unpunished which makes the game toxic-friendly and I assume it always was this way. That’s why I rarely talk to anyone there. The one time guys in dungeon group found out that I’m a girl they have made some sexists comments and asking if I’m single at the same time. I usualy just block people and don’t really care much about stuff like this. But I have seen worse.

Once I was hanging out in Goldshire, sitting alone in tavern and watching other people talking. I saw one guy meeting other girl. She was friendly and polite and for some reason he decided that if she’s so nice to him she probably likes him, because when the other guy joined them and she warmly greet him the first guy started to insult her, called her sl*t. He got so mad like they were married for several years but they just have met. The other people in tavern called him out for being a hysterical btch and we all decided to report him. But guess what? Nothing happened. He still hangs out in Goldshire and acts this way with other girls. And this is just one of the many stories. I still see people who I blacklisted for being assholes to others and who probably have been reported (by me at least) and nothing happens.

When I started telling people I corrected people from he/him to her/she I would often get harassed or obsessed over. I’ve since seeked out more accepting communities and avoid playing with random players. It sucks but it gets me by.

I have stories to tell about being harassed in WoW, let me share one of them. The first time I felt threatened for real, and actually couldn’t take it was in a random BG. I noticed a group of boys writing in swedish, obviously knowing each other writing and acting like the “bro’s” we’ve heard about the last weeks. And I’m swedish and understood every word they wrote of course.
… But I thought they were just “boys fooling around”, but of course I told them to clean up their acting, I told them that I was a girl and that I didn’t feel fine with the way they acted, and the things they wrote.

Ended up with them threatening me with gang r*pe, and they kept going with this for days, and I reported them, talked to GM’s about them and yet again and again they went around the ignore system and contacted me again. Months later when I thought it was over - I met them in a random BG - again. Luckily they couldn’t write to me from their characters since they were ignored, but they were still there. A group of boys I never wanted to see, hear from, play with or meet again.

And again, when I thought all of this were over for real, I was in a guild who let one of these boys into the guild, and this person started assaulting me in that discord channel as soon as he figured out who I was.

And that’s just one story.
The GM that talked to me in the beginning of story this were fine I guess, it seemed like a nice person. But obviously I didn’t feel safe in the game, and I still don’t.

I could not play the game for over 2 years because two weirdos in my old guild would DDOS and dox my girlfriend any time she logged into the game. Because we often did everything together, this meant I was being effected by extension. I missed out on the second half of Cata and early half of MoP as a result.

Her crime? She was an officer in our guild and she messaged them after raids to ask if they needed help with learning the fights or practicing rotations. These two guys were what we today call “incels” and didn’t take kindly to her trying to tell them how to play. So they decided to “put her in her place,” and a wave of endless harassment began.

This is the worst story out of many, from experiences that I’ve witnessed my female friends/guildies endure when it comes to harassment. I think that many girls would be happy just to be called “dog shit” or have people wipe M+ groups on purpose and then quit the party. That sort of harassment is a godsend to the stalking and targeted harassment that can go on forever.

BTW, some of this isn’t exactly driven by racism, sexism, etc. It’s that first they want to harass someone – they want to lash out for some unrelated reason or they didn’t like some action this person did – and second they look for something different about that person to attack. The stuff that does seem most clearly related to the trait being attacked is some of the treatment of girls. Guys spamming girls for nudes is not just waiting for anyone to stand out as different in any way that they can attack. But with a lot of other stuff it’s harder to tell what the causality is. You might think “no it must really be about the trait b/c they attack them over almost nothing” but a lot of people are in really shitty moods a lot of the time, and have unhappy lives. I think a lot of people are frequently on the look out for anything they can attack.

One more story:

As a black female player I can relate to this video. There have been several occasions of harassment and stalking for me by several male players. Back in wrath I had to block a guy for sending me extremely perverted messages both in and eventually out of game after he was blocked. I once had a group of guys track down my personal info, and once they found out I was black they decided to give me a “questionnaire” filled with blatantly racist questions to give me a black test without straight up asking me if I was black after tracking down my facebook info. Guys that I had played for years resorted to asking me terrible questions like "what do you think of fried chicken, when someone invites you to their home how much stuff do you steal, and if I knew my dad… After I went silent they went on to ask me if I was black. I try to avoid using voice coms or revealing that I’m a female player because some guys can get really weird when they find out your gender. I remember an incident in which a black guy joined a random run and then the leader kicked him from the group because they don’t play with n-words. That was after I stopped using ventrillo voice commands so they didn’t know my race or gender… I left the group after they kicked him. I no longer do high end raiding even though I used to love it because I don’t like joining guild activities. Of course these incidents are spread over 15 years of time, and I have lots of great memories from wow as well. These are just some of the negative incidents that left a bad taste about the game for me.

The video has 2918 comments currently. There are a lot more stories.