Saturday, May 26, 2007

This is why Blizzard is as successful as it is


Blizzard Grants Young Cancer Victim’s Wish

It warms a gamer’s heart to see someone in the community step up for those in need.

Case in point, the OC Register reported earlier this week that World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard helped make a young cancer patient’s dream a reality.

10-year-old Ezra Chatterton (left) was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few months back. Now wheelchair-bound, the Riverside 5th grader was recently visited by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening ailments. Chatterton knew exactly what he wanted:

I wished for a trip to Blizzard because I’d like to see if they could make a character and do some things for us.

Keeping his expectations in check, Chatterton didn’t expect much more than a video conference call. Imagine his delight when Blizzard flew him and his dad out, gave them a tour of the company, and allowed Ezra to work with lead Warcraft designer Jeff Kaplan to create some upcoming content for WoW.

By the days end, Ezra had designed a new crossbow weapon, recorded the voice for a character, created a quest, and added his dog Kyle to the game. Even cooler, the unique crossbow was attributed to his character, ePhoenix. And, with a snap of its digital finger, Blizzard powered up his level 63 character to 70 and stocked him with gold, weapons, and armor.

So why did Ezra base his wish around World of Warcraft? His dad, Micah, sheds some light:

I asked him to think about why he likes to play WoW and one thing he said was he likes interacting with people he doesn’t know. No matter how crappy things are going on the outside, in the real world, he can be strong and successful and really turn heads in WoW.

The game has also been a significant bonding experience for father and son. Said Micah:

There were a lot of things that are unconventional with our relationship, and the way we choose to bond and spend time together. For instance, WoW was something we had researched and talked about. We would talk about what kind of character do we want to create. This costume as opposed to that costume. We would make decisions together. Neither of us would feel comfortable about making a big decision without consulting the other.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen would have wished for a pony

It's stories like this that almost let me regain faith in humanity.



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