World of Warcraft has been a constant source of amazement for me over the years, but nothing from the game has ever shocked me to the core more than the following stories.
Blizzard's immensely popular massively multiplayer online game captured the attentions of gamers worldwide, reaching a record 100 million registered accounts as of January 2014. With that many players there are literally billions of WOW-related stories to tell. Here are some of the most extreme...
The Horny Miniature Wedding Crasher
Have you ever had a half-naked unruly gnome interrupt your wedding? Two love-birds in WOW had exactly that happen during their in-game matrimonial ceremony.
As you can see, the sleazy gnome is pretty persistent to the end, hitting on the bride during her wedding vows! Who invited this guy?
Eventually he gives up and turns to try his luck on the bridesmaid instead. Classy guy.
Watch the full video here.
The Boy Who Saved His Sister From a Moose
We've previously lauded this 12 year-old Norwegian boy's heroic efforts, but the incredible story warrants another mention!
Hans was out exploring the forest with his sister when an angry moose reportedly tried to attack the pair. Luckily Hans had played enough WOW to know he could distract the aggravated beast by taunting - a move from the game that lures monsters away from more vulnerable allies. He then feigned death - a skill he remembered his character learning at level 30 - until the moose lost interest. Who said playing games was a waste of time?!
Press X to Divorce
In 2008 an ex-Blizzard employee got sick of her husband playing WOW incessantly and filed for divorce, claiming his gaming addiction ruined their marriage! She said that:
He would get home from work at 6:00, start playing at 6:30, and he’d play until three a.m. It took away all of our time that we spent together. I ceased to exist in his life.
Desperate to reclaim her husband from the game, she tried to arrange 'couple-time' by suggesting they watch their favorite TV show together. But he refused, busy raiding dungeons online. She even claimed that he stopped cleaning the house entirely and ceased to pay their bills, being completely consumed by the virtual world.
The disgruntled wife in part blamed developers Blizzard for her relationship woes, comparing WOW to a drug:
[Blizzard] build it in such a way that you have to keep putting more and more time into it to maintain your status. I remember thinking when I was married that it was downright exploitative to people who couldn’t control themselves in that way. It’s set up like a drug.
The real kicker is, she was the one who bought the game for him! Whoops.
The Severe Dangers of Video Games
In 2005 a young girl nicknamed 'Snowly' tragically died after playing WOW excessively. She was said to be preparing to fight a particularly challenging enemy in the game - the Black Dragon Prince - and had exhausted her body in the process.
A touching funeral (pictured above) was organised in the game, which many players attended to pay their respects. It's an unfortunate reminder that gamers must always take care to look after their bodies during extended sessions of play. and Snowly's death actually prompted an investigation into the health risks associated with gaming.
In 2007 a 17 year-old Chinese boy doused a classmate with gasoline and lit him on fire. When questioned about the incident the boy claimed he had lost himself in World of Warcraft and believed he had 'transformed into a Fire Mage.'
The shocking incident prompted authorities to sentence him to eight years in prison and was ordered to pay the victim's family 760,000 RMB (approximately 124,000 USD).
While it may be easy to blame the game for this horrifying event, there are more than likely underlining psychological issues in the player to also be considered.
Warcraft Gets Political
In the run-up to the 2012 state senate race in New England, WOW played an unlikely role in a battle between rival politicians.
Maine Republicans accused Democrat candidate Colleen Lachowicz of being an unsuitable politician because of her game-playing behavior. Lachowicz's Warcraft chatracter was an orc rogue - known for being a sneaky class-type. The Republicans used this to try and slander their opponent, pointing out her penchant for back-stabbing in the game and raised questions about her "fitness for office" considering this virtual reputation.
Lachowicz issued a statement in response, stating:
Instead of talking about what they're doing for Maine people, they're making fun of me for playing video games...I think it’s weird that I’m being targeted for playing online games. Apparently I’m in good company since there are 183 million other Americans who also enjoy online games.
Too right, Colleen!
Trading Sex For (fake) Money
In perhaps one of the strangest Craig's List posts, a WOW player offered her own body for sale in return for 5000 gold so she could afford an in-game flying creature called a 'mount'. Keen not to miss out on a pun, she wrote that she would let another player "mount" her in real life in exchange for the virtual money. I hope it was worth it!
Driven to Suicide
In 2004 a 13 year-old Chinese boy committed suicide by jumping off a building, allegedly prompted by his experiences playing WOW. After playing the game for 36 hours straight he wrote out a suicide note saying he wanted "to join the heroes of the game he worshipped", before leaving his house.
The parents of the young boy, who live in a city just east of Beijing, attempted to sue the game's Chinese distributor, Aomeisoft, who they deemed responsible for the tragedy.
[Source: Fox News]
As it turns out, one of the most popular video games of all time has inspired some pretty extreme behavior in its players. it just shows that if people are passionate enough about something, it can drive them to do some pretty drastic things. I just hope players remember that it is just a game after all, and can healthily separate their online lives from their real-world ones.