Disclaimer: this post begins with an explanation of my position on religion. I go into such detail not so as to begin a discussion on religion but so as to enable the reader to draw a clear picture of my beliefs on this topic. I understand that the reader may be swayed to comment on religion itself, but as the argument is of a different nature, and as I use religion only as a point to make an example for my greater argument in this case, I humbly ask that the ensuing discussion be kept free of religion. If you as a reader wish to further the discussion on religion, please send me an email and we can do it in private, something of which I am only too happy to do.
I am an anti-theist. For those of you unfamilar with the term it defines someone who not only does not believe in the idea of god, but who is opposed also to the idea of religion itself. I find the entire concept of religion and faith to be deeply insulting, and talking to a priest or other layman can induce the feeling of wanting to throw up in my own mouth, (which can be tricky seeing as I live in a small mountain village in Italy).
I do not like anything to do with religion, be it a church or an altar, a priest or a nun, a veil or a cassok, a ritual or a celebration. I particularly detest funerals as I am forced to go to those due to both wishing to pay my respect to the deceased and attempting to give comfort to the bereaved, whilst simultaneously having to suffer the stupifyingly stupid and insulting speeches from the clergy that drone on for so long as to cause birds to drop from the sky. It is also my sincere belief that the world would be a better place without religion. In short, religion gives me the shits.
So let us now turn our attention to WoW. And let us assume that I were the type of individual who felt that it was their duty to impose their own political and moral viewpoint onto the game enjoyed and played by millions of people around the world. Imagine if you will the list of examples that I could draw up, similar to that written over at mentalshaman with regards to feminism. We could start with the Cathedral in Stormwind, and the entire Cathedral district. We could move on to entire character classes, the priest, paladin and shaman. It would not be difficult for me to gather a great many examples to support my argument for the imposition of anti-theist elements within the game to at least balance out the biased and irritating examples of theism and religion found all over and throughout the World of Warcraft.
Now I want you to imagine if you will, that I actually wrote this list, on this blog. Imagine that I gained a notable following and a good deal of vocal support about this. Imagine that Blizzard actually made a few changes in-game to satisfy this outside pressure group. How would you feel, knowing that your game that you play and love had had to bow to political correctness from the real world? How would you feel when you saw one of these elements in-game, whether something added or something taken out? I know how I would feel: it would yank me from my immersion in a fantasy world that I use as an escape from the real world and place me back into that real world. And it would thus make me very sad and upset.
I can tell you right now, from the position of being a vehement anti-theist, that I would be just as vocal in my opposition to this if it came about as I have been to the argument of imposing feminist elements merely for the sake of having them there. There is no place for the imposition of real world special interest groups and their agenda’s, whether good or bad, onto a place that we all use as an escape to have fun and relax. And more to the point, if one group gained representation in this way then any other group would have equal claim to have their own issues and demands met. And fairly soon our game would not be about changing it to balance this class over another, (never at the expense of rogues!), but about which group had more representation, a balancing act that can only lead to inanity in its apparent search for equality.
If this outcome would seem outlandish to you, know that every large movement in history, every change whether for good or bad has had its genisis in such small and seemingly innocuous steps. Which is why when I saw that post on mentalshaman and the responses to it, as well as further posts echoing throughout the blogosphere, I felt compelled to act. Blogs are not private, as some commentators have stated, attempting to insinuate that I had no place bringing my unwelcome attitudes into a “private” discussion. Your blog is private if it requires a password in order to access it. If not, then it is just as public as the bbc news website, and therefore both able to spread its ideas at a rapid rate and also be up for discussion. I have, amongst many other unwelcome accusations, been accused of being filled with rage. My posts have been attempted to be dismissed as the ravings of a demented bigot. Accusations which I fully expected to come, though perhaps to be honest not quite so thick and fast. So why do this? Because it can be very difficult to draw attention to the other side of this argument, even if in doing so one is often attacked by liberals whose usual method when faced with an opponent is to identify your lowest possible motive and then claim it as being your only possible one. Which of course has happened to me here.
The upshot of all this, and the idea that I would like to leave on this matter is that Blizzard did not design this game for males. It did not design it for females. Nor was it designed for people of a religious persuasion or those being against religion. It was not designed for the young or for the old, for the rich or for the poor, for the gay or the straight. It was not designed with people with special needs in mind nor for people with specific political view-points. It was not designed for people from specific creeds or countries.
It was designed for gamers. We are all gamers. We all have that in common, and our common interest and love brings us together. By seeking to raise one group of gamers above the other by placing their needs as special then we shatter that image of equality. We are all the same in the game, that is the truly wonderful and amazing thing. You are not discriminated for whom you are. You are judged and valued on what you can bring to the game. It is why I have played this game and games like it for so long. And I will always fight to protect its preciousness.
And now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to have a drink.