Come join the Raid from the Heart!

You’re all invited!

I’m inviting everyone to come visit the Kael’thas-US World of Warcraft server on the afternoon of Saturday, October 16th to take part in the 2010 Raid from the Heart in-game celebration!

Who is invited? Well, everyone! Everyone out there that has access to the World of Warcraft game on the  US side of the pond, that is. Young, old, level 80 or level 1, Horde or Alliance or an RP in between, there will be something for everyone to take part in and have fun!

What’s it for?

The main purpose of this event is to get together with folks of good heart to have a little fun in-game. It’s all about silly, light-hearted fun, and is intended to provide an opportunity for celebrating and remembering the lives of those we loved and still miss that have been taken from us by heart disease. We also hope to heighten awareness of the risks of heart disease, and maybe even raise a little money for the fight against heart disease somewhere along the way. You know, sneak in a little support for a good cause when you’re not looking.

Wait! Don’t flee just yet, it may sound boring, but really, it’s all about having fun!

Here’s the plan.

On Saturday, October 16th, around 12:15 PM server time, folks should begin gathering for the event at the starting areas to prepare for a competitive race!

Those For the Horde will gather together at Stillwhisper Pond, just outside the gates of Silvermoon City.

The Alliance will gather together in the picturesque village of Goldshire, in Elwynn Forest outside Stormwind City.

While everyone logs in and gathers together at the starter areas, there are four different things that you can do to get into the act.

The first thing you could do is join the global chat channel for the event, “Raidfromtheheart”, the same channel name for both faction sides. If you’ve never set up a custom chat channel before, you can visit this old post of mine from last year for detailed instructions – with pictures! Just use the name “Raidfromtheheart” (without the quotation marks) when typing in the name of the channel, and you’re all set!

The second thing you could do, once you’re in the chat channel, is ask for an invite into one of the raid groups. We’re going to have raid groups so that we can try and make sure that every participant is in a raid group with at least one Mage for later ‘porting around.

While I’m on the subject, we are actively looking for Mages on both factions that are high enough level to create Portals to Dalaran. If you can donate your time to this cause, please email me at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com. Thank you.

The third thing you could do, IF you happen to be visiting on a character that isn’t already in a guild, is request an invite into one of the guilds created just for this event!

On the Horde side, the guild name is “Raid to the Heart”, and on Alliance side the guild name is “Raid from the Heart”. You can request a guild invite from anyone that you see in either guild at any time, because every guild member of every rank has the ability to perform invites. So, you don’t even need to wait until the day of the event to get into a guild, if you’d like to get an early start.

And the fourth thing you can do is dress appropriately! There will be Red Linen Shirts for all that attend, thanks to the efforts of some great volunteers that have been farming and crafting for weeks, but if you’ve got the means and the time, why not bring your own? 🙂

Okay, now that we’re gathered together and we’re all ready, what’s this about a race?

The plan is, right around 12:30 PM both factions will kick off the race, with one joint destination; the Thandol Span that crosses the watery chasm between Arathi Highlands and the icky croc-infested wilds of the Wetlands.

The Horde Race Route

The Horde’s proposed route is to take off from Stillwhisper Pond north through the gates of Silvermoon City, hopping all the way, until we reach the Sunfury Spire, enter the Inner Sanctum, use the Orb of Translocation and teleport directly to the Ruins of Lordaeron just outside of Undercity.

From there, the bouncing, hopping horde of red shirted raiders will head out the gates and take a sharp left, following the road through Silverpine Forest, the Hillsbrad Foothills, and finally passing through the Arathi Highlands to reach the north side of the Thandol Span.

Once at the Thandol Span… well, let’s get the Alliance caught up before we get into that, shall we?

The Alliance Race Route

The Alliance’s proposed route is to leave the bucolic scenery of Goldshire behind, pouring through the front gates of Stormwind on a least-time course for the Dwarven District, before entering the Deeprun Tram and taking a ride on the raiding rainbow to Ironforge. The hopping happy Alliance will come out in the Tinker Town section of Ironforge, and head on out the Gates of Ironforge to make their way through Dun Morogh, pass for a brief moment through the north end of Loch Modan by way of the North Gate Pass, and from there across Wetlands and up to the south end of Thandol Span.

Now, the routes might seem kinda uneven, but the great random equalizer is the Deeprun Tram. Delays there can really make or break an Alliance time. A few trial runs made the outcome seem pretty evenly matched, so it should be anyone’s game!

Okay, so there’s a race, and we all end up facing off at the Thandol Span. Then what?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked!

Dance Fight!!!

The first bit of proposed (totally cheesy) fun is a big faction vs faction dance fight, as Horde and Alliance face off on the Thandol Span, north side staring down south side in a /dance fight, winner take all! Screenshots will abound as each side tries to look more menacing and dangerous than the other by displaying their totally awesome dance moves.

Hey, I saw this on West Side Story, and immediately I was gripped by how fierce and terrifying these dancing warriors could be as they protected their turf with threatening twirls and spins. We’ll just have to see if we can live up to the legend!

From there, it’s expected that the entire dance fight will degenerate into a chaotic melee of dancing and bouncing around. Once we’re all milling about, a section of the Thandol Span off to one side will be kinda used for taking screenshots with folks, as shown below.

A screenshot stage? Sure!

I figure it’ll be nice to take 15 minutes for screenshots there with whoever you’d like. I know I’d be happy to take screenshots on Bigbearbutt with anyone that would like to be seen in public with me, and I invite any and all other bloggers that may be thinking of attending to volunteer for screenshots as well and throw your names into the hat (or the comments below). We can do group shots too! Sound fun yet?

