2 January 2008

The meaning of life

Are you the roleplaying type? I didn't think I was. I picked quests based on how easy they were to finish or the rewards I earned and went about my business with a jolly, egalitarian gusto. I dismissed my magic addiction and decided not to ask why I was on a different side to the night elves, focusing instead on my superior fashion sense. When your main goal is levelling, questions or lore and existence are easily overlooked. But the longer I spend at 70, the harder it is to ignore the historical and political context of the game or the rich back story.

My first real angst hit a couple of weeks ago when I decided to switch allegiance from scryer to aldor. The scryers are blood elves, horde; how could I slope off in the middle of the night and join those funny draenei folk? For the shoulder inscription, of course, and the auchenai staff. And you know, killing demons for insignias is a lot more palatable than killing other blood elves, even if they are on the wrong side. So that's how I chose to justify it. That doesn't mean the decision hasn't left a bad taste in my mouth and I'll be glad to set off for Northrend when the expansion lands.

Questions of loyalty are nothing compared to my current existential crisis. As a shadow priest, I choose the power of shadow magic at the exclusion of holy magic. Or to put it another way, I chose shadow over light. If I was to get philosophical about this (and after a few glasses of red wine I'm liable to), it's hard not to see a priest's talent choices in terms of good and evil. There is a clear correlation in the game between holy magic and the 'light' — which, in the absence of any clear deities, is as close to religion as the game gets. Well, we're priests after all. But what does it mean to turn from the light to darkness? Have I, as the language implies, turned from good to evil?

I don't see any other classes struggling with matters of life and death. I mean, what does a druid or a hunter have to worry about compared to a magic-addicted defrocked priest facing an eternity of damnation?

You see? It's a slippery slope, this game. If you're not careful, before long you'll be writing custom emotes and taking confession from those tree-felling orc shammies.

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