Councillor Theo Blackwell, the Town Hall's finance chief
Published: 16 October, 2012
By TOM FOOT
BY day he roams the corridors of the Town Hall, like a Colossus, as Camden Council's finance chief.
But at night Councillor Theo Blackwell transforms himself into an Undead Warlock called PlaguePit and quests across a fantasy online landscape called World Of Warcraft with millions of like-minded gamers.
“I reckon I'm the elected politician in the UK with highest ranked World of Warcraft character,” the Labour councillor said this week.
The World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most popular role-playing game and commands more than 12 million members worldwide.
Just like in Cllr Blackwell's day job – where he is democratically accountable for hundreds of millions of pounds of council funding – players must form alliances, known as “guilds”, to survive and assets are sold-off to raise gold.
Gamers are often compelled to play for hours, sometimes days, and experts have compared its lure to hard drugs.
The game was rocketed back into the news last week when a US Democrat politician saw her bid for the US Senate derailed after Republicans revealed she led a “bizarre double life” as an Orc Rogue in the World of Warcraft.
Colleen Lachowicz hit back saying her critics were “out of touch” with modern reality. In the game, the Orc Rogue excels at stabbing things and could kill without going to jail.
But Cllr Blackwell's fantasy alter-egos do have some redeeming features. Pelegius the “Paladin” – a nimble Elf Woman – maintains high levels of intellect and ability to withstand heavy physical damage while his fearsome undead warlock, PlaguePit, is a master of the demonic arts whose powerful curses can wreak havoc and destruction.
Both are rated at 85 – the highest scores available in the game – but Cllr Blackwell said PlaguePit “had more character”.
According to web forums it could take hundreds of hours to reach the score of Cllr Blackwell's fantasy characters.
Just last month, Tory leader Cllr Andrew Mennear suggested at a full council meeting in the Town Hall that he was “falling into a sedentary life”.
The New Journal revealed in 2009 how the Tavistock and Portman Clinic in Belsize was considering sending cyber-therapists into the World of Warcraft to speak to anxiety-ridden teenagers.