ONTD Political

Oslo Terrorist Used Modern Warfare 2 as "Training-Simulation", World of Warcraft as Cover

8:08 pm - 07/24/2011
Oslo Terrorist Used Modern Warfare 2 as "Training-Simulation", World of Warcraft as Cover

The accused shooter in yesterday's massacre in Norway has been linked to 1,500 page manifesto that recommends using Call of Duty to train combat skills for an upcoming war with Islam.

Anders Behring Breivik also suggests that an obsession with massively-multiplayer role playing game World of Warcraft, which he was known to play, is a useful cover story to explain the time one is actually spending plotting attacks.

"I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game," he writes, under "Andrew Berwick" (an Anglicization of his Norwegian name). "It is probably the best military simulator out there and it's one of the hottest games this year. ... I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I've still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations."

Police have not officially confirmed the manifesto is Breivik's but it contains multiple references to his actual name, his height, weight and place of origin, his World of Warcraft activities, server and his handle ("Conservativism" and "Conservative"). The manifesto was originally found by Kevin Slaughter, who posted a Google doc link to it through his Twitter feed.

Breivik, 32, is in custody after Friday's horrific attacks in and outside of Oslo, in which seven were killed by a bomb and another 85 were gunned down at a youth camp. Police described Breivik as a gun-loving, right-wing religious fundamentalist who saw Muslim immigration as a threat to his country's culture.

"2083: A European Declaration of Independence" identifies not just Muslims as a target but also agents of multiculturalism and "cultural Marxism" (or "political correctness") which he sees as abetting a Muslim immigration that will overrun Europe. Indeed, yesterday's shooting rampage targeted a youth camp where children of Norway's current ruling party were vacationing.

In addition to more practical means of gun training, such as visiting firing ranges and countries with relaxed gun laws, Breivik also says that military shooters like Modern Warfare are a way to keep one's skills sharp.

"Simulation by playing Call of Duty, Modern Warfare is a good alternative as well but you should try to get some practise with a real assault rifle (with red point optic) if possible," he writes under a section titled "Marksmanship Training".

As preparations for what are essentially terrorist operations can raise suspicions, typically over one's lack of money or time spent away from friends and family, Breivik suggests that "using social taboos is an extremely effective method from preventing people who know you well from digging too much." One such taboo is an obsession with World of Warcraft.

"F[or] example, tell them that you have started to play World of Warcraft or any other online MMO game and that you wish to focus on this for the next months/year," Breivik writes. "This "new project" can justify isolation and people will understand somewhat why you are not answering your phone over long periods. Tell them that you are completely hooked on the game (raiding dungeons etc)."

"You will be amazed on how much you can do undetected while blaming this game," he continues. "If your planning requires you to travel, say that you are visiting one of your WoW friends, or better yet, a girl from your "guild" (who lives in another country). No further questions will be raised if you present these arguments."

Breivik says he spent three years writing the manifesto. In the first year, he played World of Warcraft "hardcore", living "very ascetic" and in isolation. "I feel that this period was needed in order to completely detach myself from ‘the game,' my ‘former shallow consumerist lifestyle' in order to ensure full focus on the matters at hand."

Elsewhere, in diary entries, Breivik mentions playing Fallout 3, BioShock 2 and Dragon Age: Origins but does not ascribe any training or ideological purpose to them.

Since the shooting, Breivik's former guildmates have taken to European World of Warcraft forums to make sense of the killings and Breivik's alleged involvement. In forum posts they have described him as a down-to-earth, "overall nice guy," unable "to harm a fly."

His WoW page, under the handle Conservativism, was inaccessible as of this morning but Breivik had apparently stopped playing Warcraft five months ago.

Although Breivik calls "hardcore dungeon raiding" a "dream" of his in the manifesto, he suggests that friends found his Warcraft involvement a good explanation, as intended, for his double life. "I have managed to channel these suspicions far away from relating to my political convictions. Instead they suspect that I am playing WoW (and trying to hide it)," he wrote.

Kotaku has contacted Modern Warfare 2 publisher Activision for comment. They have not replied at this time.


Online Gaming Friends of Oslo Suspect Say He Couldn’t "Harm a Fly"

The 32-year-old man suspected of detonating a bomb in Norway's capital and going on a shooting spree in police garb, killing at least 87, was many things: He was a self-identified conservative Christian, farmer, body builder, hunter, freemason and gamer.

Listed among a slew of personal interests, favorite books, sports teams and philosophies on Anders Behring Breivik's (now removed) Facebook page was an interest in eSports, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft.

On the European World of Warcraft forums, players came together to discuss the shooting and try to make sense of Breivik's alleged involvement. Among the group is at least two who say they believe they knew the man and said he was down-to-earth and friendly.

In World of Warcraft, it appears that Breivik played as two characters: A high-level human mage and a low-level "Forsaken" mage, both under the alias "Conservatism".

"This is just not happening," a player who goes by the name Piltavla wrote. "This guy Anders been a great great friend of me, for three to four years now..."

He went on to say he recognized the suspect's picture on a Swedish news site.

"People can hide their dark sides..." wrote Piltavla. "You had this image of him never being able to harm a fly... he was a very calm and down to earth person," he wrote. "I spent many nights speaking with him... It's unbelievable that he's done this. I feel sick that I ever knew him (to be honest)!"

"You had this image of him never being able to harm a fly... he was a very calm and down to earth person."
Another player also described the suspect as an "overall nice guy."

"The person (the suspect), playing on Silvermoon, was a nice guy," Braxynglet wrote. "Nothing he's done in this game or with people from this game can explain what was done yesterday."

Players in the guild that Breivik is thought to have played in say that he hadn't been online, playing the game or posting on the forums, for nearly half a year. They added that some people had started harassing other guildmembers.

