Guildmates Of Oslo Shooting Suspect Find Solace In World Of Warcraft Forums

Guildmates Of Oslo Shooting Suspect Find Solace In World Of Warcraft Forums

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, favourite 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 knew the man and said he was down-to-earth and friendly.


In World of Warcraft, 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 recognised 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.”


  • Something tells me that being a freemason, christian, body-builder, hunter or conservative isn’t going to matter when they find out he’s a gamer…

    • Ah, yes. The dreaded ‘G’ word. The sad thing is that we’ve spent almost a decade in Australia convincing the powers that be that we gamers are harmless. I fear that this tragedy will make it all meaningless.

    • ^This. No one is going to care about anything besides the fact that he is a gamer, Fox News is going to jump on this so fast.


    • I think fox news will keep their traps shut seeing that he specifically targeted liberals in this massacre.

      Holy shit… So many dead… This is really really tragic.

    • And yes… it already started earlier this morning. Watching ABC24 News… Straight away they start talking about his links with violent gaming, and instantly link that to the R18 win here in Aus…. sigh. Of that, two games they could come up with.

      I would love to see them say that they had found he had watched 2 violent films in his life, so we better question the movie industry and R18…

      It really has become pathetic to always blame games for everything. I guess its just easier though rather than trying to work out the true reason someone would become so deeply troubled…

      • It gets worse, the Herald Sun this morning had a story also linking the attack to violent video games. Apparently Brendan O’Connor has already been asked to drop the implementation of the R rating due to this, which he refused.

        On another related note, I’ve not seen any proof to the fact that he even played MW2. WoW sure that’s been proven, but has there actually been evidence provided that shows he was an avid MW2 player?

      • Dear god… This makes me so angry at the ignorance of people these days. Not only is the proposal that videogames instantly cause violence just obscene and ignorant, but removing the R18 rating would just make things worse because younger people already can play MW2 because it’s MA15!

        This wouldn’t piss me off if people did their goddamn research first. Idiotic uninformed parents will instantly say “OH GOD VIDEOGAMES THAT MEANS THAT R18 NEEDS TO GO”, because the media doesn’t make these fricking things clear enough!

  • ……I thought it was Fox New who tried to make tenuous links from mass murder to gaming.

    Why the hell is Kotaku trying to push one?

    • I don’t think Kotaku are trying to draw any link between WoW and the terrible things he did. You’ll notice the title and content of the article refer more to the people he played with and how they’re reacting to what someone they thought they knew did.

    • They arent trying to link videogames with violence. They are just trying to provide insights into the man that commited these murders by telling us about peoples perceptions of the man that they got through playing world of warcraft with him. We get to know a little bit more about him, which is interesting.

    • Because unlike the others like the Virginia Tech shooter, THIS guy actually seems to be a bona fide hardcore gamer. Did it make him kill all these people? Probably not, but call a spade a spade.

      I’m sure inflammatory right-wing paranoia drove this guy more than anything.

    • while I initially cringed at the ‘gamer’ tag, this is hardly sensationalist journalism, and I think it is perfectly appropriate to comment on the reaction of the gaming community that this person was a member of.

      The massacre in Norway is truly a horrifying event and I am sure that it will effect many, many people around the world. I know that I feel a great sadness and my foremost thoughts are with the people of Norway.

  • I don’t think Kotaku is trying to push anything, however the relationship to gaming merely outlines the responses and thoughts of people who knew him in another light, simply proving people aren’t always as they seem/ or how you know them to be in one way or another. I don’t think gaming has anything to do with the main aspects, it’s merely something of notable value…

  • Read futher about Anders Behring Breivik and you will see he was a religious extremist with Neo Nazi views and the people he shot were part of a labor party camp. If people do a bit of research his motives are clear. I agree with Ad leave the tenous link to gaming to Fox.

    • That’s entirely correct, and it’s fruitless to focus on his hobbies to try to understand this sort of animosity. I’m sure it wasn’t golf that drove OJ Simpson to murder.

