Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Today I went on my first World of Warcraft (WoW) raid. WoW has two "sides" Horde and Alliance. The Alliance are the usual "good guys", humans, elves, dwarves and gnomes. The Horde are undead, tauren, trolls and orcs. The designers have created stories for the Horde side that tell of the suffering and struggle of each of the Horde races and makes each one justified and lovable. One of the many parallel layers of the game involves the war between Alliance and Horde. In addition to the normal experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests, there is a whole ranking system based on honor points, honorable kills and dishonorable kills. Basically, huge mobs of players get together and raid towns and castles of the other "side". Killing civilians, even from the other side constitutes a "dishonorable kill" and can hamper your ability to gain rank. You basically kill guards and other players who have "Player vs Player (PvP)" turned on, signaling that they are non-civilians. Killing the leader of the particular city, fort or castle provides special honor. The ranks are based on military ranks and after you gain this rank, it is prominently displayed even when you're not fighting the other side.

It was my first raid so most of my energy was spent figuring out exactly what the hell I was supposed to be doing, but the whole mission was organized in a somewhat dysfunctional military way with teams and squad leaders. I have no idea whether I was running with a bunch of 13 year olds or professional soldiers (the game has many of both) but the raid channel chat was a bit noisy. What was disturbing was the hateful and some of the over-the-top role playing. Other members of the raid were clearly disturbed as well. I imagined a bunch of leaderless young soldiers raping and pillaging some village. I felt a bit dirty afterwards.

This is only one sample so I probably should not make a judgement yet. Maybe I should try a raid with my guild members... Or better yet, maybe I should get our Orc guild tough enough to defend the cities from these bad humans. ;-)

I was a bit too low level to be on a raid and I kept dying, but here's a picture of me on the steps of the lower level of the big Horde Undercity.


I dont get it... Even if you are a "bad guy" you are not supposed to kill civilians? Also I thought Orcs treated rape and pillage as normal, so how is that disturbing?

First of all, on this raid, I was playing Alliance as a Gnome. Also, the game is designed so that each race is proud and good. No one is supposed to rape and pillage. The Orcs are not an exception.

From the WoW page:

The savage, green-skinned Orcs are one of the most prolific races of Azeroth. They are commonly believed to be brutal and mindless, possessing no humanity or empathy for other races. Born on the hellish world of Draenor, the Orcs were brought into the kingdom of Stormwind through the dimensional gateway known as the Dark Portal and forced to wage war on the Humans. Although few are aware of their history, the Orcs once cultivated a noble, Shamanistic society on the world of Draenor. Tragically, the proud Orc clans were corrupted by the Burning Legion and used as pawns in the Legion's invasion of Azeroth. The Orcs managed to rebel, however, and they were ultimately able to help turn the tide against their demon masters. Led by the young Warchief, Thrall, the Orcs have reclaimed their strength and honor. Now, the Orcs stand ready to fight not for the sake of conquest, but for their right to survive in their adopted world.

Yeah, it's probably not apt to describe the Horde as the "bad guys" but they are recognised as such based on appearances and stereotypes from other fantasy worlds. The Warcraft franchise has been around so long that the Alliance and the Horde are just two different sides of a war that share a mutual hatred.

I understand the whole thing about feeling a bit dirty afterwards... some of the people you'll eventually meet in WoW are a little disturbing.

t'anks for the info

Well, you know what they say, the first casualty of war is innocence.

Not to be an idiot, but how are you taking screenshots within the game? I can see playing in windowed mode and doing a screen capture, but would you really sacrifice the fullscreen gameplay experience for a photo-op? Bloggers are such whores.

But at the same time, is it really the desire for a photo, or is a blogger so constantly distracted by the other goodies on the internet that he could never fully devote his screen to a single game?

Actually, there is a screen shot feature in the game and cool plugins for screenshots.

You should try a battleground for a better PvP experience when you get a few more levels. Arathi Basin, a 15 man battleground in Arathi Highlands, mixes both strategy and regular PvP: it has 5 important points that you have to conquer to get resources. The more of those points you have conquered the faster you get your resources. The first side to reach 2000 resource points wins.

Joi Ito wrote:
I was a bit too low level to be on a raid and I kept dying
Yet another unsuspecting picture-taking Japanese heiwa-boke tourist makes an unfortunate encounter with unsavory local characters in a foreign country. Will people never learn ? ;-)

"the game is designed so that each race is proud and good"

But that doesn't account for socially engineered characters. Like most worlds I'd imagine (caveat: I've never played WoW) that eventually the 'undesirable' aspects will manifest themselves somehow. It IS supposed to be life like, right?

Decisions, decisions... after some careful thinking I decided last night to cancel my WoW account. I feel it's a shame that I've been playing since November of last year, have a lvl 47 Tauren warrior, and when I cancel it'll all be gone.

I'm buying a house and trying to justify paying for the game and spending my time playing it instead of spending time getting more involved with my photography and freelance work to make money.

