Massively Uplifting: Spring and summer philanthropy and farewells in MMOs


‘Tis the season! What season? Why, spring and summer! Spring is a time of growth, and our gaming-verse certainly saw growth of the generous kind. Then summer started, and the stories of charity work, support for the disabled and Pride, and sadly even loss found us grasping our freedoms: the freedom to give, the freedom to support, and even the freedom to grieve.

Gearbox Entertainment has created a new philanthropic initiative while Bungie celebrates the fourth year of its charity foundation’s giving festival. Wargaming took part in a charity gala for Ablegamers, and Daybreak is diving all in for Extra Life 2023. Verizon joined the conversation of gaming accessibility and the benefits of playing for the disabled. And then last month, the Elite: Dangerous community suffered the lost of two figures. Read of for the details.

Brace yourself for Bungie Day!

Let’s start this round of warm fuzzies off with the most time sensitive news: Bungie Day! The Bungie Day Giving Festival 2023 starts this week: From July 6th through July 23rd, the fourth annual event will “feature [a] full schedule of featured streamers, a special community competition, awards for [the] top fundraisers, and a whole week full of prizes!”

Of course, The Bungie Foundation does more than just Bungie Day. It shared that 2022 wrapped up with raising more than $5 million for charity across all the campaigns. Additionally, here are 2023’s results to date:

“When 2023 started out with the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the Bungie community immediately leapt into action. In less than a week, you raised over $300,000 that went directly to life-saving relief efforts through our partners Direct Relief and International Rescue Committee. Most recently, the community truly embodied the call to “Stand with Asians” with your support of the Harmonic Waves emblem, raising over $100,000 for International Community Health Services.”

Bungie has a slew of incentives that will be given away at various donation amounts. On top of that, during the second week of the festival, Bungie will host its first “Seven Days of Prizes” event, with each day offering a special prize to win. See the schedule and a list of all prizes and donation tiers on the official post. Donations are made directly on the campaign home page. Before it has even started, the campaign has already raised $1,887 of its $777,777 goal. Want to see a glimpse of the the results of the fundraising? Watch Wyatt’s wish get fulfilled in the video below.

More philanthropy? Yes please!

Can you ever have too much philanthropy in the world? We say no! While The Bungie Foundation has years under the belt of its charity work, Gearbox Entertainment is just starting out on its path. In spring, Gearbox created Gearbox Gives, an initiative with “a mission of harnessing the power of entertainment to educate, inspire, and create around the globe.” Its purpose is to organize and direct the studio’s philanthropic work. It will encompasses Gearbox’s educational and philanthropic programs and its community partnerships and initiatives.

Although Gearbox Gives is new, Gearbox’s philanthropy is not just beginning. The studio has a history of supporting and building up social causes, from creating Borderlands Science (a citizen science game that is helping to map the human gut microbiome) to providing video game–based STEM education to students across the world to supporting reforestation efforts. Gearbox has also helped raise thousands of dollars to purchase personal protective equipment for medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Founder (of both Gearbox Gives and the Gearbox Entertainment Company) Randy Pitchford stated,

“Gearbox has been committed to using our platform and the power of entertainment for good since our founding, and Gearbox Gives is a continuation and expansion of that work. As Gearbox has grown in recent years, our impact on the world around us must grow as well. By launching Gearbox Gives, we’ll be able to build upon the work we have already done to use our platform for good.”

Can you hear me now? Verizon touts gaming’s benefits for the disabled

It’s no secret to all of us that gaming has many redeeming qualities. (We even wrote a soapbox on it!) But it sure is nice to see big names in the corporate world also heralding that fact! Verizon published an article emphasizing the benefits that video gaming has for the disabled and discussing accessibility. Benefits can be both mental and physical, from cognitive and developmental (like enhanced spatial awareness, greater neural processing and efficiency, and increased social connectivity) to therapeutic (including distraction from pain, reduction of anxiety, and relief from boredom due to immobility) to educational (math, spelling, reading, history, and more).

