Play World of Warcraft, Become A Mass Murderer

World of Wacraft wallpaper

Didn't you know? WoW will turn you into a sociopath

Or so some of the press would have us believe. I don’t know how much it’s being reported in the US but in Europe the media are having a field day reporting that Anders Brievik, currently on trial for the murder for 77 people in Norway last year, played World of Warcraft 16 hours a day for one year solid. It’s the old “video games are evil” debate all over again except this time the Internet is being thrown into the mix too.

Now I can’t say for certain that computer games don’t impact our mental state but I do find it rather depressing how the press leap all over them at every available opportunity, usually representing them with ill-informed facts. Case in point, the article by The Telegraph linked to above describes WoW as a “a virtual world where 10.3 million players attempt to achieve the position of ‘Justicar’”. Justiwah? Since when did a PvP Achievement title the main focus of the game?

I find it quite sad that the media are trying to drag World of Wacraft down and connect it with the shocking acts that Brievik committed, all in the name of selling papers. The fact he played Call of Duty is also being scrutinised to a lesser degree, although funnily enough few people seem to be mentioning that he was a Freemason even though that could easily be misinterpreted as forming part of his delusions as well, probably because a lot of people in positions in influence and power are Freemasons themselves. Funny how some facts get highlighted over others, isn’t it?

Brievik himself even downplays WoW and said at his trial that it was nothing more than a hobby, a non-violent fantasy video game that had nothing to do with the attacks. He equated it with playing golf and seems adamant that it didn’t drive him to kill people – he came up with that notion all on his own. Why the UK newspaper are latching on to it so much, I have no idea. I guess it’s just a far more juicy story than simply stating that Brievik is insane.

And he’s clearly nuts. He’s already been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by the court psychiatrists after all so it’s not just my personal assumption either. WoW, CoD, Freemasonry or whatever didn’t drive Brievik to kill people, he did so out of the deluded believe that he’s fighting a holy war against Muslims. Ironically, if anything, the media and the way they’ve been portraying terrorism and the Islamic faith for the past 10 years are more to blame than anyone else. If we want to hold someone other that Brievik accountable for his actions then perhaps we should be looking at CNN, Fox News, The Express et al for driving upon is an irrational state of fear against Muslims and immigrants.

I take a small comfort in the fact that all of this media coverage is probably bumping up WoWs dwindling subscriptions.

-Gordon

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9 Comments

  1. bhagpuss says:

    He is officially NOT insane in his home country. That’s why he’s on trial. The first lot of psychiatrists that found him insane were overruled by a second bunch.

    I’ve been reading the papers Guardian, Indie) and listening to the radio news (BBC R4) this week and I’ve barely seen or heard a mention of the WoW angle. Don’t read the right-wing press is my advice.

    • Syl says:

      There are a lot of politics involved in that decision; it is not so much a question of IF he is insane, but how such a verdict would play out in terms of sentence to serve.

      there are those highly in favor of Breivik having to serve time in prison like a ‘normal’ criminal – to serve their own sense of vengeance and justice.
      there are however also those who see an issue with that because Norway has no life sentence the way the USA does. even if he gets maximum time, he may get out some day or even worse, get out sooner. if he gets locked away in a psychiatric home however, the situation again changes.

      so just to clarify, pretty much everyone agrees the man is insane – but it’s a very tricky question for Norway’s legal system right now to find the safest way to retain the man forever while also satisfying the populace’s cry for justice (and many simply think a mental home is too soft even if it would be preferable in many ways). it’s politics.

      • MMO says:

        I can’t believe all the news about gaming and Brievik. It’s just so hugely overblown that it makes me mad just thinking about.

        On a related note, I guess for many who have never played WoW, the Justicar is just a way to describe it so people would understand. Most games are all about winning or finishing/completing tasks so getting a Justicar achievement is easy for them to understand.

  2. Dril says:

    Perhaps if the gaming press wasn’t so full of pathetic, meek, moronic, sensationalist bullcrap it could actually stand up for its own interest. But, then, it is some comfort that virtually all of the media in Britain is pretty much in the same boat, so perhaps it’s too much to expect the gaming “press” to be any better (you honestly can’t imagine how much I detest mainstream newspaper coverage of events after reading about the way it’s reported in The Economist).

    Alas, the case is not so, and instead we have this tripe. I agree, I was particularly perplexed by the WoW angle, but it really doesn’t matter – if someone spouts “video gaems r ruining teh childrun hurr durr durr durr hurr” it’s a good indicator they’re a fool.

  3. Leah says:

    I thought they were blaming Dragon age 2 and his namesake for this one? heh.. well, I guess one video game is as good as another when it comes to scapegoats O_O

  4. Akely says:

    There are so many logical fallacies in the statement that WoW had anything to do with his actions. The most obvious one is that he had already decided what to do, and was planning to “go out fighting” way before he “treated himself to a sabbatical year of enjoyment”. Those are his quotes, btw.

  5. Tesh says:

    To be fair, WoW player characters *are* murderous psychopaths. Of course, in that world, death is merely an inconvenience, unless the Plot says otherwise.

    …but yeah, you really can’t extrapolate that to the real world. Politicians and journalists love to do that for the pagehits/popularity/power, but it’s wrong.

  6. Personally, I think that in order for video games to “turn” a person into a mass murderer (or any type of violent criminal) that person has to have some previously existing mental issues. If parents (and society in general) are that worried about the “evil” video games, don’t allow (or limit) your children’s game play!

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