World of Warcraft and other games of its ilk have always been targeted for their addictive nature. Now, there's been some more fuel added to the fire with the news that Anders Behring Breivik was a fan of the game, released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment.
One possible aim of the game is to attain the rank of Justicar. Breivik, responsible for the bombing and shooting in Oslo during July 2011, had reached this rank through playing the game for over a year. Prosecutor Svein Holden projected an image of Breivik's character, "Justicar Andersnordic", during the prosecution. Breivik's response was a broad smile. Holden went on to criticize the game for its addictive nature.
As The Telegraph notes, in 2003, he set up a business selling fake diplomas with the money being laundered through a number of different Baltic banks. This business proved profitable until he sold it in 2006, whereupon he became absorbed in attaining the rank of Justicar. In 2009 he bought thirty-six different items from eight different countries through online retailers, so he could create a "Knight's Templar" uniform.
Holden suggested Breivik's life had been altered by his addiction to World of Warcraft after this point. Part of his Templar uniform was an arm patch bought from a seller in the United Kingdom. The patch came with the words "Marxist Hunter England", though Breivik altered his patch to read "Marxist Hunter Norway".
It might seem peculiar that Breivik decided to acquire a Templar uniform, for the Templars are not an enemy in World of Warcraft or even characters present. Some gamers may notice the Templars being the primary enemy in Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise, though there is no evidence to suggest Breivik was interested in the franchise. Anders Behring Breivik claimed to be a Knight Justicar in the Knights Templar in the real world, so Holden suggested he may see a correspondence between the two. The Knights Templar is a supposed real-world, anti-Islamic fraternity, but there is no evidence to suggest it still exists. The most famous example of the Knights Templar was during Europe's crusades into the Holy Land.
Svein Holden feels the same way about Anders Breivik's supposed links to a group who almost definitely do not exist any longer. Breivik claims to have joined the Templars via an inaugural meeting in London during 2002, and the supposed aim of removing Islam from Europe appears to have been of great importance in how he chose to live his life. Perhaps not as important as maxing out his persona of Andersnordic, but significant all the same.
Breivik's manifesto, a rambling 1500-page tribute to the continent entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, also makes the suggestion of practicing one's killing abilities using games as training simulators. Breivik's personal recommendation was Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which caused further controversy for the 2009 first-person shooter after the "No Russian" mission. Players were tasked with shooting civilians in the fictional Zakhaev International Airport alongside fellow terrorists and the antagonist, Vladimir Makarov.
Breivik's trial is still ongoing, though he has expressed no regret for the shooting of 69 people during July 2011. Most of his victims were teenagers on the Norwegian island of Utøya, attending a Labor Party summer camp. Anders Breivik's political views are right-wing, and as such, his argument has been as follows:
"Yes, I would have done it again. These were not innocent, non-political children, but these were people who actively worked to uphold multi-cultural values. The youth wing is in many ways similar to the Hitler Youth. It's an indoctrination camp at Utøya."
Breivik's crazed speech continued, and he managed to compare himself to both Malmo sniper Peter Mangs and the NSU group in Germany, who have killed more than ten immigrants in as many years. According to Breivik, European democracy has been stifled by Liberals and Marxists, fearing a new Hitler and a Third World War. Breivik's crazed rant continued for almost half an hour, and he was interrupted four times during this to keep a check on his time.
Image courtesy of The Telegraph.