It all began on the official forums with this simple appeal:
This is a depressing post but I need some help. My 6 yr old son has cancer and was recently given 6 - 12 weeks to live.
He has a frog that he likes to run around Tenebrous Tangle Island on; however, it is sparse and he has requested to add trees, fences, stairs, animals and all kinds of other items to make his island fun and exciting.
Are there any decorators out there that would be willing to assist in adding these items (and any others their imagination poses) to help me make the island even more fun for him. I don't know how much I'll be able to accomplish on my own while still providing him quality time to enjoy it.
That humble request immediately caught the eye of several figures in the EQII
community, including Sylestia from the Guk server. I hadn't met Sylestia until this week, but like every other Guk resident, I knew her name well. She's been organizing pick-up raids and server events for years and is usually right in the middle of discussions in open chat. She knew Ribbitribbit's mother, Myrose, and true to form, began to rally her guildmates and friends to help with the cause.
Quickly, the show of support blossomed, and her team of seven guildmates grew to hundreds. And as the decorating army grew, so did the size of the project, which went from a Tenebrous Tangle island playground to five houses and a tier-three guild hall. They formed up a guild called the Lillipad Jungle and began to grind writs in order to level up the guild. In just 65 hours, they gained 70 levels. They ran all-night plat raids of easy-mode raid content to sell the loot and raise about 17,000 plat to donate to guild construction. The guild grew to include players from Antonia Bayle, Freeport, Oasis, and other servers. Players there donated plat and decorating materials to selected characters, who would load up on goods and then purchase a transfer over to Guk. At its peak, the Lillipad Jungle guild had over 360 accounts.
Given the sheer size of the guild, I wondered whether there might have been issues with the decorating efforts. After all, sometimes too many cooks in the kitchen can be problematic. Sylestia said it was just the opposite. It began with two or three people decorating the playground, and then others would jump in to ask if they could add other designs, like aquariums or tree-houses. And any time someone needed certain materials, there were several volunteers ready to jump in and acquire what was needed to donate to the effort. One story in particular really embodies the spirit of the EQII
community: Someone wanted to make a Frostfell-themed home and needed a Halas prestige home, which is a loot card from a Legends of Norrath
booster pack. Players scrambled and opened hundreds of packs; even former EQII
Associate Producer Emily "Domino" Taylor
created a character and helped with the search. They finally got the loot card and made Ribbitribbit an amazing Frostfell home.
Sylestia admitted that when they started working on the guild hall, she wasn't sure whether they would make it in time for the planned event that weekend. Amazingly, they succeeded, and on the day of the server event, hundreds of players came to show support. There were several GMs and guides on hand to help with the event, and Sylestia said there were so many in attendance that she worried that the guild hall might crash or create a second instance of itself to handle the capacity. It was an amazing day, and Ribbitribbit's family posted a few YouTube videos
of his touching reaction to the party in his honor.
I asked about plans for the Lillipad Jungle in the future, and Sylestia revealed that her team is focused on giving the family some quiet privacy during this difficult time. She's also made a new guild called the Fairy Godfroggers for those who would like to continue promoting server events. There's been a great response from players so far, so she plans on running monthly events on the Guk Server. Contact Sylestia or Kattapault if you're interested in helping out.
As Sylestia put it, what was incredible about the whole thing is that they had every type of player you can imagine, from loudmouths to people who gave each other hell all day long, coming together, coordinating, and sending tells asking what they could do to help. Even if it was just for one day, it was amazing to see people put everything aside and work on one thing together. There were no issues; they simply got it done.
I've included a gallery of some of the stunning designs and decorations that players made for Ribbitribbit, and you can follow the story over on the forums. In addition, fansites like EQ2Wire
have included screenshots from the day of the event, and EQ2Players
covered it as well. I was really touched by this heartbreaking story, and I hugged my children a little tighter after reading about it. Hats off to the EQII
community for this amazing show of support.