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Matt Miller: Charity

Column By Matthew Miller on October 29, 2013

Have you ever been charitable in your MMO? Have you ever given something without any regard for anything in return? It could be as simple as giving some gold to a stranger playing a low-level character to get them started with some nice equipment from the auction house, or it could be donating your time in taking your character through a dungeon that you get nothing out of, just to help your friends fill out a group or get an achievement you already have.

I’ve done all of the above and more when I would play MMOs. I never really expect anything in return other than having a good time, and possibly some karma so that should I ever find myself in a situation where I could use some help from people who don’t need to give it I might find it a little easier.

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I’ve been thinking about this because on November 2nd, I will be participating in Extra-Life, which is a 25 hour gaming marathon in support of the Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals. Gamers, celebrities, and professionals all across the world will be donating their time and pulling off a Jack Bauer-like effort of staying awake playing all sorts of games and asking friends, families, and followers to donate to their cause. One of the great things about the CMN is that we get to pick specifically which hospital in the network receives our donations. When I saw that my wife’s alumni, UC Davis had their children’s hospital on the list, I knew right away who should receive the money my team raises.

Myself and a couple other ex-Paragon studios friends will be playing Warhammer 40k starting at around 8am on Saturday, Nov. 2nd and going to 9am on Sunday. We’ve been preparing for this for a while, coming up with the scenario (which is morphing into several scenarios now). Our plan is to bring painted models to the table, from our armies of which we have several. I know there will be Ultramarines, Chaos Daemons, Chaos Marines, Tau, Eldar, and Tyranids for sure, but there will likely be appearances by Grey Knights, Imperial Guard, and others throughout the day. Hopefully the games will be as gorgeous to look at as they will be fun to play.

Twitch.tv and XSpilt are proud sponsors of Extra-Life this year, and so in honor of that, I will be livestreaming all 25 hours (hopefully) to my channel MMODesigner on Twitch.tv via XSplit. My plan is to have an “Action cam” pointed at the table as often as possible and a “Dice cam” pointed at a dice tray where we can make rolls for all to see. I warn you now that if you tune it there will be some salty language. Dice and probabilities usually evoke strong reactions out of people, and sometimes we just can’t help ourselves from letting loose a naughty word or two. We’ll also be chatting with people all day via the chat, assuming we have time to check the chat every once in a while.

If you would like to donate you can do so via my page here. If you would like to know more about Extra-life, or perhaps even participate yourself, you can find all the information you need at www.extra-life.org.

Times can be tough for everyone, and so money can be an issue. I understand. If you find yourself in this boat, maybe you can get into the mood with the spirit of giving. Log into your MMO and offer your services helping out other players expecting nothing in return. You’ll hopefully find that giving your time and effort to brighten someone’s day gives you a warm feeling and you can continue this feeling into the real world. The holidays usually bring out the charity in everyone, so there will be lots of opportunities to give. Stores and Boy Scouts will likely be collecting canned goods and groceries for local food banks, so you can easily make an effort there as well.

I’d love it if people could use the comments to post donation links for their favorite charities. It’s likely that there is a charity out there that you do have some connection to, and others might not know it exists. You can also share your stories of giving while playing MMOs. What you did without any expectation of anything in return. Of course, if you are participating in Extra-life as well, feel free to link your own donation page and post what hospital you are playing for!

Matt Miller / Matt Miller is a 22 year veteran of the computer game industry and columnist for MMORPG.com. He was Lead Designer for City of Heroes over five years, and has "seen it all" when it comes to MMOs (but still learns something new every day). You can always reach him on twitter @MMODesigner.

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Matt Miller
In this bi-weekly column, Matt "Formerly Known as Positron" Miller of City of Heroes fame seeks to clue MMO gamers in on the minds of developers, their decisions, and what it's like to craft these massive games.
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