published: 2008-01-02 20:04:18
At the end of last month, a group of gamers wanted to march to show their support for presidential candidate Ron Paul. The problem? Marching requires going outside...and pants. The solution: hold the march in
World of Warcraft
Last night, a group of Ron Paul supporters (participants claim there were three hundred participants) created Alliance characters on the Whisperwind server of the popular MMORPG and marched from Ironforge to Stormwind under the guild tag
. Marchers used the Deeprun Tram linking the two cities, rather than taking the hazardous overland route. I assume Level 1 gnomes and dwarves named "Ronpaulrules" being torn to pieces by dragonkin and orcs in the Burning Steppes is not the sort of metaphorical image Ron Paul supporters want to put forth.
The event was a source of annoyance for many regular Whisperwind players, who faced long queue times due to the sudden influx of marchers onto their server. Horde players were thankfully able to vent some of these frustrations by killing some demonstrators who traveled to the gates of Orgrimmar at the end of the evening. Blizzard doesn't forbid political assembly in the WoW terms of service but perhaps the server disruption could cause them to revise their policy.
The event could be termed a success because it's certainly odd enough to earn the media attention that underdog candidates like Paul crave. It might not be unusual by World of Warcraft standards - the game has seen players march for cancer awareness and hold a funeral for a deceased player - but this may be the first overtly political, partisan event ever held in the game. I'm curious to see if any other candidates' supporters try to mobilize on Azeroth. Maybe the Romney camp will try to clean up America's "societal cesspool" by quoting Bible verses in whispers to all the night elves having cybersex at the Goldshire inn.
I made a cheap shot in the beginning of the article about the WoW march organizers being lazy but well...so is their target audience. Voter participation is around 50% in our country. I guess it's easier to make activism accessible to people sitting on their ass rather than motivating them to get off their ass. If only people could vote while playing WoW...