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Reader Comments (72)

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 5:35PM Softserve said

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Sigh, I cut off on there on accident... I also meant to say "chain" instead of "change".

Personally I would be a little frustrated presented with that situation... I like to finish chains I have underway, whether it prevents me from getting to some area or not.
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Posted: Dec 2nd 2008 3:54PM (Unverified) said

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Actually, that would be a great step forward in customizing the game experience for players. What if some quests DID offer a choice of actions, and the choice the player made would determine what the follow up would be?

"We want you to torture this bad guy for information."
(click) "No, I don't believe torture is ever appropriate!"
"Well...then you'd better go investigate what happened at such-and-such a place."
(click) Accept

The final end result might be the same - you get the information one way or another. But role players could make choices depending on their character ethics, and people who find certain actions personally unacceptable have their option as well. Plus, when leveling alts, it might provide some slight variation in play experience.

Personally, I have no dog in this fight; my toons have slaughtered entire populations for no better reason than pretty clothes and trinkets and because "that guy told me to." Hell, I even poisoned a dog, oh, about 12 times. (I have a lot of alts.) So the relative morality of making things move on a computer screen doesn't bother me. Making the game seem more interactive and varied? Now, that's worth something.
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Posted: Nov 25th 2008 5:36PM Solidkjames said

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Yes he is right because no one in a military or War situation would EVER resort to torture to get information out of someone. I mean our military doesn't do that at all in Cuba. It is unheard of and the people who enjoy this quest are sadistic and immoral. I mean staking the heads of trolls in the hinterlands is much less crule than shocking a guy for information.

Ok now that we got that ignorance out of the way, the game is headed in the right direction. With this expansion you actually can tell Blizzard is putting more "grown up" content into the game and being vile and evil is something that has been lacking in this game. This is a game called WARcraft, not hello kitty online.

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 5:49PM (Unverified) said

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Are you kidding me??? This is the lamest criticism of an online game I've ever read. Are you seriously trying to tell me that someone who is trying to claim some kind of spurious authority in the MMO genre is saying that he takes the game so seriously that he thinks Blizzard is evil or criminal in somehow forcing him to torture a bunch of pixels? The torture itself isn't even comparable to torturing someone in real life. Someone with this level of disconnect who so easily blurs the line between reality and fiction in his own mind should not play this game or any other game of the imagination (p&p RPGs). Bartle probably thinks vampires are real and werewolves hunt the night around the full moon.

From what this Bartle is saying then everyone who plays WoW is also a homicidal maniac of epic proportions in real life. Every WoW player has killed countless bunnies, people, monsters, and other players in the game. So according to Bartle we are all horrible emotionless mass murderers and Blizzard is evil for FORCING kids to play and become murderers and now torturers (because obviously torturing people is way worse than genocide, i.e. killing off all the nagas in an entire raid instance)!

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 11:31PM Grok said

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WTF are you talking about?

You're blowing his comments way out of proportion. At no point does he infer that doing the quest will turn anyone into a homicidal maniac.

try reading the things you comment on, before you comment on them.
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Posted: Nov 25th 2008 6:03PM (Unverified) said

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You know maybe I am the only one but I like the darker tone of Wrath. i enjoy having a quest that shows a faction you work for as at the very least morally grey. I enjoy the evil of the death knights. For me it adds a new level to the game and the story line. As for the "children play this game" bit, it is rated teen and let us look at prime time television. There is worse there and there are similar incidents of torturing (24).

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 8:16PM (Unverified) said

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I agree with Shadari. The morally grey aspect of the game makes you think, adding another level to the game.

In the XP, you are faced with the extermination of all that lives. When faced with this realization, with a formidable foe as Arthas and his Scourge, and with the knowledge we are speaking of a medievalistic setting we shouldn't be shocked by torture. Trying to apply our real world moral/ethics into this game with that type of setting seems a little ridiculous.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2008 10:19AM Evy said

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I was just about to say the same thing. CHILDREN shouldn't be playing this game. I know, I know, plenty are. But it's rated for teens and above. Don't pull out the "think of the children!" card, guys.
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Posted: Nov 25th 2008 6:15PM Mr Angry said

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I definitely see his point, and I think this one example was picked by him as a way of outlining the linear nature of current MMO's PvE content and the fact that most people are too stupid to realize that all they are doing is walking around in an interactive film when consuming PvE content. This is not what a MMO should be, guess what guys, we are being conned here, and no one really wants to change things :(

He is using subjective model to rationalize a situation, rather than just clicking through quest text. He picked the torture scenario because I imagine some folks might think this slightly stronger content, and so would look to work around this issue or to rationalize their true feelings in game, rather than just click on continue, get on some weird goat type mammal that can run faster than a helicopter and go kill more rats. Decisions need to reflect the desires of the player, and not to be just directed to the quest area.

It exposes an issue with current MMO's when looking to see how open these games really are, and that there are really no consequences, other than time penalties, you are still on a treadmill. You decide in which order to approach the tasks, but the same outcome, or do over.

If people are happy to just click through each quest in turn, then MMO developers have got it damn easy developing for idiots. If you think this social commentary on torture, or like to criticize Mr Bartle (I'm sure people only do it to see if he responds) then you sound like you are their target demographic.

