As the latest World of Warcraft expansion is released “The Battle for Azeroth” it is hard to deny the impact the game has had on a universal scale. Arguably the most successful video game of all time with over 100 million people having played the game from over 244 countries.
But why has this massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) been so successful? What has made the game so captivating tapping into the deepest crevasse of human nature? I’m sure there are plenty of psychoanalysis’s that would love to mull over such a question all day. However, it may surprise some that the Bible actually explains the key factors of understanding the huge popularity of the World of Warcraft franchise.
At the heart of World of Warcraft (WoW) is a community. One in which Blizzard the creators of this fictional universe prize. This is seen in the opening video of the 2017 Blizzard Convention ceremony.
Words such as “Family”, “belonging”, “connected” and “together” are repeated as players reflect on their experience with the Blizzard franchise. Some players go as far as to state “the couple that plays together is the couple that stays together” and “it brings together a wide range of people that you would not normally see together”.
At the heart of Christianity is a community, the church. One in which the creator of reality happens to prize. It is commonly said within Christian communities that “the couple that prays together, stays together”, and the nature of the church likewise brings together a wide range of people that would not normally be together as they have a unity in the work of Jesus the Messiah.
Well then, Let’s compare and contrast 5 points between these two communities and see which one holds under the weight of scrutiny.
The services that Blizzard offer are one in which the participator must pay. This is not family. Which family event do you have to pay to attend? It is also doubtful that the Warcraft community will aid those in need as a family would.
Christians in the church on the other hand are commanded to not only “look out for your own needs but for the needs of others”(Philippians 2:4). The church as recorded in the book of Acts held all things in common and gave to everyone who had need (Acts 2:44-45). Like a real family.
What is the purpose of being part of the WoW community? Some might aspire to make a career by Live Streaming or becoming an eSports champion. The problem with this ambition is that games wean in popularity. One game that is popular today next year could be all but a distant shadow. The nature of the WoW player verses player (PVP) eSports scene means that one can never truly master the game and have a stable career as it is ever changing.
The purpose of being part of God’s community the church means that the future is secure and certain. This motivates the Christian to invest all their passion in the mission of communicating the truth to all people as commanded by Jesus before he ascended into heaven after the resurrection (Mark 16:14-20).
The world in which Blizzard has revealed to their community is one in which the individual is the centre piece. Through hard work and determination, you can essentially become a god. You will be respected, feared and admired in the community as you demonstrate your lack of weakness through your skill, knowledge and items you possess.
The world in which God has created puts Himself in the centre. The Christian must not strive to be God but must recognise weakness, failure and sin. The Christian is one who goes to God for assistance and does not rely on their own ability. All the Christians fulfilment and achievement are in Christ. It is only in Christ that the individual is made like God to imitate Him and in which they receive glory.
This might seem obvious but the creators of WoW are human. Humans are flawed therefore their creations will be flawed. WoW, like any other human creation will go through times of success and failure. The creators will be motivated by greed or other vices that will hinder the game, yet ultimately, because men die so will their works and memory.
The Creator of the church is God who is eternal. God is flawless therefore his purposes with the Church cannot be hindered. In Matthew 16:17-19 Jesus tells Peter his disciple that the gates of Hades will not overcome the church God is building. This means the church has eternal ramifications. This is why in Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus compares his teaching as a man building on rock and those who reject Him and His teaching as building on sand. One house stands the other falls.
A large part of the marketing campaigns and expansions of WoW have focused around nostalgia. Blizzard seeks to pull lost subscribers through reintroducing old themes. The expansion “Legion” was a pull on “The Burning Crusade” audience and now the latest expansion “The Battle for Azeroth” is seeking to glean the original audience of the franchise.
The problem of nostalgia is that is ambiguous and subjective. When it comes to emotional attraction people like things for different reasons. For many people WoW was the first online video game they had played, no novelty today, trying to recreate the awe and wonder of first experienced emotions which are always seen with rose-tinted glasses means that people in this community will always feel disappointed and disillusioned as that original buzz is never recreated.
Christianity on the other hand predicates on truth which is accompanied by emotion. The reality of God, truth of the work of Jesus, the resurrection and eternal life enable the Christian to stick with the church community through thick and thin.
Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
God has created humanity to live in community because God Himself exists within a community of three. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirt. Since everyone is created in the image of God it logically follows that humanity would have an innate desire to socialise, interact and belong in a community that was bigger than themselves.
God has made the way to true community through right relationship with Him and through the family of Christian believers. This way is Jesus, God’s Son who comes to earth to pay for the penalty of his people for breaking God’s laws. Because Jesus lives those who follow him will live too.
Well, there you have it folks. I hope you found this helpful. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Sean is married to Sarah, father of Enoch and creator of The Armoury Bible Game. Sean started his early years in the warmth and sunshine of Mauritius and South Africa before moving to Ireland in his late childhood. After growing up in the church, Sean came to a solid conviction about the truth of Christianity after God gave him an overwhelming desire to study the Bible at 13. He enjoys reading God’s Word, smooth coffee, the fantasy genre and anything bubblegum flavoured. THE ARMOURY / BLOG / STORE