Skip to main content

World of Warcraft players prove they have flaming hearts by raising $2.3 million for Sandy relief effort

Image used with permission by copyright holder

World of Warcraft’s population may be shrinking, but that doesn’t mean the hearts of its players are. The same goes for Blizzard, the studio behind the world’s premiere MMO that’s fast approaching its tenth birthday. Both World of Warcraft’s community and creators banded together in the past two month to raise money for the American Red Cross in order to aid those affected by the monumental Hurricane Sandy that shook the eastern seaboard at the beginning of November. Blizzard announced on Thursday evening that it had raised $2.3 million by the end of December.

At the center of the fundraising effort was the Cinder Kitten, a pet that can be purchased in the game. Blizzard announced in December that it all adoption fees for the flaming beast would go towards those affected by the disaster, and WoW players responded “in droves” according to the studio.

Blizzard and the players of World of Warcraft have actually built a tradition of altruism around the game. In October 2011, Blizzard auctioned up decommissioned WoW server blades—that computers that actually hosted World of Warcraft realms—to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The auctions brought in around $330,000.

The original Panderan Monk character featured in last year’s Mists of Pandaria was offered by Blizzard in 2009 as part of a fundraiser for the Make A Wish foundation, and the company raised a total of $1.1 million

There have even been fundraising efforts identical to the Cinder Kitten push. Following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked Japan in March 2011, Blizzard began selling Cenarion Hatchling pets and raised $1.9 million for the relief effort between May and July of that year. In 2010, Blizzard sold Moonkin pets, raising another $800,000 for the Make a Wish foundation.

World of Warcraft may still have room to grow as a fundraising tool, but the game itself appears to have lost room to grow. Mists of Pandaria sold just 2.7 million copies when it was released last fall, impressive numbers for most games, but a significant decline following the record-breaking 2010 release of the Cataclysm expansion. As of August, the total population of players had declined to just over 9 million, down from more than 10 million in May.

Anthony John Agnello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Anthony John Agnello is a writer living in New York. He works as the Community Manager of Joystiq.com and his writing has…
The best free Nintendo Switch games
Cars fly off and away from a goal explosion in Rocket League.

The Nintendo Switch offers an unparalleled gaming experience, allowing you to enjoy games big and small, no matter whether you’re on the couch or on the go. That said, the best Switch games rarely receive a discount, even if you’re constantly checking for the best Nintendo Switch deals. Our list of the best free Nintendo Switch games is here to help.

We've rounded up the top free-to-play games on Nintendo Switch, from Switch Online exclusives like Tetris 99 and Pac-Man 99 to third-party hits like Fortnite and Rocket League. 

Read more
VR headset deals: Meta Quest bundles and refurbished offers
htc vive vs pro headphones

While VR tech hasn't quite gotten as big as people once thought it would, it has gotten to the point where you don't have to have a high-end gaming PC just to use it. Models like the Oculus Go and the Quest make it possible to have a VR experience for a reasonable price without having to hook yourself up to a whole PC just to experience it. Not only that, but there have been some truly incredible VR games, such as Half-Life: Alyx, that are truly unique VR experiences. To that end, we've gone out and collected some of our favorite VR headset deals, although be aware the market is mostly bare right now, so the only available deals are refurbished versions and bundles. Also, if you do want to expand the power of your VR headset with a desktop, be sure to check out these gaming PC deals, as well as these great video game deals.
Meta Quest 2 (Renewed Premium) -- $270

Even though the Meta Quest 3 came out quite recently, the Meta Quest 2 is still a pretty powerful contender, especially since it has a wider library and app support than the Quest 3 currently has. Even more so, the Quest 2 is a lot cheaper than the Quest 3, and with the latest permanent discount down to just $200, that's a whole $300 or so difference from the Quest 3. Of course, the Quest 3 does have more advanced AR and slightly better performance with software and Wi-Fi, but that may not be worth the extra cost for some. Either way, be sure to check out the breakdown between Quest 2 and Quest 3 to get a better sense of what you should pick up.

Read more
Apex Legends sort of reverses its battle pass changes after backlash
A Legend Upgrade ability is used in Apex Legends.

Respawn Entertainment has decided to reverse one of the most controversial changes to its new Apex Legends battle pass system: the ability to buy a premium battle pass only with real-world currency, although it didn't address other issues.

In a statement released on X (formerly Twitter) and on publisher Electronic Arts' website on Wednesday, the team said they were reinstating the ability to buy the premium battle pass with 950 Apex Coins, which was the price before the announced battle pass updates. Players will also get the chance to unlock a free premium battle pass by completing what it calls "simple" in-game missions during the first half of Season 22.

Read more