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Mass Suicide?

A few days ago, there was a mass suicide in World of Warcraft. It was an act of protest.

Though you might find this strange when I say this, it is a serious world inside a massive, online game. At least, in my experience it is. You couldn't call it humourless, but there are times, certainly, when you look around and find that everyone has just gotten caught up in Life Two, and needs to take a moment out to chill. The Mass Suicide of Shamans was a pretty large example of this, in which players, in protest of the modifications being made to the shaman class, protested by killing their characters and leaving the bodies strewn through the streets of one of the major cities. The protest suicide involved players creating new shaman characters, often with names like 'AccountDeleted' and 'ShamansNerfed' and, with these characters, they would head into Orgrimmar, climb up to the top of the Skytower, stand in the flames of the lamps, and then hurl themselves off, where they would die at the base. When I heard about this, I drifted past to have a look, mainly to feed what is my ever growing fascination with the culture within the game. There were about a hundred shaman corpses at the bottom of the Skytower when I got there. In addition, there were another fifty along the road in and out of the main gate. There might have been more, I suppose, and I figured there would be, because the night was young, but after watching a few suicides, the spectacle lost interest and I took off.

It is entirely possible that there was about a dozen people sitting round making new shamans and then heading out to virtually suicide them, but still, viewed in any context, it's interesting. At least to me it is. It's interesting because it's a surreal form of protest in a world made up of unreal people and it's utterly serious.

It is also, I imagine, just as pointless as real life protests.

Comments

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benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
i don't know if i'd call it alarming. i doubt any person would really kill themselves.

i mean, giant towers with open flames to burn yourself in aren't just everywhere ;)
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benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
heh. i doubt there were anything more than a dozen people involved--though who knows if it was on all the servers. that'd be interesting.
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benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
wouldn't it be cool if it was? gamers could hurl themselves off sydney point tower wearing t-shirts that say 'shamannerfed'.
angriest
May. 15th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
I would argue it is significantly more pointless. I mean, for fuck's sake: it's a fucking game!!! If they really hate Blizzard for screwing up their precious Shaman class, have none of them realised a more effective form of protest would be to... I don't know, maybe... quit the game and stop giving Blizzard their fucking money.

Idiots.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
well, yes. but by pointless i meant that just like real life protests, no one in power was listening.

do you know you can hire people to play this game for you?
angriest
May. 15th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, that I knew. Madness. But interesting madness.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
what i want, is to find someone whose used it. or who does it.
mattdoyle
May. 15th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
it's supposed to be serious? sorry, but i find it faintly amusing, if only because it is distinctly pathetic.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
well, it's serious for them. funny and faint fascinating for me.
ataxi
May. 15th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
Staging even a naff political protest inside WoW is inarguably no more pointless than actually playing the game, and definitely more interesting from my outsider's point of view.

As far as it involving suicide goes, that'd be more interesting if the whole game wasn't about murdering people. A different scale is in use.

I think it's cool.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 04:28 am (UTC)
As far as it involving suicide goes, that'd be more interesting if the whole game wasn't about murdering people

i reckon that's what makes it more interesting, myself.

i tell you, man, i just can't stop myself with this little world. this blog is in danger of becoming 'ben's observations about life inside WoW' ;)
ataxi
May. 15th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
That sort of BS already accounts for about 10% of my flist.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
thank fuck, room for more :)
mattdoyle
May. 15th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
what about shaman terrorists? is it possible to organise some big 9/11-esque statements in WoW? now THAT would be interesting!
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
real world elements don't come into it, less you're talking bout people telling you who wins the biggest loser.
vampyrichamster
May. 15th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
It sounds surreal, and possibly beautiful, for maybe the first minute or so. But pointless, as protests usually go -- in this case probably pointless-er. It's the first I've heard of this (thanks!). Makes me wonder what would've happened if the deaths weren't so easy to construct and the culture being affected were based out here in the real world. Or if death was so easily constructed, in the same context -- which happens. Or if any of the protesters even understood the complexity of death (or the masochism that is its form when done in protest), which...they probably didn't.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
it is surreal for about a minute, yeah.

the thing to consider (or it makes me consider, anyway) is the only thing you can do in this game is kill things. oh, sure, you can mine, and make clothes, and all of that, but all that stuff comes back, in a roundabout way, to killing. that they chose to litter the streets with bodies is, in this context, the only thing they could do.

like i said, it all fascinates me.
vampyrichamster
May. 15th, 2007 07:44 am (UTC)
What amuses me, in a roundabout way, is how the context you've just described mimics some places in our world.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 09:03 am (UTC)
yeah, but it's kinda depressing in those situations.
ohilya
May. 15th, 2007 09:47 am (UTC)
This isn't by any means a new sort of protest. I'm fairly sure that I've heard of such things happening in EverQuest some time ago, when one of the classes in the game was nerfed (rangers, I think).

Is it silly? You bet. Now, if it's disturing and scary that you're looking for, allow me to point you to Lineage. One South Korean lad apparently ripped off some other plays within the game, and somehow the players he'd scammed found him and actually killed him, as an act of vengeance.

Now as to the truly disturbing: naked gnome movements within WoW.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 12:40 pm (UTC)
it's not just naked gnomes, it's naked everything. i hear of naked instance runs.

that kid thing is fucked up.
ohilya
May. 15th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
Whereas over in Asheron's Call, I've heard of some kind of almost naked BBQs (you can only strip down to your knickers & breeches in AC).
strangedave
May. 15th, 2007 10:42 am (UTC)
I saw video of the naked gnomes thing for the last nerfing protest.
benpeek
May. 15th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
gnomes freak me out.
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