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Recap / South Park S10 E8 "Make Love, Not Warcraft"

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Original airdate: October 4, 2006

The boys are hooked on World of Warcraft, but a spirited evening's questing is ruined when they run into a Griefer (not for the first time) who kills all four of their characters in defiance of the game's rules. Stan calls Blizzard tech support to complain, and it appears he's not the only one with a problem; the Blizzard board convenes an emergency meeting, at which we learn that the griefer (revealed in cutaways to be an obese, middle-aged shut-in and described by the board members as "someone... who has absolutely no life") has reached such a high level that he can kill Blizzard admins who try to ban him from the servers. One of his victims is Randy, who takes up the game after watching Stan spend the weekend on it.

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Cartman tries rallying the other boys in the class to log in together and Zerg Rush the griefer, but he summons a pack of scorpions, and the boys' characters are massacred, causing most of them to lose interest in the game. When news reaches Blizzard, they fear that over time, every single player logged in will eventually become frustrated and stop playing altogether, potentially bringing the end of the World... of Warcraft.

However, Cartman tells Stan, Kyle and Kenny that, according to his calculations, if the four of them spend 21 hours a day killing boars in the Elwynn Forest at 2 XP apiece, then after nearly two months, they will have the levels they need to take on the griefer. Their marathon Level Grinding sessions lead them to become obese, acne-ridden slobs.

The boys' activity catches Blizzard's attention, and they believe Stan might be the hero worthy to wield the Sword of a Thousand Truths, a super powerful item Dummied Out of the game in development and now stored on a 1 GB flash drive. But with the boys already locked in combat against the Griefer, will Randy and the board members be able to get the sword to Stan in time for the four heroes to kill their foe and save the world?

