It’s no secret that ‘WoW’ fans take their game of choice very seriously. But it’s not just part-time orcs and weekend mages who are passionate about the title’s importance. The sociologist William Sims Bainbridge has just published a book, ‘The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in aVirtual World’, which explores whether what happens in the Warcraft World could predict what happens in reality.

Bainbridge wrote it after spending more than 2,300 hours there, playing as 22 characters of 10 races and classes. In an interview with ‘New Scientist’, Bainbridge compares ‘WoW’ to ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Ring of the Nibelung’, explaining that the game “raises questions about environmentalism and colonialism” and that it “touches on very serious issues but in a playful way”. Would that both ‘WoW’ and this tome wasaround during my schooldays – both would have made sociology lessons a hell of a lot more interesting to a 14-year-old gamer.