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Posts with tag morals

The Azeroth Ethicist: Cheating (or not cheating) the roll system

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I was healing a Well of Eternity PUG a few days ago when I got a whisper from the group's warrior tank.

Warrior: Could you help me out with something?

Me: Sure, what do you need?

Warrior: If Varo'then's Brooch drops at the end, would you roll on it for me?

Me: Um ...

I'd been off in my own little world watching health bars and thinking about next week's Shifting Perspectives column and hadn't paid any attention to the group's composition. It turns out the DPSers were a mage, a hunter, and -- oh, there we go -- a frost death knight. So in the event that the strength trinket dropped, the warrior tank wanted me to roll on it and, if I won, give it to him over the DK. He probably asked the mage and the priest to do the same thing, but the group was quiet in party chat, so I have no way of knowing.

We had a small and, to his credit, civil conversation over it, and there are a few issues here on which I'd like to get readers' opinions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Did Arthas do the right thing in Stratholme?

As we've discussed before, the Culling of Stratholme did slow the spread of the plague. But it's heartbreaking to watch Arthas slaughter innocent townspeople when they are looking to him for help. Wouldn't it have been better if he had waited for them to turn into scourge before killing them? Or was there a better way?

Should they have tried quarantining them until a cure could be found, perhaps? (Even though there isn't one.) It's a bit like a recent Fringe episode. Was it evil to consider killing all of the people infected with an extremely intelligent, contagious and fast-spreading disease? How do you deal with deciding between compassion for a few versus the survival of a race?

Could the ruthlessness that Arthas showed there be a symptom of weak morals that perhaps led to his demise as a human? Or was his swift, decisive action an example of his excellent leadership qualities and why he makes such a successful Lich King? Perhaps doing the right thing in Stratholme weakened his soul, making him more susceptible to corruption.

How should Arthas have behaved in Stratholme? Did his actions help corrupt him or show him to be already corrupted? What would you have done in the same situation?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Lore

Author of World of Warcraft and Philosophy interviewed

World of Warcraft and Philosophy got released a little while back -- it's a book by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger that examines WoW-related topics like roleplaying and the Corrupted Blood plague, and ties them into philsophical ideas and thinking. TechFlash has now posted an interview with Nordlinger, and it's a good read as well. Nordlinger says that one reason they chose to talk about World of Warcraft in this way is that it's so incredibly big -- when you have 12 million (give or take a few at this point) people playing a game with a GDP larger than some smaller nations, you're going to touch on all sorts of interesting ethical, moral, and other philosophical ideas. He says the book has been pretty popular, and a few universities are currently considering teaching courses based on the material, not only because it's interesting, but thinking about the game in this way helps improve abstract thinking in general.

And perhaps most interesting, he says that reading the book could help players better make ethical and moral decisions in the game. Just ninja-ing the mount from an Onyxia raid might not mean much to you, but when you look at the bigger picture, and what those actions mean for ethics in general, Nordlinger says the book might help players "make more aware decisions, if not different decisions." Of course, in practice, trying to explain higher philosophy to ninjas might not have the desired effect, but it does seem true that exploring the higher meanings of this game and the intents of the people playing it might put a little more meaning into the pixels as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

World of Warcraft listed as one of the 30 most offensive games

The conservative Christian investment firm, the Timothy Plan, has released a list of the 30 most offensive games on the market (Warning: link is to a PDF file). This list details the areas of sex, nudity, gay / lesbian, violence, cartoon violence, language, comic mischief, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, demonic, and game addiction as things that are against any "morally responsible" mutual fund to invest in.

In other words they don't want you to invest, like they don't, in companies that make games which deal with any of the above areas.

World of Warcraft is on the list. It has an overall score of a 9, which means it is half as offensive as Grand Theft Auto IV. According to the Timothy Plan, WoW is morally deficient in sex, violence, language, alcohol, and game addiction.

Some investors will take this advice, and that's their right to do so.

After the break we'll examine areas in which WoW is morally deficient, according to the Timothy Plan.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

The Azeroth Ethicist: Why (or why not) to take a player

I had a lot of fun reading the comments on two articles we ran concerning a knotty moral issue, and readers wrote a lot of interesting things about how the problem could be considered from both an ingame and nongame perspective.

