I almost cried a little bit when I was looking at news from around the web. Blizzard today joined many others in blocking access to gamers living with Crimea, an autonomous region of the Ukraine that has been a hot spot of trouble of late. I am not a political analysis and I do not claim to understand the grasping reach of trade embargoes, but I do know a little bit about gamers who live in areas like that.
Throughout my years of playing, I've ran into a lot of awesome games from Eastern Europe and most of them have some interesting views on the world, far different than my own, but all are very good people who just want to live their lives and have fun. To them, gaming is a way to escape the reality outside of their door, which for them isn't that far off from their computer.
Many gamers in Eastern European countries that I've talked to over voice often lament the fact that they game with an assault rifle beside their desk for defense and tell stories of brave survival, stuff you'd hear in books, as they try to survive tension that could arise from things as small as riots to bigger things like war and invasion. For them, gaming is a method of relaxation, because it's better to be a level 9000 Elite Tauren Chieftain than a civilian caught in a tough conflict out of their control.
While I won't share anyone's personal life story, nor am I able to verify the claims players have made, I can attest to the fact that civilians in these areas, at least the ones who game, rely on these games as a method to talk to the outside world, to hear what it's like in areas that aren't submerged in conflict.
As these online services close their doors to players in these war torn areas, they're taking away some kind of virtual coping mechanism, something to do with their time and a method for them to reach out and understand the world isn't just what's going on around them and that there is hope and people that care. Civilians are rarely ever part of the higher political order of things going around, but sanctions are imposed in order to protest.
Embargoes are designed to do many things, one of them is to raise awareness. Right now, many gamers are finding out about this news and engaging with the headline because their games have been affected and even possibly their long distance friends, who can longer access the games to play with them. While obviously, most players probably don't have a large collection of friends outside of their own peer group, it does strike a cord for many who do understand the value of gaming as a method to speak to the outside world.
As I said, I'm not specifically an expert in any way about politics and I can't speak on this subject in any capacity other than feeling bad that Humans out there are denied access to games because of the region they live in (while previously having access), due to reasons so far out of their control, but it does sadden me to think anyone who isn't involved in some kind of fiasco like this would be subject to restrictions to play the games that they love. Gaming is universal, it supersedes borders and nationality, and to think that it players can be refused based on region is a bit sad.
In lighter news, TESO is upsetting me. I'm wanting to hop back in, but I need to authenticate my account. I'm unable to because my session expires by the time I get the email. That's... odd. I wonder if there is a surge of players with TESO inviting all of the beta users in to check the game out this weekend. Ah well, I'll find out later.
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