Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yesterday I called World of Warcraft a computer virus. Specifically, a cross-platform computer virus with an unimaginable capacity to spread itself through even non-electronic means.
It was a joke (kind of) but I started thinking about it.
Very few players seem to leave. Even after hitting the level cap before The Burning Legion came out there were often level 60 characters just hanging around doing whatever for not even any virtual gain and paying the fee month after month after month.
When launched, the game was an instant hit. Now, according to some numbers, it is an even bigger one with over 9 million people playing.
This scares me.
Having made the leap to calling it a (completely awesome and enjoyable) computer virus, I wondered at the motivation.
They aren't after credit card numbers. They have mine already for the monthly fee thing.
World of Warcraft servers have never been used in a Denial of Service attack and having the player's machines do it seems a little counterproductive.
Stealing personal information from highly placed political figures? Maybe, but isn't knowing that the Senator from wherever plays a gnome seamstress almost as bad as anything you could find on his hard drive? Hopefully . . .
None of those reasons explains it. I'm afraid the true motivations of the game designers are only now becoming clear.
Through years of near monk-like concentration, I've managed to read quite a bit of crap Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Novels, comics, blockbuster movie trilogies that should have stopped at the first installment. . . I've done a lot of research.
Nine million subscribers move a lot of data around the internet. A swirling, hacking, slashing pile of data packets, all moving to the Blizzard servers hosting World of Warcraft.
It happens every day. Some people are online more than others, so nine million have certainly never been on at once, but that number grows every day. So does the data packet vortex.
Sure, that is pretty in itself and the "blizzard" of packets may be the true source of the name for the company, but why go to all this trouble?
The answer may startle you.
Blizzard Game Studios is harnessing the power of directed internet traffic to create a rift between our world and some hellish infernal sub-domain filled with really, really icky stuff.
Once the subscriber count reaches the proper number, the world as we know it will be consumed and filled with slimy, sticky, skittering hell spiders or something.
I'll admit, I could cancel my account (yeah, right) but what would that accomplish? There are new people signing up every day. Ignorant people. People not in on the secret like you and I.
I can't abandon them to their fate any more than I can allow the world itself to fall victim to the plots of the designers of World of Warcraft.
It is my responsibility to stand up to the tyranny and make a difference instead of just logging off forever and burying my head in the sand like a common frenchman.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am calling in sick to work for the rest of the week.


Joe said...

First, you discovered the baby furnace at your company ... and it is acceptable because they compensate you with coasters.

Then, you determine WoW to be the harbinger of an apocalypse ... and you are compensated by hacking up pixelated spiders.

Today, I imagine you'll discover Zuul residing in your refrigerator ... and be willing to be bought off with a delicious diet beverage brought to you by the fine folks at Coca-Cola?

You, sir, are nothing but a corporate whore for the forces of Big Business. I am shocked and saddened by your conspicuous consumption.

Garrick said...

The sadness I can understand . . . but shocked? Really?
Have we met?

And I prefer the term "mercenary".