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Posts with tag politics

Activision Blizzard to take a stand on violent video game research

We may not know just what political stance Activision Blizzard has decided to take on the issue of S.134: The Violent Content Research Act of 2013, but we do know the company has hired lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to lobby the Senate over it. The bill calls for the National Academy of Sciences to study the correlation between children playing violent video games or watching violent video content and violent behavior -- and could be a stepping stone towards more legislation aimed at restricting game sales.

There have already been studies on video games and violent behavior, but the results have been mixed: ask a dozen experts and you'll get a dozen different opinions on how violent content might affect violent behavior. To this end, the bill also calls for study to identify gaps in current research. However, it's questionable whether more research will give us a real answer or just more mixed signals. In the meanwhile, game-makers are definitely edgy about how this could impact their bottom line... which is probably why Activision Blizzard has jumped on the lobbying bandwagon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Interview: Maine Senate candidate tells why gamer shaming bodes ill for the future

Interview Maine Senate candidate tells why gamer shaming bodes poorly for the future
Is playing World of Warcraft so bizarre and disturbing that players should be considered unfit for public office? According to the Maine Republic Party, the answer appears to be yes. Late last week, the party launched a jaw-droppingly clueless campaign attempting to shame Democratic State Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz for -- oh yes, here it comes again -- playing a video game.

"We're not attacking Colleen for being a gamer," Maine Republican party communications director David Sorensen denied in an interview with Polygon. "Our website and mailers are focused on Colleen's extremely offensive remarks made in connection with her gaming, including saying that Maine's governor must have been a child prostitute or drug dealer, and how she might drown conservative activist Grover Norquist in a bathtub."

Despite the GOP backpedaling, one look at the mailer and ColleensWorld, the supporting website, makes the gaming slur (and the noncontextual nature of Lachowicz's comments) painfully obvious. Clearly, whoever conceptualized the campaign suffers from a lack of cultural context. Perhaps they didn't know that World of Warcraft is even used as a teaching tool in public schools, making gaming a natural fit for 48-year-old Lachowicz, a licensed social worker, stepmother, and licensed foster parent. We're guessing they probably didn't visit Lachowicz's campaign Facebook page, where a clip from gaming innovator Jane McGonigal outlines how gaming in moderation actually makes people better at the other things they do.

Why does nonsense like this persist? In an exclusive phone interview with WoW Insider, Lachowicz told us why the Maine GOP's embarrassing misstep hasn't negatively impacted her campaign but still fills her with foreboding for the future of young people growing up in the digital age.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

On the surreal attack ad against a State Senate candidate who plays WoW

Do Not Want
First, let me assure you... yes, we heard about it. We weren't blithely ignoring the news that a bizarre political campaign attacks a Democratic candidate for the Maine State Senate, or that actual mailers using actual paper were also printed. Trees died for that print campaign.

We tend to notice things like that, somewhere between our advanced Google alerts and the Cataclysm-level flood that hit our inbox like it was time to wreck Booty Bay all over again. We're reaching out to Colleen Lachowicz for comment and interview, because frankly, we question her gem and talent strategy.

Oh? You mean, we should comment on the political absurdity? Huh. Okay. Thing is, we're not a politics blog. We're a site about World of Warcraft. We don't tend to dwell on politics around here, unless it's about the unmitigated incompetence of Garrosh. Some folks have Very Strong Feelings about the Wrynns, the Thralls, and the national climate of Azeroth. But when it comes to real-world politics, we resemble a LOLcat screaming "Do Not Want." We're about WoW here.

And this incomprehensibly surreal attack on Colleen Lachowicz shares as much to do with World of Warcraft as my socks. They just happen to sit on the feet of somebody who plays WoW, just like all that forum chatter and such coincidentally takes place on WoW-related forums.

