Massively Uplifting: DragonCon announces official charity, more studios support Australian wildfire relief

    
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This past month has been filled with its share of dark news, not the least of which is the coronavirus that is plaguing the world. But don’t let that bleakness overshadow your thoughts — plenty of positive and uplifting things have happened as well! February may be the shortest month of the year (even with a bonus day!), but that doesn’t mean it is short on good deeds, generosity, and goodness.

We’ve got numerous examples of studios and communities raising relief funds for the Australian wildfires as well as Elite: Dangerous’ fundraising benefit for gamers with disabilities, Dragon Con’s initiatives to benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Star Trek Online’s continued remembrance of Leonard Nimoy, and more. Innoculate yourself against the constant negativity and bad news with a shot of happy thoughts and actions happening in our gaming universe, with goodness from fighting fires and frowns.

DragonCon 2020 to support Big Brothers Big Sisters

While not exclusively a gaming convention, DragonCon is still a prominent part of the gaming scene, and its video gaming track keeps growing. This year, the convention has chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta as its official charity for 2020. Brainstorming is underway for fundraising efforts to support the mission of matching “Bigs” (older mentors) with “Littles” (disadvantaged youngsters) as are ideas to encourage folks to get involved.

Additionally, DragonCon also announced its 2020 plans for its annual “Superheroes” community service project where it invites its members and fans in the Atlanta area to participate in a series of projects reaching different aspects of the metro area’s non-profit community. There will be four projects, called episodes. The first was already held on February 8th: 140 Superheroes spent the day at Open Hand Atlanta cooking, packaging, creating, delivering, and caring for Atlanta area clients with delicious meals and surprise valentine cards. The next episode is on April 11th, when volunteers will assemble at the Atlanta Mission to give the shelters a good spring cleaning and help sort donations. Episodes three and four, focusing on Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, will be scheduled at a later date.

Since the inception of the Superheroes program in 2013, DragonCon’s members and fans have donated nearly 4,000 hours to various community projects. And over the past five years, the convention has raised more than $566,000 for its annual official charities. This is done through convention-based auctions, special merchandise sales, special events, and DragonCon’s dollar-for-dollar match up to $100,000. Last year’s recipient was The American Heart Association; it received more than $142,000 in donations.

Name your price to name your planet!

While many charity livestreams are based around donations, Elite: Dangerous’ Frontier Developments took a different route. The studio kicked off the giving with an auction! For the week of February 6th through the 13th, fans had the chance to bid on a number of unique prizes like dinner with developers, signed artwork, pillows, exclusive in-game paint jobs for ships, and the ability to name planets, systems, ports, and starports — just to name a few.

Then when the 24-hour charity livestream aired, Frontier hosted alongside GamesBlast20, the UK’s biggest annual charity gaming marathon weekend. All of the proceeds went towards SpecialEffect, a charity that changes the lives of gamers with physical disabilities. Devs offered milestones for reaching donation goals and a sweepstakes where donations were entries.

Live long (in our memories) and prosper

Five years have come and gone since the passing of Leonard Nimoy, a great man and fixture in Star Trek as Spock. Back then, grieving players petitioned for a Spock memorial in Star Trek Online, and on March 5th, 2015, that became a reality. But that honoring of the man considered by many to be the heart and soul of the Trek universe wasn’t a one-and-done deal; on the anniversary, Cryptic Studios showed it hadn’t forgotten Nimoy with a memorial tweet including a video of in-game Spock congratulating a player. Having the chance to be face -to-face with the legend is comforting to fans, and having this possibility is appreciated. Thank you, Cryptic, for not forgetting and keeping Spock alive in another form.

DC Trek: A super stellar mashup

Speaking of Star Trek Online, we’ve run across another little gem that made us smile. And you know we can’t resist sharing smiles! Being uplifting isn’t always about big things: One STO player found a simple way to bring a bit of joy into the game for self and others by creating an impressive Star Trek/DC Universe mash up! By using costumes and dyes, this player was able to recreate a personal Justice League plus Spiderman ensemble. Now that looks like a fun crew of bridge officers to take along on your missions!

This certainly can help some DC Universe Online players feel at home if they’d like to check out STO. Or maybe they can rise to the challenge and create some DCUO costumes that mirror Star Trek. Have you seen or made other themed groups in STO or other games? If so, please feel free to share below!

The things one finds on Nimbus III from sto

Devs doing good for Australia

Last month we highlighted a number of games and communities that were contributing to the relief efforts underway in Australia, which was being ravaged by massive brush fires. We noted how Warframe, AdventureQuest 3D, EVE Online, and SMITE all were pitching in to the cause — but those aren’t nearly all the studios and developers who joined in fundraising efforts. Since February’s Massively Uplifting, many more have directly donated, held auctions, and run fundraising livestreams. Kotaku created a list of additional studios that jumped in to help, including Crytivo, Obsidian, Riot, Bethesda, 2K Games, Sony, Ubisoft, Bungie, Activision/Infinity Ward, and Wargaming. Smaller indie studios are also involved, including Impbox Games, which made a game specifically for supporting! You can find more examples by perusing the #GameDevsForFireys hashtag on Twitter.

To each and every one of these companies — big and small — and their communities, we give a standing ovation for your generosity and compassion!

A face of PLEX for Good deeds

It can feel very rewarding to give to a good cause, helping and uplifting others. No thanks is necessary. But sometimes, you get the chance to put a face to the cause. Last month Massively Uplifting shared how CCP had reinstated its #PLEX4Good charity at the request of players who wanted to give aid and relief to combat Australian wildfires. To express thanks, one Australian firefighter — who also happens to be an EVE Online player since 2007 — sent a special personal message to fellow players. This is what your generosity and support does, and this is whom it helps. Kudos, EVE fans!

So how much did EVE players raise in total? CCP announced that $107,454 was donated by players in just 11 days! The studio further broke it down: 2,687,693 PLEX was donated, which equals 448 years of game time and 9.14 Trillion ISK at current market prices. And all this went to the Australian Red Cross to help those affected by the brushfires down under.  (For those who are curious, that brings the total raised through all PLEX4Good initiatives over the years to $578,000!) Way to go, EVE community! As a thank-you to players, in March those who donated a minimum of 100 PLEX will receive a piece of in-game apparel from CCP. Pilots will be able to wear a t-shirts (men’s and women’s) featuring the logo of the Reserve Frontier Safeguard (RFS).

It’s the thought that counts

Although EVE Online’s Fanfest 2020 has been canceled due to the coronavirus concerns, I am still going to give a shout out to the studio’s plans to sell a number of rare pieces of CCP and EVE memorabilia at the event and donate all proceeds to the Children’s Hospital, a division of the national University Hospital Of Iceland in Reykjavik. Perhaps CCP will find a way to work around the situation and still support the cause!

A few more happy stories from the last month…

From happy stories to good deeds within our virtual worlds and the real world around us, there’s so much good in the gaming community. That’s why Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie pens Massively Uplifting: to highlight those generous, inspiring, heart-warming, and uplifting tales that exist throughout the MMOverse. Send your suggested stories along to warmfuzzies@massivelyop.com for our next entry!

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Armsbend

Dragoncon’s effort is the first charity effort I’ve read about in gaming capable of making an impact. Local, non-reactionary and human-to-human. No bullshit offered as a prize outside of the charity work itself.

In my mind – that is how it should work.

BUT – as you said – it isn’t really gaming.