Thursday October 04, 2012 | 06:22 PM

 

According to Wikipedia, there are roughly 9.1 million subscribers to the online video game World of Warcraft. So it makes sense that some folks in that community are going to hear about the Maine Republican Party mailer and press statement criticizing Democratic state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz for playing the game and using her character, Santiaga, to make "crude, vicious and violent comments" about Republicans. 

The story has already reached a national audience. So what are the folks who play World of Warcraft saying? Check it out:

* Perky, an Orc Death Knight, wrote: "I don't know Santiaga or Colleen and I certainly don't live in Maine. I don't know that I'd agree with her political stances or that I would vote for based on her policies. That's not what this is about.

What I do know is that using the fact that she plays World of Warcraft against her in a political campaign is absurdly pathetic. This site infantilizes Colleen by using denigrating descriptions like "make-believe land Azeroth" and apparently suggesting that "the average WoW gamer" is an immature 28 year old who spends too much of his or her free time playing World of Warcraft.

Stereotypes aside, playing World of Warcraft does not inherently make someone a jobless, basement-dwelling, Mountain Dew-swilling Dorito fiend (not that there's anything wrong with that). It does not make someone unfit to be a politician." 

* Spiteful, Human Warlock, wrote:  "I think i would prefer it if politicians spend their time doing other things. call me old fashioned i guess."

* Rashend, an Orc Death Knight, wrote: "With the terrible decisions that come from a lot of politicians - maybe it would be better if they spent more time on stuff that wasn't politics after all."

* Phacia, Human Priest, wrote: "I hear you can't be a professional and play an [massively multiplayer online game] ... oh wait! Didn't I hear about an EVE Online player dying in a US embassy not too long ago?

Honestly, I know more people that lose their jobs, fail school, or have family problems because of more serious issues than "playing an MMO". I agree that MMOs can eat up a lot of time if you are not careful, but most responsible people will know how to prioritise. If they don't know how to prioritise, then I doubt MMOs are their only problem."

Oktag, Orc Mage, wrote: "One of the amazing things I find about this game is the fact that people of all types can play this game. Imagine the next person you have in a dungeon may just be one of the most famous people on this planet. You will just never know it." 

Regarding "Phacia's" reference to an EVE Online player dying in the an a U.S. embassy: That's true. Sean Smith was one of four U.S. State Department officials who were killed in a rocket attack against the U.S. Embassy in Libya. Smith, whose gamer nickname was "Vile Rat," was apparently a prolific gamer. 

According to this report in CNN, Smith, an Air Force veteran, was "one of the leaders of a gamers' alliance renowned for his diplomatic skill in the multi-player space warfare simulation."

One final note: It appears the gaming kerfuffle has prompted some to rally behind Lachowicz. As of 7:16 p.m. $765 has been donated to help her get elected. She's a clean elections candidate, so the money will likely go to some Democratic political action committee to be spent on her behalf. 

According to sources in the Democratic campaign, the developers of WoW have also offered to send Lachowicz an autographed copy of the game. She can't accept it until after the election, due to campaign finance laws.

  

 

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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

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