A majority of players talking on the forums had no connection with the suspect, but instead used the online gathering place as a way to talk through the tragedy and deal with the loss of life.

"I am deeply sorry for anyone hurt or killed in any attacks and any person who would openly end another person's life for enjoyment/religious means is no longer human," one player wrote. "I have two friends in Norway one that lives in Olso I hope they are both OK and they are not hurt my deepest thoughts for the people of Norway."
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mingemonster 24th-Jul-2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
That manifesto is so fucked up. I try to read through it, but it just makes me so angry it's almost impossible. Fuck.
mingemonster 24th-Jul-2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Although Breivik calls "hardcore dungeon raiding" a "dream" of his in the manifesto,

..that is also the most pathetic thing I have ever heard.

On a more serious note, the idea that someone might try to copy this terrifies me. He didn't just do this thing, he did it and wrote a detailed instruction manual on how to repeat it, and why people should do it, who they should kill.
keskt 24th-Jul-2011 06:33 pm (UTC)
i knew there would be a deal made about his video game playing
mirhanda 24th-Jul-2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
This. Ugh.
the_glow_worm 24th-Jul-2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
I feel for his guildmates, honestly. They must feel so betrayed. I wonder if Breivik ever let slip his intentions or his Islamophobic convictions?
brinylon 24th-Jul-2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry but with a handle like that they must have had some idea as to his beliefs?
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popehippo 24th-Jul-2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
And now every video gamer will probably be spending some time with our heads in the sand to avoid the onslaught of 'DID VIDEO GAMES DRIVE MAN CRAAAAAAAZYYYYY?!'.
demonologie 24th-Jul-2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
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oddityangel 24th-Jul-2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
I do feel that there is a discussion to be had as to why video games are sometimes treated as if they are exempt from the often accepted 'media influences our outlook, views and behavior' line of thought, but I don't really think this is the time for that discussion, or the example that should be used. It's a pretty extreme case, there's bound to be a lot of sensationalism involved.
oudeteron 24th-Jul-2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, let's make a deal about Islam and a deal about gaming before addressing his utterly atrocious acts as his individual responsibility, as well as an outpouring of far-right bigotry.
shadowpiranha 24th-Jul-2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Oh but you have to have something external to blame, especially because most people aren't ready to admit that certain individuals out there really are capable of carrying this type of thing through without any external 'help'. I guess it's scary, or something. At least I hope we'll eventually get to the individual responsibility.
shadowpiranha 24th-Jul-2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
Dude, no. This is not what well adjusted individuals think about when playing video games. For fuck's sake I am chronically depressed and spent a whole summer playing Dragon Age and you don't see me going around town slashing people through with my sword!

Ugh the vilification of video games just makes me angry. That is NOT the problem, otherwise we'd all be shooting each other from behind buildings all day long.
ahzuri 24th-Jul-2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
This. I've only been on meds for my depression for like 3 months now but I've been depressed since I was 16 (24 now) and I love video games but it doesn't make me think its alright to go off and kill people!

I think the problem with video games is that those who can't separate reality from fantasy may be more drawn to them because they can in essence check out of life by continuously playing video games.
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yeats 24th-Jul-2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
so we're focusing on the 'avid gamer' aspect of this asshole's history, and not the 'fundamentalist christian' aspect. who's surprised?
homasse 24th-Jul-2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
Um, no...? This is from a gaming news site, hence the gaming angle. It also, being from a gaming site, which is therefore made by and read by gamers, not going to do articles blaming gaming.
romp 24th-Jul-2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not a fan of first-person shooters and have an age limit for when my kids can play them (I'm talking about Call of Duty, not WoW). I worry about desensitization but this Nicholson Baker article about playing them with his kid helped me relax. I still think they're less than ideal for pre-teens but I also think they satisfy a human desire to be challenged and survive.

In short, obviously video games did not cause this guy to kill 80 people. He had a media diet high in hate and even most hate mongers manage not to go on killing sprees.
mingemonster 24th-Jul-2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Related to Premor's comment, I think video game culture is very similar to youtube comments in tone. Forum's are bad enough, but games are even more anonymous, and since the main purpose isn't being social, people don't care as much about what people think of them since they'll be forgotten so easily. And even if they are remembered, they can reroll/rename and start over.

And the culture itself makes it easier for privileged (especially more bigoted ones) to be there, and harder for marginalised people since they'll get harassed and run off. The only way to avoid being bullied is to hide the fact that you are female/gay/whatever, which makes it more or less impossible to call out other people for their comments.
So, basically, the only people who have an easy time in online gaming are the people who agree with the bigotry, and since so much bullshit is going around it's less noticable when someone is being racist, and even if the guy was obvious about his bigotry, it's unlikely that many people would react much
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mingemonster 24th-Jul-2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
This guy's lawyer is so disgusting. He's not just trying to get this guy free, he's basically trying to make terrorism legal by saying that he shouldn't be punished because he thought this was the only way to make a political statement
poetic_pixie_13 24th-Jul-2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that his right-wing, racist views had more to do with what happened than his video-game playing. Not say we shouldn't analyse and discuss the affect video games, like any other form of media, but in this case... not so much.

Edited at 2011-07-24 08:05 pm (UTC)
homasse 24th-Jul-2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Only no one is saying it's his gaming...? The article isn't about that at all, and is from a gaming news site, so it REALLY isn't about to go playing the "games made him do it!!" card, since it is news geared towards gamers and the gaming populace.

Are people actually reading the article, or just reacting to what they think the article says?
smirk_dog 24th-Jul-2011 08:09 pm (UTC)
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mingemonster 24th-Jul-2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
Who is Eskil?
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