I was reviewing the blog scene recently, as I’ll so often do at work, and came across this post. To sum it up, the author felt moral implications after completing a quest chain. What really stands out to me are the commenters.

Apparently, there’s a lot of torture that goes on in Northrend. And baby stealing. And eyeball eating.

But you know what? I don’t care. None of it bothers me in the least.

And why? Because I’m not torturing people, stealing babies, or eating eyeballs. My views in real life do not apply to minute scripted events or action timers while I’m kneeling by virtual cradles.

Death Knight’s are killing women and children? Suuuuuure, right on. It’s the G-rated version of an R-rated movie and I can live with that.

One commenter on that site asserted that “on some level of consciousness this normalizes and justifies torture”. Really? If you’re using that logic, “on some level” watching the Looney Toons normalizes and justifies dropping an anvil on people’s heads. Watch out, Mom! I have a rocket strapped on my back and I’m not afraid to use it!

People can have whatever opinions they want and freely share them. I enjoyed reading these people’s thoughts but I couldn’t help thinking that some people need lighten up. WoW, WAR, or any other game, should not have anything to do with waterboarding or Guantanamo Bay and I doubt that’s what the developers were going for.

On top of that, I notice that people elaborate a lot on what their characters are actually doing. Let’s not confuse your imagination with what’s actually happening though. Your character is not “scooping babies”. He’s kneeling and you’re watching a loading bar. Your character is not “eating eyeballs” you just got a little buff icon by your minimap. I could see if there was a detailed animation for all of the things people are morally outraged by. If I could see the fear and pain on the torture victim’s face, maybe I’d be bothered too. But I can’t. I see a scripted bit of animation with a little bit of optional backstory to accompany it.

So, no, I don’t care about being the bad guy.

The simple fact is, some people have fun with being evil. If you’re not that person, skip the quest and move on. And if you have to do the quest? Skip the text. Problem solved.

God help some of these people if they happen to read some of WAR’s quest text. They won’t ever play an MMO again.

Update: After reading a little further, this comment really epitomizes the difference between how some people see gaming and how I see it.

“I had to stop killing the Arctic Grizzly Bear and her cub. Couldn’t decide which was worse: killing the mother first so the baby saw her die, or killing the cub first so the mother saw her die.”

I guess I just can’t bring myself to that level of immersion, or identification, with the my character and the game as a whole. Maybe I’m missing out because I bet you this person feels a lot more “in the game” than I do sometimes. I feel immersion sure but everytime I see these kinds of comments, I can’t help but think “jeez”. Nothing against those people. I just don’t feel it myself.

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