The article also highlights sensory play and shares information about adaptive and assistive technology for gamers. It shares links to a variety of adaptive technology as well as to the studio and developer accessibility guidelines of EA, Playstation, Xbox, and Blizzard. Verizon even refers folks to the accessibility resource center to help connect people with these software solutions, answer questions, and help troubleshoot any issues.

Supporting AbleGamers and Extra Life

Speaking of supports for disabled gamers, Wargaming’s World of Warships supported AbleGamers’ first annual charity gala last spring. To eradicate accessibility issues due to physical limitations or financial obstacles, this gala was an online event event hosted in a custom-built virtual world. This allowed anyone to attend the annual event from the comfort of their own home. Wargaming offered an exclusive array of WoWS themed items in a Gala-In-A-Box to raise money for the charity. The boxes featured digital tickets and exclusive merchandise.

Steven Spohn, Senior Director of Development for AbleGamers, shared appreciation for World of Warship’s help, stating,

“We welcome World of Warships coming on board to support our mission to enable play so that disabled people can have the experiences they want. Partners are essential to our mission, and we appreciate all World of Warships has contributed. We look forward to continuing our work together bringing accessibility to the world!”

In other charity news, Daybreak has already announced its plan for Extra Life 2023. The studio aims to break last year’s record of over $100K in donations that went to support Children’s Miracle Network. Daybreak invites all members of its game communities and its employees to join the studio’s Super Team (which has already raised $26,779 so far this year). Folks can participate by joining one of the four studio teams to help raise money as a group: Team Darkpaw (EverQuest and EverQuest II), Team Rogue Planet (PlanetSide 2), Team Standing Stone Games (Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online), and Team Dimensional Ink (DC Universe Online). Players can also create their own sub teams under the Daybreak Super Team.

In addition to sponsoring the teams, Daybreak is contributed $5,000 to each studio team to jump start the campaign. All funds donated this year — both up to National Game Day on November 4th, 2023, and through the end of the year — will go directly to each team’s local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (San Diego, San Diego, Boston, and Austin, respectively).

PRIDE and support

KingsIsle, the makers of Wizard101 and Pirate101, shared on Twitter that it reached out to several of its team members and community leaders to share their stories of diversity and support. It then compiled responses into a post shared with the community. Nine employees and four community members were highlighted, sharing their personal thoughts and experiences on supporting Pride and uniting allies of LGBTQIA+.

In her post, Senior Studio Director Leah Ruben shared that Wizard101 will soon allow players to change their characters’ names and gender. She said, “I’m also excited that we’ll be launching the option for players to change their character’s name/gender in Wizard101 so Wizards can better reflect their current identity. It’s been a requested feature for a long time, and now it’s coming soon!”

We’ve included several more MMO studios that supported Pride in our spring roundup below.

Losses in the community

Massively Uplifting is about more than warm and fuzzy stories; we also share the heartbreaking losses of those in our gaming communities who have touched lives but are now gone. And the Elite: Dangerous community had a double whammy, suffering two deep losses in June. Just as the month began, player, streamer, vlogger, and charity fundraiser Joe Plater passed away. Then less than two weeks later, ED producer Michael Brookes also passed.

After almost seven years of battling thyroid cancer, Plater’s fight ended. He had chronicled his journey with thyroid cancer on YouTube, wanting to share his experiences to help others. In fact, he inspired and uplifted many. Plater also raised money for research into PDTC; he raised tens of thousands of pounds for the British Thyroid Foundation. Many expressed their condolences and shared their grief both on his vlog and on Twitter. Lave Radio described Plater as “a beacon of courage, perseverance and hope, and a loved member of the Elite Dangerous community.”

Brookes supported Elite: Dangerous’ charity endeavors, including the recent auction of a giant stuffed Unknown Artifact plushie to raise money for Special Effect. The weekly ED podcast Lave Radio shared that Brookes “was a great supporter of both Lave Radio and he was the highlight of the first Lavecon. He will be sorely missed.”

Here are a few more uplifting stories from the past season!

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 for our next entry!
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