Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Horde and Shifting Morality

First of all a quick update on Space Lobster. He smells bad and he's not responding to outward stimuli. Not much progress then.

I do want to point to an article on World of Warcraft entitled "The Horde is Evil." The initial article (by Edward Castronova) is O.K., but the comments to it are really good. There are a few of the "Shut up stupid" responses, and more than a few of the "It's just a game" responses (which I don't see as much better), but there are also a lot of really thoughtful responses.

Many of you know that I play World of Warcraft myself. I play both Alliance (the good guys), and the Horde. My main character has been Strillix, a Night Elf Druid. Night Elf Druids are Good! As you can see he has a cute little pussy cat, thus proving his Goodness.

However, recently I've been playing Gravesilence a lot more (mainly because he joined a good guild), who is my Undead Warlock. Undead Warlocks are Evil (and doesn't he look it?).

This is my Tauren Shaman, Angushin. Tauren Shamans are Good! But they are members of the Horde and the Horde is Evil. After all my Tauren Shaman has visited the Undercity (home of the Undead) many times. So maybe he isn't Good.

This is Siljinia my Troll Hunter. Trolls are Evil. And Siljinia has a very mercenary attitude I've always assumed. In it for the money.

Anyway I don't want to make light of the question of whether playing an evil character (and there is no doubt that Gravesilence is pretty evil) is a morally questionable act. On the other hand, this posts main point seems to be that traditionally Orcs and Trolls and Undead are evil, so in this game they must be evil too. That works for the Undead (because there is lots of in-game evidence that they are evil), but not as well for the Orcs and Trolls (who are playing a redemption arc.

For Mr. Castronova, the image or the idea of an Orc or a Troll cannot be redeemed. That may be true for him, and if so, perhaps he would be better off not playing on the Horde side. But I don't think he has complete say over what those symbols mean.

At any rate the discussion is interesting (if long), and should be of interest to Roleplayers (this means you, Random Goblin), even if they don't happen to play World of Warcraft.

And to be honest, this post was also a good excuse to post cool screenshots of my characters.

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