You might have heard about the State Senator from Maine who was smeared during the election for playing World of Warcraft. If not, here’s what went down: Taking a page from pimple-faced fourteen-year-olds, local Republicans decided to troll their political opponent Colleen Lachowicz (D.). So they started a defamatory blog to unmask her ostensibly scandalous behavior of farming for loot with a level 85 orc. To the relief of WoW players with political ambitions everywhere, their strategy failed; Lachowicz won. We caught up with the dungeon raiding Senator-elect to find out if she wanted to PvP (not this time) and talk about her victory.
Kill Screen: So, politics first. What was the platform you campaigned on?
The thing I talked about the most was access to affordable and quality health care. I was seeing in my work that some of the cuts with legislation were impacting people’s health and families.
As the GOP let the world know, you're a WoW player. What was your character in Warcraft?
I suppose the world knows by now I played World of Warcraft and I have an orc named Santiaga.
What do you enjoy about the game?
It was a MMO. It was a social game. I liked to play with friends.
Do you still play?
I haven’t had much time to do that just because I was running for office. That was the funny thing about the whole thing. I was like, “Wow, I haven’t played this game in a long time.” It isn’t something I’ve spent a lot of time on in the past year.
Why do you think the GOP decided to launch a negative campaign on the grounds that you played War of Warcraft?
Oh, I don’t know. It was a distraction and not very much about the issues. I never understood that.
I mean, at least it wasn't Second Life, right?
[Laughs] For those of us in the know about the internet, that’s funny!
Do you feel like their strategy may have backfired?
You know, I think so. It’s really tough for me to know that. This whole thing blew up and I just kept doing what I had been doing, which was talking to the voters in my district about the issues. I really tried to put that distraction aside. I do know a lot of people in the district, in the country, and around the world contacted me about it and were supportive. So I suspect that it backfired. Um, I won. [Laughs.]
Why do you think the story made so many headlines? Is there still a stigma about playing video games?
I don’t know. I was surprised the whole thing went viral. I suppose some people think there’s a stigma. But I just kept talking about the issues. “Hey, let’s get some jobs. Let’s strengthen the middle class. And have affordable quality health insurance.” And okay, video games. So what?
Your opponent positioned World of Warcraft as a negative thing, but would you say there is anything positive that came out of your time playing the game?
There are many positive things about World of Warcraft and other video games where you have to work cooperatively. Warcraft is like many MMOs in that it’s social, and to achieve higher things in the game you have to work well with others. I’ve been a social worker for 25 years, and you do have to know how to do that.
Is there any skill or insight from World of Warcraft that would help someone be a good state senator?
The biggest thing is working cooperatively with others to achieve bigger things. It’s much like politics in some ways. You have to work with a number of different people, perhaps who have different ideas, different goals, different values. That’s a skill to be used in politics or anywhere really. To achieve a lot of things in the game, to do a dungeon or a raid, you work together.
Yeah, it’s a game you can’t play by yourself.
Well, some people do, but you miss out on a big chunk of it.