Queasiness in Northrend

I have a problem that is affecting my game play in Northrend.
The problem is what many speak of as the moral “ambiguity” in WotLK especially as it pertains to quests that require torture or mistreating prisoners to complete. Ambiguity is in quotes on purpose because I don’t see any ambiguity — these actions are wrong. Here’s what bothers me.

This country is wrestling with its current history as having committed acts specifically forbidden in the Geneva Convention to which we are a signatory. We are viewed by many as harboring war criminals. We sacrificed principle for expedience. And this is precisely the same idea in the first torture quest I ultimately abandoned.  See below…

The Art of Persuasion
Librarian Normantis on Amber Ledge wants you to use the Neural Needler on the Imprisoned Beryl Sorcerer until he reveals the location of Lady Evanor.

Quest Text:
“You see, the Kirin Tor code of conduct frowns upon our taking certain ‘extreme’ measures – even in desperate times such as these.
You, however, as an outsider, are not bound by such restrictions and could take any steps necessary in the retrieval of information.
Do what you must. We need to know where Lady Evanor is being held at once!
I’ll just busy myself organizing these shelves here. Oh, and here, perhaps you’ll find this old thing useful….”

These quests are disturbing and I, for one, have abandoned them.  This affects my game play because now, not only must I figure out the quest but I also need to evaluate whether I have to do something I consider morally impermissible in real-life to complete the quest.   So, I will continue to play in Northrend although I am more leery of the quests and spend more time on wowhead researching an entire questline before starting it.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am a history major who spent upwards of two years studying World War II from a number of perspectives.  One of the most influential books I read during that time was “Ordinary Men” by Christopher Browning.  I am also a former Marine and have experienced the kind of peer pressure / group think that can be found in a military organization.

I don’t expect people to abandon these quests or do the same thing I am doing but I do wish to at least raise the awareness that torture is a nasty topic.   I guess what I really want is a path through quest lines that allow me to keep true to myself.  Let those that choose to torture get more XP or complete it faster but let there also be an option for an interrogation technique that may take longer or may fail but does not require me to torture.  Sort of like trying to skill up when the recipe is green.

Sorry for such a bleak topic but it’s been sitting in my craw for over a month now and I just needed to share.

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7 Responses to Queasiness in Northrend

  1. [...] friend FauxPaws wrote a very excellent post this morning, first time in a long time he’s written, to talk about his strong objection to [...]

  2. Anea says:

    When I first rolled an Undead, I made it to Brill and was asked to poison the Alliance they had in the basement. Being the oblivious nooblet I was, I skipped on down and expected… exactly what, I don’t know, but as I completed the quest and saw his exclamations of protest and realization of what was happening and the transformation into a zombie horrified me. I promptly logged out and deleted that character. Similar circumstances.

    This is a very good topic and you had a very good idea to give options to those that object to the extreme measures required of the player to complete the quest. In fact, I would strongly encourage Blizzard to give your idea strong consideration.

  3. Ratshag says:

    I has ta think a lot of this queasiness over the torturfying the prisoner has ta do with the fact what the bugger is human. If he were an ogre, or a Broken, or a troll, would Alliance types even be noticing what they was doing, let alone feel unhappies?

    Sure didn’t ever hear nobody get upset ’bout exterminatifying murloc villages, or them poor buggers out at the Sunwell Island.

  4. [...] investing yourself Before I left on my Long Drive, I read FauxPaws’ post Queasiness in Northrend.  While I was in Colorado months ago, I persuaded my little younger* brother to roll a character [...]

  5. Mike says:

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  6. lithelily says:

    I think you have to keep a certain distance from what your character is doing, in order to follow along with some of the content. I’m sure there are many other examples of questionable requests like this one. Torturing a prisoner.. should not be expected. But, the Death Knight has to slaughter innocent people doing a completely REQUIRED quest line. Druids and other types that normally would not do so often are asked to kill animals for people desiring pelts and trophies.

    It is not entirely wrong to charecterize the variety of good, evil, and somewhere in between that exists in the real world, but I think perhaps your suggestion, or something similar, to give the player more warning and more choice, would be a good thing. I also do not object to the torture subject itself so much as the supposition that the “good” guys would use those means in the first place.

    If you are handling how to react to such content when younger children or teens are exposed to that, first realize that this game is rated teen, and then allow them to consider that, just as in the real world, in the game world we have the option of associating ourselves with good and bad, and sometimes people like to pretend they are the bad guys but it doesn’t mean they do those things in the real world.

  7. [...] I left on my Long Drive, I read FauxPaws’ post Queasiness in Northrend.  While I was in Colorado months ago, I persuaded my little younger* brother to roll a character [...]

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