A few weeks ago a friend of mine from highschool passed away. In the note he left he asked that someone log into his Star Wars Galaxies account and tell his online friends the news.
The family heard that I know a bit about software and asked if I would do it. I agreed despite having never played, let alone looked at, an MMORPG.
How would I find those who knew him, if they existed? Would they believe me? Would anyone care? ....
(click Read More for the rest ...)
The memorial service photo album is located here: Mazi in-game Memorial Service
I couldn't figure out how to find anyone who knew him. What servers were they on? What planet? What city? So, having his login and password, I entered his account at about 2AM not knowing what I would find. Within seconds the chat window screamed
"MAAZZZII!! We were so worried about you! Welcome back! I'm so glad you're ok!"
It was heartbreaking; something I hadn't anticipated. I was being addressed by a character named Safia. Not knowing what to say, I told her the news ... she believed me. A few moments later, after having called others who knew Craig (in-game "Mazi") several more were online to hear the news; mind you this was 3AM in the morning. This group of people surprised me. They clearly cared a great deal about their missing friend. Say what you will, what I witnessed were real bonds; a real sense of loss and an overwhelming amount of compassion.
After some more conversation, the question came that always comes. Could we have known? Could we have done anything? Were there any signs?
The group dispersed and searched the various rooms of the "house" where Mazi's character lived. In it they did in fact find something; a cryptic one liner that in light of what happened was clearly a message. (see the first screenshot in the photo album).
Schwendo, over the next week and a half, took it upon himself to organize a touching and frankly very well done in-game memorial service which I've cataloged in the attached photo album.
From what I've observed, these MMORPG's, at least as demonstrated by this group of people, are less games and more the moral equivalent of the corner pub or social club. They are a place where people gather to socalize, goof off, exchange ideas and do the various things that people do.