Saturday, February 2, 2008

Epic by Conor Kostick

I stumbled across this book on an Amazon list and put it on a wish list. If you have children who love to play those live fantasy online games like World of Warcraft, or even kids who would like you to let them play (I've got one of those), this is a must. I am going to force my brother-in-law to read it. He's a guild leader, whatever that is, but it seems to involve staying up late at night and arguing about guild colors with people from Alaska. Who knew? Kostick was a designer for one of the first live fantasy role-playing games. Now you know who to blame for the fact your friends/child/relatives spend all their time in a world where riding around on jabberwockies and battling dark elves is as normal as going to the supermarket.
The premise is that the human race, having destroyed their own planet, now live on a new Earth in a medieval like existence. However, there is neither king nor aristocracy but a system of government which pits individuals against a central Committee in a fantasy computer game that determines everything called Epic. Violence is illegal and all conflicts and disagreements are resolved with virtual battles. In order to survive in the real world, players must do so in the game world. Citizens of New Earth spend most of their free time hooked up to the game trying to increase the worth of their player so that they can compete for better jobs and basic necessities in the real world. It sounds like a plan, but as is often the case with good plans, human greed and thirst for power eventually subvert the original intention of the system. The Committee becomes an inflexible group of cronies reviving a system of privilege and entitlement. Their players in the game amass so much wealth, weapons, strength and magic spells that they are unbeatable.
I know you're supposed to root for the destruction of Epic and see it for the true evil it is, but I am afraid I was rather sad to see it go. I was seduced by the fantastical world it offered and began to understand the allure of World of Warcraft. I mean, wash the dishes in real life or ride around wielding the Bastard Sword of the Moon scaring wood elves in a fantasy world. Hmmm...let me think.
Sequel: Saga (5/08)

1 comment:

Macintosh Freeware said...

Yah, I connected there with ya on the WoW part. Luckily, after reading this book, I quit WoW for good. Even though summer is coming on, I am going to try my hardest to fight back against the almost "gravitational pull" of WoW and get rid of this snack pack of mine (opposite of 6-pack).