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Filed under: News items

15 Minutes of Fame: Progressive guild thrives under uncommon leadership team

Daily Kos WoW guild
From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

There's plenty about Wreck List of Garrosh (US-H) that's a little different from your run-of-the-mill World of Warcraft guild. The sprawling social guild doused Ragnaros just days ago with a team of core raiders rooted by several members in their 50s and 60s. In fact, the guild is run primarily by women over the age of 50 -- "at age 51, I'm the baby of the group," admits guild leader Dkosmama. With a median member age of about 40, Wreck List boasts well over 200 members, half of them women.

Even more remarkable than its unusual gender and age mix, though, are the guild's roots -- Wreck List is the unofficial guild of the popular progressive political blog Daily Kos. Not limited to members from the Daily Kos community, Wreck List is open to any player looking for a sanctuary from trade chat madness, away from "threatening racist, homophobic, and misogynist language and ideas." The group's official Declaration of Purpose clearly states that "while guild chat is mostly non-political, it is also where we express our leftist political views, which sometimes may include a sharp word or two about Republicans. Because many guild members did not come to the Wreck List through political blogs, we do not expect everyone to hold progressive views on all issues; however, we do expect that all members respect the liberal foundation of the guild."

An unusual balance for an entire guild? We thought so, too, and sat down to visit with Dkosmama about the balance of ideas and free expression that makes this whole group hang together.

Editor's note: This article focuses on this group's integration with the World of Warcraft and is not an endorsement or promotion of any particular political ideology or agenda. Please keep comments focused on the guild and its activities, rather than political ideologies.

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Filed under: Guilds, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW as a channel for news from Iran?

Normally, this wouldn't rate too high for us -- lots of people have ideas about how to use World of Warcraft, and many of them never actually come about. But then again, this is in the Wall Street Journal of all places, so we'll give it a look. If you're on Twitter, you've probably heard about what's going on in Iran right now -- there was an election, the "official" results given were judged as rigged by many involved, and the government seems to be cracking down on both news media and citizen journalism, as well as protesting citizens, to very sad results. How does World of Warcraft fit in to all of this? Andrew Lavallee of the WSJ's Digits blog points to this report by Craig Labovitz, which talks about how Internet traffic has been filtered out of the country around the election. At the very end of his analysis, Labovitz points out that channels for videogames, including both Xbox Live and World of Warcraft, have shown very little government manipulation. That suggests that if the government in Iran does continue to shut down certain channels, citizens there might be forced to spread the news through any virtual route they can, including possibly Azeroth.

This is obviously all just analysis and speculation so far -- while there clearly (from those charts) has been interference in the media, no one (as far as we know) has yet had to resort to chatting in World of Warcraft to get their message out, and though what's happening in Iran is made up of some very serious (and seriously unfortunate) situations, the fervor online about using brand new channels like Twitter to share real-time news is often overstated. Personally, I believe that even if Twitter didn't exist, this information would find another way to get out. Still, the interesting thing to take away here is that even our "silly" video games today are actually media on a global level.

Thanks, Cedars!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, News items

Officers' Quarters: Four lessons from the inauguration

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

I have mostly steered clear of politics in this column. Very early on, in the second or third column I wrote for WoW Insider, I made an offhand joke about the current administration that set off a firestorm of argument in the comments section. It really had nothing to do with the column at all, so I found the situation extremely unproductive. I decided I'd never do that again.

But I was there in D.C. last Tuesday and I wanted to share some of my observations about how to handle a transfer of power. It's a situation that can come up from time to time in a guild when a long-time leader has to step down for personal reasons -- or in democratic guilds when a leader is voted out. Let's talk about how Bush and Obama handled everything and what we can learn from their example.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Breakfast Topic: Too much politics in your WoW?


I am on record in preferring no outside world topics in my MMO chat and that particularly applies to politics, but what with a major real world political event happening today, politics have been a hot topic in Azeroth. Cinnabunz writes in that he's tired of politics taking over Trade Chat and I can totally empathize with him, even though the Trade Chat in my server has mostly been filled up with "I put my [insert link here] in your mom's [insert link here]" for the past couple of weeks.

