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World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Wrath of the Philosopher King (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – October 27, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Luke Cuddy is editor of The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy. He teaches philosophy at Southwestern College and MiraCosta College in San Diego. His website is http://neo-philosophy.com/. John Nordlinger is Senior Research Program Manager at Microsoft Research. He has written about ethical and educational issues surrounding Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games and other videogames.
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Product Details

  • Series: Popular Culture and Philosophy (Book 45)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812696735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812696738
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has been way too long in coming. Over twelve million people are now playing World of Warcraft, and another couple hundred thousand play Everquest2 and other similar games. All those wanderers of Azeroth, Norrath, and other decadent fantasy realms can now apply their arcane knowledge and MMOG experience to the equally arcane realm of Philosophy. This book features a great group of authors (both philosophers and gamers) and an equally impressive selection of articles that span the range of ethics to epistemology. Mayhem meets Metaphysics. Political philosophy is introduced through guild leadership insights. And it all goes down easily because this strange juxtaposition is leavened by a steady flow of humor. Interesting and quirky references abound, from Plato and his metaphorical cave to Adam Smith's description of the economics of cyberspace. Even Nietzsche makes a super appearance.

Monica Evans introduces us to the lore of World of Warcraft, discussing misdeeds and other noteworthy misadventures. Plato and Kant are introduced innocently and unobtrusively, yet I could feel the gentle increase of my intellect by at least +2!

Another highlight is Miquel Sicart's Warrior angst and consequent in-depth philosophical discussion of game play, game community, and game ethics. Again, I felt a nice increase in INT +2!

You could even call it a sexy read, as the ethical implications of flirting and role play are explored in the most unlikely places. OMG! I just got a boost in charisma +1!

This book makes the game itself more fun. After settling in to read for a bit, I rejoined my guild and found myself considering many things I hadn't previously pondered. Is the rogue really female and does it matter? How much real money is that epic loot worth?
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Format: Paperback
Outstanding! This collection of savvy essays on World of Warcraft lures the reader into a Wonderland of Virtual Philosophy. You might cease leveling your toon and start musing about questions that a WoW Caterpillar might ask. Are you an Avatar or a Creator? And does it matter?

Luke Cuddy's and John Nordlinger's World of Warcraft and Philosophy provides surprising insights that will delight the brains of gamers and non-gamers alike. Before I was saved by World of Warcraft and Philosophy, I had considered attending a 12-Step meeting for my addiction to MMORPGs. Now, after reading this delicious book, I've morphed from Slacker to Philosopher! I'm contemplating the philosophical puzzels and social polticking that the developers have begun incorporating in WoW.

So why would a gamer want to think about philosophy and ethics and stuff? Considering that the storyline of most MMORPGs concerns the eternal war between Good and Evil, smart gaming makes sense. Anyway, maybe hardcore gamers want to get in touch with their Inner Heroes (or Villains).

I wonder if one of my personal heroes, Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with One Thousand Faces, would approve? When I taught game design, I used Campbell's classic as a textbook as MMORPGs seemed to follow the prototype of the Hero's Journey. However, unlike film and literature, MMORPGs give the Hero infinite choices to make as he or she progresses to the ultimate levels of Uber. Choices that require players to use their Free Will.

Professor Monica Evans suggests that WoW players must often decide whether to choose Evil over Good and that the developers of the game are writing more content to force players to "think" ethically.
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Format: Paperback
Any library seeking to make philosophical concepts accessible to everyday readers will relish WORLD OF WARCRAFT AND PHILOSOPHY: WRATH OF THE PHILOSOPHER KING. It uses the multiplayer online role playing game with over twelve million subscribers to offer philosophical and ethical queries. Players will find this a fine way to consider their actions in a new light, and libraries seeking modern philosophy guides will welcome this different approach.
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Format: Paperback
World of Warcraft and Philosophy was a very enjoyable read. Each chapter examines a different issue in WoW, like ninja looting, the Winterspring funeral massacre, and the famous Onyxia wipe, from various philosophical perspectives, including Nihilism and Deontology. Thus, not only will you learn more about WoW (I didn't know about the Gnome Tea Party until after reading the book), but you'll learn more about philosophy too, a fantastic subject. I feel it's important to mention that this book examines WoW from a philosophical perspective, not the other way around. What's great about the book is that it uses World of Warcraft to explain these concepts in terms that are easy to understand, so you are guaranteed to walk away a bit smarter. You may not always agree with what the authors of the chapters say, but they lay our their arguments well enough that you can formulate a logical rebuttal if you do disagree.

Still, the first section of the book is a bit of a chore, and that can turn off readers who might otherwise be interested in the book. The two good chapters include one that examines how ethics change when we enter WoW and one that looks at WoW as a response to Nihilism, i.e. life's meaninglessness. However, another chapter is simply a script of a skit in which a raid boss cries in front of a tax specialist because she is being taxed on her drops and can't afford to pay. Although it can be thought provoking, the chapter only glances over its topic and never actually says anything about it. Another chapter talks about the philosophy of movement, but it often feels like it is over-examining every issue it looks at, and it is such an overview that it can never elaborate on what it is saying, eventually being reduced to recommendations of what to read if you are interested in the topic.
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