If there’s one thing we’ve seen about the online gaming community in recent years, it’s that they can move mountains when they work together. The World of Warcraft community is in the midst of the Third Annual Icecrown Challenge. Started by Arcane Ratsel, the Icecrown Challenge dares players to speedrun a dungeon from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Icecrown Citadel. Just like in physical charity runs, the players would ideally donate their time in dollars (ie, 30:32 would be $30.32), but this is just a fun guideline, nothing is mandatory. Anything helps, even if it’s just spreading the word. Last year’s Challenge raised $2435 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, while this year’s aims even higher. While it isn’t an official Blizzard event, even Blizzard staff participate in the Challenge. They often stream it and tweet about it, bringing more attention to the cause.
That’s not the only charity event in the WoW community. Every October, the Running of the Gnomes makes it’s return. Since 2010, level 1 pink-haired gnomes huddle together and make their way from the mountains of Dun Morough to the southern tip of Booty Bay. The Running of the Gnomes focuses its funds on research for the Tuohy Vaccine, a vaccine that aims to prevent breast cancer. Targeting research ensures the funds raised go directly to making a difference. Most participants base their donations on the amount of gnomes in the race (ie, 1 cent or 5 cents per gnome), or whatever is comfortable for their budget. As time goes on, this event gets bigger and bigger, soaring to over 1000 gnomes. The bubblegum-clad half-pints are often responsible for crashing their server once or twice.
Blizzard itself does an annual fundraising event for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Every December, a new battle pet is added to the virtual store. For $10, players can add a unique companion pet to their collection while every dollar made during December is donated to Make-A-Wish. This year’s pet is an adorable kitten named Mischief. Mischief isn’t an ordinary kitten; it’s teeming with the fel energies of the demonic Legion. There’s even a plush for those who want to own an IRL Mischief as well, where over 50% of the price goes to Make-A-Wish as well. As a company, Blizzard has raised millions for the foundation. Mischief’s popularity and high demand will surely raise enough money to make the entire community proud.
The Warcraft community isn’t the only one with an altruistic nature. Gamers as a whole have been highly involved in charity for years and years. Extra Life is a charity event founded by gamers that supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Gamers gather up sponsors while they eagerly await Game Day, a date selected by Extra Life for the event. On Game Day, participants play for 24 hours straight! There are no restrictions on game types. The sky’s the limit. Over 55,000 gamers have participated, and Extra Life has raised over $8 million.
From small and humble, like the Icecrown Challenge, to out-of-this-world huge, like Extra Life, gamers are doing what they can to help those in need. Most of these events are set up so that anybody can participate. There are countless more of these charities than listed above, and there’s always a way to get involved. Even if budget constraints prohibit a monetary donation, just participating and getting the word out helps!