Hornbeck explains that opportunities for moral expression are "largely restricted to the affordances of the education system" but World of Warcraft offers an opportunity to "experience strong upwellings of moral sentiment." Additionally, he offers numerous quotes from Chinese WoW players that express how the game has transcended gameplay and turned into something entirely different -- something with deep personal value.
Here's one such quote:
In the end, the most important thing I want to say is what we are playing is not merely a game. In this world we find a feeling of existence we cannot find in the real world. This does not mean we are escaping, nor that we can only play games. People who say this are not real players. Do not think playing games is a waste of time, because the game made up for something we lost.The full post is well worth a read.