Make Love, Not Warcraft
"Make Love, Not Warcraft" is the eighth episode in the tenth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 147th episode overall, it first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 4, 2006. In the episode, Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny enjoy playing the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. When a high level player goes around killing other players in the game, they start playing the game every day to try to stop him. The episode was written and directed by series co-creator Trey Parker. In 2015, he and co-creator Matt Stone listed it as their third favorite episode of the series.
|"Make Love, Not Warcraft"|
|South Park episode|
|Episode no.||Season 10|
|Directed by||Trey Parker|
|Written by||Trey Parker|
|Featured music||"Live to Win"|
by Paul Stanley
|Original air date||October 4, 2006|
Despite worries from Trey Parker near the end of production, the episode went on to receive critical acclaim, with critics praising its lampooning of nerd culture, and is considered by many fans and critics as one of the best episodes of the series. The episode additionally went on to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less than One Hour)
A griefer repeatedly kills Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny's characters in the online game World of Warcraft. Stan's father, Randy, becomes interested in the game, but does not survive long before being killed by the griefer, a high ranking player character who kills other player characters at will; the griefer in reality is a middle-aged obese man who represents the stereotypical comic book, PC gamer nerd.
Cartman gathers all the kids of South Park and convinces them all to log in at the same time in order to execute a retaliatory attack on the griefer. However, once the battle begins, the griefer summons giant scorpions and easily dispatches the kids' characters. This causes everyone to lose hope and stop playing except for Cartman, who, after calculating exactly how much time it would take for him, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny to gain as many experience points as the griefer, convinces them to keep playing as well. For the next two months, the boys play the game for 21 hours a day, killing low-level boars in the game's forests to gain experience points. In the process, the boys become lazy, long-haired, obese (morbidly in Cartman's case), and acne-ridden. The boys' characters earn experience points so quickly that the Blizzard Entertainment executives, who have also been monitoring the griefer, take notice and believe they might have a chance.
Determined to help the boys slay the griefer, the executives decide to give the boys the Sword of a Thousand Truths, a weapon so powerful that it was removed from the game and stored on a 1 GB USB flash drive. A man in accounting had actually foretold a prophecy of a group of characters who would show themselves worthy of wielding it. Unaware of the executives' plan however, the boys have already initiated what becomes a seventeen-hour battle against the griefer. The executives arrive at Stan's house with the flash drive, unaware that the boys are actually at Cartman's house. Randy tells the executives that he can log in with the sword and give it to the boys' characters online. Eventually logging onto a demo of the game at a Best Buy, Randy gives Stan the weapon, but Randy's character is mortally wounded by the griefer in the process. Enraged, Stan attacks the griefer with the sword, draining his shields and mana spells, allowing Kyle and Kenny to attack with effect. Cartman approaches him and proceeds to smash the griefer's head with a hammer (much to the man's shock). Numerous World of Warcraft players celebrate the griefer's demise, praising the boys as heroes. As Stan contemplates what they do now, Cartman says, "What do you mean? Now we can finally play the game." With Cartman making suggestions to boost their characters, the boys begin playing the game as they originally intended.
The episode uses machinima in many of its scenes to create a better emulation of the game. It was originally scheduled to air as the 145th episode, but was delayed because of difficulties in creating the machinima.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone collaborated with Blizzard Entertainment to craft the machinima used in the episode. They stated in their commentary for the episode that they were completely shocked that the company was on board to help them out. The machinima scenes were created using shots of the in-game footage, and re-creation of the characters in Maya, with Blizzard Entertainment providing their own character models and computers to test with. Blizzard also gave the producers permission to use the alpha server of the expansion pack World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade on which to shoot the scenes. Michael Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, issued a statement over the collaboration:
"We were excited to hear that the creators of South Park were interested in featuring World of Warcraft in the opening of their new season, and we really enjoyed collaborating with them to make this happen. We're looking forward to sharing the experience with our employees and our players as well when the season debuts this week."
As a reference to the episode, certain South Park Season 10 DVDs include a 14-day free trial for World of Warcraft. This did not affect the UK release of this season in 2009.
Since the airing of the episode, the fictitious Sword of a Thousand Truths was featured in the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade beta test as a reward to the game's arena system, although it did not have the same capabilities as in the episode.
Although the planning of the episode and data-collecting began on September 1, 2006, the actual production of the machinima was done in five "shooting" days, the first being September 20, 2006, which lasted about 3–5 hours, and the last being October 3, 2006. The regular South Park animation was created simultaneously, with all the other non-machinima episodes of the series routinely finishing within 12 hours of their airing as well.
Parker was deeply unhappy with the episode the day before its broadcast, telling to the show's producers, "I've lost it. I don't know how to do this anymore." He begged executive producer Anne Garefino to call Comedy Central and inform them that the show would not air, remarking, "I don't want the South Park legacy to be ruined, and this show is going to ruin it, because it's so bad." Parker went home unable to sleep and was surprised the following day that the episode was so well received.
In patch 3.0.2, preceding the release of the World of Warcraft expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard included a "Make Love, Not Warcraft" PvP achievement, gained by using the "hug" emote on a dead enemy before they release their spirit.
The fictitious video game played by Butters, Hello Kitty: Island Adventure, was referenced in a 2008 April Fools' Day joke by the actual MMORPG Hello Kitty Online, announcing an "Island Adventure" expansion for the game, boasting a reduction of content rather than an "expansion", leaving players stranded on a tropical island.
Also, in the Wrath of the Lich King remake of the Naxxramas raid instance, a sword called Slayer of the Lifeless was added, bearing the flavour text "Foretold by Salzman", as a reference to Salzman from accounting and a weapon capable of killing that which has no life. The model of the weapon is the same as the one used for the Sword of a Thousand Truths.
"Make Love, Not Warcraft" received critical acclaim. IGN, a multimedia news and reviews website, reviewed the episode and gave it an overall rating of 9.3, labeling it as "one of the funniest episodes ever produced". The original television airing of the episode drew 3.4 million viewers, most between the ages of 18 and 49. This popularity made the episode Comedy Central's highest-rated midseason premiere since the year 2000. However, the highest ratings for the tenth season belong to the season's premiere, "The Return of Chef", which drew more than 3.5 million viewers. In 2007, this episode won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour). Fans voted the episode into 1st place in a major 2011 South Park voting held under the "Year of the Fan" iTunes promotion.
"Make Love, Not Warcraft", along with the thirteen other episodes from South Park's tenth season, was released on a three-disc DVD set in the United States on August 21, 2007. The set includes brief audio commentaries by series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for each episode.
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