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"Make Love, Not Warcraft" contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Parodied. After being told of the griefer killing characters indiscriminately, one of the board members says he has to go warn his kids before it's too late. He's then told his kids' characters are already dead.
    Jim: No. No. They just started playing!
  • And the Adventure Continues: Subverted. In the final scene, with the Griefer defeated, Cartman tells the other three that now they can finally play the game properly. So they just continue sitting there and do just that. The end.
  • Artistic License: Numerous details, both major and minor, are different from the actual game to serve the story or provide in-jokes to viewers who actually play.
    • Most of the boys' characters are fully decked out in gear to help them stand out. Low-level characters don't have things like helmets or Shoulders of Doom until roughly level 20 at least, and by that point are beyond caring about Elwynn Forest where the boys hang out.
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    • The whole plot is obviously impossible in the game as there is a maximum level, and no amount of playtime or lack of a life will let you level past it. And Blizzard need not defeat him in-game to stop him—they have the servers, just take them offline and he's powerless.
    • Players on the same faction aren't able to kill each other outside of a small number of free-for-all zones. Several times characters talk about normally having to agree to Duel, but Dueling works using HP to 1 and thus can't kill anyone anyway.
    • In reality, players could escape the wrath of an unstoppable Griefer by starting over on a different realm server, and people already on other servers would be safe in the first place.
    • Randy's character is claimed to be a Human Hunter. At the time, Human characters could not be the Hunter class. In the footage, he is "played" by a Human Warrior who uses a shield, which Hunters cannot equip. Some of the feats he claims would also be impossible for a level 2 character. Amusingly enough, about 4 years after the episode aired, the Cataclysm expansion made it possible to create a human hunter.
    • Cartman's plan to level up sufficiently by killing millions of boars wouldn't work in the actual game. Players can kill all the low-level boars they want and it won't get them more than a handful of levels, because weak enemies stop giving experience. Even when a much later expansion comes with level scaling for enemies, Elwynn Forest barely goes higher than it always has.
    • The boys, having Took a Level in Badass, start dropping names of spells, items and talents in conversation. Knowledgeable players will notice that the way they're used doesn't always make much sense (such as opening with Intimidating Shout, an area crowd control ability that breaks on damage, against a single opponent).
    • Played with when it comes to the number of races. While it was mentioned there's "only four races," not including Horde races, there were actually only four Alliance races in Vanilla.
  • Basement-Dweller: The griefer himself is the current page image for it.
  • CamelCase: Stan’s webname is Loves2Spooge.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: The stereotype of the French as quitters in the face of military adversity is referenced by Cartman when Clyde says he has better things to do than fight a losing battle against the Griefer:
    Cartman: [running around his "lectern"] Clyde! Clyde! If you had a chance, right now, to go back in time and stop Hitler, wouldn't you do it? ...I mean, I personally wouldn't stop him, because I think he was awesome, but you would, right?
    Clyde: I'm just gonna stop playing.
    Cartman: When Hitler rose to power, there were a lot of people who just stopped playing. You know who those people were? The French. Are you French, Clyde?
    Clyde: No.
    Cartman: Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, Clyde?Translation 
    Clyde: All right, all right, I'll do it!
  • The Chosen One: One of the fantasy story tropes parodied in this episode. The Sword of a Thousand Truths was removed from the game for being too overpowered, but a prophecy (made by Salzman in Accounting) holds that one day players worthy of wielding the sword will reveal themselves. The Blizzard execs believe that the boys, having proven themselves to have absolutely no life after their Level Grinding marathons, are the ones spoken of in the prophecy, and so begins a race against time to get the sword to Stan's character.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The heroes’ characters dress based on their players: Kyle's is green, Cartman is red, Stan is blue, and Kenny is orange.
  • Cross Player: Kyle plays a Human Female Mage, which Cartman and Kenny both mock him over.
    Kyle: If you didn't eat so much, you wouldn't have diarrhea all the time, fatass!
    Cartman: Hey, I don't need to take any lip from a frickin' girl!
    Kenny: I think Kyle has fake tittes! [laughs]
    Cartman: Heh heh, totally!
  • Death Is Cheap: Of course this is a video game, and anyone who dies can just respawn. But it's still really annoying, so people are leaving the game in droves.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: This episode uses actual (edited) gameplay footage from a server used to test the then-coming Burning Crusade expansion.
  • Defictionalization: Slayer of the Lifeless is a real weapon based on the Sword of a Thousand Truths, with the flavor text "Foretold by Salzman".
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Griefer has reached such a high level that even Blizzard's admins get killed trying to stop him. In turn, the boys pull this on him by finally vanquishing him.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Stan's character cradles Randy's as they say goodbye, before he dramatically groans in pain and expires. Cue Randy sitting at the demo computer at Best Buy acting out the dramatic death sounds for no real reason.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Clyde stops playing in the middle of a battle to look at a Playboy.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Kyle's avatar is a barefoot woman.
  • Domestic Abuse: One shot of Kenny's binge playing shows his parents fighting.
  • Doppelgänger: Butters’s character is a perfect replica of Cartman’s, who shoos him away and tells him to make a new one.
  • Double Standard: Implied with Kyle. Kyle is normally seen as the one who rips on Cartman for being obese. However, in this episode, not only does he and his close friends become as obese as Cartman is normally, but he never comments about it.
  • Dramatic Irony: When Cartman says they can finally play the game in response to Stan asking what they'll do now that the griefer is dead, he seems completely oblivious to the fact that that's exactly what the boys were doing while they were training to defeat him.
  • Giving the Sword to a Noob: Trope Namer, when the Blizzard execs are left with no option but to give the sword to Randy. He's only level 2 and has to be told how to give it to Stan.
  • Griefer: The Villain of the Week. You can tell by the taunting dance he does when he first shows up.
  • Heroic RRoD: Kyle starts having pain and discomfort in his mouse hand from overusing it. Partway into the Final Battle it escalates into full carpal tunnel syndrome which briefly takes him out of the fight.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Randy doesn’t know how to give stuff to other players.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Randy is insulted by Stan calling him an "ar-tard", but he calls his co-worker an "ar-tard" the next day.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: When the Blizzard execs declare that the Griefer can only be someone "who has absolutely no life", an Asian-American exec asks, "How can you kill that which has no life?"
