WoW Insider: When did you start the Wowathon? What do you think draws people into wanting to watch you guys play WoW for charity?
Alex: We started WoWathon back in the summer of 2009 after one of our friends introduced us to the Mario Marathon. We had a lot of time to kill and we figure "we're pretty good at WoW; let's play that and try to do something good with it." From there, WoWathon was born.
As far as what draws people in to watch, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that watching us stream WoW is a lot like hanging out with us. We're generally pretty funny people, and when there are five of us just playing WoW and chatting with our audience, it has a very friendly atmosphere. We also make chocolate pudding at four in the morning, and after a certain point in the night, we all get extremely tired and insanity starts to set in, which we're told is great to watch.
How much have you raised so far for Child's Play?
Alex: With WoWathon '09 and WoWathon '10 combined, we've raised $13,926.87. We used goal-based leveling to try and encourage people to donate (X amount of money to get to Y level), and a couple of times we almost didn't make it, so this year we're going to try and find a way to rework the goal system.
Why do you think the WoW community responds so well to charity? We've seen huge outpouring of support for charity pets from Blizzard and the charity dinner. What about our community is fundamentally awesome about giving and helping?
Alex: When you have 11 million people in a community, there are bound to be charitable people out there. That being said I think a lot of Blizzard games attract a bit more maturity from their audience than the average game, as most of their games require a lot of personal investment.
I also think a lot of the people feel largely the same way we do and want to give back to the community they love. The community is self aware, for lack of a better term, and understands that they're going to get back what they put in. If you're nothing but a troll, no one's going to want anything to do with you. If you show a lot of respect and work to contribute to the community, you'll gain a lot of respect in return. With a user base as awesome as this, community building is inherently encouraged and rewarding.
What's the goal for this year?
Alex: This year, we don't have a set goal in mind because we're worried that we might run into a situation where we don't meet our goal before a certain level and are forced to either continue on despite not meeting our goal or ending early. Overall, though, we're shooting for $10,000 before the end of the event.
What's the best way people can help and where can people tune in?
Alex: If people want to help they can:
Donate to Child's Play, of course! This can be done by going to our website at Wowathon.com and clicking the ChipIn! button on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you play on Lightbringer and want to follow us, hang out with us, or play with us, our characters are Chylds and Playy, and we'd love to have you come along on the journey! We party with characters around our level so that our audience can play with us, but we try to avoid getting party members too far above or below our level because of the effect it will have on our leveling.
Chat with us in our Ustream chat.
Drum up awareness on blogs or websites.
Make characters to whisper us and cheer us on! A lot of our team members are new this year and have never done something like this, so words of encouragement are extremely appreciated.
So there are plenty of ways people can help. Obviously, we'd love it if everyone donated, but we appreciate everything down to the whispers people send us cheering us on! To me, this and our chat room is the coolest part of the experience, because it lets our audience get involved.
Thank you very much Alex, and good luck to the WoWathon team. I know I'll be watching!