      Then again, maybe his enthusiasm for a good pair of slacks made him hate the world for its lack of taste in mens’ wear.

  • I can see this getting on the news…

    Yay, more anti-gaming publicity. I, personally, would blame it on religious beliefs (notice his strong christian presence on WoW), rather than gaming, but everyone is going to attack gaming. Again.


  • why is it that most shooting sprees seem to come from those who were deeply religous or brought up in a deeply regligous house hold?

    on another note thats probably way too soon and extemely morbid. Finally we are no longer the the country with the worst shooting spree.

  • As an ex-wow player with some time spent in the troll ridden stream of consciousness that is the general wow forums I have found something a little bit inspirational in the fact that the conversations on silvermoon forums show little evidence of the hostile and combative behaviour that I found typified the majority of the US forums in the past.

    This would be a pretty tough thing to deal with for the people who thought they knew this man.

  • No matter how nice guy a seems, the names of their toons reveal _something_ about the player behind them. And he has two called “Conservatism” ?

  • The overall nice guys are the guys who usually get the most attention for stuff like this.
    Think about it, if a crazy phsyco person up and killed 87 people, no one would be shocked because he was a crazy person.

  • Wow. Doesn’t anyone get how hypocritical they’re being?

    “Man, I really hate when people single out that a guy like this is a gamer and blame it on gaming.”

    “I know! Let’s single out the fact that he called himself a Christian and blame it on that instead.”

    “Agreed. It’s more important to focus on his religion than the fact that he was a Neo-Freaking-Nazi.”

    Seriously, guys, blaming it on religion is as bad as blaming it on gaming. Or, you know, race.

      • Religion was a very clear motive if you look into his life. He identified as a Christian fundamentalist who hated Muslims and saw the left wing party members he killed as Muslim collaborating Marxists, a threat to Norway’s racial and religious purity.

        He refers to himself as a neo- knights templar crusader.

        It is not ignorance to question religious beliefs as the motive for the shooting as all the evidence is there.

        If you believe that radical racial/religious beliefs were not the main driving factor for this shooting I would be curious to see your theory.

        • I’m not saying he didn’t attempt to use religion to justify what he did. It’s pretty clear that he did:

          What I’m objecting to is that there are people who seem to be saying that religion is what led to this. Because, you know, there aren’t billions of non-violent religious people in the world. Speaking as one of them, there are.

          Also, I’m a gamer, so I get this about twice as often as a non-religious gamer, or a non-gaming religious person. But to come here and see gamers getting the hate and just passing it right on to religion is pretty disappointing.

          The problem isn’t religion. The problem is extremism.

  • Fair enough, I can see them making the video game violence link with Call of Duty.

    But if games he played are responsible for this man’s actions, why isn’t the headline…

    “Man kills 87, slays Dragon and receives epic loot. Last seen fleeing scene on flying mount.”.

  • @Michael – my thoughts exactly

    From the coverage that I have seen in other media there isn’t much indication of ‘blaming games’. I think(hopeless optimism maybe?) that perhaps the media recognises that the 2 specific games mentioned are probably the 2 most popular AAA titles available today (help with actual figures anyone?) and are more indicative of the ‘normal’ appearance of this person than fuel for the fire. I am disappointed to see the gaming community responding with the same type of short sighted finger pointing that we have been the target of so many times before.
    Guys/Gals get out of the defensive position and ask yourselves How could a privileged, educated and moderately successful person disconnect so drastically from society to go down this path. How can something like this happen in a modern, tolerant and peaceful society? What hope do we have of bringing real peace to some of the more troubled parts of the world when things like this are happening in our own backyards?

  • In his manefesto, he wrote about how you can use social taboos like gaming to avoid suspicision when planning such horror like this.

    He talks about telling your family and friends that you’re investing your time in WoW, which explains why you can’t be contacted and that if your “plans” require you to move around, you tell your friends that you’re meeting a WoW friend or a girl from your guild.

    This can’t bode well for anyone.

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