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Reader Comments (21)

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 10:16AM (Unverified) said

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Sigh, the thing is, I am sure his old ass professors feel as if this is all true because as we know they are avid mmo gamers

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 10:26AM Crsh said

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I dream of the day where students of any level get failed for even bringing up WoW (or any other MMO) as a relevant topic for academic papers.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 10:50AM (Unverified) said

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Unfortunately for you, EVERYTHING is worthy of academic discussion because everything is a text according to Roland Barthes. Professional wrestling, television, movies, and even WoW are all things to be explored, because they are all symbols. Assuming you put stock in semiotics, which most college professors love these days.

(yes, I went to grad school)
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 10:40AM (Unverified) said

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Worthless Old Wank.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 11:04AM Idle said

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I think they are missing the distinction between addiction and religion.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 11:17AM (Unverified) said

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I don't see a distinction.

Religious fanatics can be just as crazy as addicts.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 11:21AM Idle said

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Aye, true. If you are a fanatic you are indeed addicted to religion.

No offense to regular religious folks as I am one myself. We're talking about fanatics here.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 11:21AM Cendres said

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I haven't looked at Avilion in detail, but it looks just like a guild of roleplayers who created one amazing world in second life... ?

I skimmed over the article and it is filled with misconceptions. For example New Age religions have nothing against technology, work, authority, RATIONALITY, and family. Pollution? Yes we don't like pollution.... Can you blame us? >.>

Meh I don't think the author understands half of what he is talking about.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 11:49AM (Unverified) said

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I think this individual confuses escapism for religion. No one is praying to WoW or to the Old Gods in the storyline. WoW is a combat system with chat, an economy and an interactive story on top. Depending on the side you choose and the class you pick you will have varying degrees of exposure to various factions and religious underpinnings that are relevant to the story. This has no impact on the real-life morality and religious belief systems of players.

People use many mechanisms to escape whatever pressures they can not deal with in real life. Religion, drugs, sex, and even video games can be used as the escape mechanism. It can not be concluded that any of these is in any way a direct analogue for the others. Though sex as a religion might be nice I am thinking.

The humble servant of the system,
A. I. Bot

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 12:06PM (Unverified) said

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The problem is that religion is so hard to define and seperate from philosophy. You don't need a god to be a religion, just look at LaVeyan Satanism, which is atheistic.

The best way we've been able to define religion is a through qualifiers given:

Community

Ethics

Culture

Emotional Dimension

The author of this thesis is simply explaining how under these terms, the virtual phenomenon could technically be called a religion.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 4:12PM (Unverified) said

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I agree
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 5:35PM Cendres said

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"I think this individual confuses escapism for religion."

Spot on! :D Though we may be able to 'live' in our imaginations for a few hours does not mean we are having a spiritual experience.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2009 5:41PM (Unverified) said

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So, technically, a PUD (Planned Urban Development) could be considered a religion. They are housing projects confined to a geographical location where the owners of all houses covered by the PUD must be members in the association (Community). There are by-laws and rules that must be adhered to (Ethics). Even the color you house is painted is controlled to meet a stated perception of lifestyle (Culture). Many members of PUD associations take the by-laws very seriously and seek out infractions and report offenders to the managing board like some kind of religious zealot (Emotional Dimension).

Heck, being an American could be called a religion. Interested in S&M, Join the S&M religion. It can fit all the litmus tests. Just because the standards are loose does not mean anything that can be shoe-horned in place "fits" or even makes sense.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 12:06PM (Unverified) said

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Looking it over, i could just see it now...

"On the first day, Pwnsu, came forward at said 'let there be Wrath. And so the expansion was created. And it was good.

"On the second day, Wtfkillzkek, brother of Pwnsu, came down and called the Night Elf a noob. And it was good.

"On the third day it was server maintenance. Downtime of 6 hours. No new hotfixes. They extended it an extra two hours. And it was not good.

"On the fourth day..."

As much as some of these articles about the game are entertaining, I wonder how many are written by people who have had some experience with the game, outside of hearing a story from a friend's second cousin about the addiction that lead to a randomized story of bitter loss from their neighbor's brother's fiancee.

Religion? I mean, seriously... I pray to the God Metzen that this foolishness stops.

Posted: Feb 14th 2009 1:57AM (Unverified) said

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The thing you are missing, though, is that he is not calling World of Warcraft a religion (the title of this article is deceptive), but rather noting the religious qualities of the cyberspatial existance.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 2:34PM (Unverified) said

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Is he really saying that anything that has "community, ethics, culture and emotion" is a religion? Gosh, what alot of new religions I suddenly see. :)

For the Light,
Dale/Spennix

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 2:54PM (Unverified) said

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beware confusing "religion" with "spirituality" unless you just want to get your panties in a bunch. the thesis is about spirituality and uses the construct of religion as a point of reference. i don't actually see the word "religion" in the thesis used in the context some folks have inferred from this article.

it's not worthy of a dissertation on the "hero's journey" and other works of joseph campbell (which were the foundation for Star Wars and many other works with which we're familiar), but the study does have a point... believing in an existence beyond the physical realm is a form or spirituality. they're just drawing parallels, not trying to sell the agnostics more cannon fodder.

iz b ok. dis commint has a flavr.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 3:31PM claytondora said

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Haha, quite a unique look at our favorite hobby. I can't believe this douche wrote a 72 page thesis on this. Were I his professor, I would have taken a large dump on his paper and returned it ungraded. Whilst MMO's can be an addiction, they are far from religion. The most important thing about MMO's is the explicit freedom they allow. You can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you so wish to do, and do so with anonymity. Freedom is not what religion offers. They offer salvation, devotion, etc, but they do not encourage individualism. Let's compare say, Eve, to Religion. Eve allows and encourages players to forge their own paths, to innovate. Religion does not foster innovation or individualism, but rather shuns it. Religions run off strict dogma's. Ask an hardcore Eve player if anything what if anything in their world is Taboo and and all you'd get is a hardy laugh. MMO's are virtual worlds, places, not ideologies.

That's my two cents anywho

Posted: Feb 3rd 2009 5:24PM ultimateq said

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I hardly look at MMOs as a religious or even spiritual experience. You could apply that same faulty logic to all video games, not just MMOs.

Posted: Feb 4th 2009 12:03PM (Unverified) said

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"Community

Ethics

Culture

Emotional Dimension"

Except .... there really is no real ethics in WoW or any video game. There are manners and there are rules, but the game does not impose ethical rules that are meant to be applicable to life in general, as religions do. WoW has rules that we all must follow and in some cases there are things that aren't stated rules that do resemble ethics, but those things aren't applicable to real life at all. In real life there is absolutely no situation where you would face the moral dilemma of whether to let someone fish in your town or kill them, for example, or the ethical rules of distributing loot ... also no real world correlation.

It's the same with sports ... sports has most of the traits listed above, but just because sports have rules that apply within the context of the sporting event, it doesn't mean it has an ethical or moral system meant to apply to life in general.
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