Last week Kuvaldych published an interesting piece on his blog about arcane symbolism in WoW. In the posting there are two clips, in which the authors show what symbols of different secret organizations, such as Freemasons, the Blizs used in their game. It was interesting to watch.
On the one hand, it's pretty funny. Well, yeah, sure, the Freemasons don't doze off. There it is, the All-Seeing Eye, such a famous Masonic symbol that the Blizs used as the basis for developing the Kirin Thor symbol. Oh, what bad blizards, they also work for the world conspiracy, on the subconscious level they implant to us the idea of how good freemasons and the "New World Order" are. At the same time the author of the clip, most likely, did not realize that the Eye is a symbol of the Trinity, symbolizing the Triune God, who sees everything. This symbol can be found in both Orthodox and Catholic churches. Yes, then, the Freemasons and the Illuminati used it more intensively. Due to some odiousness of these organizations, as well as novels like "Angels and Demons" now some people perceive this symbol as something not quite good. The world history of culture knows many such twists and turns, when the original meaning of the symbol distorted, when used by people with dishonorable purposes. The brightest example of this, I think, is the swastika. The ancient symbol, which was actively used by Nazis during their reign, is now mainly associated by most people with Hitler and fascism. Sad, but true.
We do not want to analyze everything in the clip, because with such approach we can make a "world conspiracy" out of anything. For those, who are curious, what the play with symbols, searches of "secret meanings" and "world conspiracy" can lead to, I can advise to read the novel "Fuko's pendulum" by Umberto Eko. Quite a sobering read.
But I wanted to write about something else. In fact, the question "can MMORPG brainwash" is quite interesting. After all, there are plenty of opportunities for "propaganda" - and it's not just because MMOs are made on engines with bright graphics and sound. The world that has hundreds of NPC's, each of which has when there is a long story, when there is a short one, but after all, you can make a parable out of each story and make it "stick" in your head as an example to follow.
In such a vast dynamic world, knowledgeable and skilled people could prescribe a new religious canon if they wanted to. I'm not talking about the fact that real players who operate in the online world, creating guilds and clans have plenty of opportunities to create groups of people. Yes, right now it's mostly PvE and PvP oriented guilds, but... if someone wants to create in something like an international religious sect, that sounds pretty feasible to me personally. "Let's not forget that the majority of MMORPG gamers are young people, teens or even children. And how ridiculous it may sound - these minds are really fragile. I don't think the security services are too busy with MMOGs, but they are already working on censorship. Take China for example, and how the blizzards have to cut out graphical elements that are ideologically wrong in terms of Chinese worldview.
Back in the late 90's I tried to predict how an MMORPG can become a tool for long-term ideological warfare and social programming. I published excerpts from that text on this blog last May. I'm not going to retell it, if anyone is interested, you can download one of the versions of this artistic text here.
Getting back to WoW and the symbolism sewn into the graphics and design. I don't think anyone at Blizzard was serious about stitching symbols that promote the Masonic movement or anything like that. But... I think that the game was firmly worked on by experts who know how to place "an implicit message to the consumer", which will attract and retain it in the game. However, they are not the only ones. These techniques are used by many companies with varying degrees of success.