You may recall that MUD creator Richard Bartle took issue with a torture quest in WoW: Wrath Of The Lich King. He got a few responses, some rather critical and others rather trollish.
Bartle has taken the time to address the main points raised - even the downright dickish ones - some of which came from commenters in this very organ.
"Rather than attempt to answer all 140+ comments on Kotaku et al," says Bartle, "here are a few things to note (in no particular order)"
- It turns out you didn't actually need to do the quest to access Coldarra (where the Nexus is). People on my server who played in the beta thought you did, and were issuing LFGs saying you had to know the flight path to get there. OK, so I was misinformed there. It doesn't alter the thrust of my argument, though.
- I know WoW is not real life. I know the Geneva Convention doesn't apply there. No real-life laws apply there. Blizzard could put a quest to rape characters in there: real life anti-rape laws wouldn't apply. Nevertheless, a lot of people would be very disturbed by such a quest. Likewise, not everyone is OK with torture. This is the case in real life, too: yes, killing is worse than torture, but that doesn't mean that if you kill people then torture is fine. Evidence: the aforesaid Geneva Convention.
- When I signed up to play WoW I knew it had fireballs, so I expected killing. I knew it had rogues, so I expected thieving. I had to wait until the second expansion to find out it had gratuitous torture. This does not fall within the parameters of what I was expecting. It's as if you were reading the new book 8 of the Harry Potter series and Harry turns to drugs and uses his magic powers for sport to blind people. JKR can put that kind of stuff in her books if she likes, freedom of speech being what it is and all, but it's shattered your expectations. I wasn't expecting consequence-free torture quests in WoW. Getting one was a shock.
- Strangely, I had noticed WoW was "just a game". For the many players who seem to think that this means anything goes, I guess you're really hoping Blizzard will be putting in some child sex quests in the next expansion. After all, no children are being hurt, it's just pixels on a screen, and if you get XP then why not?
For more of Bartle's response, check out the link below.
Tortuous Replies... [You Haven't Lived via Wonderland links]