Reality Invades Fantasy World

Ken AshfordSex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

I’m not big on online fantasy games.  I tried to get into it once, but my experience amounted to nothing more than creating a character (a knight or whatever), and then finding myself standing in a medival town hall with a bunch of other characters who all looked just like me (except the women, and even then….).  Occasionally someone would come up to me and say "hi", and I would say "hi". 

After a few minutes of this, I wanted to go adventurin’.  So, I left of the town hall and wandered the streets of Whatevershire.  Again, more people dressed pretty much the same just standing there (did their keepers walk away from the computer)? 

Eventually, I walked out from the town gates and onto the moors (or whatever the fuck they were).  I watched a sorceress and a paladin and a gnome and a bard beat up mercilessly on an huge spider.  That was midly interesting. 

Then a wizard came up and cast some sort of lightning bolt spell at me.  The graphics were neat . . .  just before I died.

Well, that was a half hour of my life that I’ll never get back.

Sorry, but I never felt immersed in an alternate world.  I’m always mindful of the fact that I’m sitting at my computer.  But some people like those things, and that’s cool. 

Anyway, one of the biggest online worlds is "World of Warcraft".  This story caught my eye.  It seems that Blizzard, the maker of "WoW", has policy on "Harassment – Sexual Orientation," which is set forth in the games’ "Terms of Use".  It goes: "This category includes both clear and masked language which insultingly refers to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players."

Fair enough.  Nobody wants to go into a fantasy world and be called a "fag".  I mean, that’s no fun.

One WoW user was attampting to organize a guild, where people could play together (and beat up huge spiders as a posse).  In advertising her guild online (within the WoW universe), she noted that her guild would be "GLBT friendly" (not "GLBT only", but GLBT friendly).

But Blizzard dinged her on it, saying it violated the Harassment Policy.

Clearly this is wrong.  A guild which opens itself to everybody, including gays, by definition harrasses nobody.  Having a GLBT-friendly guild does not "insultingly" refer to anybody based on their sexual orientation.

Blizzard’s ban, however, does.  In effect, Blizzard is violating its own policy.

So the moral of the tale: fantasy-based worlds aren’t all that fantastical.