PETA to Slaughter Seal Killers (Digitally)

Activists plan battle in the online computer game World of Warcraft.

PETA is taking their campaign against Canadian seal hunting virtual.

Apparently, hunters in World of Warcraft are also profiting from the fur of seals, so the activist group is planning to "battle" them on Saturday to stop the slaughter.

PETA has issued a call for people who play Activision-Blizzard's popular massively multiplayer roleplaying game to join in the fight against "four Horde seal killers" on the Whisperwind server beginning at 1 p.m. EST.

(PETA mentions "four Horde hunters," so it can be assumed that said players are part of the event. That is, unless PETA members have gained psychic powers and can accurately predict that exactly four players will be killing seals at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday.)

The in-game event takes place in the Howling Fjord, an area of Northrend, the continent introduced in the computer game's best-selling expansion, which was released in November.

While PETA says players must be level 70 to enter the area, lower-level characters are able to travel there, but may have a tough time surviving against nearby, high-level beasties. And because PETA specifically mentions that the baby seal murderers are Horde, that means players also must be of the Alliance faction.

The irony, of course, is that any player who has played a character to level 70 has most likely slaughtered plenty of virtual animals along the way. Plenty of quests are of the "kill 10 rats" variety, asking players to kill so many of one animal, collect so many meat from another or gather body parts such as hooves or eyes from another.

And the game even pokes a bit of fun at it with the in-game group of non-player characters D.H.E.T.A., the Druids for the Humane and Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA is by no means the first group to try to raise awareness in World of Warcraft, and the Whisperwind server is no stranger to such real-life invasions. Supporters of Texan Rep. Ron Paul held a server-crashing, in-game rally for the maverick Republican presidential candidate on Whisperwind.

But because of the mechanics of the game, the PETA supporters might end up on the wrong side of the slaughter.

On Whisperwind, players of opposite factions cannot attack each other without "flagging," or marking themselves as available for player vs. player combat. But an unflagged player who attacks someone with the indicator on will automatically be flagged for such combat themselves.

Meaning, once the PETA players attack the "hunters," they'll also be open season for any other Horde player who is around.

If the server doesn't crash first.

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