Beorn and I sometimes play massively multiplayer online games. This is a sort of extension of our tradition of playing table top role-playing games. I enjoy playing games, but role-playing games have always been more about socializing than the games themselves; since my friends played I joined in. When Beorn and I got together role-playing games were the social arena that he felt most comfortable with. I had trouble getting him to come to parties or go out, but we found a regular group of friends to game with and Friday night gaming became our main social outlet.

In recent years online gaming has become easier than locating a compatible group of friends locally. If you haven’t heard about MMORPGs, in these games you create a character and use that character to interact with other players online. The game we play is World of Warcraft, currently the most popular online game, replacing the infamous EverQuest.

In the game most people join groups called guilds. Guilds are sort of like frats for online gamers. The guys in our guild are generally considerate and friendly, but they are young college/teen males, so they aren’t the most enlightened group of folks ever. When logging on to the game guys frequently quip, “Hey ladies” or “What’s up bitches?” I was going to rant extensively on the point, but then I found Matt Wilson’s “A Feminist Gaming Manifesto.” Good job Matt!

Update: Here are a couple of interesting links analyzing WOW.

Racialized Trafficking of Bodies in World of Warcraft

Cultural Borrowing in WoW

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