We are The Third Faction, a collective of avatars with a shared interest in exposing biased power structures in virtual environments. Founded in 2008 in a temporary autonomous zone located in the land of Azeroth, we set forth to develop a democratized, non-hierarchical governance. The very act of labelling our group “The Third Faction” demonstrates our dissatisfaction with the existent political and corporate rule-sets. In order to achieve our goals, we continually subvert the deliberate factional conflict within game worlds through direct interaction with our supposed enemies, exploring peaceful modes of play, and bringing the ideas of political player resistance to the in-game public forum.
In 2011, The Third Faction launched Demand Player Sovereignty, a radical and participatory campaign designed to educate, raise social awareness, and instigate actions of protest and civil disobedience. DPS pushed for greater player autonomy within World of Warcraft, while drawing parallels to current global politics. Later that year, DPS gained notoriety through a series of workshops presented at ISEA 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. These workshops looked at virtual spaces as a medium for political engagement and led participants through strategies for interventions ranging from passive resistance to anarchical actions in game.
DPS participants conducted rallies, marches and sit-ins throughout the capital cities in World of Warcraft. We rallied for avatar rights, feminist causes, and an end to the war. We petitioned the scripted leaders of these fictional nation states who, much like our politicians, turn a deaf ear to pleas of citizenry. As a result, the citizens have grown disenfranchised on both sides of the digital spectrum.