Thursday, August 14, 2014

Eternal Digital Memorial: Keeping A Funny Man In Our Consciousness

If you really have been dialed out of all internet activity since Monday, you're probably as stunned as all of us were to find out that Robin Williams, legendary comedian and actor, had died. Memorials and tributes were all over the place since Monday afternoon when the news broke, and we'll see them for weeks to come.

For gamers, he was a unique bridge between generations. Many of us grew up with games, and so did Robin Williams in a way. He just happened to be in his mid 20's when the gaming boom began. He named his daughter Zelda, if that gives you any indication on his enjoyment of gaming. But he was also an avid player of Call of Duty, Portal, and World of Warcraft.

Fans were quick to assemble a Change.org petition to prompt Blizzard to pay a tribute to the comedian/actor.

"[h]e said that he enjoys Warcraft III very much in an interview a few years ago, and was even apart of the mmorpg World of Warcraft. It was reported that Robin used to play on the Mannoroth server, and was something of a troll in trade on good days or when anonymity allowed. Mr.. Williams said in interviews that he took his World of Warcraft characters very serious - in fact he was well known for being an extreme PC builder who prefer[r]ed to build his own overclocked and super-cooled systems. He often joked about his WoW addiction but also about the reactions he'd get from other gamers when he admits he plays the game."

Well WoW peeps, you're getting a surprise. Blizzard listened, and within 24 hours of the petition going live, Chadd Nervig, technical game designer at Blizzard, responded. "Yes. We're taking care of it."

Details on what is to happen are still sketchy. The original petition requested that Robin Williams be memorialized as an NPC in WoW. It would be a fitting tribute not only to the actor, but to the man that supported the gaming industry when other "adults" frowned upon our silly ways. But Blizzard has listened. They're doing something, and that's pretty cool.

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