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ISBN 978-0-8126-9673-8


288 pages

Fall 2009

World of Warcraft and Philosophy

Wrath of the Philosopher King

Edited by Luke Cuddy and John Nordlinger
Volume 45 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

World of Warcraft is the most popular ever MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game), with over twelve million subscribers and growing every day.

 WoW is everywhere—from episodes of South Park and The Simpsons, to online series like Watch the Guild, accolades and awards from game critics, prime-time commercials with William Shatner and Mr. T., and even criminal and civil courts in the real world. People marry and divorce individuals they have met in the game, realworld financial markets thrive in virtual WoW property, parents have their kids ‘treated’ for Warcraft addiction, and real-world lawsuits, vendettas, and murders have been provoked by the game.

 Since identities are known to be assumed, is it okay to totally misrepresent yourself in the game? Does the Corrupted Blood epidemic warn us of future public health catastrophes? How can it be wrong to steal something which doesn’t exist or torture characters who don’t feel pain? Is warfare really essential to the world of Warcraft? What can our own world learn from Azeroth’s blend of primitivism and high-tech?

 A specially commissioned guild of philosophers tackle these and other hard questions in World of Warcraft and Philosophy.

 “Finally, something Horde and Alliance alike can enjoy! Log off and curl up with World of Warcraft and Philosophy: you’ll level up your Intellect for better boasting at your next guild party and cocktail party alike.”

—Ian Bogost, author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism

“WoW fan? WoW curious? This is a terrific read to uncover what lurks beneath the ‘Tolkien-ites chill at the mall’ veil of WoW.”

&—David Gerding, game developer and professor of Interactive Media at Columbia College

“Tired of raiding or grinding for rep? Level up your philosophy skills instead, with this witty, concise analysis of the best-selling World of Warcraft. You can embark on chains of philosophical quests, such as learning how Machiavelli’s writings apply to guild politics and the intricacies of ninja ethics, all inside this fascinating volume.”

—Mia Consalvo, author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames

“Dense kotaku-ness masquerading as philosophical weezership for the consumption of the embedded masses so that they know where and why-fore they did tread.”

—MICHAEL ZYDA, Director, USC GamePipe Laboratory

 A longtime gamer, Luke Cuddy now teaches and writes philosophy, a light diversion from the stresses of battling the Horde. He conceived and edited the much-acclaimed trailblazing volume, The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I Am (2008). John Nordlinger is Senior Research Program Manager at Microsoft Research. He writes and speaks about ethical and educational issues surrounding MMORPGs and other videogames. Balancing the book, John is a member of the Horde and harasses the Alliance.

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