#5. Despawn of the Sleeper (EverQuest)
You're playing a game where you kill things. What do you do with a giant dragon that kills things, can only be woken by killing four smaller dragons first and is now trying to kill you? If you said "kill it" you just surprised the hell out of Sony who, to be fair, have never claimed they weren't wearing human-skin suits while studying these Earth things called "game-ers." Kerafyrm the Sleeper was EverQuest's dragon-equivalent of Sauron, if Sauron drove the Death Star to work. It had a hundred times as many hit points as any other boss, was immune to most damage, had two spammable instant-kill attacks because screw you and didn't work right because it was online and programmed by Sony.
Waking it created Kerafym the Awakened, also known as "Kerafym the Ran Away From" and "Kerafym the Cripes That's Big."
It forced the three top guilds to co-operate, which makes herding cats look easier than getting Bollywood extras to move in step. It was Sesame Street by way of Lord of the Rings, specifically the end of the third movie, since for over three hours, 180 players turned themselves into a Sisyphean Zerg horde. Resurrecting each other faster than the monster could kill them, they put in Herculean feats of teamwork that cruelly mocked the concept of "fun." They fought like warrior poets, they fought like Scotsmen and eventually ground the boss down to 22 percent health -- at which point Sony turned the whole thing off and acted like it was the players' fault. So if you're wondering how they can keep the PlayStation Network off for a week and act like that's fine, it's because they've been practicing.
They took their ball and went home, where their ball was a giant harbinger of doom and the focus of the entire game.
Showing less regard for their users than an Iron Maiden, they released a rubbish (and later disproven) excuse about how Kerafyrm's programming had been distracted by an NPC -- and you'll notice how even their own excuse is based on their incompetence -- before simply apologizing and resetting the entire event, telling players to try again. It was like Lucy tricking Charlie Brown if Lucy was making millions of dollars making Charlie Brown miss, and if it took three man-weeks to run up to the football.
#4. Crashing The (Funeral) Party (World of Warcraft)
A Horde guild proved a lot of the good things people say about online relationships by holding a respectful in-game funeral for a friend who had died in real life, and an Alliance guild, Serenity Now, proved everything else they say by massacring everyone present. As dick moves go, it's effective and tactical: Everyone's clustered together, no one's expecting to fight and you've got one less target than normal.
Any virtual conga line is pretty sad, but this was the saddest.
Proving that the only reason the Internet still exists is because it's not possible to kill other people through computer screens, most people familiar with WoW culture sort of shrugged, and said, "Yeah, they sort of had it coming." The targets were holding their funeral on a PvP (Player-versus-Player) server. The victims could have mourned their friend somewhere besides the middle of the battle field, but instead, they mourned a real tragedy to demand special treatment. This was the closest the Internet gets to real war after all, and you don't see soldiers mourning their dead in the middle of the battle field.
"Time out, Jimmy's hurt!"
Actually, it turns out real-world soldiers even show more respect for the dead than WoW players. Yes, it was stupid of them to give out their location and advise people they wouldn't be ready to fight without first getting confirmation that everyone was on board with the ceasefire. Yes, they should have known that relying on mutual respect online is like relying on body armor made of beefsteak in a lion enclosure. But if the German and British soldiers managed to hold off on avenging real deaths for an entire week during WWI, we have a tough time siding with the guys who couldn't hold off for an hour in a fake online world.
But these guilds really did not get along, you guys.