I'd played almost exclusively Alliance until my guild broke up 2 months into Burning Crusade. I'd gotten a taste for doing instances and raiding so I wasn't going to go back to just doing the solo content and PvP by myself (I was as surprised as anyone to find out how social a game World of Warcraft is. It's not nearly as sad as I thought it would be) but I didn't want to start over with a new guild or PuG instances. I decided to pick up my horde character and level him to 70 so I could play with people I knew.
That was a year and a half ago. From time to time, people in my horde guild complained about the mean old Alliance who ganked them once or twice. I suggested in no uncertain terms that they level an Alliance toon to max level on a PvP server and get back to me. Oh man... Did that ever start a flame war... And the lynchpin of their argument was ALWAYS Tarren Mill. Tarren Mill this. Tarren Mill that. I would tell them that if they didn't like it, they could go somewhere else. Hell... There were still active quest I could pick up in the Barrens (horde territory) when I ran through there at 29. There were level 28 mobs there. If you didn't want to be ganked, you could go all the way to 30-31 without leaving a safe zone or going into an instance. It might take a little longer because you'd be grinding mobs instead of questing but it could be done.
It's not quite that simple on the Alliance side. The highest level mob I can think of in an Alliance territory is at most a level 18 or 19. There might be the odd level 20 or 21 out there but, for the most part, once you hit your 20's, you're out in contested territory. The first time I was ganked was at level 19 in Redridge Mountains. A level 20 rogue was patroling the road out of town to the south... Just camping lowbies and getting his jollies out. He was there for hours until a bunch of people banded together and started camping him.
That, at least, was plausible. However, it was not uncommon to see a raid of 6 or 7 level 60's one shotting lowbies from the roof of the inn there. And then there were the near daily raids on Darkshire - also frequently with people ganking lowbies from a roof. And the roving gank squads in Stranglethorn Vale (which I came to call Ganklethorn). Raids on Southshore. About 2 out of every 5 horde I saw jumped me all the way up to 60. The Netherwind Regalia was, at the time, the WoW equivalent of red markings on a snake... But even then, I still got jumped from time to time. Mostly I blinked or sheeped and ran away (a skill that came in very handy in Warsong Gulch) but after I started getting crazy gear I got a little bolder.
Don't get me wrong, the Alliance was guilty of this to a certain extent (hell... I have over 21k HKs on my Alliance mage and a good solid 300-500 of those came outside of battlegrounds (what can I say... Crucify would sometimes delay raids if there were horde between Cenarion Hold and Ahn'Qiraj)) but it never seemed like it was as mean or as organized. It _seems_ (and this may not be the case, but that's certainly how it appears) that the horde attracts a certain type who identifies with the evil/darker side and they take it seriously. When I started making my first passes through Ganklethorn on the horde side, you'd see it in general chat: "Let's kill/rape/murder these fuckers/assholes/pussies" (Hell... People in my guild have said as much in guild chat) or "Let's form a raid on Darkshire" were things you'd see almost daily. People frequently come into a zone and ask in general "Any Alliance around?".... OK... Not 'Alliance'. They call them 'allies'. It seems derogative when they say it. These were things I've never seen once on the Alliance side. Maybe it's the culture of the servers I'm on and a sample size of two isn't large enough but the general rule is: That nice Alliance character is going to leave you alone or even help you if you get in trouble. That horde is going to kill you as soon as you pull more than one mob or you let your health or mana drop below 50%. Count on it.
I've actually bailed a horde who made an ugly three pull out and gotten myself in trouble and had them kill me because I was vulnerable.
Over the last year and a half, I've leveled 3 toons to 70 and one to 50. The level 50 has been ganked a total of maybe 5 times. These four characters (including a mage) have been attacked fewer times total than my Alliance mage was ganked sucessfully in just over a year. They've never been camped and they've only run into 4 or 5 raids on horde outposts - most of which were easily broken up by a single feral druid.
With the coming of WotLK, there's no real point on working on my horde 70's. At best, they'll get incremental upgrades for several hours of work. So I've been working on my Alliance mage a little. Mostly grinding his SSO rep to exalted for the neck piece. In three days on Isle of Quel'Danas, I've been ganked 5 or 6 times and people have made another 10 or so attempts. I've been ganked by a warlock, a shadow priest, a rogue and a hunter. I've been camped by a shadow priest and a hunter... Which is one thing... But...
The hunter was a total asshat about it. I mean... You can usually tell from the names. Anyone with blood, death, kill or the like (also anyone with a name that replaces and 'er' with 'a' like 'playa' or 'killa') is going to be an asshat. In this case, the huntard's name was Hulkamania. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that this guy was looking for a fight... But one he already knew the outcome of. So let's run through the sequence:
1) I pull a warlock and his imp right next to the "second" quest hut in IoQD. Huntard shoots me in the back (as is their way) and kills me.
2) I run back to my corpse and wait for the huntard to get bored, mount up and ride away far enough away that I could rez and get back to "relative" safety.
3) I rez. Run to safety. Huntard shoots me and continues doing so as I run around the building.
4) Huntard gets killed by guards.
5) I pick a slightly different location and start to pull again. Huntard comes back and shoots me in the back... Again.
6) But this time I get away... And get back to the guards again.
7) I sit down in the doorway to the second quest hut and eat and drink while surrounded by about 8 guards.
8) Huntard finds me and sits outside the doorway on his mount waiting for me to come out.
9) I sit there.
10) Huntard starts saying something in /say. I assume it's insulting. I assume it's something along the lines of "come out and fight" when he really means "come out and let me shoot you in the back again because you're an undergeared mage and I haven't gotten enough jollies off of you yet".
11) I sit there.
12) Huntard does a /spit
13) I sit there.
14) Huntard says a bunch more things.
15) I sit there.
16) Huntard rides off.
17) Huntard rides back 12 seconds later like, somehow, I was fooled by him riding off.
18) I sit there.
After about 3 more minutes he finally runs off. Time out of my day... Eh... I had left work at 10:30 because I wasn't feeling well, so this was bonus time and there was good stuff on the TV so nothing really. But it was 10 minutes when I wasn't plowing through dailies. So I did the two bombing quests because I'd be safe for a few minutes and he'd have found a new victim.
But it does make me wonder what is wrong with his medula oblongata that he'd spend 10 minutes trying to grief me and then act all mad at _me_ when I wouldn't grant him the satisfaction. Is he a bully? Was he bullied in school so he gets his ya-yas out by picking on people in a digital world? Does he just have a small epeen in real life?
Don't get me wrong... I ganked people before. Those who really deserved it by griefing me (or others) multiple times were camped. There was one time when a hunter ganked my mage a couple of times and when I couldn't find him again, I killed everything that moved in the Arathi Highlands - I'm talking players and, well, pretty much all of Refuge Point (I was pissed... He must have /spit on my corpse. I have no patience for that kind of behavior) in an effort to call him out. But I have never, ever once in my life gotten pissed at someone who had done nothing to me other than deny me a chance to gank them a second time.
But my point... My point... There _was_ a point, right? Oh yeah. Yes. Tarren Mill can be bad. Boo. Hoo. At least the horde can avoid Tarren Mill (or... Just go there on weekend mornings or early in the evening before it gets bad. The Alliance can't avoid... Umm... Pretty much everything. You just have to know that there's an undead rogue, a hunter or a warlock out there somewhere just waiting for you to pull three mobs at half health. So... Stop whining about Tarren Mill until you've seen how the other half lives and can honestly say it's not ten times worse. Seriously... I'll wait.