May 12, 2010 9 Comments
Community is what keeps us here and playing. Long after we’ve got burnout of a game, have grown frustrated with bugs and glitches, or beyond the point of us having maxed out multiple characters in the game, community is what keeps us engaged and coming back for more. In MMOs community is one of the key defining characteristics of the genre. Even in PvP games, with all its bile and cantankerous attitude of angsty, sex-starved, teenage boys raging in the fury of physical impotence (the typical stereotype). This is a story about one such community, and it’s defiance of expectations.
On the Badlands server of Warhammer Online, one of their members has been diagnosed with breast cancer, for a second time. Despite her being clear for the last five years, and presumably into the safe zone, the disease has risen up once more. The woman of the story plays a character named Tinkerhell, and her alts are some variation of that. (Aside: I shit you not, in 1996, I was playing a MUD called Aalynor’s Nexus, when they released the Sprite race, my friend and I created a character named Tinkerhell and fun ensued) Her husband, Mort, plays the game as well (the couple that games together!), and both feel to be strongly a part of the Badlands community.
With this second bout of breast cancer, Mort did the notifying of family, friends and loved ones, including his home server’s community. He posted a note of temporary absence and intermittent game-time, and faith that a woman who can survive without breathing can get over something as minor as cancer. Psh, who needs oxygen?
In an Internet-Miracle, people WEREN’T hateful. I kid you not, in the first three pages of the thread, there hasn’t been one negative comment. Of course, the conversation quickly went to every man’s favorite topic: BEWBS! Humorously enough, this came about in large part because of Tink and Mort themselves. Even as adults, we’re not beyond our base instinct to talk about things not normally “fit” for face to face conversations. The internet is liberating like that, and I truly mean that with zero sarcasm.
It is within this thread and forum post that the idea for supporting her in the best way they know how came about. Players, of both factions, decided to dye their armor pink (or pink-ish) and change their last name to the new slogan “Pinkfortink”. Like a bunch of dirty cross-realmers, they gathered up and started to flaunt their ridiculous community-minded spirit of respect and admiration. That sentence was sarcastic, for those keeping track. They went so far, as to not only change their names and dye their gear, but to also stand around with each other, NOT fighting. I hope to God, that after screen-shots were taken of this mass of people at the Statue of the Everchosen, that a royal brawl of AoE bombing-goodness broke out and massive slaughter-fun was had by all.
For an interesting view on the whole thing, follow the link I posted above to the family’s travel website, or check out this server newsletter. It’s formatting is off, but the intent is good, and I hope that they can improve on it as time goes by.
From all of us here at Shadow-War (just me, I’m all alone), best wishes to you Tinkerhell and Mort! You are lucky to be blessed with the support of so many. Nothing that any of us across the waters of the internet can do will affect you directly, but know that our thoughts, prayers, and wishes are with you.