Last week, I got an invite from a complete stranger to a guild of Ron Paul supporters. Regardless of my opinions as to who should be running the country, I don't want to deal with it in my favorite form of escape. But I know that many of you consider WoW part of your social circle and look forward to chatting about real world topics with your guildies and server-mates.

So does political chat belong in Trade Chat? Does it ruin the immersion too much for you or do you feel that something this important should invade even the virtual world? How long do you think it will last after today?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Officers' Quarters: Coup d'etat

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

Guild leaders aren't always the most popular people in a guild. Sometimes they have to make the tough choices for the good of the organization, and that can lead to hard feelings. But then there is the guild leader that members hate for just about every reason you can hate someone. One reader wants to know how to get rid of this guy once and for all.

Hey, Scott,

I joined a great casual raiding guild about 2 months ago at the point where we were putting Kara on farm and moving on to Mags, Gruul and places beyond. Now we're 2/6 SSC and 2/4 TK, I'm class lead for my class, have full T4 and one piece of T5, and we're progressing steadily.

But.

The GM is a [penis].

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

70 Orc Hunter running for Connecticut legislature

More politicians are coming out of the WoW closet. Jeanne Stevens is a WoW player -- with a 70 Orc Hunter, a 58 Troll Shaman, and a 53 Blood Elf Rogue -- and a Republican running for the Connecticut state legislature. And she freely admits it in a new interview with Wandering Goblin, as covered by our sister site, Massively. Her hunter is balanced between marksman and survival, her shaman specs elemental (close to my heart!), and her rogue climbs the assassination talent tree. Will she be able to master the beasts in her political race? (Okay, you go ahead and insert your own shaman or rogue wordplay here.) Maybe she'll hold some in-game speeches or rallies. She could hold forth on top of Orgrimmar's bank, or maybe lead a raid to Stormwind as a metaphor.

Is it surprising that a Republican chooses Horde? I think you could make a case for either faction going with either political party. Personally, I love to see that she's middle-aged and a woman, which defies Blizzard's assumptions about the majority of WoW gamers. She also chooses pirates over ninjas. I'm not sure there's a political comment there, but I'm sure someone will show me the light.

[Thanks to Wandering Goblin via Massively.]

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

Comedy Central looks at campaigning in the World of Warcraft


Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 blog (humor about the upcoming US elections) has a... well, OK, it's not all that funny, but it's a post offering the three major candidates (Obama, Clinton, and McCain) tips in their strategies to appeal to World of Warcraft players. That's right, we vote, too!

Unfortunately, it would probably have been a lot better if they'd gotten someone who actually plays WoW to write it -- there are some OK references in there, but nothing really insightful into the world of Azeroth (and a few just don't make any sense). And none of the candidates are portrayed as Horde (Barack's an NE Druid, Hillary looks like a Dwarf Female Paladin, and Johnny Mac is a Gnome caster of some kind), especially since being Horde has already been proven to be politically popular. Throw in the fact that they missed out on four classes (what am I supposed to know as a Shaman?), and this turns out to be a pretty poor attempt by Comedy Central for a little Warcraft humor. Too bad.

[Via Massively]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor, Factions

Elect your Flower Kingdom leader!


Rumor has it that some of your favorite characters will be featured in the upcoming MMO as country leaders! In the spirit of Amanda Dean's Azerothian General Elections, I thought it would be fitting to find out who are the fan favorites for leaders of Sanrio.

Let's take a look at the personalities and platforms of the candidates, shall we?

A. Hello Kitty (London, England): Hello Kitty believes that friendship is the key to peace and economic stability. If elected, she promises to hold free friendship seminars and events, including trust falls, group therapy, communal gardening and a buddy system. Other key issues in her platform include the "Cookies for Love" campaign, fair market prices, and staying in school. If elected, she will be bringing Charmmy Kitty on as her advisor.

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Earth Hour and WoW

Tonight the world will be celebrating Earth Hour, with individuals, cities and businesses turning off and unplugging as many of their electronics and lights as possible. How can you get involved when you have a scheduled raid, or when this is the only time for you to play today?

