World of Warcraft is trying to reduce racial inequality. Latino and Asian players — we’re talking about gnomes and trolls and orcs here.
Last week, Blizzard Entertainment, the developers behind the hugely popular role-playing game, tweaked some of the racial attributes in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the game’s latest expansion. With the new changes, night elves have gotten quicker and humans are less adept with maces. There’s a whole lot more, but the upshot is that almost every race in the game is now more versatile than they were before — making for more equal geek opportunity, if not exactly equal geek outcomes.
WoW’s millions of online subscribers interact in a shared, ever-expanding world. Players can make the characters they create farm or hunt or team up on missions and raids. But before you do any of that, to upgrade, can also be WOW power leveling.
And that’s a big choice for you the player, as the different races in the game have special abilities, different strengths and weakness. (There are countless websites that offer advice selecting the best race for your character; post-racialism is apparently a crock even in fictive realms!) After you pick a race, you pick a class — say hunter, mage, warrior, warlock — and the class makes racial traits even more specific to your character. Your character’s skills get stronger (“leveled up”) with each successful adventure. Your gaming experience is deeply individualized.