8.12.2006

The Chapter

The Chapter is recruiting. It is a roleplaying guild that mixes the medieval Catholic Church with the official Alliance belief in the Holy Light.

This is interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all, the Holy Light is obviously inspired by the real Catholic Church. In fact, in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, there are direct references to God, angels and demons. These references were later replaced to references to more generic terms. God got replaced by the non-personal philosophy of the Holy Light. Angels got replaced by the Naaru and demons got replaced by the various races of the Burning Legion. The Chapter attempts to change this back somewhat. While I'm not a Blizzard developer, I would guess that the change was originally made to avoid any clashes with current religions. Warcraft was originally released a year after Doom, in the middle of the controversy about Doom's infernal imagery. Warcraft 2, which was released a year after Warcraft 1, had already gotten rid of God, angels and demons.

Now the Chapter is adding elements from medieval Catholicism into the mix. This can open a huge can of worms. There are already Christian guilds on many servers that actively recruit only Christian players and try to convert others. What happens if someone cannot keep the in-game religion separate from the real-world religion? Let's say that a Christian member of the Chapter encounters a staunch atheist, and tries to convert him in-character. Any insults could be taken very personally. Religion in general is a subject where calm, rational discussions are somewhat rare.

The second interesting aspect of the Chapter is that they rewrite some lore. They claim (at least in-character) that their holy book has been written by Uther Lightbringer himself, a very important (and deceased) NPC in the Warcraft universe. They also claim that prominent paladin NPCs in the game endorse them. This smells strongly of metagaming, because the NPCs can neither endorse or rebuke them. In essence, the Chapter is latching on to the credibility of the NPCs, so this decision can result in heated discussions (both in-character and out-of-character), of what Uther did and did not do. Again, these discussions could turn personal quite quickly.

1 comment:

Savvy said...

Meh. I kinda like the current Lore perspective on The Light, where it's actually closer to religions like Buddhism than Christianity. Also I'm a bit fed up with "There is only one ALLMIGHTY Lord" religions, and therefore any mention of a single "God" aswell.