Massively Uplifting: Gamestonk, gorillas, and giving in MMOs

    
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When it comes to feel-good stories in the general media, coming across a positive one about gaming seems harder than finding a four-leaf clover. Thankfully, you don’t need the luck of the Irish to find uplifting stories — you’ve got Massively Uplifting! And March was brimming with kindness, inclusion, helpfulness, and generosity like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

If you need a pick-me-up of good stories, today is your lucky day. Check out Guild Wars 2 supporters getting the word out on mental heath support, Destiny and SMITE studios aiding Make-a-Wish while other distribute games to school kids, and the vision impaired getting support from individuals and developers. Add in snakes saving trees and donations to save the animals and you’ve got good deeds galore!

Signs for mental health

You hear about signs of mental health, but have you seen a sign for mental health? Guild Wars 2‘s previous Seize the Awkward campaign may have been during last September’s Suicide Prevention month, but the effects are still being seen. And by seen, we mean on a large billboard! The message, featuring GW2 steamer Bird of Chess, encourages gamers to check on guild mates and have conversations about mental health. We know that sometimes your guildies are the only ones there for you, and we’re grateful for them.

Building a better Bungie

Bungie is a place that makes games, but it aims to also be a place where all players feel that their identity is welcome. So following the flagship of Bungie’s first Inclusion Club (Black at Bungie), the studio shared the efforts of its next Inclusion Club, Trans at Bungie, on International Transgender Day of Visibility. What is an inclusion club? “Inclusion Clubs are employee-led groups empowered to make more targeted efforts.

David Setser, a founding member of Trans at Bungie and the current lead for the club, said, “We founded Trans at Bungie to provide that support to our trans peers. Issues like navigating healthcare, advocating for representation, and getting through the repeated and never-ending conversations of coming out are challenges no one should have to face without a fireteam by their side.” The club is geared to provide support and engage in multiple conversations about improving the environment at Bungie internally as well as improve inclusion in game.

Bungie’s wanting to make the world a better place extends further that its own walls and games. It also makes wishes come true! The studio shared that with the help of its community, it was able to provide over $1M over the last 20 years to the Make a Wish Foundation of Alaska and Washington. That allowed for a whole slew of wishes granted to local terminally ill children.

Fulfilling gaming wishes

Speaking of the Make a Wish Foundation, Hi-Rez Studios teamed up with the Georgia chapter to grant the wish of one gaming fan. After giving him a tour of the offices to get an inside look at developing games, he got to check out the esports building. There, the studio presented him with a monster gaming rig and set up so he could enjoy gaming to its fullest. We hope he enjoys many, many hours of immersing himself in his favorite games!

As gamers, we can certainly appreciate how wishes are tied to games. Another company in Kentucky spearheaded a campaign to fulfill gaming wishes in a different way. Last year, the indie game studio Frogdice  – you know it as the dev behind Stash – started a drive to get a new game into the hands of students to play while isolated in quarantine. The studio’s goal was to deliver a new game to every student in its home state — all 685,167 of them.

Citing the impact of quarantines and school cancellations from coronavirus on kids who lose social outlets and the financial stresses that make buying new games to play with friends difficult, the studio had pledged 150,000 ReignMaker keys and 150,000 Dungeon of Elements keys to distribute to students. However, as that only covered about half of the students, Frogdice called out to game dev colleagues to collect more donated game keys that could be distributed to students throughout Kentucky. And this appears to still be active!

Any developers who would like to donate can fill out the form on the official post. All keys that are not sent to students will be sent back to the developers who donated them. Additionally, if any other groups want to do such an initiative in their community or state, Frogdice expressed its willingness to help set it up.

Sneks saving shrubbery

St. Paddy may have driven the snakes out of Ireland, but you can have one delivered to your home… and for a good cause no less! Whether you’re a fan of Razer’s Sneki Snake mascot/logo or you just want to save trees, you can get the best of both worlds thanks to Razer! The gaming accessories giant has partnered with Conservation International to save our planet’s forests, one Sneki Snek at a time. This campaign is even more irresistible it you are addicted to plushies (and you know I am)!

The premise is you buy an adorable plushie Sneki Snek (even its name us adorbs!) and the proceeds save 10 trees – yes, one Seki Snek saves 10 trees. And to date, more than 100,000 trees have already been saved through this partnership. But it isn’t ending there. Oh no, there is more Sneki Snek cuteness to come: Razer invites everyone to help it hit the target to save 1 million trees with Sneki Snek, and the more milestones the campaign reaches, the more Sneki Snek merch will be released. Currently, the original Sneki Snek plushie and a Sneki Snek head pillow are available.

