So I was listening to the live stream of Blue Plz!, the WoW podcast by TotalBiscuit tonight. At some point he mentioned that he was organising an event called Trollfest on the Ahn'Qiraj server and invited people to come and join. There didn't seem to be much point to it other than to create a few minutes of video footage of lots of trolls dancing in Sen'jin for him, but I've heard a lot of good things about large events like that in the past and thought that it could be fun. So I decided to create a little troll hunter of my own on Ahn'Qiraj. The dedicated starting time was still over an hour away, but I figured that that would give me at least a bit of time to level, which is good fun after all (and would prevent the scorpids around Sen'jin from pwning me).
At first I was pleasantly surprised to actually see the troll starting zone be full of life for a change. I hadn't seen a starting zone this active since the start of BC. I actually had to work to hunt down those mottled boars because so many other people were trying to do the quests too!
Unfortunately that's already where the positive impressions ended. Despite of there being some questing activity, the majority of people didn't seem to have any interest in actually playing and set off for Sen'jin straight away. And the spam was crazy. I'm not just talking about general chat being very active (which it was), but pure, undiluted stupidity. People constantly seemed to be making macros to spam yet more pointless crap, whether it was "for the alliance" or "mosh mosh" - and all in caps of course. It was hard to keep up with all the spam reporting, so I eventually just gave up on trying to make any kind of sense of the chat window.
Also, from comments that TotalBiscuit made live on the show and the occasional coherent sentence in general, it quickly became apparent that there was trouble. People were complaining about constantly getting disconnected and claimed that the server was crashing - the latter definitely wasn't true during my time online at least, as I was happily questing away in the Valley of Trials without even the slighest lag.
There did seem to be problems in the immediate Sen'jin area however, and as it turned out at least one GM actually appeared and asked people to log off since their behaviour was "having a negative impact on the normal users of this realm". TB went along with this and said that the event was cancelled, while complaining about how weak Blizzard's servers were. Keep in mind that the Trollfest guild capped out at five hundred members and I reckon that there were at least another five hundred people around who wanted to join, and all these people were trying to get into Sen'jin! Considering that I reckon that each WoW server is only optimised to manage a few thousand players at a time, that was a considerable chunk right there.
Thus the event was cancelled before it had even begun. I made it over to Sen'jin a bit later, once I had hit level five, and there were still a fair number of people around, still dancing, still spamming, and becoming more embarrassing by the minute. A lot of people who had come to the event apparently didn't even listen to the radio show itself and had no clue that it had been cancelled, which quickly led to a war in chat as some people were claiming that TotalBiscuit would arrive soon or that he was just observing things anonymously, and that anyone who tried to relay the message that the event had been cancelled was just a dirty, dirty liar. Is this how new religions get started? I eventually logged off because the whole thing just became too awkward.
I suppose part of the problem was that the whole event had no point other than to have people standing around in Sen'jin and doing the /dance emote, which meant that the whole zone pretty much degenerated into nothing but a glorified chat room. I wonder if the GMs had felt the need to interfere in the same way if more people had actually played in some fashion, whether it was just doing quests, organising a communal run to Thunder Bluff or whatever. At least then the activity would have been spread out a little bit.
But yeah, I'm definitely going to stay away from any more "massive" events of that type in the future. Too many people with nothing to do in one spot just breeds dumb behaviour and no fun at all.