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Virtually SacredMyth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life$
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Robert M. Geraci

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199344697

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.001.0001

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A World with Meaning

A World with Meaning

Chapter:
(p.63) 3 A World with Meaning
Source:
Virtually Sacred
Author(s):

Robert M. Geraci

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199344697.003.0003

It is not social activities alone that make World of Warcraft virtually sacred; such practices are anchored to practices through which people make meaning and experience transcendence. Like a Venn diagram, World of Warcraft and traditional religion show overlapping concerns, qualities, and products even as they diverge in others. This chapter shows that World of Warcraft is part of contemporary religion not just because it satisfies social concerns but also because players and designers use it to create identity online and thereby produce meaningful and even transcendent experiences. It can thus replace the devotional components of traditional religious affiliation. Through an online role-playing game like World of Warcraft, players engage in purposive acts, see meaning in their work, develop self-understanding through their online identities, and experience transcendence. Such experiences, far from being trivial, can change a person’s life, making the world more richly rewarding. The opportunity to rise above the ordinary, to become superhuman, is the ultimate promise of World of Warcraft and this kind of transhumanism is the most powerful component of how video game play and virtual world residence can be virtually sacred.

Keywords:   Identity online, Meaning, Religion, Role-playing game, Transcendence, Transhumanism, Video game, Virtual world, World of Warcraft

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