What are some of the MMORPG companies doing to help those affected by the latest natural disaster? Well, they are trying to make it easier for their affected customers by making sure things will be like they left them in-game. If the game has housing maintenance, they are stopping the cost for now. Some games are even dropping the fees temporarily. Still others are linking to charities.
Mythic Entertainment: We’ve all got friends and family down south, and there’s a big player community down there as well. Like many of you, we’re struggling to find some small way that we can help besides the basic and obvious “donate to the Red Cross” stuff. We went through the game systems, looking for stuff that people could lose if they are unable to log in for awhile, and paying rent on the in-game houses is fortunately the only thing. We can’t suspend in-game house rent by billing address, so we’re just suspending house rent across the board for the whole game.
Sony Online Entertainment: In EverQuest II we have added the /donate command, type in /donate to be taken to the American Red Cross’s Hurricane 2005 relief page. For those members of SOE Communities in other games, you can contribute using this link, American Red Cross. The American Red Cross will process your donation and make sure that it is put to maximum use to help those whose lives have been affected by the hurricane.
Additionally, for our 13,000+ players actually in the affected areas, we will be suspending billing until such time as they are able to play again. In addition, any items or structures in any of our games, which decay over time, will be preserved until the user’s next login.
NCSoft: To show our support for the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina, NCsoft has placed a banner to the Network for Good website on the front pages of all North American NCsoft websites.
Blizzard: Our heartfelt condolences go out to the individuals and families affected by Hurricane Katrina. We encourage everyone to assist the federal, state, and local organizations doing vital work on the ground by making a donation to the relief efforts. The Department of Homeland Security has asked that donations be made in the form of financial contributions, rather than supplies, which are difficult to get into the affected areas at this time. If you would like to make a donation to the relief efforts, please contact the American Red Cross: www.redcross.org; 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-4357-669).
Kudos to Mythic and SOE for going the extra mile, but still more can be done. Give an incentive to players that donate, perhaps some in-game item or something. Or better yet, how about matching pledges?
Oh, here is a nice FU from Blizzard: Any player affected by the hurricane should call our Billing department to turn off their account until they power is restored. Characters and items on the accounts affected will not be removed, deleted, or changed during the time the accounts are turned off. WTF?
Anyone see something I’m missing, let me know.
Regardless, if you have the means to do something to help, whether it is a donation or something more involved, please do so. This is a terrible tragedy.