My final iteration of my intervention piece was almost completely different from the original pitch. My original idea was to hold an in-game peace protest in World of Warcraft to make a statement against the perpetual faction conflict (originally inspired by the group who acted as the Red Cross in game by only healing players). However, this weekend was Blizzcon. At the convention 2 things happened: they revealed more information about the upcoming WoW patches that quelled my annoyance, and they announced a new Diablo game on mobile to booing from the crowd.
I was admittedly hopeful of the new mobile game, but as I learned more, I felt like the Diablo fans got cheated with an outsourced mobile-game re-skin as the “big Diablo news”. I don’t personally believe that Diablo 4 won’t happen, but I was disappointed with the lack of news and also wanted to express the frustration many of my friends were experiencing. I decided to pivot my protest about WoW inside WoW to a statement piece expressing the disappointment in the Diablo news. My piece was inspired by two main things: the Institute for Applied Autonomy’s graffiti writer, and emergent behavior in WoW where people use items to write messages on the ground.
My final piece was done in “feast graffiti” (writing messages using feast tables which would disappear around 10 minutes after they are placed but are otherwise impossible to remove without me doing so) and was attempting to show solidarity and support for the Diablo community as well as use another Blizzard game as a platform against Blizzard’s lackluster showing for one of its 20+ year old franchises. I took to the virtual streets in 3 different cities and plastered my message of “RIP D4” (Rest in Peace Diablo 4) on the digital cobblestone.
The first city was Stormwind, the Alliance capital city. I put my message in front of the auction house due to its high traffic volume. This initial showing attracted a small crowd and a few people laughing and making meme jokes about Blizzard’s responses such as “don’t you all have phones?”
After Stormwind, I went to Dalaran, the main hub of the previous expansion where both Horde and Alliance share spaces. I set up outside the Horde quarter by people and actually had a couple people walk over to see what I was spelling. When I was done I posed at the top of my art and people were talking about it. One person even emoted cheering for me.
Finally, I took to Boralus Harbor, the main Alliance hub for the current expansion. This was the most crowded spot and I immediately set about writing my message right through the middle of the crowd. People moved out of the way as they saw me approach so I could write more clearly. This one got the loudest response in game even if it was still pretty quiet and full of memes.
My message was seen and that was that; or so I thought. I woke up the next day to find someone had taken a screenshot of the message and posted it on Reddit (something I made the decision not to do myself as I was content with the small bits of approval I did receive). The post was the 3rd most popular post 13 hours after it was posted, with 5.8k upvotes and 556 comments. After 22 hours the post had 6.6k upvotes and 671 comments. The comments range from people memeing about the Diablo Immortal announcement, to people making well written cases for why mobile was bad for PR and also people calling the Diablo players “entitled”. The reddit post can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/9u9kn3/standing_in_solidarity_with_our_diablo_brothers/
Ultimately, I am proud of how my intervention lived on past my initial graffiti. I really appreciate that other random people who agreed with the sentiment I was expressing also became vocal and spread the art of my intervention.