As most of us know, Blizzard is no stranger to making tributes to those that have passed, whether in-game or in real life, and they make it a point to honor them in some way, so long as they’ve touched our lives as gamers and people. They’ve continued this sort of tradition with in-game NPCs or certain structures that we players can see and pass by. Ranging from Anthony Stark to Ezra Chatterton, Blizzard’s list of tributes is pretty impressive, and we can definitely expect another to be added: the late and great comedian, Robin Williams.
Never Had a Friend Like Me!
If you haven’t heard of it yet, yes, Robin Williams used to be an avid player of World of Warcraft in the Mannoroth server. It’s been reported that he frequented the Mannoroth server and was sort of a troll in trade chat. Can you imagine this? I surely can. I’m betting that Mr. Williams was even the one who started Barrens chat and, to a certain extent, Goldshire chat. I can see, at some point in his life, in front of the a brightly lit monitor, he asks, “Do you think God gets stoned?” Then, there, it starts, causing an illicit flow of stupidly funny conversations that we remember fondly or recall spitefully. Of course, I’m just grasping at straws here, and we can’t really ever know, but it sure is nice to think about.
Now, if you have never heard of Robin Williams, well, who are you and on what planet are you from? Hailing from so many roles in various movies with their own signature flair, it’s hard to imagine anybody who does not know of the crazy, blue genie from Aladdin, or his portrayal of Theodore Roosevelt in Night at the Museum. Jumanji! Have you never heard of Jumanji!? This man has influence more than you could possibly know, so if even if you legitimately have no idea who he was, you would find yourself in a bit of a surprise when you find out that your playing games and watching movies that all have a little of him in it, personally or at least in style.
Now, if you do know of this man, and are on the hater (oddly enough) bandwagon, you’d probably be asking, why are we all concerned over a man that we’ve never met in the game before? That isn’t really as important as how it actually seems. Robin Williams was a man that had more or less influenced everyone’s lives through his comedy in whatever medium. Even if you’re not a fan, you probably laughed at least at one joke of his in some movie or in some stand up performance. Hell, you may have even laughed at a funny anecdote or snippet that concerned him. In that sense, he’s been more involved in your life than he’d ever need to be, because he’s done his job. Not to mention that some of us may even have encountered him in the game and just didn’t know it. He might have been that douche that spawn camped you, the kind soul who rescued you, the samaritan that helped in a quest, and, of course, the troll in chat. Taking all of those thing into consideration, he’s become a part of all of us whether we like it or not; he’s done his job quite well.
Faith in Humanity: Restored
With that said, it has come to the attention of the general gaming populace, or at least those who care about the late Robin Williams or Warcraft, that a petition was made to have Blizzard immortalize the comedian as an NPC in the titan game. Now, I’m sure most of us are already familiar with this news, and a lot of people have been singing Blizzard praises on how in-touch they are with the real world, but we keep forgetting that it’s also the players who instigated this petition and those that support it are just as amazing as well. It just goes to show the kindness that one of the most toxic communities in the gaming world is actually capable of, and most forget the kind of connections we make as people.
Sure, there are going to be people who would say that it’s a silly and moronic endeavor to have a bunch of people and the corporation to want to put the comedian as an NPC in the game. There are naysayers that find no form of humanity here, but really just a plain old celebrity love. Again, imagine how many people the late Robin Williams touched through laughter, and many would think of him as a friend, even if it were not the case in reality. But I can imagine, due to how Mr. Williams’ personality actually is, he really would consider everyone his friends. Now, wouldn’t you want the best send off you could possibly make for a good friend? For that person who’s done nothing but bring joy to you? Now, would you consider doing the same for, oh, I don’t know, Justin Bieber? Yeah, I thought so.
Just to add more to that, on Blizzard’s side, I hardly would ever consider their motivation to put Robin Williams in their game to be simply because he’s famous. Their very impressive list of tributes to various people of different social and financial status that have passed disagree with that argument. It just goes to show that we, the general gaming populace, can get on a bus for a feel trip if we really need to, indicating that we aren’t all douchebags and 13 year old hatemongers.
There have also been reports of varying servers even making their own tributes by paying respects to a player made burial to the late comedian, and we can definitely see how much his passing has affected players. We can also see with those varying shows of respect that we, as people, give to those that deserve it. Proof? You’re asking for proof that WoW’s playerbase really did these things? Does it really matter? It’s the thought of it that counts; an event that has done nothing but positive things for all of us really needs no questioning. Besides, a google search isn’t hard. Seriously, the topic is in your face after a single attempt.
Depression is No Laughing Matter
As we wait for what Blizzard has in store for us concerning the tribute for Robin Williams in WoW, we should know that it won’t be just some meaningless NPC, but it will be a bitter-sweet reminder of the joy and sadness of Mr. Williams. He may have been laughing on the outside, keeping everyone warm with smiles, but on the inside, it was a different story. I believe these sorts of tributes raise awareness of the troubling issues of depression and mental health. In fact, every tribute, not just limited to Robin Williams’ passing, but also to all the other persons that have moved us to a degree; teach us a lot about life and how we may squander it, whether by our hand or another.
We play games or partake in whatever pleasurable thing we find fitting for us because it gives us some happiness, albeit a fleeting one, and depression is always a threat in this ever progressive world. WoW is one of those games and I’m sure you’ve all heard of plenty of other touching stories detailing the use of games to combat depression, and how it helped people get on with their lives. I believe having a tribute NPC to Robin Williams in WoW will greatly increase these positive effect as he himself would become a beacon of greatness, happiness, and a subtle reminder of how we should live without the anxious fear we are capable of falling into, for whatever reason they may be.
It’s wonderful to see people reacting this way towards the death of a beloved icon because in a world that has steadily grown in cynicism, especially in online communities (Good Lord, seriously, online communities), that there is still a touch of benevolence to be had. With serious issues surrounding us everyday, a little more awareness for the gravity of these matters is great to have at any given time. We don’t mean to point fingers or to criticize, but we celebrate and we take in the warnings that pair up with every tribute done for every single person we care about. This is just how we can cope and how we can learn, to further better ourselves as people and as gamers.
Genie, You’re Free!
Even after his death, Robin Williams continues to influence us in more ways than we could ever imagine. His philanthropy and humanity in life will be forever remembered as a fine example for all to see in however Blizzard decides in the game, and, hopefully, it’ll uphold that moral tradition of laughter and kindness that extends from person to person. The World of Warcraft isn’t just all about wars and strife, but there is always a lighter and brighter side to everything, and that might be in the form of a cheerful, yet pondering, troll, asking, “I have a career… What am I doing?”Related: Column, MMORPG, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday