Posted by: Kro | January 5, 2011

Uldum Nazi: Out of Place in WoW?

I find myself (for one of the first times in memory) standing in contrast to Zelmaru from the Murloc Parliament.

Zel’s post is showing concern with the direction Blizzard is headed in their pop culture exuberance. The particular focus is repulsion for the Schnottzi quest lines in Uldum (an obvious reference to Nazi Germany and World War II).

“The fact is, nobody’s relatives have ever been killed by a dragon, dinosaur, wizard, or ogre.”

This quote is true, however I feel like WoW has other “bad guys” that could fit into the nazi mold. Vikings (Vrykul), were known for raping and pillaging. Being of Scandinavian descent myself, I have mixed wonderment and sadness at my ancestors “conquests”. This is obviously much more muted than a Nazi reference in the scope of time but does the Vikings treatment of Native Americans in the past earn them blacklist status? They have an arguably sordid past and yet they are in our game, in league with the Lich King no less.

I suppose the obvious counter point is that you mean in “living” memory. In Harry Potter you can make connections between Hitler and Voldemort yet these are considered children’s literature. Are we allowed to use Nazi themes to convey story points as long as we call them Death Eaters instead?

I do feel as though the Nazi reference was important to the Harrison Jones story line though. You did touch upon that aspect but found that it was still an unnecessary addition. In that line of thinking, could we also say that Nazi’s were an unnecessary addition to the original Indiana Jones movies? Would those movies have worked in a story sense just as well if they had been an imaginary group of evil doers? Is it insensitive to include them in entertainment, even as the bad guys we work to thwart? Would Inglorious Bastards be an entertaining film if the film centered on twilight cultists as the antagonist group? Historical references, even of perverse people, serve to illicit a response from the viewer (or player). That response is seething hatred towards the opposition and it appears to be rather effective. Personally I find it (respectfully) intriguing to work through these issues in gameplay.

Schnottzi aren’t the first reference to Nazi Germany in WoW, we also saw (admittedly a vastly smaller) reference in the Caverns of Time.

The Holocaust

    • In the orc Internment camps, in the Caverns of Time dungeon Escape from Durnholde, The occasional guard will yell “I was just taking orders!”, a reference to the common excuse used by Nazi labor camp guards, during the Nuremberg Trials.


The entire Thrall story line begins with slavery and many quests and books go into explicit detail to illicit a response from the players of both factions. The experiences Thrall goes through as a slave mold him into the extremely well known and capstone personality of the Warcraft franchise.

Whether it happens subconsciously in developers minds as they create characters based on their own life experiences (and knowledge of history) or overtly in a blatant (un)pop culture reference, we will get historical references in WoW for good or evil.

My last argument is that WoW is the World of Warcraft. The game centers on the act of war, the opposition between foes, and the killing of those foes. You would think Schnottzis are a better fit for this game than Haris Pilton is. I’m not sure I could say that any aspect of war or atrocity is off limits in this genre were you can keep the severed heads of your enemies next to your fish feast in your travelers backpack, even when packaged in a cartoon like world of dragons and wizards. If we take the name Nazi away and just called them the genocidal world domination clan would that be more or less palatable? Whether Nazis are called Schnottzis, Death Eaters, or Twillight Cultists, let’s call a pig a pig and accept that fantasy frequently draws from reality in various degrees of recognition.

As an addendum, I wouldn’t mind if the Schnottzis were removed from the World of Warcraft. I’m not passionate that they stay. I just felt the need to present an argument for the rationale of including them.



  1. Making fun of the memory of Hitler is the best way for us to deal with that collective memory and this quest line does a great job at doing that.

    I think removing the quest line and character would be a perfect example of “when political correctness goes too far”.


  2. Personaly i dont mind the references to different events, however it is importent to think about some ppl can feel about it.

    If you had you famely killed by Nazies i would understand why you wouldnt be amused that the Nazi legacy is being made into an amusement, a joke for no other purpose than to sell a game.

    If ppl think that Nazi references is ok, then it should also be ok to make a questline where you chase Oklama Bling Farten out of caves in stonetalon mountains, or what about a questline where you draw pictures of the profet Mulochamed and have camel riding beduins burn the flag of the players faction in response.
    Nagazaki, Hiroshima. The Kenedy murder, The trial of michael Jacson. the list of things that could be made funny references to is endless. personaly it takes a lot to offend me, but the ppl designing these quests MUST think about how their products can be viewed.

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