If You Die, Who Will Tell Your WoW Guild Friends?

Online game guilds and clans often become something of a second family for devoted players.

But if a WoW gamer unexpectedly dies, how will fellow guildies know?

The Associated Press looks into the issue:

When Jerald Spangenberg collapsed and died in the middle of a quest in an online game, his daughter embarked on a quest of her own: to let her father’s gaming friends know that he hadn’t just decided to desert them.

It wasn’t easy, because she didn’t have her father’s "World of Warcraft" password and the game’s publisher couldn’t help her. Eventually, Melissa Allen Spangenberg reached her father’s friends by asking around online for the "guild" he belonged to.

The AP notes that some hardcore MMO types are leaving detailed instructions in the event of their demise. There are even online resources that have been created for the purpose:

David Eagleman… set up a site called Deathswitch, where people can set up e-mails that will be sent out automatically if they don’t check in at intervals they specify, like once a week…

If Deathswitch sounds morbid, there’s an alternative site: Slightly Morbid. It also sends e-mail when a member dies, but doesn’t rely on them logging in periodically while they’re alive. Instead, members have to give trusted friends or family the information needed to log in to the site and start the notification process…

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  1. Ray Ayanami says:

    I have a few real-life friends who have connections with the online communities they frequent. Some of which are friends with my other real-life friends.

    Should I ever pass away, hopefully the news will spread and said connected friends can let my online friends know. From there it’s not too long before all of my online friends get the news and know why I haven’t gone on IRC or forums or whatever in weeks.

  2. Sajomir says:

    I’ve actually thought about this kind of thing before. Not WoW specifically, but I have clan members that I’d like to let them know if something happened and give out my gear or…. somethin along those lines.

  3. Craig R. says:

    The thing is though, with more sites like Facebook becoming just as important as any single game, more and more people are going to treat their online lives, no matter what form it takes, as just an extension of their offline life. So, I see this as perfectly logical and reasonable for people to leave instructions.

  4. nighstalker160 says:

    Unfortunately, this won’t be understood by any outside the gaming community. To many, especially in older generations, the idea of having meaningful relationships via an MMO or even simply online is alien.

    If I left an envelope with instructions on how to notify any guild I happened to belong to my wife would probably do  it. But my parents? No way. They simply wouldn’t get that I really did have friendships with these people despite never actually meeting.

    For many outside the gamer community a person arguing that they have real friends online is akin to saying:

    "I live in my parent’s basement. I have no social skills. I have no human contact. I live through this game. I’m totally addicted and the game is to blame!"

    To this group having actual friends via a game is an indictment of the game. It means that you have sacrificed "real" friendship for "fake" friendship.

  5. Thomas says:

    Well.. technically, any Guild Leader can be removed and the position given to another Guild member by the GMs if the account has been inactive for 30 days.

    But.. get your point 🙂


    "We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

  6. Arell says:

    It’s a good idea.  When I was GL of a guild in WoW, my mother was dying of cancer.  That made me think of my own mortality, and what would happen to the 60+ members of my guild if I croaked.  I mean, aside from me suddenly not doing my duties or my friends needing to know what happened, there’s also the fact that to remove me from the Guild Leader position, they’d have to disband the guild and start over.

    I typed up instructions for my family and left it in an envelope in the computer desk, letting them know that it existed.  Considering that my family is "gamer illiterate," I had to be very specific.  From how to log on, how to open guildchat, how to type a message, how to respond to questions, and how to assign someone else as Guild Leader.  Then it got really technical.  How to use a hearthstone, how to find and empty the Bank, how to find a vendor and sell off everything, how to find a mailbox, and finally how to send all my gold to an officer in the guild!  Yeesh!  Finally, how to  discontinue the account.  Getting your affairs in order in a virtual world is as complicated as it is in the real world.

    I also had instructions on how to tell people in a couple forums that I frequented, but I ended up removing those, since most people on a forum wouldn’t believe it.  Nowadays, I don’t play MMOs, so I don’t need to keep the instructions at all.

    But Slightly Morbid sounds like a good idea.

  7. Thomas says:

    Similar thing happened to me in an MMO guild I was in.. someone my wife and I got on with very well, and her husband, vanished.

    Months later a guildie stumbles accross a newspaper ad of them dying in extremely tragic circumstances.

    Suppose at least we know what happened :/

    "We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

  8. Solipsis says:

    I’ve always wondered this, ever since a huge hubbub on a forum I used to belong to… a user’s sister came on and claimed she’d passed away from complications of diabetes. Everyone just assumed it was a hoax… but what if it wasn’t?

    I have real friends online that I would want to know if I died.

  9. KaylaKaze says:

    That happened on an episode of Law & Order (or maybe one of the CSIs) not too long ago. A guy had one of those Rapture Retard death switch emails in which he gave details to a murder and they accidentally went out.

  10. hellfire7885 says:

    Or unless one of those accoubnts is a Second Life account, may not want people seeing that shit. ^^;

  11. Thomas says:

    This is one of the reasons I fundamentally disagree with the rule of "never give out your password, even to loved ones" that many MMOs have.

    Of course, I understand why.. even people you love can decide to mess with your game.

    But ultimately, things happen, if you can’t trust your wife not to use your password wrong.. you have something wrong with your relationship.


    "We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

  12. T5 says:

    This is something I thought about during HALO2, played with this one guy who told me that if he wasn’t on at least once a week that he was dead, he stopped playing a month after have not seen or heard from him since. 

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