I found something disturbing today. World of Warcraft will be introducing a new dungeon called “Hour of Twilight” in which the final enemy that players need to kill is named “Archbishop Benedictus”.
Archbishop Benedictus has been in the game since the beginning (which was back when Blessed John Paul II was pope), and was the head of the “Church of Light” in the game. In the last year, they decided to have the character “go rogue” and become evil.
However, they obviously didn’t think through the implication that this would mean characters would be trying to kill a character with the same name as the current Pope, even if the original overlap was unplanned. Now millions of players are going to be trying to kill a character who very closely resembles the current pope in role and has exactly the same name (at least in Latin).
I used to play World of WarCraft, and I must say I am very confused.
One of the ten or so racial factions available to player characters is the humans of Stormwind. Their religion is - as the OP attests - a fictional one in this fantasy universe known as “The Church of the Holy Light.” It’s generally portrayed very positively, and is an example of what TV Tropes calls Crystal Dragon Jesus - i.e. a fictional religion made to *aesthetically *resemble medieval Catholic Christianity, but which is obviously not Catholic Christianity due to the clear absence of any allegorical counterpart of the Lord Jesus.
In the fantasy plot of the game, the leader of the Church of the Holy Light during the era of the old *WarCraft II *games (well before World of WarCraft came out) was “Archbishop Alonsus Faol” (I think), who spiritually guided the Human Alliance through the early wars against the Orcish Horde.
Archbishop Benedictus is his successor. I’m confused as to why they’ve randomly made him turn evil and become the boss of a new instance or raid or whatever. Apparently he’s on the side of the new big bad guy for the latest expansion - the evil dragon Deathwing. I agree that it’s bizarre and tasteless. But whatever, it’s World of WarCraft. No one will remember or care a few expansions from now.
I wonder if they are considering a name change for Benedictus which will suit his new station in life. There seems to be some precedent in the fantasy genre of such a thing happening when a previously good person crosses over to the dark side.
Not all that big a deal. In the first Diablo game made by Blizzard, you had to kill Archbishop Lazarus (another Biblical reference) because he and the king had been corrupted by a demon. I didn’t think that was sacrilegious. I don’t think this is either although I will admit that most of these companies have a decidedly anti-religious bent to their storylines.
I don’t like the obvious anti-Catholic bent to this game. It is very annoying. I don’t know why makers of games, books, movies, etc have to have such an anti-Catholic bent sometimes. It makes no sense. You would think they would be afraid of alienating their potential Catholic customers.
Good example. I don’t think it’s sacrilegious either, because in the Diablo series stuff like that is the exception: normally the characters you’d expect to be good are actually good.
The archangel Tyrael, for instance, is portrayed very positively - just and blessed, a true spiritual agent of the heavens.
I actually don’t think this is true of the WarCraft series in general, though… I’ll elaborate below.
Actually, I don’t think the WarCraft games - including WoW - have an anti-Catholic bent to them at all.
As I said, the Stormwind humans’ organized religion, the “Church of the Holy Light,” is a Crystal Dragon Jesus trope and as such is designed quite conspicuously to aesthetically resemble medieval Catholic Christianity.
The reason I don’t think it’s anti-Catholic is that generally, across the board, the Church of the Holy Light is portrayed very positively in the games. Sure, there are a few renegade clerics and paladins who become fundamentalist, self-righteous, and violent, but the WarCraft games have *always *presented those factions - such as the Scarlet Crusade - as being in schism from and conflict with the main Church of the Holy Light. Most prominent characters who are leaders of that church - whether bishops, clerics, or paladins - are portrayed in a very positive light - including Uther the Lightbringer, Archbishop Alonsus Faol, and - until this latest expansion, apparently - Archbishop Benedictus.
In general, I find fantasy stories’ portrayal of religion quite fascinating. The WarCraft series in particular has done a pretty thorough job of crafting a pretty nuanced set of widely differing religions in its fantasy world: the humans of the Alliance have this Church of the Holy Light; tauren and most orcs have a very shamanistic belief system; night elves worship the (good) dragons and a moon goddess but eschew all forms of magic, which in the WarCraft series is quite dangerous; the dwarves have a religious devotion to the Titans who fashioned much of the WarCraft universe; and some races and factions do follow demonic and sorcerous practices as well, though none of the main player factions legally or openly tolerate such practices.
There are even some factions and cultures that don’t seem to have much of a religion: the gnomes and the goblins are very secular, and the blood elves seem to have lost the religion of their night elf heritage with their embrace of magic.
Finally, I like that it’s not actually simplistically divided along racial lines: some orcs may follow old demonic practices rather than the Horde’s currently endorsed shamanistic ones, and a Darkspear Troll - whom you *can *play as - might follow anything from the Horde’s endorsed shamanism to demonic magic to the same kind of mystical practices the blood elves follow.
In fact, the mysterious Draenei - who aren’t even from the same planet - are actually more consistently devoted to the Holy Light than the humans are.
Apparently they’re letting people play as Tauren Paladins now as well, which suggests that the faith of the Holy Light has at this point found its way even among the races of the Horde, though the Horde’s shamanism is no doubt still the majority faith for orcs and tauren.
Meh I think there is probably reading too much into it. I think its a coincidence.
The games have tended to be positive of Christianity and all they have really done is distance themselves from it more, but probably not to that extreme. I remember back in the early days of Warcraft (the 1st game) the clerics had descriptions about bearing crosses for others and direct references to God. In Warcraft II the church used to train paladins had a big cross on it, and if you clicked on it you heard a chant of the words at the end of Mass (‘Deo Gratias’), you had to fight daemons, and anyone associating with them was doing evil. In Warcraft III and World of Warcraft things became more distant from Christianity and in World of Warcraft you can play warlocks (daemon summoners) basically as good guys. However, the Church of the Holy Light is still largely an analogy to Catholicism and generally positively portrayed even if it is no longer the focal point of the ‘good guys’ as it was in the past.
Honestly, the worst thing about World of Warcraft is the addictions it can spawn, and the distraction it can provide from what really matters.