I decided I'd share an anecdote. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons Online, an MMO. I'm going to assume that everyone who reads this already knows what MMORPG stands for, and how they work.
One of the last times I ever played, I had the worst MMO experience I've ever had, ever. I'd invited a friend of mine to play with me, because he liked RPGs. He created a warrior human character, and I picked my level 2 elf wizard. We chose the easiest quest I could think of to start him out on, because if I can remember correctly, there are a few you can do at the beginning. This one had us going into a tomb full of skeletons and zombies. I forget what the goal is, because I haven't played in years, but this quest is easy. Maybe not easy enough for me to do solo, because I was a wizard, and wizards don't solo well, but it could be done.
As soon as the dungeon starts, we're already slapped with problems. Paraphrasing him: "I always love to go with brawling in games like these :D I always specialize in unarmed and unarmored characters."
Only problem is that DDO didn't support unarmed brawler characters, and didn't have unarmored perks. This should have been a red flag, but naively, I thought "Well, I'm strong enough, I have ranged magic, I know this dungeon like the back of my hand, maybe I can help keep enemies off him and carry him through these quests long enough for him to realize that having absolutely no protection and no attack bonus from a weapon the entire game is a futile endeavor."
So he goes in with a completely vanilla character despite me insisting that we leave the dungeon and enter it again when he has armor and a weapon. Hell, I was willing to give him a little of the money I had in order to buy him some good equipment from the get go, but he insisted, and that's when I decided I'd let him find out the hard way that having no bonuses isn't the best way to play.
Things start off relatively well, we face the first few zombies without a hitch and make it to the rest area. For those who have never played DDO, there are places called rest stones where if you sit, you can heal up, or if you die, you can recover. I explained to him the use of the station and that if we die or get hurt, we can return to that area and recover.
From that point on, the dungeon gets a little harder. It's no big deal, really. Even with the two-person-party difficulty bonus in place, it's the easiest dungeon in the game. All it takes is teamwork. That's what DDO is all about. A lot of the dungeons in the game require a party. It promotes teamwork.
As we heal, I give him a rundown of the rest of the dungeon, going "Look, we only have a little left to do. It's harder from here on out, but don't worry, as long as we take it slow and do one room at a time, and as long as you stay close to me, we'll make it just fine." He was healed sooner, because I was a higher level, and also a wizard and wizards need to also recover mana. The moment he was healed, he ran out of the room. This should have been a mushroom cloud red flag, but since I was only suffering a little on the health and only really hurting on mana, I decided I'd just be a good team mate and go with him.
We made it to the next area, which as I said, was a bit harder, but nothing we couldn't handle. We were immediately attacked, as was to be expected from this dungeon, and we were mildly outnumbered, but I knew this was coming, and knew it was very possible.
He wasn't even all that injured when he turned tail and without a word, fled. Way outmatched, flying solo as a wizard, and dying fast, I had to pull back too. "It's alright," I thought... "It's his first time playing. Once he gets his fortitude back up, we'll rest up and try it again." Since he was ahead of me, he got back to the rest area first.... and shut the door in my face.
In this particular dungeon, the rest area had a door. You're meant to open it and leave it open, but it's also handy for keeping mobs out. I was only a few steps behind him, and he would have seen me when he turned around to shut the door, because I was literally close enough to be hit in the face when he slammed the door on me. Feeling more than a little betrayed, I opened the door to try to squeeze in. I had just enough health that despite the zombies catching up and beating on me, I could get inside, that way, if I died, I could reach the stone, revive, and kill any zombies that slipped through. Before the doors were even open enough for me to fit through, he slammed them shut again, allowing me to die.
In DDO, if you die, you can still get back to a rest stone and revive if you're close enough, because you're in spirit form and can move a certain distance away from your death spot. Unfortunately, you can't walk through walls or doors, and he'd become completely irrational, refusing to open the door so I could get in and revive myself.
In DDO (if I remember correctly) you get a penalty if you have to respawn while on a quest. (Respawn means you recall from the level, are revived in the hub world, and can go back in.) So long as there's one player in your party in the dungeon, you don't have to start over. Quickly, I ran back in, and hurried back over to get rid of the zombies only to die again because you don't respawn with full health. However, I'd still managed to accomplish my goal: getting the zombies away from the door long enough for him to open it. He opened it... and shut it behind him. But rather than pick up my soul stone and go back in... (Living players can pick up dead players' soul stones, a large item that hovers over your death spot. Having this allows them to revive you)... like the game was prompting him to do, he decided to try and make a break for it.
He failed, and neither of us could get back inside and reach the rest stone. I told him to wait there, and that I'd respawn, come back in again, and revive him, but as I was making my way back to the dungeon entrance, he decided to respawn, resetting the quest.
We started the quest back up again, but he logged out a quarter of the way in, ditching me in a quest that I'd already completed, on a difficulty I couldn't do alone at the time. I alt+tabbed only to see that he was still online on Skype. When I asked what's wrong, he said (paraphrased) "Oh, I'd rather play something else right now. That sure was fun, though. I hope we can play again soon! :D"
I wanted to say "It wasn't fun for me!" I wanted to say "You didn't communicate with me as an equal so I knew what your plan was. You ran away like a bitch, leaving me way outmatched, and then you stabbed me in the back and stranded me to die. Then, when I suffered reward penalties to help you finish the quest, you don't even think to use the opportunity to help me so we could work as a party. Then you die, ignore my orders, and fuck the quest and our progress by leaving." I wanted to tell him he was the worst MMO partner I've ever had... but I didn't. I said nothing, allowed him to log off, and I haven't spoken to him since. Mostly because he stopped logging on at all only a year later, but after seeing how he betrayed me, and didn't put any effort into trying to speak with me again after that play session, I have to wonder how true our friendship had even been.
Don't feel bad for me, though. I did keep playing DDO for a month or two after that, with my best friend, and we always work together really well. She and I worked together and always looked out for each other, even when getting to each other's soul stones meant risking death and having to completely restart the mission.
While playing Phantasy Star Online 2, she said I was hands down the best tank she'd ever had.
If you've never MMO'd before, a tank is a player character who keeps enemy attention off ranged and support class characters by attacking them and fighting them as many at a time as possible so that the tank takes the most damage, and not the more fragile ranged or support players. Tanks are usually warrior/fighter class characters, or any characters that can eat a ton of damage and not worry about dying.
When I asked her what she meant by "I'm the best tank she's had" she said that unlike other people she frequently played MMOs with, not only did I do my job as a tank like I was supposed to, I also did it even if it meant that I'd die because of it. I'd charge headlong into bosses I knew would just fucking slaughter me. I'd be up close, taking a beating so she could shoot at it from a safer distance. That's the kind of partner I am. Compare and contrast that with the "friend" from my story above.
If you have an MMO party horror story of your own, feel free to share it in the comments below.