Posted: Nov 26th 2008 3:30AM (Unverified) said

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So ya want customization, choice, interactivity, non-tread millesq RPG's. Well I might be able to do something there...maybe...^___^

http://www.dragonslegacy.co.uk/the-abcd-system/
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Posted: Apr 23rd 2010 3:13AM claytondora said

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yeah, Bartle's obliviousness to WoW content is quite profound. I don't see where he gets off telling blizzard that one of their quests is immoral. Its World of WARcraft for goodness sake, the killing is endless.

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 6:20PM Crsh said

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Shame really; I completed the DK starting area after installing Wrath and I was floored (in a good way) how dark and evil it was, where as WoW has never been a particularly dark RPG, if at all.. ever.

Your character IS working for a very evil guy until the storyline unfolds, so it's very fitting that the DK tutorial part is all about "unethical" actions (sic).

Would children get that kind of subtlety? I can't say, having no child of my own, but I can only hope one would be sharp enough to understand the nuances despite being younger.

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 6:38PM (Unverified) said

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The arguments that this is no big deal seem to take three main forms:

1. It's just a game (Perfectly valid.)
2. Don't do it if you don't like it. (Sure, but see point one. It's just a game, why give up xp and quest rewards? So most people end up going through the motions. In my opinion it takes a little fun out of the game by encouraging you to do something out of character.)
3. This is how you get information from people in a hurry, and I'm happy that WoW is taking a more adult tone. (Do these people have practical experience torturing people for information? Have they read empirical evidence that you can get reliable information this way? My guess is they picked it up from TV, movies and video games whether they realize it or not. If that's true for anyone then WoW is just contributing to the problem in my opinion)

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 8:03PM (Unverified) said

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Lololol.. that quest was stupid.. u "torture" an npc... like we dont kill players and animals on the game everyday.. whats next? animal rights groups are going to sue the game for animal cruelty? lol

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 8:29PM wjowski said

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But apparently all that near genocide of murlocs, kobolds, and Horde/Alliance NPCs is okey-dokey, right?

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 11:04PM (Unverified) said

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Headline should read "Bartle seeks attention again".

It's pathetic how he'll jump on anything in the gaming media and speak out about it, often uninformed.

Seems like Bartle is becoming another Jack Thompson, just seeking attention.

And he forgot the Death Knight quest, as others pointed out, where you get to torture people with hot pokers.

Posted: Nov 25th 2008 11:12PM (Unverified) said

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Oh, boo hoo. Get over it. Are you offended by the fact that ER shows show blood? Or that Cop shows show physical violence? Then why be offended when a game called 'World of Warcraft,' based on... well, hell, 'war,' shows some torture (God forbid Blizzard do anything remotely dark with Warcraft in the first place, this is a step in the right direction IMO)

Posted: Nov 26th 2008 12:09AM (Unverified) said

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Bartle has a history of spouting off uninformed dribble about WoW and other modern MMOs, certainly. His interview with Massively was almost shameful due to how clearly misinformed he was and the fact that he was simply playing the game wrong.

All of that said, and with the usual 'attention seeking' caveats considered, there is something to this.

As one commenter pointed out, this is symptomatic of a larger issue in MMOs these days which is the lack of choice available to you. They're still superior to passive entertainment in that, from your perspective, the story doesn't advance without your active participation; but there is still something lacking. KotOR had it, of course. Anyone who's played it can tell you that it presented you with clear (and sometimes not-so-clear) moral choices.

The people here who say that this is a step in the right direction for WoW are being... disingenuous. All the more so when they claim that this is a 'shade of grey.' It isn't grey at all if there isn't a choice. Greyness comes from the terrible responsibility of having to consider and hypothesise about complex consequences to your actions after a difficult choice, not clicking through "Complete Quest" to whatever is handed to you.

As to the claim about having killed countless kobolds, et al prior to this, there is something to that, yes. Except that, as another poster pointed out, those tend to be morally unambiguous situations where you find them charging at you, willing to fight to the death so you no take candle. Little room for diplomacy there. This torture thing is a bit different.

In the case of the Deathknight, you know what you're getting into. You're roleplaying as a member of the Scourge, that's going to be pure evil, as it should be. In the case of this particular Kirin Tor quest, however, it's not so clear what the default alignment of your character should be.

We can get into a moral debate about torture, and frankly any reasonable understanding of morality would come with a respect for consistency. Virtue is not virtue if it can be suspended at will. But that's not really what this is about.

All MMOs, not just WoW, need more character defining choices in quests. One hopes that the MMO version of KotOR will continue in the tradition of its single player forbears and allow you to do good, evil, or somewhere in between at your discretion *and* still be in service of the plot the devs have laid out.

Posted: Nov 26th 2008 12:15AM (Unverified) said

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"We mostly feel disappointed in Blizzard, because they've missed an opportunity to make something thought provoking.."

Since when has Blizzard ever done anything that has been "thought provoking"?

Posted: Nov 26th 2008 1:07AM (Unverified) said

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I really find this quest upsetting. Almost as upsetting as the many people who will flame me (and others) for speaking out about it. My moral conscience draws the line at simulated torture, inflicing pain in exchange for information. I hate that in order to complete the quest chain, I have to follow through with something that I find repulsive.

I also have issues with this torture quest being in a game that's rated by the ESRB as "T" for Teen. It seems to me that this should cross the line to an "M" for Mature rating. The cartoonish, bloodless and quick killing in the game is not much worse than what you see in most cartoons these days. But torture isn't cartoonish.... my mind finds it distasteful and I would rather it NOT be in a game.

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