Aside from the obvious differences that exist between real life and the MMO's we play, one great difference is that in real life there is such a thing to "Dare to die well", while in MMO's the same behavior is called out as noobish or just plain stupid. Let me explain.
Hugo wrote of his fearless Friends of the ABC leader Enjorlas:
'Daring to die well always moves other men. As soon as Enjorlas folded his arms, accepting the end, the deafening clamor of the struggle died down in the room, and the chaos suddenly abated in a sort of sepulchral solemnity. It was as if the threatening of majesty of Enjorlas, disarmed and motionless, weighed on the tumult, and that, if only by the authority of his tranquil gaze, this young man, who alone had no wound, superb, cruel, dashing, indifferent as though invulnerable, was forcing that sinister mob to kill him with respect. His beauty, at that moment enhanced by his dignity, was resplendent, and, as though he could no more feel than be wouinded after the terrible twenty-four hours that had just elapsed, he was fresh and rosy. It was, perhaps, about him that a witness was speaking when he said later before the ensuing court-martial: "There was one insurgent I heard them call Apollo." A National Guard who was aiming at Enjorlas lowered his weapon, saying: "I feel like I'm about to shoot a flower."
Then a sergeant shouted: "Take aim!"
An officer intervened.
And addressing Enjorlas: "Would you like us to put a blindfold over your eyes?"
Fiction or not, the author makes the point that man can be majestic in the face of death, even inspire awe in his enemy, because "Daring to die well always moves other men."
In that story Enjorlas found himself alone, face to face with a multitude of enemies ready and anxious to end his life. He not only stood before death but threw himself in harms way in the first place.
Now, I make a distinction of an MMO player when I say daring to die well is not the same as to die intelligently. As a former raid healer, Shaman, I knew very well that if my death seemed imminent that there are better places to die than others. For example, running in front of the boss to die, planning to Reincarnate while the boss cleaves his way to victory is unintelligent. Finding a place away from add spawns, behind the boss, but in range of the tank(s) is better (again, given that death is unavoidable).
But as a healer I never charged the boss with my arms wide open, and in suprise and shock no boss ever stood in awe of my daring, my courage, nor my faith and dropped his club and whispered to himself "How could I ever hurt such a precious thing?" No, the raid bosses I fought with were pure evil, evidently, and were completely given over to the darkside. Otherwise I'm sure raiding would have been significantly easier.
No trash mob, no boss, no opposing faction player is going to care if you display courage when you decide, foolishly, to charge the Lumber Mill, alone, headlong into a group of 5 or more enemies. They will mercilessly strike you down without a second thought, and you will lose every time.
Death is a joke in MMO's, made moreso by the fact that no person is allowed to dare to die well. (Again, not intelligently, but bravely and courageously). There is no mercy, there is no enemy willing to offer you a blindfold, it's pure blood for blood and anything short of that is weakness.
The only person who cares about daring to die well is you, and the only other who recognizes it is your Id. That said, if you continue to feel like 1 on 5 is courageous or Healer vs Raid boss, by all means, be a hero to yourself. Your fellow raider may not appreciate the wipe.
I'm all for intelligent deaths in MMO's, it's good for you and everyone else you play with.
Until next time!