You need not feel pressured to unplug everything. Turn out as many lights as you can throughout your home, unplug the electronics and appliances in rooms you are not using, and consult Well Fed Buff for the perfect lights-out snack you can prepare before 8:00 p.m.

This event is important, not because it will change the entire world, but because it will send a message. Not only will we have the opportunity to think about our impact, and learn about just how much power the world did save in that one dark hour, but businesses and governments will realize just how serious people are today about the environment.

Gamers should be a part of that message. Lately, we have been garnering a poor reputation for ourselves, and not because we might all turn into mass murderers from staring all day violent images.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Last word on Ron Paul in Azeroth

A little while back, we were the first news site on the 'net to report on the Ron Paul rally, and after it happened on Monday, our own Elizabeth Harper reported on the rally itself. And now, the rally has come full circle, and political tech news site techPresident has wrapped the whole thing up with a question about whether or not politics belongs in Azeroth in the first place.

So this morning, let's wrap it for good: the majority of the comments I've seen say that political rallies like this don't belong in Azeroth at all. Players claim that they play the game to escape from the real world, and that they don't want to be confronted with real-life politics in a virtual world.

But I, and others, maintain that this is not a complete fantasy world-- it's a world populated by real people who should be allowed to express their opinions. Sure, nobody wants to have an opinion forced on them (this kind of thing shouldn't fly on a roleplaying server, obviously), but the World of Warcraft is a big one-- if you couldn't go somewhere else on Whisperwind Monday night, you could sign on to a different realm. And if you make the choice to deny one expression of opinion, you have to deny them all.

Any last thoughts? I suppose the final word on this actually came from Blizzard-- they did nothing to stop or endorse the rally, so clearly they're not against players simply expressing their opinions in game, political or otherwise. And there is good news for those of you who never want to see politics in Azeroth again-- the rally on Monday didn't exactly help Paul win in Iowa, so odds are none of the other candidates are going to be rolling a new alt.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Leveling

Ron Paul's World of Warcraft rally


On New Year's day supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul gathered on the Whisperwind (US) realm in World of Warcraft to march across Azeroth and show their support for their candidate of choice. The rally started outside Ironforge with approximately 240 players (with 400 members in their RP Revolution guild) and traveled to Stormwind, Westfall, Booty Bay, Ratchet, and finally Orgrimmar. And if you didn't make it, you can still experience the rally vicariously via our image gallery below (and if you did make it, feel free to send screenshots to us at aroundazeroth@wow.com!) or video above!

To the best of our knowledge, this was the first political rally to be held in World of Warcraft -- and looking at their numbers it seems to have been a successful and upbeat gathering (or at least it was upbeat for the participants). Will this event help Ron Paul's chances in the election? It's hard to say until the votes are cast, but the uniqueness of the event is causing it to get a lot of media coverage. (And no press is bad press, so long as they spell your name properly, right?) Read on for impressions of the event.

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Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, News items

Ron Paul supporters plan rally in Azeroth

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's internet regiment has come to World of Warcraft-- a group of his supporters are planning to form a guild on Whisperwind and do a march from IF to Stormwind (which means they'll probably be Gnomes or Dwarves, which is too bad, because I liked the idea of "Trolls for Ron Paul") on New Year's Day at 8:30pm EST.

Now, we here at WoW Insider are politically neutral when it comes to Warcraft, so we won't advocate joining these guys (and we also won't advocate forming a "Horde for Hillary" guild to oppose them). But we are 100% in support of bringing widescale opinion expression of any kind into the game itself, so this should definitely be a fun event.

As always, if you go, take pictures and send them to us. And if you hear about any other political rallies in World of Warcraft this coming election year, let us know about those, too-- we'd love it if a presidential candidate (any of them) somehow got some extra buzz just because he (or she) was able to get out "the Orgrimmar vote."

Thanks, Paul!

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

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