A Kill in the World of Warcraft

“It is forbidden to kill;
therefore all murderers are punished unless
they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

― Voltaire

Killing in the World of Warcraft.

Sometimes, I wonder if this game is the game for me. In this game I am asked to kill and I do.

This game is surely abstract. We kill demons and orcs. We are on the side of Right and Truth. I have to admit that WoW does a terrific job.

A good game will make you think. It will be more than mechanics and visuals. The designers have hammered home over the past expansions the horrible feeling that our actions result in some pretty bad stuff; we destroyed Pandaria and we are soaking Draenor of it’s resources without a second thought. The aftermath of our just cause is harsh.

I wondered if I could kill in Real Life. I never have. I don’t own a gun. I’ve never practiced with any weapon. I worry if I hurt someone’s feelings! Could I put a gun to someone’s eye and pull the trigger?

I think, sometimes, that I could in the most abstract sense. I think I could sniper our corrupt Senators for taking money for votes. I think I could shoot a drug dealer, maybe. I distance myself; weapons with range.

The Horrors of Warcraft are not really shown; thankfully it’s a game. Imagine the slaughter in Shatt five days later with rotting stinking bodies. Imagine how foul it would be after you walked away with 120 skins from wolves. Imagine the wounded after a raid, the survivors who will be crippled and in pain forever more.

The graveyards in Azeroth and Draenor are quaint little ancient places where rest a few bodies from the past. We don’t honor our fallen comrades, just the beacons of lore. If we have seven million players, many who are wiping during raids, dying while questing, pvping …. millions dead every day. Incredibly morbid.

The abstracting of this fantasy world is important.
It is not money, it is called Gold.
We don’t work for a goal, we play; sometimes play hard.
We do make friends, real friends but sometimes fall victim to abstract hierarchy.
I’m a hero in both lives even if I’m on my back porch with a laptop playing a game.

Even so, the word “kill” will still startle me. There is no euphemism and no one is even trying. “Go kill ten guards and loot their bodies”.

The dead bodies will fade away in about five minutes.

By John Donne 1572–1631

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.


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