For those who defend the act of ganking, their argument is that they are playing by the rules, that is to say they are not exploiting nor manipulating the game mechanics unlawfully, therefore they have every right to attack any player in any manner they wish, no matter how one-sided or seemingly dishonourable the fight may be. Also, as ganking involves fighting within the rules of the game, any player may be considered a potential ganker. For example, if a level 70 player attacks a level 1 player, and (for the sake of the argument) may be considered 70 times more powerful than the level 1 player, the fight is obviously one-sided, and the level 70 player will win. However, the level 1 player would only need to reach level 70 themselves, and attack a level 1 player, in order to be in a similar position, thus fairness is established - a player who is ganked has the capability to become a player who also can gank. They cannot, however, get "revenge" against the original offender since the best they can hope for against the level 70 is a (nominally) even fight.
The arguments against ganking support the notion that ganking is either unfair, dishonourable, petty, mean-spirited, or cruel. A ganker cannot gain anything from the outcome of such one-sided fights other than satisfying a sadistic urge, thus having no respect for the feelings of the ganked. In MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, balanced PvP combat, where levels are not considerably disparate, offer rewards in terms of 'honour points', which may be used for personal gain. Similarly, rewards are available to players who contribute to or who are personally responsible to the deaths of enemy players of a higher level. Players who attack considerably lower-level players will not gain rewards. While certain players may become involved in one-sided fights occasionally, many other players dedicate considerable time and effort to ganking, such as placing themselves in areas of the game world where much lower-level players are numerous and more balanced fights are scarce, or by maintaining a low profile until the opportunity arises to attack low-level players. Furthermore, ganking never offers combative challenges to the ganker, nor personal gain.
Suspicions about traits of cruelty, bullying and cowardice in committed gankers are pertinently exposed in the observation that gankers deliberately target low-level players in the knowledge that a human being (on the other end of the targeted player character) will be either insulted, frustrated or upset by their inevitable death(s). In purely physical terms, ganking involves the effortless killing of another. However, the habits of gankers have rarely been observed to include committed combat with non-player characters (controlled by a computer as opposed to a player), thus highlighting the suggestion that the specific intention of a ganker is to enjoy causing grief to other human beings.
When gankers do gank NPCs, or your non-player characters, it is to stop them from helping other players. The most targeted NPCs in World of Warcraft are the Flight Masters, who can allow you to leave your location to a distant one quickly, the quest givers, the main source or experience points, or the vendors, who can sell important items. In other games the targets are similar. It can be argued that interference with such NPCs would be a legitimate war time objective to hamper the "supply lines" and morale of the enemy factions (and thus a legitimate extension of PvP, generalizing the concept to more closely model real world warcraft).
Another interpretation of the intention of a ganker is that the ganker is simply trying to draw out more powerful player-characters for a serious and exciting challenge. The premise is that the more powerful player-characters will soon come to "rescue" the weaker player-characters, and that the high level player-characters will come in greater numbers than is typically seen in the game. In this manner, the ganker greatly increases the likelihood of encounter with a high level opponent. In some cases, the ganker attracts player-characters that are much more powerful than he or she is. The result can be a thrilling "cat and mouse" game and genuine test of skill. Ironically, the ganker may very well be killed by the more powerful player-characters he or she has attracted. Nevertheless, the killing of low-level characters is not required to trigger the defense announcement that an area is under attack by the opposite faction, meaning that the player need only kill non-player characters to trigger the warning and draw out higher-level defenders.
Ganking is often concurrent with corpse camping.
Gank is mainly used as a verb, for example: "I just got ganked by a Stygian/Cimmerian!".