Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Invoking Kali in Warsong Gulch - WoW as spiritual catalyst.

And now for something completely different. ;-) (Though still WoW related)

I realise this probably isn't something WoW players talk to each other about much...but over the last 18 months, I've undergone a massive change in religious focus, and WoW was initially a big part of how it happened. You could think of this as an illustration of how much WoW has actually affected and influenced my offline life.

I've already written about how I've tended to play Survival as a spec from a predominantly defensive point of view...and that part of that involved more or less trying to emulate a prot spec tank in many ways. I've also written about how passionate I could get about Warsong Gulch.

There were times when I would go into a WSG match where the Horde were losing. The Alliance was basically running rings around us, apparently somehow able to materialise everywhere at once, and the Horde team would be standing around disoriented and talking about how this could be another lost game. I wouldn't be able to do this every time...sometimes the Alliance had a particularly good team, and they took the match. However, I often found that if I used some initiative in going after the flag myself and asked a couple of other people to help out in different ways, I could help turn even 2-nil games around more often than not.

I could also at times become euphorically single-minded about slaughtering (as well as actually attempting to induce fear in) the Alliance. As a faction, I will admit that I've always detested the Alliance to a point where many would probably consider it unhealthy. (Although note that I'm not talking about every individual player's more a cultural thing)

I will also admit that killing them is one of the main reasons why I've missed being able to play the game recently. I was aware that some (not all) Alliance players at least used their perception of the Horde as monsters as license to attack us; given however the way I consistently saw some (not all) Alliance players treating both members of the Horde, and even each other, in time, I developed the mentality that if in the Horde they wanted and expected a monster, I was going to put all of my energy into giving them one.

I don't know how many of you who read this will have heard of Kali, but she is one of the major Goddesses of Hinduism. As well as something else which happened offline, I eventually came to know about her creation story, which you can read here. As well as fitting with what I believe is the role of Survival as a spec, as I've written about before, it made me realise that my purpose in creating this character, as well as, to some degree at least, the temperament I could go into while playing with it, corresponded closely with what I was reading about this particular Goddess.

Although I'm a civilian, and relatively physically passive in offline life, with both physical and certain psychological disabilities meaning that that will likely always be the case, being Mirshalak has given me the ability to live out and begin to get in touch with the more militaristic side of my personality...which up until a year or so ago, I hadn't even really known I'd had. Given that Kali is also very much about duality, and incorporating a number of positive aspects as well as aggression, to the degree that I am practically able, I have thus begun to attempt to worship Her within offline life, as a more concrete extension of what began within World of Warcraft.

It is interesting...Blizzard have written about people forming offline romantic relationships as a result of playing WoW...I find myself wondering if they've ever heard of an instance of someone finding God as a byproduct of this game. It proves one thing, though...don't ever let anyone try and tell you that what happens in WoW can't have tangible, positive effects on people's entire lives, including their offline existence.


Pike said...

That's a neat story. I'm glad WoW has helped you out in that way. =D

As for Warsong Gulch... it's fun to go in and turn those games around... I've found myself in games before where it's 2 to 0, other team up, and people are giving up and I try my best to tell them that it's not over yet, that there's still a chance. One time when I did that we somehow did indeed manage to turn around and win the game; I was the one that captured the last flag actually, it felt good.

As for Alliance vs. Horde... it's interesting because I've been raised on a RP-PvE server where there is a lot less killing and a lot more helping-out. My main is an Alliance, but I really like the Horde, they've helped me get out of some tricky situations; an undead rogue who helped me kill an elite for a quest comes to mind. We /bow and /wave and /greet each other when we come across each other, the Horde and I.

I imagine things must be a lot different on a PvP server. Actually I've got a level 31 alt on a PvP server right now but I think I like normal servers better. I don't like the way PvP servers invoke a hostility between you and the opposing faction even if you don't want it (also it's annoying getting ganked while you quest. =P)

That said, I have noticed (and I'm sure this isn't every server or guild... just the ones I've been in) the Horde overall kind of has an "It's us vs. the Alliance!" mentality, when I play Horde that's something that comes up a lot, "Let's go kill some dirty Alliance", etc., when I play Alliance nobody really brings up the Horde unless to talk about Horde alts or something. (Or if they're attacking Sentinel Hill, which seems to happen a lot. Heehee.)

Anyways it makes me wonder if there's something about the Horde that causes it to be a more tighter-knit community, maybe the quests or the type of people that play, or something. But there is a much more "We have to stick together, against the opposing team" attitude with the Horde overall, whereas I haven't seen that nearly so much with the Alliance which is more laid-back when it comes to faction rivalries.

Then again I've played Alliance almost exclusively on PvE servers, I wonder if the server type would make a difference.

Hmm. Anyways I'll quit rambling now =D

Ashraf said...

Things are much different on a pvp server; or at least the first year, or year and a half of the game it certainly was. Playing Alliance on Nerzhul, it was practically unheard of for horde or alliance to help eachother, and not that common for allies to help eachother either.

There seemed to be a bitterness about; getting ganked by a char 20-30 levels above you was seen as part of paying your dues I suppose. It would drive my friends into a frenzy after a while, where they would then go take it out on someone lower level than *them*. (I'm not much for world pvp; I used tracking to great effect to avoid any contact with the horde if I could).

Mostly I remember the AV loosing streaks; before the crossrealm BG's, Allys on NZ would commonly go on a 200-250 game loosing streak between wins. I don't think it helped relations. It'd either bugged people so much they left, or like Mirsh's hinduism, you accepted your dharma and lost *gloriously* ;). There's nothing like having 10 healers behind you, and charging into a pack of horde to stop thier line as a hunter.