Not long after the untimely passing of the great Robin Williams on August 11, 2014, fans created a petition, asking for Blizzard Entertainment to create a World of Warcraft in-game memorial to the comedy giant. Robin Williams was a well-known gamer and WoW-fan. He even named his daughter after the eponymous character of The Legend of Zelda series. With almost 11 thousand signatures, the petition succeeded and Blizzard announced that they would create an NPC in Williams’ honor in the game’s next expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Williams isn’t the first person, however, to be memorialized in-game. Memorials have popped up in Azeroth (and in Outland I suppose) since the game went live back in 2004. Memorials run the gamut: NPC’s, statues, tombstones, weapons, and mounts; as do the people they honor: developers, artists, children, and plain old average joes who loved them some Alterac Valley. While there are over a dozen memorials in-game, I’ll be sharing a semi-random sample of memorials in the digital world.
Ezra Chatterton – Phoenix Mount/Merciless Galdiator Crossbow of the Phoenix/Ahab Wheathoof
Ezra was a young boy, in fifth grade to be exact. He, unfortunately, had developed a metastatic brain tumor. His Make-A-Wish request? Visit the Blizzard headquarters, where he worked with designers to create in-game assets according to his specifications. You can find references to Ezra in the description text of the Merciless Gladiator Crossbow of the Phonenix, which he helped to design, as well as with the NPC questgiver, Ahab Wheathoof. Ahab is a tauren rancher in Mulgore, and asks players to help him find his missing dog, Kyle – which also happens to be the name of Ezra’s dog. Ezra also voiced Ahab’s idle dialogue. Finally, they created a rare drop Epic Flying Mount in his honor. The Phoenix flying mount was one of the first flying mounts with a 310% flight speed, and dropped only after defeating Kael’thas Sunstrider in the eye. Ezra also became the World First to acquire the mount in game, on his character ePhoenix.
On the island of Ahn’Qiraj, in a hidden-away cave, lies a level 5 – red dragon: Andrestrasz. He perpetually slumbers, and moves only to yawn periodically. Added in a recent patch, no one knows for sure who this dragon is a memorial to, but that doesn’t mean fans aren’t digging around. Someone actually asked one of the game designers, David Maldonado, about the reference:
@Miquelisme @Celestalon I’d bet $20 it’s a homage to someone’s 5 yr old named Andre but would have to dig into data to find out for sure. — Dave Maldonado (@Dave_Maldo) January 2, 2014
Michel Koiter – Shrine of the Fallen Warrior
Michel Koiter was an artist who, both played and drew under the name Twincruiser, whom he shared with his twin brother Rene. Their art was so kick ass that they got noticed by the folks at Blizzard. Soon after, they were tapped to help set up the website Sons of the Storm, a website where the Blizzard artists could exhibit their work.
Unfortunately, Michel passed away due to heart failure at the age of 19, while the brothers were at school in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Doctors had little clue as to what happened, seeing as Michel was both healthy and very physically active. In memoriam, the WoW designers created a memorial to Michel in the Barrens, on a hill overlooking the Horde town of Crossroads. On the shrine is a copy of Twincruiser, the beta character that Michel and his twin brother Rene shared.
More info on Michel and Rene on Sons of the Storm.
Kitty Sexton – Greatsword of Kofinna Kottr
Kolfinna Kottr was a name used by Kitty Sexton, a computer programmer who was very active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). She was 28 when she passed away from illness due to H1N1.
To memorialize her, designers created the Greatsword of Kofinna Kottr.
More on Kitty Sexton/Kolfinna Kottr.
You can read more about the World of Warcraft in-game memorials at WoWHead.