World of Warcraft – a religion?

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wow-lunar-festival.jpgA student from Colorado University has a rather left-field suggestion regarding Blizzard’s insanely popular MMO – it’s a religion.

Invoking French sociologist Danil Hervieu-Lger’s definition of a religion as consisting of community, ethics, culture and emotion, Theo Zijderveld determined that World of Warcraft fits the bill. Find out how over the jump.

Here’s how Theo works it out. Playing with friends and strangers constitutes community. The rules of the game, as well as the ‘unspoken’ rules and the etiquette, constitute the ethical dimension. The Warcraft mythos and backstory (referred to as “Lore” by players) are the culture, and the feelings of “belonging” are the emotional dimension.

I’m not convinced that the majority of players of WoW see it as a religion, but then I can believe that some people get just as much out of it as some churchgoers do out of their religion. It’s certainly a spiritual experience for many – the emotion of downing a tough raid boss, or wiping spectacularly for the fifth time in ten minutes, can be extreme.

And for those whose major objection is “it’s not real!” – well wine isn’t really blood now, is it?

(via WoW Insider)

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Duncan Geere