It’s been all over the web the last few weeks.
Some politician decides to capitalize on the huge World of Warcraft fan-base, and organises a political rally to march from Ironforge to Stormwind.
This in fact happened last night, US time, and the politician in question is Ron Paul. Here’s some video of the march.
I don’t really know a lot about Ron Paul, except that he’s a Republican, has policies at odds with the current administration, and the odds are against him to be nominated for the Republican ticket. If he gets that nomination I daresay I’ll get to hear a lot more about him, but at the moment he doesn’t figure prominently on Australian news.
The question I have about all this; is it appropriate for a politician, whatever their flavour, to use a game to campaign for votes?
My answer to that is no.
Perhaps I’m being a bit curmudgeonly here, but games for me are to get away from real world issues and to have fun. I know players talk about the real world in chat. The weather, sports, and even politics get discussed along with the have a look at item x topics. I don’t have a problem with that. But when our games are used to push a political agenda, that’s when I have a problem.
And aside from that, MMO gaming is a truly global phenomenon. What does politics in one country have to do with players in another?
Would American gamers be happy if Australian politicians started having rallies in World of Warcraft?
Consider how not that long ago Blizzard banned gay and lesbian oriented guilds and talk because of the controversial effect they had. Why are they allowing political rallies which could be considered even more polarising?
Will Obama or Hilary start their own campaign guilds?
Will the new PvP mean Politician vs Politician?
Will our MMO games become the political battlegrounds of the future turning guildie against guildie?
Or will there be in-game political factions to grind rep, not by killing but by campaigning?
I hope not.
To politicians of all ilks: Please keep your reality out of my fantasy.
Having said that, I think it’s an impressive effort for a politician to get a bunch of gamers away from questing, raiding and PvPing to simply march from one virtual city to the another. It’s also a rebuff to those critics of MMOs who suggest that MMO gamers are stuck in their virtual world and have minimal interaction with the real world and it’s issues.
It’s clear that the response of the citizens of World of Warcraft shows that MMO gamers do care about the world around them, and not just the virtual world.
It also makes me wonder if the real world is starting to take gaming more seriously. The old media loves to rip into games, and politicians love to use them as a platform to polarize voters to their side. Is this a sign that this attitude is starting to change?
What do you think about all this; would you prefer that reality be kept out of your fantasy?
BTW, if the Republicans are creating Alliance characters, does that mean the Horde are Democrats?