Snag a snake, save some trees. You got me Razer!

The eyes have it

Having close friends who are colorblind, I’ve become more cognizant of how difficult some aspects of gaming really are for them. So I was excited to find that one Star Trek Online player created a tailor color guide for the color blind to help fellow players navigate cosmetics and outfits and shared it on Reddit. MirumVictus included images listing name and intensity for many of the common color grids. The seven guides are for Uniform, Variation, Metallic 1, Metallic 2, Hair, Eyes, and Ship. What an awesome resource!

The vision impaired also have another ally in their gaming corner. Super.com and Mars Vision have announced a partnership through which the two are working together on an new platform that will assist gamers who are low-vision or visually impaired to play games that may otherwise be inaccessible to them. The goal of the application is to allow folks to enjoy games without the need for modding.

Aleksey Antonov, Product Manager at Mars Vision, said, “At Mars Vision, we feel that gaming should be available to everyone. So we wanted to create a solution that was as flexible and as accessible as possible.” The new software, dubbed Mars Vision, has been developed in partnership with visually impaired end users to ensure that pain points that are present in similar software are not experienced with Mars Vision. How does it work?

“The application monitors gameplay in real-time and assists the player in navigating the game’s environment and menus. Using a neural network, Mars Vision doesn’t change the gameplay present in a game; rather, it translates gameplay so that the player has the information they need to immerse themselves fully in the world.”

Super.com CEO Oleg Sambikin said that the company has been working closely with Mars Vision to bring games such as World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto V, and The Witcher 3 to new audiences.” Mars Vision is currently in closed beta and players who are interested in taking part can sign up here: https://www.marsvision.com/Home.

Helping hands

Easter weekend, the creators of the PLITCH game customization platform ran a livesteam event to raise money for the German charity Gaming Aid, a non-profit organization that supports those in need and has made it its mission to fight against poverty, exclusion, and acute emergencies. The company MegaDev pledged to match the donations raised in that livestream event. On top of that, PLITCH will match all donations made to its donation page on Monday, April 5th.

Showcased games scheduled included Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Valheim, which were found on Twitch channel as well as on the PLITCH YouTube channel.

Sticking it to the man (and giving it to the animals)

Remember that whole GameStop hedgefund story? There’s a pretty pleasing outcome to part of that. Some Reddit investors from WallStreetBets used gains from their GameStop investments to send donations to help endangered animals. There are gorillas, pangolins, elephants, lynx, wolves, orangutans, polar bears, and turtles that are benefitting from all that GameStop trading. How much help are they getting? Hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth!

The gorillas received the biggest windfall, with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund getting more than 3,500 adoptions worth $350,000 in a weekend when the usual new adoptions only equal 20. Even more than the money, the influx of donations has brought welcome public attention to the trust’s work — attention that is needed to continue its mission. Kenya’s The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which runs an orphaned elephant rescue center in Kenya, also saw an increase in donations, citing an unusual $10,000 rise in donations last weekend. Other programs also saw increased donations. Naturally, some donors used fictitious names directly citing (or making fun of) the hedge funds.

More “uplifting” stories from March 2021:

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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Adam Russell

Enthusiastic predictions of a gamestop crash continue to be in error.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Well, Gamestonk is about to issue a few million more shares to profit off this meme-game that folks are still laughing about. Still largely seems like already rich folks playing around (lots of these donations come from folks driving nice muscle cars and whatnot, NOT SAYING THAT’S BAD BECAUSE DONATIONS ARE GREAT but it speaks to the kinds of people who have the expendable income to play around like this, not some retail investor revolt) for the dank memes and whatnot. I’m glad some good is coming out of this because it continues to look super shady as hell and like a shitshow.

And all it does is continue to reinforce my opinion that the stock market is, and has always been a rigged shell game for the rich and corporations. I’m just glad at least some of the money is going to good causes in between buying out Time Square billboards to meme on DIAMOND HANDS /vomits uncontrollably

Reader
Bruno Brito

featuring GW2 steamer Bird of Chess

> Steamer

> Steamer

No. It’s just the northern lights.

Ok, bad joke out of the way, all of this sounds great. Uplifting is for sure becoming the best category in MOP.