Cognitive anthropologist, Ryan Hornbeck, recently wrote a rather large dissertation on moral cognition and spiritual experiences in Chinese WoW, after studying how players use the game to escape social issues and conditions they deal with on a daily basis.
According to an article on Kill Screen Daily, one of the players Hornbeck spoke with stated:
WoW is more than recreation or entertainment to the players. It’s more like a conveyor belt of spirit that releases the bonds of the real world. The addition to the game comes from the wanting of a good life, just like the Christians overcome the difficulties by their own wills under the guidance of God.
In this case, Kill Screen speculates that Blizzard is “God”.
Hornbeck’s dissertation goes on to discuss how certain facets of WoW relate to Chinese religious traditions, and how the game helps players fill their spiritual space.
To read the full article, be sure to follow the link above.