World of Warcraft is a game characterized by larger than life characters. Sargeras, Velen, Sylvanas—the list of its heroes and villains goes on and on. But for a game about players killing gods and becoming heroes of Azeroth, Warcraft's community has surprisingly few notable players-turned-turned heroes and even less villains. Except one. His name is Angwe, and in 2005 he was World of Warcraft's ganking god.
If you travel to Menethil Harbor today, you'll find the once-thriving port city half-submerged into the sea. But back in 2005, Menethil Harbor was submerged in something much more tragic: the endless tears of countless players of the Alliance as they fell victim to the Terror of Menethil, an orc rogue named Angwe (pronounced like Elmer Fudd saying "angry"). For four months during that year, Angwe set up camp in Menethil and slaughtered hundreds of players for eight hours each and every goddamn day. Using stealth, he could slip past the guards undetected while players waited for the boats that would whisk them across the sea to Kalimdor. Then he would strike.
Being one of the only ways to move between Kalimdor and Azeroth, Menethil Harbor was a bottleneck that nearly every player had to pass through at least once. And when they did, Angwe would be waiting. Even entire guilds rallied to bring him down. It was a ceaseless bloodbath that has become one of Warcraft's few player-made legends.
"I just like being Freddy Krueger," Angwe tells me with a sinister laugh. "There were a lot of times that someone would be waiting for the boat, and they'd be like, good, Angwe isn't here. They'd get on the boat, and I'd get on with them but I'd use Stealth so I was invisible. About halfway through the boat ride I'd kill them and then just jump off and swim back. I loved making people scared, making them watch their back the whole time. I love being the bogeyman."
The destroyer of worlds
The Angwe I'm talking to today isn't anything like his orc persona would suggest. He's a funny and likeable guy working as an indie game programmer. We had to delay our interview a bit because his wife just gave birth to their first child. Angwe is now, by all accounts, a well-adjusted 33 year old.
But back in 2005, before going to college, Angwe was the living embodiment of the griefer from "Make Love, Not Warcraft," South Park's famous satire of World of Warcraft. It wasn't good enough that he would kill you. No, a true griefer follows every kill with a well-orchestrated assault on your morale, goading you into losing your temper over private messages. And then, like a digital trophy case, Angwe would screenshot your tantrum and post it on his website to shame you even further. "If I was going to camp a spot, I wanted the satisfaction of seeing people freak out," he says.
Angwe's original website is long gone, but a faithful few have hosted copies of it on their own servers. Looking through the screenshots posted there, it's a scrapbook of hissyfits.
"Hey Angwe go suck a fuck," Khurne said to over the in-game general chat channel.
"I absoutely fucking hate u angwe u r a fucking nerd and have absolutely no life, hell u probly live in ur moms basement," another screenshot reads.
It's the decade-old legacy of one player who decided not to raid or do dungeons like a normal person, but to murder anyone who dared step foot in the most popular port in all of World of Warcraft. How does someone become so ruthless you ask?
Easy. They play Everquest.
"I started playing Everquest in high school and eventually it started to consume my life," Angwe says. "It was a horrible, horrible game and I played on a PVP server and people were vicious—it was a mean place." He tells me that if people found his exploits to be tasteless, they should see the stuff he put up with in Everquest. People wouldn't just taunt you into losing your cool, they would go out of their way to fuck up your week.
"It felt like I was the WoW version of the people I remember killing me in Everquest," Angwe laughs. "There was a guy in Everquest named Synthesizer, he was a bard, and he was scary, like, as a person. Someone stole something from him in Everquest, so he started sleeping according to their timezone so he could optimally grief this guy. He would wake up with him on Everquest and follow him around fucking his day up until he got his vengeance. He did that for weeks."
But World of Warcraft's players were a more docile breed, Angwe says. Coming from more team-oriented MMOs like Final Fantasy 11 or Asheron's Call, many weren't used to the persistent brutality that Angwe brought to Menethil. I ask Angwe about his most memorable moment. "I forgot the peoples' names, but it was a father and son duo, and the dad lost his goddamn mind," he laughs. "He could not handle me killing him. His kid even started sending me messages apologizing for his dad. So I told the dad about it, and I never saw them playing again. That guy lost his shit."
World of Warcraft's Alliance and Horde factions are separated by a language barrier, so Angwe created an Alliance character and would play on two computers. When he was done killing, he'd use 'Angwespy' to message his victims and capture their tantrums. But Angwe wasn't just good at trolling. During his tenure as Menethil's reaper, he was also one of Warcraft's best PVPers.
There is no honor
Today, World of Warcraft's PVP system is much more realized than it was back in 2005. When Angwe first started ganking, there was no real system to track his kills. But before Warcraft's first expansion was released, Blizzard introduced the Honor system to reward players for killing other of equal power. At level 60, any kill Angwe would get against another level 60 would add to his Honor rank and even unlock special PVP gear. During his four-month rampage, he tells me he was consistently the top-killer on the leaderboards, aiming for 100 kills a day. Of course, Angwe would still kill any low-level player that happened across his path to "pass the time."
But Angwe insists that he wasn't a particularly skilled player. "At the time, the bar was pretty low," he laughs. "If I were to start playing again, I'd get my ass handed to me, probably." Instead, he points to rogues being an enormously overpowered class at the time but also says that most people were simply terrible at PVP. "For example, up until the end of my playing, I would consistently find hunters who would run around in Aspect of the Cheetah [a spell that let hunters move quicker but took penalties if they received damage] full time."