This article's about a problem that's existed since the game's launch, but seems to have become more common since Wrath's release due to a substantial demographic shift with plate classes (more on this in a bit). Simply put; is it appropriate to turn down a potential member of a group over loot competition? Players generally don't want to face the prospect of losing a roll, especially if they've been endlessly running a dungeon trying to get a particular piece. But while you'll get a lot of sympathy if you've run, say, heroic Nexus 17 times trying to get the War Mace of Unrequited Love, people will generally elect to take a competitor if it's a choice between that and not doing the dungeon at all.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

The ethics of a botched deal, redux

"The ethics of a botched deal" turned out to be a much more popular article than I'd been expecting. I didn't really think the subject matter was going to result in that much commentary, but, having read all of the comments, I think I see why. Everyone's been on at least one end of a bad deal, and stuff like that is a lot more common in the early days of an expansion with new recipes, dungeons, and raids everywhere you look, with the attendant opportunities for costly mistakes.

A few people quite fairly said it would be tough to make a call on the incident given the limited account I'd written in the original article. Others pointed out that you could probably draw an ethical distinction between the Blacksmith's decision to: a). accept a tip, and b). keep the gold gained from vendoring the 2H mace (and I think this is accurate, although it does raise another question. More on this in a bit). Commenters also observed that, the ethics of the Blacksmith's actions aside, you wouldn't necessarily want to be a repeat customer of his for reasons that hadn't been articulated in the original piece.

So behind the cut is a more inclusive look at the issue, a little more background on what happened, and how other players responded to it ingame.

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Filed under: Blacksmithing, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy, Making money

The ethics of a botched deal

My chat box isn't usually a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but on occasion it turns up a few statements that'll make your eyebrows execute a shuttle launch. One such morsel popped up recently in the form of an amused snicker from an acquaintance who'd applied to raid with my guild in Wrath. He'd just made himself a quick 38 gold off a blacksmithing deal gone awry and was having a laugh over his good fortune. A leveling player had asked him to meet in Orgrimmar to make a Saronite Mindcrusher and could provide both materials and a tip. The applicant obliged, ported to Org from Dalaran, made the mace, and then they discovered that it was BoP and thus unusable by the customer. The disappointed player thanked him for his time, tipped him anyway for making the trip, and went on his way (according to the person who shall henceforth be known as The Blacksmith).

"So not only did I get a 25g tip," he concluded smugly, "but I also made 13g vendoring the mace."

That dog won't hunt, Monsignor. "You did give the guy the 13g at least?" I asked. "I mean, those were his mats, the mace wasn't yours."

"No. Why would I? It was his mistake."

To quote everyone who has ever set foot on the internet ever, ORLY?

UPDATE: The post got a lot more attention than I expected, so I've written an addendum here that gives a little more insight into what happened.

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Filed under: Blacksmithing, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Economy, Making money

Breakfast Topic: Most evil quest in the game

Here's an interesting question: what's the most morally evil quest in the game? There was a quick discussion about the Stanley the Dog quest in Hillsbrad (where you poison and then kill a neutral dog), and it got me thinking: are there any quests in game where you really had a problem with what your character was doing? What's the most evil thing your character has done?

Of course, the definition of evil in this case isn't quite written in stone -- what your character thinks is OK to do may not be what you think is OK to do. My undead Rogue took a lot of pleasure in killing Stanley, even if I would be horrified to hear about someone doing the same thing in real life. But in the same vein, while I was fully convinced in character that setting off that Mana Bomb in Outland was the right thing for my character to do, personally, I thought the kill count was a little shocking. At what point does my hero become a mass murderer?

A few other WoW Insider writers mentioned the Cenarius' Legacy and the other Undead Plague quests to be a little too evil for their tastes. Are there any other quests in the game where your character is asked to do something morally questionable?

Filed under: Undead, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Quests

Officers' Quarters: A moral dilemma



Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Every once in a while I get an e-mail where I think, "This person has to be pulling my leg." At first, I thought the e-mail below was one of them. As I read on, however, the author's heartfelt anguish over the decision she has had to make convinced me that there really is a guild leader out there doing this. Judge for yourself:

Hello there,

I'd love your opinion along with your readers opinions on an issue going on in my current guild. I'm an officer of a Horde guild that is still relatively young (3 months) but very dedicated. We transferred from other servers in order to form an off-hours raiding guild. Things were going very well until several weeks ago when I looked at our guild forum and was shocked to find the GM posting character accounts for sale and urging other guild members to buy them! And if that wasn't bad enough a week or so later he decided to buy a current guild member's account for himself and his girlfriend (another officer and the purchased account's owner supposedly wanted to stop playing those characters).

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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