World of Warcraft Gone Wrong
The thin line between fantasy and reality
World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where players create a character by choosing a race (such as humans, orcs, elves, and many others) and a class (such as warriors, mages, priests, and more). They can then explore the expansive world, complete quests, engage in player-versus-environment (PvE) and player-versus-player (PvP) combat, and interact with other players.
Since its release in 2004, it has become one of the most popular and influential MMORPGs, attracting millions of players from around the world. Many tech geeks developed their interest in computer science from this game. So did several terrorists.
Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian right-wing extremist who carried out two separate attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011, is an ardent World of Warcraft fan. Before shooting down 77 innocent civilians, he played the game 16 hours a day for five years straight.
Disguised as a police officer, Breivik gained access to an island and proceeded to open fire on the camp attendees. His motivations for the attacks were rooted in his extreme right-wing ideology and his opposition to multiculturalism and Islam. In a manifesto he published prior to the attacks, titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," he outlined his beliefs and outlined his plan to carry out the attacks.
Breivik was arrested and later stood trial in 2012. During the trial, he showed no remorse for his actions and described the attacks as "cruel but necessary" to combat what he saw as the Islamization of Europe.
He was found guilty and put behind bars for 21 years. Today he lives in a jail with conditions that would seem luxurious by most standards: a three-room suite with windows that includes a treadmill, a fridge, a television with DVD player, and even a Sony PlayStation.
Why are we telling you all this?
→ Unintended consequences of gaming, metaverse, VR etc.
→ Challenges of moral responsibility
→ Importance of seeking help early
Gaming Gone Awry?
Gaming is bigger than the box office, streaming video, and recorded music industries combined. It has become the largest category of media, with over 3 billion gamers globally.