Initially, Angwe was mostly killing players who would go AFK while waiting for the boat. But as word of his murders spread throughout Dethecus, the fun truly began.
A typical scene would unfold like this: While players waited for the boat to arrive, they would stand 20 meters back where the NPC guards would spawn. "All the lowbies would wait back there, and I'd usually be fighting whoever is trying to kill me to get on the boat," Angwe explains. "And as soon as I'd die or whatever, you'd see a flood of people run for the boat. Even if the boat came [and I was still alive], they'd just try to get on the fucking boat. A lot of times, the goal wasn't to kill people at that point. I just wanted to make sure none of these fuckers made it toward the boat. If they did, everyone would lose interest in being there and I wouldn't be able to kill anybody anymore."
But just because you reached the boat didn't mean you were safe.
"HOLY SH>T! ANGWE IS ON THE BOAT!" Screamed a player named Anscience in one of Angwe's screenshots. I can only presume they met a violent end. This would continue with each departure until Angwe had met his daily goal of 100 honorable kills. "I think the terror was the fun part. The Honor system was how effective I was at being terrifying," he says.
As Angwe's reputation continued to grow, entire guilds began to try and stop him. One of Angwe's most cherished screenshots is from a guild's private forums that he personally infiltrated. He had heard rumors of a guide circulating around this forum telling players how to avoid him and his tricks. "What I did is started a low level Alliance character, got him leveled up to about 10, got admitted to that guild and got on their forums," Angwe says. "I took the screenshot of that post myself and then spammed their forums with a bunch of Angwe shit just so they knew who I was. That really pissed them off."
The next day, Angwe logged into Menethil and found an entire army waiting to take him down. "Their guild leader was their highest level player, which was 60. They had a few level 50s, but then a shit-ton of level 30s and 40s. They showed up en masse to kill me."
On the Menethil Harbor docks, Angwe made his noble last stand. It wasn't the size of the army that brought him down, but the fact that his energy regenerated so slowly that he couldn't use it to Backstab enough players. While most of the low-level players did negligible damage, there was an entire battalion of priests and other healers constantly keeping everyone alive. Those that died had to only run a short distance from the Alliance graveyard to revive and get back into the fight. "I died, they did get me, but I took a lot of them with me," Angwe laughs. "It was the funnest shit—it was like I was a raid boss."
Putting down the blades
Angwe's terror spread throughout Dethecus during those four months, but it was finally Blizzard itself that brought his shenanigans to an end. In patch 1.5, Blizzard introduced a new form of PVP through Battlegrounds where players could enter instanced arenas and duke it out over various objectives like capturing the flag in Warsong Gulch. There was only one problem: Unlike today, queuing up for a Battleground meant physically traveling to its location in the world. The entirety of WoW's PVP-minded playerbase began squatting there instead of looking for fights across its open world. Angwe had become irrelevant by design.
"The rewards for doing Battlegrounds were way higher than what I was capable of doing solo with world PVP," Angwe says. "So it just wasn't economical to compete in the Honor system anymore. And anybody who was level 60 would just go sit at Alterac Valley anyway. It stopped Menethil Harbor from having the pull that it did."
That moment coincided with a revelation that Angwe had: He was wasting his life playing a videogame. He tells me that after some of his core Warcraft buddies left for college or started having families, he realized all he had was his reputation for being kind of a dick. "I was like, what the fuck am I doing with my life?" Angwe says. "So I ended up going to college for game design."
Now, nearly a decade later, he's working as a game programmer for MMOs, but still refuses to play them. "I just don't play them in a healthy way at all. Eight hours a day every day isn't really a good balance."
But somehow, his legacy lived on. When he was playing, Angwe was only famous on his server, but years later word of his deeds began to spread. Occasionally, posts on the WoW subreddit and official forums would crop up celebrating his legacy, until Angwe became a player-legend right alongside the likes of Leeroy Jenkins. Cracked.com even awarded him the number one spot in their list of the seven most elaborate dick moves in online gaming. "I was out of college and on my third job, and my brother called me up and was like, hey, you're on the front page of Reddit," Angwe tells me. It was the first time he realized the kind of impact he had on the community.
Today, he's far too busy working and being a dad to think much of it. But he still takes time to comment occasionaly and even did an Ask Me Anything interview on Reddit several years ago.
I ask if he'd ever log in as Angwe again, hoping to rekindle some of that old fashioned glory. "I would get wrecked," he laughs. "It would not be a good experience for me. I'm old and fat and gross—I don't have any fight left. That ship has sailed." Angwe no longer exists—at least not in the same form. Years ago, he transferred to a new server to play with friends and changed his faction and appearance too. Angwe the orc rogue is now Angwe the dwarf rogue, and it's unlikely that he'll ever log in to change that.
Aside from Angwe's screenshots of his victim's rage, little evidence of his legacy exists. There's no videos, and even he doesn't have any screenshots of his orc rogue. Angwe is, at this point, little more than an oral legend. But rumor has it if you travel to Menethil Harbor today, you can still hear the anguished cries of newbies who died trying to make it safely aboard the ship.