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The “Sword of a Thousand Truths”, so powerful that it had to be Dummied Out and stored on a flash drive.
  • Level Grinding: Cartman calculated that it would take over seven weeks and 65,340,285 boars for them to level up enough to at least be a match for the griefer.
  • Machinima: For the scenes that take place within the game, Parker just had all of the animators log into their own WoW accounts and had them control their characters in real time as if he were directing live actors on a set.
  • Magic Knight: The Griefer has an array of powerful spells, including shield and armor buffs that let him shrug off attacks. Most of the time though he just walks up and stabs people with his piddly little dagger, which is powerful enough to One-Hit Kill most players.
  • Mana Burn: The special property of the Sword of a Thousand Truths instantly burns all mana from the target. It's this effect that finally defeats the villain.
  • Man on Fire: During the failed Zerg Rush, the griefer casts a fire spell on Tweek's character, engulfing him in flames. He runs around the battlefield in a panic as Tweek screams "AHHH! I'M BURNING! OH JESUS I'M BURNING!" until he runs out of HP.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: As part of the episode's parody of fantasy tropes, the characters - especially Cartman - treat all battles in World of Warcraft with the same level of dramatic tension used for the Battle of Helm's Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
    • When Cartman leads the Zerg Rush against the Griefer, he tells his classmates, "Scroll over him with your mouse cursors! And... right click!" Quite a setup for the simple act of moving a mouse an inch or two across a desk and clicking a button.
    • The Training Montage is initially presented this way, with Paul Stanley's "Live to Win" on the soundtrack, and shots including Cartman dramatically knocking back a Rockstar energy drink and wiping his mouth on his sleeve, while Kyle sips from a water bottle Ike is holding for him. All this for a marathon Level Grinding session involving killing boars at 2 XP apiece.
    • When Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny prepare for their marathon four-on-one battle against the griefer, Cartman dramatically declares, "Everyone, log in!" Which is offset by the blasé tone Stan, Kyle, and Kenny use to confirm that they've logged in successfully.
    • Everyone treats the flash drive containing the data for the Sword of a Thousand Truths as if it were a real magical artifact. When a Blizzard exec removes the drive from a locked box, he holds it aloft and declares, "Behold... the Sword of a Thousand Truths!" Later, when Randy persuades the board members to give him the sword, the president kneels as he hands it over, and Randy gasps in awe as he holds it over his head.
  • Potty Emergency: Seventeen hours into the Final Battle Cartman feels the call of nature, but can't step away from the fight. So he radios his mom, drops trou and she catches about half of it in a bedpan.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Looks like you're about to get pwn'd."
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Cartman first proposes the Level Grinding plan of killing boars in the Elwynn Forest, Kyle points out that they're only worth 2 XP apiece, and asks, "Do you know how many we would need to kill to get up thirty levels!?" He clearly doesn't expect an answer to this question - however...
    Cartman: Yes. [pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket and reads off his calculations] 65,340,285. Which should take us seven weeks, five days, thirteen hours, and twenty minutes, giving ourselves three hours a night to sleep.
  • Rousing Speech: Cartman's first plan is to rally all the kids against the griefer. The speech itself works, but they all get killed anyway.
  • RPG Episode: Centered around World of Warcraft.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The failed Zerg Rush causes all of the boys except Cartman to lose interest in World of Warcraft.
    Stan: [as his character gets stabbed by the griefer] That's it! Screw this game! [throws down his headset]
  • Serious Business: A few characters are incredulous that all this drama is about a computer game. The rest of the cast act like it's the end of the world. Sharon provides a classic example when Randy and the Blizzard board members are frantically searching for Stan:
    Randy: [running into the den, followed by the Blizzard board members; the desktop is gone] Stan? STAN! [Sharon walks past with a basket of laundry] Sharon, where's Stan?
    Sharon: [testily] I don't know. He took his computer somewhere to play that stupid online game.
    Blizzard president:note  "Stupid"??
    Randy: WHERE!?
    Sharon: I don't know.
    Randy: Sharon, his character is going to die if we don't get to him!
    Sharon: So what?
    Randy, Board members: "SO WHAT"!? [Sharon rolls her eyes and walks off]
  • Shout-Out: Butters plays Hello Kitty: Island Adventure (not a real game).
  • Silent Antagonist: The griefer never says a single word through the whole episode, not even in the real world.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Asked after winning the Final Battle which took months of play and preparation.
    Cartman: ...What do you mean? Now we can finally play the game.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: While marathon Level Grinding, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny all become as fat as Cartman originally was, while Cartman himself ends up looking like Jabba the Hutt.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: His character is stabbed with a knife in the opening scene. Of course, since it’s just a game he can respawn, but Stan and Kyle still say the famous lines.note 
  • Training Montage: To Paul Stanley's "Live to Win". While the in-game characters level grind on boars, Stan and friends out-of-game gradually get pimplier and more out of shape from all the time they spend playing and eating junk food.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Griefer has a very understated breakdown when the tide of battle finally turns against him. Having spent the entire episode lazily sprawled back in his chair, showing almost no emotion whatsoever, he is shown actually sitting up with a serious look on his face when the battle enters its seventeenth hour, and when Cartman finally delivers the killing blow, the Griefer is shown with an expression that can best be summed up as "... huh."
  • Vocal Dissonance: The in-game scenes feature a typical assortment of adult humans, elves, dwarves, and other World of Warcraft races... speaking in the high-pitched voices of the children who play them (including Ike).
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: The Griefer's avatar walks around in nothing but boots, gloves and a helmet. He's so powerful he doesn't need things like gear.
  • You Killed My Father:...'s character in the game. Stan then strikes with the Sword of a Thousand Truths, sealing the Griefer's defeat.
  • Zerg Rush: Cartman persuades his male classmates that although they are mostly low level, if they all log in together and attack the Griefer en masse, they might be able to defeat him. The strategy fails when the Griefer summons a pack of scorpions, and the boys are routed.

 
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Make Love, Not Warcraft

"Live to win!"

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