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An apt analogy after all…

May 27, 2007

This post ‘cleverly’ weaves three of my interests together; MMORPGs, Heavy Metal and Fantasy Literature and all begins with a quote I read on Last.FM in regards to a track by the (incredibly cheesy) metal band Blind Guardian.

I recently picked up ‘A Twist in the Myth’ by said band and noticed that one of the tracks was called Otherland, a name shared by a series of novels by Tad Williams about a super-life-like virtual world. Reading the lyrics to the song my suspicions were 90% confirmed but I just wanted to double check so I did a Google search and came up with a few relevant links. The one that caught my eye was a comment left on Last.FM that said “I know it’s based off the book “Otherland” but the lyrics also describe World of Warcraft quite well”. Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics he’s referring to:

They rule the land
They are in command
They hold all strings in hand
They are invisible
Out of sight
They’ve designed
A secret place
To play their games
A world they’re in control
Divine law
Divine law
Be aware
Now
Mind your steps
We are uninvited guests
They may find and catch us
Don’t forget
Do what I say
Now connect
Don’t even ask
Until we’re out of it
Everything’s at highest stake
Come take a look
We are in
Take a breath
But don’t forget
It isn’t real
It isn’t true
An illusion
Nothing more

You’re part of the game
You’re slave to the grind
Oblivion
Is your key to the Otherland
You’re part of the game
You’re cursed
You’re damned
By now you understand

You’re part of the game
You’re slave to the grind
Oblivion
You’re welcome to the
Otherland

I think it’s safe to say that Blizzard won’t be using this song in their next advertising campaign.

My first thought was that this guy is an ex-WoW player who bitterly resents the hours he whittled away in Azeroth. Then I remembered what so many of my guildies have told me about their continued attraction to WoW. Many openly acknowledge the psychologically addictive nature of WoW, but continue to play anyway, the reason being that they’ve made close friends there.

“There is no end point – no end story for me to reach. Only the next epic item after item after item.”

“The key question for me tho is ‘What keeps you playing WoW?’ to which I respond ‘The people I play along side’. If it wasn’t for TT (the guild)… I would have quit ages ago.

In the first book of the Otherland series (I have yet to read the second, third and fourth volumes, they’re all f**king huge) one of the main story arcs (there are several) features Renie Sulaweyo, whose younger brother is left comatose after some rather unsavoury virtual world experience. Renie ends up getting caught up in some very nasty business in her efforts to help her brother, but she gets through it (well the first volume anyway) because her friends (one or two of whom end up giving their life) are there to help her.

So, while Blizzard might not be quite as evil as those in control of Otherland, maybe the comment the guy made on Last.FM referred to the fact that often only your friends get you through WoW.

Here’ s Blind Guardian in all their glory: 02_blind_guardian-otherland-amrc.mp3

 


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