In eight years of playing WoW, there have been many different quests.. Most comically legendary is the many flavors of poop quest, where we have to obtain items from a variety of sources, all of which seem to be poop, either ours or something else’s. These are the humorous ones, which make us laugh, and often gross us out. These are good quests, but there are a lot of other quests in the game, ones that might not leave us laughing in the end. What about the quests that lead some out there to question the influence of games on our minds, and our psyches? What I have been thinking about is the quests which leave us wondering if we did the right thing.
In eight years of questing, there have been many different quests. Go kill wolves until you bring back 10 pelts. Go fish up 15 eels. Go kill 30 Undead. Nothing unusual, nothing to feel bad about, or to have regret over. But, what about when quests turn bad? Go kill unsuspecting druids. Go unleash a mana bomb. Go kill innocents. How do we as players respond when told to do these? I know some folks don’t read the quest text, but how many of us would refuse a quest, which would stop your story development, over moral issues with the request?
What is the line you are not willing to cross? Killing Sunreavers in Dalaran who may, or may not have had anything to do with the theft of the Divine Bell? Helping Garrosh rescue the traitor in Theramore so that he is not obliterated by the mana bomb that is on it’s way? Kidnapping defenseless babies from their mothers? Killing citizens in Straholme because they might become undead? Where do you draw the line? Do you have a line of what is too wrong in a game of pixels?
In a time where video games are often blamed for desensitizing kids and young adults to violence without cost, I think this is a very interesting conversation to have. I know I personally have dropped a quest because I just could not do what they wanted of me. I could not kill innocents, I could not harm someone who had done nothing to me. My heart would not allow it. I have, though, done stuff that I should have had more of a problem with. I have gone to Culling of Stratholme, I have kidnapped the wolvar pups for days on end just to gain some rep. I have no idea what the Tuskarr did with them, only that I happily went around, scooping them up (often in front of their mothers) and turned them over to their enemies.
What is too much for you in WoW? Do you feel you can separate your Orc killing Druids from yourself in the real world, and thus have no concerns? Would these types of morally questionable quests give you pause in recommending the game to others? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!