Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) in videogame history, World of Warcraft is everywhere -- from episodes of South Park and The Simpsons, to online series like Watch the Guild, accolades and awards from game critics, and prime-time commercials with Mr. T. Inevitably, such a cultural phemen triggers deeper questions. When does an assumed identity become real? Does the Corrupted Blood epidemic warn us of future public health catastrophes? What are the dangers when real life is invaded by events in the game? What can our own world learn from Azeroth's blend of primitivism and high-tech? In these lively essays, a specially commissioned guild of philosophers, including Yara Mitsuishi, Monica Evans, Tim Christopher, and Anna Janssen, tackles these and other complex questions arising from WoW.
Luke Cuddy is editor of The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy. He teaches philosophy at Southwestern College and MiraCosta College in San Diego. His website is http://neo-philosophy.com/. John Nordlinger is Senior Research Program Manager at Microsoft Research. He has written about ethical and educational issues surrounding Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games and other videogames.