That’s Me In The Spotlight Losing My ReligionOctober 9, 2008
A week or so ago, the topic of religion came up in guild vent.
Pause for the wince I know is out there, somewhere.
Now, as a pastor, I’m pretty firm in my faith and I don’t mind talking about it to anyone who wants to, but there’s a time and a place for such discussions, and usually that’s not right when a horde of Nurglings are jumping on my face and our group is trying to win a PQ. In fact, many guilds and forums of MMOs outright ban discussion of religion and politics (with sexuality a distant third) because of the incredible emotions, passions and disagreements that arise, particularly when it’s in the middle of a group of diverse backgrounds that don’t all share a similar political or religious viewpoint.
But as I said, we got into a cursory discussion of faith — specifically, how the Warhammer fantasy universe (i.e. the one in which we were playing) dealt with religion.
I’d been aware of the various deities and faiths in the Warhammerverse, but not to the point where I gave them much thought. Yet when we started talking about Mork and Sigmar and Khaine, I realized that I was actually playing a game that didn’t shy away from religion as a serious part of these characters’ lives, but essential to who they are and what motivates their actions. It might not be anything revolutionary to you, but I’m cognizant of how fearful Hollywood is of ever dealing with religion outside of a few set clichés, and how far they go out of their way from tackling real issues of faith and belief due to a fear of making someone angry. It’s kind of the last taboo in Hollywood, so it’s nice to see that religion is recognized in WAR as a major player in the shaping of that universe’s history and events.
WAR is by no means unique in hosting a pantheon of religions and deities, but it is one of the most in-your-face MMOs in this regard. I’m not well-read in Warhammer lore, but even as a casual player I’ve picked up a lot of flavor and impressions from the various religions, and I have to say, there’s very few “huggy” deities in the Warhammer world. Even the supposed “good guys” worship gods and faiths that are bloodthirsty and brutal.
But I think it’s just neat that this is all part of that world, which adds a layer of depth that other MMOs lack. Witch Hunters, for example, find it easy to fall into the mental role of a demon hunter/Inquisition dude who is out to purify the land in an uncompromising fashion. Maybe they don’t realize why their character acts as he does, but they can easily sense that there’s a faith there that is a major motivator.
If this in any way interests you, I’d encourage you to hop over to The Greenskin, where they’ve posted a terrific series called “Know Your Gods” that tackle the top 10 faiths of WAR.