Video games sure have come a long way since sonic the hedgehog, link and the super Mario bros. World of Warcraft is a perfect example of the graphic advancements the field of video gaming has experienced. What's more interesting and exciting to me is the fact that more and more video games are including real life magic such as evoking angels/demons/spirits and the magic of the runes.
World of Warcraft in particular has lead the way in the portrayal of magic, especially with the runes. The creators of this massive multiplayer online role playing game have even gone so far as to create a whole lore behind the runes used in this game. Are these runes fictitious or can real sorcerers take advantage of them and use their powers for success in the real world?
Before we can make the determination as to whether they are fake, I'll play devils advocate: there is the possibility that these runes are channeled. From whence they are channel, that is not known, at least by me. You'd have to have a chat with the developers of the game and read their energy fields to determine that.
Whoever decided to introduce the concept of the runes into the world of Warcraft seems to have at least a general theory of how runes work. Again, whether they channeled this information from some spirit or picked up a few books on the subject is a question that needs more digging to be answered (I must say however, our Atlantean Rune Power Course and Advanced Runic Techniques and Insights course are the FINEST and SAFEST resources on the runes ever created, IMHO). It seems that at the very least they may have read some bits of the Havamal, as their description as to the use of the runes is mighty similar.
Take for example the image above. It depicts several shielding runes used in Warcraft. The last couple of images depicts something like a turtle and the associations are obvious, as the shell of the Turtle offers it some protection against predators.
Are these runes real and can they used to shape reality in conformity to our will? It depends on who you ask. If you ask a chaos magician or chaote this question, they will most likely say "yes". If you ask a magician that is of a more traditional bent, they will most likely say "no".
If you look at these designs from the basic theory of magic, then it is possible in theory: These glyphs are designs and designs are essentially radionic patterns (depending upon the intent with which you draw them). So if you're looking at these warcraft runes from this perspective, then they could be used practically.
There' s also the possibility that they only work for the person that created them. As these patterns are generated from the subconscious minds of their creator, it could be just a form of language that is unique to that individuals subconscious mind. What you may be looking at when you see these runes is the developers own Alphabet Of Desire, ala Austin Osman Spare.
If they are usable are they safe? again, this is something to consider and I caution anyone who would attempt to play with these runes to be careful and avoid it all together. Curiosity did kill the cat and many cats die from it daily all over the world. Look at it from this angle: if the tried and true runes of the younger futhark have the potential to possess those who have a lower degree of maturity and magical development, you have to wonder what dangers are held in these "new" runes. It's quite possible that the incidences of violence associated with games such as warcraft are attributed to the fact that some of these gamers may be inadvertedly activating/invoking these energies and have no means of discharging these energies.
On another note regarding safety, many of these created runes are used for summoning various entities to fight on the players behalf. Now the question remains: what is being summoned?
So, after reading this, it's clear that this is not a simple question to answer. It also appears that we may be looking at the creation of a new set of runes. Only time will tell.