Management: While my overall opinion of Log Horizon is quite positive, this essay is, by no means, meant to be a comprehensive review of the series, but rather, an articulation and analysis of what I feel are its most integral and interesting themes. Much of this essay draws implicit reference to Modernist Political Philosophy, from Thomas Hobbes in particular, what with his conceptions of the state of nature and his views on the origin of power, though this is, by no means, a total affirmation of on my part of everything Hobbesian.
Here are several ideas that Log Horizon brought up that interested me enough to jot them down in a somewhat organized essay form.
…and my axe.
Speaking as a former avid MMORPG player myself, when it comes to MMORPGs, or Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games, there are two general aspects of MMORPGs that I suspect people keep coming to them for.
First, then, is the aspect of RPG. I mean, for your average MMORPG player, who wouldn’t want to be part of some heroic triumph over beasts of Legend or Lovecraft, or serve at the honorable behest of some high lord or princess as one of his or her confidants, respectively. Hell, why stop there? Why not be the sole hero, or the sole confidant?
The ends of RPGs are thus. Immersion is the RPG’s aim. Empowerment is the RPG’s name. Those who play the roleplaying game are allowed to lose themselves in fantastical and brave settings, brave new worlds to conquer or become a part of, new narratives of which to consciously carve out as one’s own, like a knife to a landmark. This all still begs the question of why MMORPGs. Why are just plain old RPGs not enough for MMORPG players?
Last, then, is the aspect of MMO. Now, I’m not going to say that all people who enjoy MMORPGs are of a certain, peculiar nature, but people that play them tend to have… certain interests or display… peculiar idiosyncrasies. I’m, of course, no exception. Yet it needs to be said that neither certain interest nor peculiar idiosyncrasy denote, by absolute default, anti-sociability.
Players are people, and people, boiled down, are social creatures. As social creatures, we want social reference, desire social interaction, crave social reference somewhere with someone, whether that be in the form of a companion or even a competitor. More often than not, as “certain” and “peculiar” probably denote, this demographic of interest and idiosyncrasy comprise the minority in the general population. Moreover, this demographic is relatively sparse and widely distributed amongst towns, cities, and countrysides. And yet remarkably, the digital worlds of MMORPGs bring these relatively sparse and widely distributed people together into one forum, which even there can be divided into even more numerous subforums, guilds, in other words. The result is a community, some being tighter than others, a culture where dividing associations melt away in perceived gravity of mine and thine due to the time spent playing together, the bonds of fellowship forged through virtual combat and craft. A band of brothers… of sorts.