Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Real-life Going Down achievement nets donation for Make-A-Wish Foundation


Sometimes it's not the biggest events that demonstrate how a love of World of Warcraft can inspire real-world achievements. Sometimes it's the tallest. When McChoppy of Cenarion Circle (US) heard about a Make-A-Wish event that would send him down the side of a 32-story Austin, Texas, high-rise to raise money for children with life-threatening medical conditions, the first thing that leapt to his mind was WoW's Going Down? achievement. It was fate both online and off -- he knew this was one achievement combo he just had to nab.

By drumming up a fat pledge total for Make-A-Wish's Austin Over the Edge, McChoppy earned a spot along with more than 170 other supporters to rappel off the edge of the city high-rise. The project raised more than $175,000 for Make-A-Wish, enough to cover 260 wishes for kids in central and south Texas this year.

So was his real-life slide slightly scarier than the somewhat silly splatter McChoppy scores in the more seemly spaces of Stormwind? With no spirit healer in sight as he perched on the edge 32 stories up -- resoundingly so!

ImageMain character McChoppy
Guild Regulators
Realm Cenarion Circle

WoW Insider: First off, McChoppy, congratulations on braving what had to be an intimidating event for a fantastic cause.

McChoppy: It was an incredible experience. Honestly, I'm still a little buzzed from the event. This was my first time rappelling. Prior to this, I had no experience with anything like this. No skydiving, bungee jumping, etc.

So what were your initial reactions?

Austin had the worst lightning storm in years the night before, and it was still overcast and drizzling a little when I went up. My first thoughts were, "Dying at a charity event: ironic. Struck by lightning while jumping off a building: extra ironic. Being struck by lightning while jumping off a building for charity: epicly ironic."

The event was managed extremely well, and we were at no risk due to the weather conditions at all, but irrational fears of ironic demises will be what they will.

Was there a lot of nervousness among your co-jumpers?

It was amusing to hear the constant refrain of "We're/You're still doing despite the wetness?". The way it was said made it sound like their opinion was jumping off a building is OK, but jumping off a wet building is nuts.

So this isn't exactly a case of being able to run back from the spirit healer if something goes awry. Scary?

While I never locked up my safety device, there was definitely a "ohmygodsomethingswrongwtfwasIthinkingImdeadforcharity" moment.

We were told there would be a small wall to train on before going over. I thought they meant at ground level. The training wall was actually from the very top of the building to one level down. We did that one descent and then were sent over to do the real one.

The rappel was 32 stories; this put me at eye level with the Texas Capital Dome when I went over. The rappel takes from 5 to 15 minutes from top to bottom. I was in the middle of that time frame.

Who runs the event, anyway?

Over the Edge does charity rappels nationally.

And where did you get the idea to do this?

The decision to do this was part of my "it's 2012, let's live like we won't get another chance at this" mindset that was part of my New Year's resolutions. I don't mean that in a Brewster's Millions, race to the bottom kind of way, but more of a stop procrastinating and do awesome stuff way.

I thought the fundraising would be a cake walk because supporting Make-A-Wish is a no-brainer in my book. They give these kids, who in some ways have had their childhood stolen from them, this shining, perfect moment carry with them through their fight. In addition, there's also a big overlap between what our community is passionate about and the kid's wishes . Other than Child's Play, I can't think of another charity where this is the case.

Sounds like you've captured the attitude you were after -- most admirable, sir! What sort of response and support did you get?

I was really surprised at how few of the people I contacted responded to the event. I know things are tight for a lot of people right now due to the economy. I don't begrudge anyone who is struggling to make ends meet, but I really want to remind everyone that there is a huge cumulative effect from small, coordinated efforts.

If everyone in my social networks had given just $10, I would have destroyed the goal. As it was, I fell short but was still lucky enough to get the opportunity to make the jump as one of the top 100 fundraisers. Not to get all Sally Struthers "for the cost of a cup of coffee a day," but a most of us could sacrifice the cost of one fast food meal a month and have an incredible impact on people's lives.

Sorry if that sounds preachy, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm still a little fired up from the event. Not to use a completely inappropriate Palahniuk reference, but after jumping off a building, everything in the real world gets the volume turned down.

What about support from your guildmates? This was, after all, a real-life Going Down! If you return again next year, will there be a closer tie-in to the in-game Going Down?

Yes, and I would have gotten more if the timing had worked out better. Tony (Stiffbeard -- a guy I met during Brewfest pre-Dungeon Finder who recruited me for the guild and was the first WoW player I started a RL dialogue/friendship with) donated a chunk, and Ben (Dobrhaltar -- our GM and another WoW-to-RL friend) helped promote the event through social media.

I had two other guildies inquire about participating, but I ran short on time. I found out about the event late in the fundraising process, and between working full time, college, and my second child being born, by the time I got their messages, the deadline had elapsed.

I'm planning on making it a guild event next year and will start promoting it a couple months in advance. We may even look at doing something in game to promote awareness.

Let's hope we'll get the chance to tweet and support exactly that! Great job getting out there and making life happen. We'll see you out there next year!

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) ... a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular ... and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr