The Political Philosophy of World of Warcraft

My generation of my culture is one that thinks in terms of systems.

Previous generations in America thought of people (and still so think) in terms of freedom or repression, but my generation believes only in freedom to function in the system that has been built around you.

Those older generations think in terms of control and power, but my generation acknowledges the power of control only to influence circumstances, which in turn dictate all behavior.

Those generations were individualists, and they believed that everyone could be special – or that if everyone was special, then nobody could be. My generation knows that ‘special’ is more often than not a denotation of your position in the system, often a matter more of luck than of merit.

Those generations preached that by stepping up to play the game of life, you could win. To my generation, so dearly wedded to the power of multivariable analysis and the study of complexity, the imbalances in such a game seem painfully obvious.

Go, if you would, to a forum to discuss a major video game (preferably an online one). In human history there has not existed a more naturally politically liberal group as the one you will see, one so keenly and casually understanding of the principles behind the meritocracy and the reality of its’ nonexistence.

Will exists only within the parameters that the game dictates. Advantages towards one work out to the disadvantage of others, even outside of non-zero-sum systems. One’s fortunes are influenced by one’s community. All of these things are taken as obvious and in-stride that other generations would disbelieve, or only hold halfheartedly.

And yet, these people understand that there are correct and incorrect approaches towards these problems. The disadvantaged do not complain – instead, they describe the nature of the problems, and offer and discuss solutions. The individualists among them, claiming that advantages and disadvantages are trivial and that everything gained is earned, are mocked and derided as worthless to the community.

Video gaming, and the community of system analysts it is raising, stands as a political force fundamentally opposed to the underlying philosophy of conservatism.

And it is ever-so-slowly producing people with the skills to understand, and improve upon, systems.

Of course, having contemplated all that, now I’m wondering about the exact political composition of various MMO playerbases.

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One Response to “The Political Philosophy of World of Warcraft”

  1. Alex Says:

    This is interesting. I always pictured horde players as republicans, though.

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