Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

I'm a pacifist, right down to the bone. Most of you know this.

But I also am devoted to the online game World of Warcraft.

Someone I deeply care about asked me about this obvious contradiction several weeks ago and, at the time, it took me by surprise and I'm sure my answer was less than golden. But I've been thinking about it quite a bit since them, and I have come upon a more thoughtful response.

How can I be so thoroughly opposed to violence and yet be almost addicted to a game that involves a fair amount of killing?

Well, like it or not, here's the best I can come up with:

A long time ago, when I was an adolescent, I was quite taken with Dungeons and Dragons, a role-playing game involving pretend dungeons and monsters and very real humans and very oddly-shaped dice. I wasn't then, nor am I today, a big fan of fantasy. I love to read, but realism is my main predelection. Yes, I like true fiction, a great story involving crazy stuff, maybe impossible stuff. But I like it only when it's based upon a foundation of reality. I love Stephen King, I love David Sedaris, I love Clive Cussler, I love Jean-Paul Sarte, I love Mark Twain, etc. I'm not into Tolkien or Le Guin or Bradbury or Asimov. Hersey, I know. And it's not to say they're not great writers. It's just that I don't have a brain equipped to find great pleasure in a fiction book that requires a glossary. And yes, I see the irony that I am that way and yet utterly lovesome about reading every scrap of paper related to the Moon voyages, fetishing every juicy morsel, no matter how often I have to re-read an acronyms meaning.

Anyway, let's get back to Dungeons and Dragons. I really dug it when I was a tween/teen. For me, it wasn't the fantasy, it was the combination of a great, wholly unique game and the opportunity for relating to other humans who had mildly similar brains.

I played for quite some time, drawing many a dungeon on graph paper, spending time with my real peers: geeks. Tremendous fun and wonderfully therapeutic escapism.

After high school, I all but left D&D behind. I was too busy with the real world. But then I found myself employed as a tech monkey and I was pretty bored. Fortunately, the folks I worked with played something called Ultima Online. This was one of the first big internet games, in terms of numbers. There were other internet games previously, like Bolo and such, but this game drew an enormous audience (about 100,000 in the first half-year. Pretty amazing when the internet was really only about 3 years into its initial mainstream popularity.

I found myself addicted to Ultima Online. It was just like Dungeons and Dragons, except way less effort. All the areas were three-dimensional, the monsters as ugly as I imagined them back in the late 70s, the comradery as dedicated.

Years past, and I found myself here, as a housewife with very little time on my hands. However, when I do have time on my hands, being idle is not for me. So one day, whilst kvetching to my brother, Dave, about my boredom, he mentioned World of Warcraft. Again, it was just like D&D. I would be able to build a character, get armor, weapons, go on quests, and kill dangerous, horrific monsters. Sign. Me. Up.

If you've made it this far, you may have a question: Don't monsters have rights? Don't they deserve to live? My response? No, no they don't.


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Stu thanx for your shared thoughts on online games- dungeon and warcraft.

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Suldog said...

I have the same dichotomy going, in that I am a pacifist, but I adore slapstick comedy, heavy metal, Tom & Jerry cartoons, and other things that would seem too violent for a pacifist to enjoy. The answer is quite easy, actually. I hate REAL violence. Pretend violence is extremely entertaining.

Lori said...

i guess it's a guy thing - cause to me real or pretend - violence sucks. but hey i believe live and let live- so onward through the haze.

cherylann said...

My husband actually plays on a MUDD, which is like a D&D thing online. He's been at the same site for at least ten years. I could get the address for you if you're interested.

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