How much war is in the World of WARcraft?

I have decided to focus on chapter two of Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg’s collection in Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A “World of Warcraft” Reader. In this chapter titled “Never Such Innocence Again”: War and Histories in World of Warcraft Esther MacCallum-Stewart argues that though World of Warcraft is a game based around the ideals of wars and video games that portray wars it does not follow the same path as many others. WoW for short, has warlike scenarios but never comes to a clear-cut winner due to the construction of the game. We must analyze and understand the “war” between the Horde and the Alliance.

Immediately before even creating a character, MacCallum-Stewart gives us a small look into something personally I overlooked, which was the importance of choosing a server. Most people in our situation, newbs for lack of better term, would choose a “Normal” server only allowing for fights between characters and CPUs at all times. These realms are “truce” realms unlike “PvP” realms, which are “at war” realms. Now it may seem that this makes any “Normal” realm in WoW insignificant but that is where MacCallum-Stewart shows us the way.

Despite realms having different standards of war, the war is still relevant. We see consistently through the maps that war is present in any type of realm. We are “forced” to see that the Alliance is good and the Horde is evil. This is portrayed through the “lifestyles” they live. Through experience, I see a constant brightness to anywhere the alliance has situated themselves and on the contrary see that the Horde is constantly in dark, burnt, terrible places.

As MacCallum-Stewart put it nicely: “The narrative of World of Warcraft presents a society where the state of warfare is naturalized.” (Page 58) To explain this does not take much work, solely to define what it means to be naturalized in this situation, which is the idea of something being very common or normal to what is going on around the characters at all time. This is important because, to me, it gives us some insight that though war might be a overarching theme of this game, it comes secondary to our own game play when playing in “Normal” realms. We do quest, we run dungeons, and we wander, but not too often are we reminded that a “war” is raging on.

The last thing I will talk about is something that seems very discussed by other authors throughout this book, which is the idea that Blizzard is overtly sending out messages in relation to what is going on around us in the non-fictional world. Obviously in this example it is most related to war when talking about overt messages but nonetheless it is attempting to create overt messages. We must keep in mind that this game was made in 2004 and during that time the United States was in deep conflict with another country. Though MacCallum-Stewart has given us a good insight into a game with a “war” raging through it, it only seems that players who aren’t invested enough to find out more about it overshadow the normality of this war.

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One Response to How much war is in the World of WARcraft?

  1. exelsisxax says:

    I find it best to think about WoW like the cold war, except the cuban missile crises was an alien invasion defeated by an alliance of world powers.

    Then everyone decided to go back to war, but be really stupid about it so that nobody gained anything but corpses.


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