Wish I could go on a raid with you! But my lvl 47 is on Stormrage and my Orc on the server you play on is only lvl 7 or so. Unless I transfer my character over for one last day! I think my account expires tomorrow.

Antoin, the first casualty of war is truth.

Probably my two biggest reasons for not getting into these "games" are 1- the ever so boring clichéd beaten-to-death overuse of judeo-christian/european mythologies (see Tolkien) and 2- it's all about fighting. Snoooore. It's hard enough to avoid mindlessly violent people IRL, why the hell would I seek them out online?

"I'm a knight! I'm a dwarf! I'm a wizard! I'm an orc!" Please. :p

Boris, you've obviously been brainwashed by elves. Everyone knows that Oliver Stone said that it was innocence.

The thing about war is that what it's about. It's not about being honorable. It's about killing as many of the enemy as possible or humiliating them to the point that they lose their self-respect.

True sometimes it isn't allowed to descend to that level, but that's a matter of tactics rather than a matter of principle.

There's a bunch of mythologizing about it, but war is ultimately ugly and dirty (which isn't to say that it is always unnecessary).

Well, if war is ultimatly ugly and dirty, then why recreate it online?

Video Games, Aren't they just a waste of time? I can see playing a little but immersion into the life style of a gamer is a bit much for me...

Maybe recreating war online can provide a way of understanding whay it is important to avoid doing it in real life?

>Well, if war is ultimatly ugly and dirty, then why recreate it online?

because it appeals to one part of our human nature
(key word one part)

>over-the-top role playing.

>I felt a bit dirty afterwards.

LOL!!!!! ^_^

For the Horde!

- Gulator on kilrogg
Orc Warrior

For the Horde!

Don't discuss WOW! To understand you have to play it.

Troll Mage of the Black Furies Guild on DuneMaul

For the Alliance!

WoW is great, been playing it 3 months, got a level 56 dwarf warrior (fear me Horde!), a level 28 paladin (may The Light be with you!) and a level 20 rogue.

For the Horde!

Got a level 10 undead mage and a level 5 priest. Still small, but _very_ resourceful! They both got Alliance killing already, btw. No hard feelings :)

I think the true problem here, is that you are all trying to discuss World of Warcraft, and other war-games as if the developers sat down and said, "Hmmm ... Let's create this quasi-realistic scenario so that we may better understand our fellow man, and come to grips with the dark realities in our own pysche."

No one does that. They produce warlike games because they know America loves violence. America loves bad news. Its a fact that pays very very well. And as long as youth and adults alike pay good dollar to take a break from work and engage in some gaming, this market will never die.

On a side note; Not every gamer is a die hard "nerdy" role-player who dresses and talks like his character. You assuming that all "gamers" and their "lifestyle" ( whatever you deem that to be ) are all boring and useless, is like me assuming that you are one of those self-righteous spoon-fed children, who have come to mistakenly "believe" they are above everyone else, because they are (ha ha) cultured, refined, and beyond mere "playing".

Of course, we're both excruciatingly wrong, but the point must be made that when you assume or generalize, you essentially open your intelligence up to questioning.

my 2 bits ( or 6 and a half bits, as it turned out )

Im not gonna reveal my name guys are really over thinking it...

if u look at my email it might occur to you that it is a bit strange


15- videogames @ October 6, 2005 12:48 PM
"Video Games, Aren't they just a waste of time? I can see playing a little but immersion into the life style of a gamer is a bit much for me...

Don't bash on gamers esp. ones that play games such as these. How different is a game with an epic story to them any different from reading a novel? The only difference is you have control of the story.

14- Adriaan @ October 6, 2005 12:16 PM
"Well, if war is ultimatly ugly and dirty, then why recreate it online?"

Like said before, because it is in most human nature to be involved in conflict, War is an unavoidable "Thing" in life War is the result of many different things (Ex. Difference in opinion, or beliefs, etc.) Running away from it or acting as if it doesnt exsist is like shooting yourself in the arm and not going to the hospital. . .its only gonna get worse. War is a topic that is tought in schools where children learn about the violence of the world but then when i kid logs WoW, or plays a game with violence "Its not good for their pyschie" please stop being a bunch of hipocrits. And when kids do go nuts and shoot people. . .dont blame it on game did you ever think maybe there was something wrong with the kid, not like their arent people that are born with mental stability problems. All in all stop blaming the gaming world for violence in a already extreme violent world.

In addition to the superb post by "Voice Gamers", I would also like to add, simply, that I just finished a "Healthy Choice Dinner" and it was surprisingly tasty. Monterey Chicken and Rice.

Apart from this statement, I have nothing further to add to this discussion, as of this moment.

Hummel from Alcatraz,

I must admit though i seem to have forgot a couple words in there, due to my rage. . .i just hate when people are so quick to point fingers at things like "Video Games and Violence" or "Video Games and Lazyness" what real differnce is reading a book to playing a game other? (Other then using your imagination instead of viewing it.)

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