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Hoffstadt, Christian ; Nagenborg, Michael
The concept of war in the World of Warcraft
Kurzfassung auf EnglischMMORPGs such as WORLD OF WARCRAFT can be understood as interactive representations of war. Within the frame provided by the program the players experience martial conflicts and thus a “virtual war.” The game world however requires a technical and as far as possible invisible infrastructure which has to be protected against attacks: Infrastructure means e.g. the servers on which the data of the player characters and the game’s world are saved, as well as the user accounts, which have to be protected, among other things, from “identity theft.” Besides the war on the virtual surface of the program we will therefore describe the invisible war concerning the infrastructure, the outbreak of which is always feared by the developers and operators of online-worlds, requiring them to take precautions. Furthermore we would like to focus on “virtual game worlds” as places of complete surveillance. Since action in these worlds is always associated with the production of data, total observation is theoretically possible and put into practice by the so-called “game master.” The observation of different communication channels (including user forums) serves to monitor and direct the actions on the virtual battlefield subtly, without the player feeling that his freedom is being limited. Finally, we will compare the fictional theater of war in WORLD OF WARCRAFT to the vision of “Network-Centric Warfare,” since it has often been observed that the analysis of MMORPGs is useful to the real trade of war. However, we point out what an unrealistic theater of war WORLD OF WARCRAFT really is.
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