Anne and I were playing WoW earlier today when at one point she turns to me and says, “I don’t believe it. Someone in Iron Forge is asking folks to join her in sending emails to Blizzard asking that the developers put a Nativity scene in the game.” I thought she was kidding, but a quick trip to the dwarven capital city confirmed the story as someone going by the name “Gabrielle” was indeed broadcasting messages on one of the chat channels asking for others to join her in her cause.
For those of you who don’t play World of Warcraft I should probably mention that today they started the annual Yuletide event known in the world of Azeroth as the Feast of Winter Veil. From today through just after New Year’s Day, the capital cities are all festooned with lights and holiday trees and there are additional holiday-themed quests that your characters can participate in and useless items you can buy such as snowballs with which to batter senseless other players. There’s even an Azerothian version of Santa Claus known as “Greatfather Winter” who is, quite naturally, sponsored by the fine goblin-folk of Smokywood Pastures, makers of quality beef logs and other assorted holiday necessities. You can even step into a marvelous goblin invention that will temporarily turn you into one of Greatfather’s little helpers by means of making you look like a gnome in a Santa outfit. As with a lot of pop culture references in WoW, there’s a definite tongue-in-cheek humor in the presentation of the event right down to a grumpy dwarf who protests the crass commercialization of it all by sending you on a quest to discover the true “reason for the season.” It’s silly and fun and good way for Blizzard to soak up some of the loose change floating around in the WoW economy.
So I suppose it’s only natural that some Christian someplace wouldn’t be happy unless they managed to usurp this fake holiday in a fictional world in a similar way that they managed to do so with the Yuletide celebration in the real world. Namely by trying to get their own religious icons inserted into and associated with the celebration. Needless to say this didn’t go over too well with a lot of people, least of all myself or Anne. The surprising thing about it though, was that even the majority of the Christians who spoke up weren’t all that fond of the suggestion either and for some very good reasons. In particular the fact that Blizzard tends to parody anything from the real world that they put into WoW and considering the send up they did with Santa Claus I can only imagine the can of worms they’d open up with a treatment of the Nativity. The more serious-minded Christians felt that reducing Jesus’ birth to a comical set decoration in a video game was tacky at best and highly disrespectful of their beliefs at worst. After a bit of heated debate “Gabrielle”, who appeared to not have a single person who agreed with her on the issue, seemed to give up and pipe down. A little while later during a return trip to Iron Forge, however, she was back again with her pitch and was again told to piss off by most of the folks present. Then later in the evening last night she showed up yet again though she put up much less of a fight when folks started challenging her.
What is it with some of these Christians that they have to make sure their belief system is represented at any major holiday, real or fictional, that comes along? Other than reducing a supposedly sacred event to the level of a Saturday morning cartoon, what conceivably positive benefit could come from injecting their religious icons into a fantasy based video game? Do they really think someone’s going to look on it and suddenly decide to become a Christian? What’s next? The Ten Commandments posted next to the entrance to Iron Forge? Isn’t it enough that they’ve managed to subjugate the Pagans into accepting their bastardized version of Yuletide in the real world? Apparently not.