WoW: Dishonorable Kills Going Away

For some time, there's been a mechanism in World of Warcraft called "dishonorable kills" (or dishonourable kills, except that all the spelling in WoW remains American, even in Europe). What this used to do was make it not just a zero-reward action to kill a "civilian", but an actual penalty. It looks like that's going away in the latest patch, 2.0.

Here're the relevant quotes from the FAQ:

How will dishonorable kills factor in to the new honor system?
Although this is subject to change, we are not currently planning to have dishonorable kills play any role in the honor system. The NPCs around the world will no longer be set as civilians, so killing them will not impact your ability to obtain honor points.


Will I get credit for killing guards?
Based on player feedback we have decided to no longer award honorable kills for killing NPCs that are not racial leaders. This will prevent players from feeling as though they need to "grind" NPC kills for honor. This change will also help the honorable kill totals mean more than they otherwise would.

It seems to me that this removal of DKs really opens the field for those players that enjoy killing off quest-givers - this was a problem in earlier eras of the game, where someone looking to cause trouble would come in and kill all the NPCs who give quests in a given quest hub for the other faction. When these were marked as civilians, it meant that, at the very least, the players had a tougher time getting the PvP rewards, and also that they were marked as having dishonourable kills in their honour record. Now, they'll be able to kill off the quest-givers without penalty, causing no end of trouble for people trying to level and complete quests.

Causing trouble for other players without benefit for yourself is called "griefing" - it's a common problem in almost any MMO, and probably in many other forms of multi-player game as well. I think this change will allow griefers a lot more freedom, and make the game potentially a great deal less enjoyable for other players - in particular, for new players.

Posted by Drew Shiel at December 6, 2006 1:22 PM

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Not necessarily.

Yes, the lone 60 Rogue ganking questgivers in the Crossroads *might* be more of a problem. However, questgivers have short respawn timers and this kind of thing goes on at present anyway, and the response is generally a few Horde 60s flying in and ganking the griefer.

The other side of DKs was that it severely discouraged *genuine* "World PvP" - as in, attacks on capital cities and racial leaders. These are generally great fun for all involved, attacking and defending, and can be avoided by those just not interested. But the DKs for killing civilians were a major disincentive for people to take part in an attack. It completely prevents AoE attacks, for a start, and not to mention some of the civilians being really weak things likely to collapse if you breathe on them.

I could be wrong, but I think with the new honour system, Arena combat and new content on the way, the removal of DKs will only have a tiny effect.

The genuine griefer out to cause misery for others won't have cared about DKs in any case - and AFAICR none of the questgivers are tagged as civilan anyway.

Posted by: Bastun at December 6, 2006 2:56 PM