July 19th, 2015


Torture in Warcraft

In World of Warcraft, my main character has gotten into a quest that involves torturing enemy combatants. (The quest is "The Power of Poison", on the quest chain that you get from choosing the Brewery option in the Spires of Arak.)

I object to torture. I think that the CIA's use of torture is a national disgrace. I don't want to do this quest.

Unfortunately, this quest is required for the achievement that would unlock flying in Draenor. I would like to fly in Draenor.

I filed a ticket requesting to get my quest progress reset, so that I could choose the smuggler's den option instead of the brewery option. I got a reply from a GM that sympathized with my aversion to torture, but said that the GMs did not have the power to do such a reset for me.

So I have three options to choose from:
1. Do the torture quest.
2. Do all the substantial work for that achievement (i.e., most of the quests in the expansion) on another character.
3. Never fly in Draenor.

I won't say I'm not tempted by option #1. I am tempted. It would be a lot of work to do everything on another character, and I do want to fly.

I am tempted to rationalize #1 by saying that it's just characters in a video game. But the reward is just an advantage in a video game. If I want the CIA to have the honor to avoid torture when real lives are at stake, shouldn't I avoid fictional torture for a fictional convenience?

I keep thinking about the Milgram experiment. I would like to think that if I were one of the subjects in the Milgram experiment, I would have the courage to defy the experimenter's orders... but I don't feel any certainty.

This is not a post about how noble and good I am. This is a post about the temptations of evil, even if the evil is minor and easily rationalized. And I might yet succumb to that temptation.