Everyone has experienced it. You're running along, minding your own business, when a small yellow dot appears on your mini-map.
You think "Ka-ching," let out a /cheer, and head straight for it.
A yellow dot, for you non-players, is a mining or herb node. It means there are useful things that you can scavenge in that spot -- sometimes really expensive or rare things. Once a node is scavenged, it disappears for a certain amount of time and then reappears so other players passing by can get it. The time it takes to reappear is just long enough to discourage players from sticking around and waiting for it to come back.
There are a number of problems with nodes. For one thing, it often happens in a crowded area that somebody else is taking it when you get there. That always puts me in a bad mood for a few minutes -- I grumble silently at the other person and pout all the way back to the road. Because, really, you're so happy to see a yellow dot that it's a big let-down to be disappointed when you've trekked that far out.
But it just so happens that sometimes you get to the node before anyone else. You start busily clearing out the wolves and mountain lions so they won't attack you while you gather your precious, beautiful little items. You have staked your claim. That node is yours.
And then, along comes Mr. Joe Yoink, who sees you fighting nearby but not right on top of the node and, while you're busy, takes it.
Just like that. And you could kill him.
This happened to my husband a few weeks back, except that he was actually struggling with the baddies and Joe Yoink ran right on by to get the node. Didn't offer a smidgen of help. It's like a yellow dot on the mini-map suddenly turns people into children on Christmas morning, racing for their toys no matter who (or what) is in the way. Knocking grandma over if she tries to step in and hug them, breaking her hip. And everyone else is really mad while they bundle grandma up for the hospital, but the kids have their toys and that's all that matters.
Now, I know I've been Joe Yoink. We all have, sometimes unintentionally. For me these days it's not so much about getting the materials as about marking the node on Gatherer. If I see a speck of tin, I want to know where it is so I can come back later.
But that's no excuse. If someone is fighting right nearby, help them finish the monster, then watch and see if they take the node. If they don't, it's yours for the picking. Even if you really, really wanted it. We just have to suck it up sometimes in order to be good people.