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The Seether:
The New D&D? WTF?

By Alex Loke


I get angry when someone I don't know, in a magazine that I barely read, in a place that I'll never go to makes an offhand comment about something I know even less about. Take recent comments in a PC gaming magazine that World of Warcraft is the new Dungeons & Dragons. I strongly disagree!

Though am somewhat unsure as to why...

Take that, Establishment!

Obviously this statement was written by someone whose belief system is intricately structured to be in opposition to mine an anti-me. Every word they speak merely broadcasts their ignorance that only my beacon of righteous truth can dispel.

So with my barely cohesive anger and poorly structured argument in place: World of Warcraft is a MMORPG. D&D is an RPG. Already we note the difference.

Having played both, I can say that I noticed that World of Warcraft lacks not only face-to-face interaction, but the ability to ogle the goodies of another player's girlfriend who came along because they want to see where their nerdish other goes every Sunday.

The differences don't end there. World of Warcraft misses the deep character interaction that is the hallmark of classic Dungeons & Dragons.

I'm just going to leave that argument alone as if I never mentioned it.

There is a definite shift in power with this apparent "new D&D". Now, only the being running the game can roll dice behind a "screen". Cheating at dice while believing you're being discreet, but secretly everyone knows and doesn't want to say anything because they want the game to stay friendly is an integral part of D&D that and the subtle discomfort is something I'm sure that Blizzard would find difficult to emulate with their fancy "technology".

One important thing to address. Nakedness.

In World of Warcraft, that the Night Elves are partially clothed is explicit she's staring at you with dead eyes like that hooker in the trunk that you've convinced yourself choked by "accident". In old-style D&D the nakedness was implied by the module's inadequate box descriptions

World of Warcraft has specific PvP servers ("Player versus Player") where you can expect to be fair game for anyone with a sharp pointy stick. Confrontations are direct, usually reasonably swift and, due to the ease by which characters return to life, more like a lip-service pimp slap because yo' womens be disrespecting you.

D&D isn't nearly as predictable. You have it in your power to give them the full mighty Tom-Sizemore-after-doing-coke-off-the-bar-in-a-backwater-town-where-the-police-are-easier-to-buy-than-cigarettes backhand. You can coddle some sick (who am I to judge?) revenge fantasy because that slovenly, mouth-breather won't shut his pie-hole about how for some reason he thinks George Lucas owes him a new childhood. In World of Warcraft, you can cut someone down in honourable combat. In D&D you can wear his remains around like a fancy hat.

The D&D movie had such luminaries as that guy who was Jimmy Olsen, the chick from that independent movie you never saw but told everyone you did because you wanted to sound edgier than you are, the cheapest Wayan and Doctor Who.

Warcraft has no such claim to fame, in fact, their movie hasn't even been made yet. This very fact shows that there is still the chance that this movie might be directed by Uwe Boll, who sits vigorously rubbing his belly and chuckling at the thought of pissing off an estimated 6 million players worldwide.

Here are a few differences I think you'll find have been only marginally fictionalised.

  1. People openly admit to being Klan members, feeling vague feelings of satisfaction watching Seinfeld, using tongue after being dared to kiss their sister and playing World of Warcraft. D&D players still hide their shame by telling everyone they do "improvisational theatre".
  2. World of Warcraft calls them "instances". D&D calls them dungeons, lairs, or for that brief time in the 80s, "Uncle Gary's Glory Hole".
  3. Blizzard employees cavort like stupid white heiresses. WotC staff won't sleep without nightlights.
  4. One encourages you to worship Satan. The other requires that you also pay him a monthly fee.
  5. When people play too much World of Warcraft, they're "addicted". When people play too much D&D they're"hardcore" ...
  6. If a parent wants to restrict their child from playing World of Warcraft, there is a Parental Control System. If a parent wants to restrict their child from playing D&D they better be ready to drag his or her ass out of school and move to a crazy puritan state.

My point remains the same — I am vehemently opposed to any number of things, and this may indeed be one of them.

Some things do remain the same, however. Pretty much no-one wants to play gnomes.

Alex has been fighting with others on forums again. His medication should kick in real soon now.

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