Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blizzard

(No, it isn't snowing, and I'm not talking about ice cream. I mean the company that made WoW and Diablo and a bunch of other games.)

Blizzard is an incredible company. Sure, they make video games. That's what they're in business to do. But the other things they do make me a loyal fan and customer.

This story is the one that prompted me to write this post about them. In short, Hexu is a British soldier who lost his eyes in combat, and Davidian is his guildmate who created a bunch of macros so he can basically be his "guide dog" in-game. Blizzard heard about this, and for the MoP expansion, they added two new items: Hexu's Amplifying Helm ("A man with a friend is never without vision") and Davidian's All-Seeing Eyes ("Sharp enough to see for two men").

But I remember another story that made me feel the same way about Blizzard. Ahab Wheathoof, a Tauren you can find in Mulgore near Bloodhoof Village, gives a quest where you have to track down his dog. This NPC and his quest were created as part of a Make-A-Wish request that Blizzard granted for Ezra, a 10-year-old boy who had brain cancer. Ezra even got to record his voice as Ahab, and write the quest (the dog is based on his own dog). Not crying yet? After Ezra passed away, Blizzard added Ezra Wheathoof as an Elder in Thunder Bluff for the Lunar Festival.

Okay, here's one that isn't so much sad as it is awesome. There was a guy at Blizzcon 2010 who went to a Quests and Lore panel discussion, and he was wearing a red shirt (he is commonly known as Red Shirt Guy). He asked the panel a question that (to be brief) boils down to "why isn't this character still in the game? He's not supposed to be dead." Long story short, he was right, and he basically caught this big mistake that the WoW developers missed. They fixed the error, but even better, they made an NPC out of the guy who corrected them. (NPC is non-playing character... it's anyone in the game who isn't being controlled by another player somewhere in the world.) There is now a Wildhammer Fact Checker (in a red shirt, of course) standing next to the character he told them wasn't dead. Pretty awesome.

Another player, Alamo, posted a druid "tutorial" of sorts in the forum. It is hilariously rife with typos and poor grammar/punctuation/etc. He coined the term "CAT DURID IS 4 FITE!" (It was made with the intent to entertain... it's supposed to be that bad.) There is a card in the WoW trading card game that is called Alamo, and imitate his writing style in the card's description ("OK LISSEN, UDDER FRIENDLY DURIDS HAF +1 FITE / +1 HEELTH.") If you want to read Alamo's post, go here.

Frostheim is a player who is just... well, I can't even encapsulate it here. But he put together an all-hunter guild which is pretty amazing, and he's done a whole bunch of other stuff that you can read about here. Blizzard gave him an in-game item: The Recovered Cloak of Frostheim (flavor text: "This gunpowder-stained cloak belonged to an uncommonly good-looking hunter.")

So Blizzard is pretty darn cool for doing that sort of thing for their fans and loyal players, and I respect them for it. (On top of that, they have an excellent sense of humor... read about the names of their achievements or some of the items they put in-game. So much fun.)

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