After the screenshots and /dancing and assorted mixing and milling and mooing around on the Thandol Span, it’ll be time for the grand screenshot event of the afternoon.

The Grand Heart!

At the right moment, which will at this time probably be around 1:30, give or take a few minutes, the roar will go forth, and everyone will be prompted to take a long dive off the east side of the Thandol Span, into the water far, far below. There, everyone will be formed up into a great big heart (or a teeny, tiny heart depending on how many of us are there for the event), and one lone, dry person will be left standing up on the bridge to take the screenshots.

Once every gets encouraged into being in the heart, and it looks all pretty and the screenshot is complete and stuff, it’ll be time for the final official activity of the afternoon.

The Grand Finalé

Both factions will climb up out of the water (thanks to the ramp conveniently located on the north side of the river, see the picture below), and right there on shore our friendly Mage volunteers will open Portals to bring the entire Raid all the way to the heart of Dalaran itself!

Once in Dalaran, the entire Red Shirt wearing Raid from the Heart will take a well-earned victory lap, bouncing and hopping and /cheering around the main square, inevitably driving the /Trade chat locals insane, before splitting off and entering their respective faction Portal Chambers to take a portal directly to Shattrath.

Wait, Shattrath? Why Shattrath?

In Shattrath, we are all going to stream on down to the World’s End Tavern, where we will officially end the afternoon’s extravaganza by enjoying a concert given by the Artists Formerly Known as the Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, promptly at 2:00 PM!!

That’s right! Our plan for the grand finalé is for everyone to end the afternoon drinking, dancing and enjoying a great band in a bar floating on a rock in the middle of the Twisting Nether!

Can you get any more epic than that?

Okay, so that’s the Big Plan. But what else should I know?

Well, there’s the whole “How do we help support the fight against heart disease” part of the event, for starters.

For those that wish to donate in some way to help support the fight against heart disease, we’ve done our best to come up with several different options.

Organizations devoted to the fight against Heart Disease

For those that would like to donate directly to the American Heart Association, we’ve created a special WoW community page on the American Heart Association’s official website that you can find right here.

For folks in other parts of the world who would prefer to donate to an organization that is more local to your community, we have found a few more options for you!

Heart and Stroke Foundation (Canada)

British Heart Foundation (UK based organization)

National Heart Foundation of Australia

Each of those represents, as best we could find, parts of the world where folks we know live that also play on the “US” servers of World of Warcraft. If you know of other organizations in your area, please email me at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com and I’ll add them to this list!

Donations that also let you show your Raid from the Heart pride!

As an additional option for donations, Tesh, the brilliant artist and author of the Tish Tosh Tesh game design blog, professional game artist and all around great guy has created several wonderful T-Shirt designs for the Raid from the Heart.

Thanks to Cafepress and Tesh, we are able to have Cafepress storefronts with Tesh’s designs, and ALL profits from sales of any merchandise from these stores will go directly to the American Heart Association. So, you can buy a shirt, book bag or coffee mug to display your participation as an official sponsor of the Raid from the Heart, and know that your money went directly to a good cause, too!

Just to add to the fun, Tesh created designs for three different levels of Sponsorship… Sponsor, Epic Sponsor and Legendary Sponsor. Why? Because it’s all for fun, really, but why run around decked out in Blues and Purps when you can have your pretty Orange proudly on display?

You can find the main Raid from the Heart Cafepress Storefront right here.

The “non-WoW” option

Finally, if you would like to make a contribution, and you would like something special to hold in your hands to remember it by, but you’re not really interested in a T-Shirt with a WoW themed logo, you can visit Virginia Patricelli’s website, Reflections of Peace. Mrs. Patricelli is Cassie’s mom, and is quite an accomplished artist herself. She works in the medium of watercolors and pastels, not digital artistry. So, definitely a different option for art. 🙂

On her website, you can find notecards, prints and other items. When placing an order on the website, if you write in “Raid from the Heart” in the Comments field, 10% of your payment will be donated to the American Heart Association during the month of October. It’s just another option available.

Why was Heart Disease chosen as this year’s special concern?

This year, Cassie and I wanted to focus the event on heart disease, because it’s a serious problem that has intense personal meaning to our family, a problem that is really never far from our daily thoughts.

Our own personal lives have been touched, very deeply, by Heart Disease.

Cassie’s maternal grandmother died of complications arising from her battle with heart disease on June 4, 2007, and less than three weeks afterwards, on June 21st, her father passed away very suddenly from heart disease as well.

Cassie was devastated by this, she was just torn apart. I really don’t have the words to describe how close her relationship was with her father, a wonderful, caring, loving man. He was such an incredibly warm-hearted man, I felt so welcomed by him into his home and the loving extended family that he had helped nurture, that even within the brief time that I knew him, I have only ever felt pride in choosing to take her family’s name instead of keeping my own when Cassie and I became married.

The role Heart Disease has played in our World of Warcraft activities is also very large. The single biggest factor that caused Cassie to begin playing WoW in the first place was as an attempt to find a means to distract herself from her grief at her father’s passing, and though several years have passed since then, her grief remains as fresh today as it was when he passed years ago.

That is why this year we’ve chosen to focus the in-game event on heart disease, doing a teeny bit to heighten awareness of the risks, and perhaps to encourage folks to donate to any of the wonderful organisations that are dedicated to finding solutions.

We also wanted one last chance before the Cataclysm to spend some time with friends, family, and wonderful strangers in taking an in-game “time-out” from playing or raiding for loot, Emblems, leveling or advancement. To spend time having fun, in remembrance and celebration of the lives of those we loved, and still miss, that have been taken from us by heart disease, by doing something we KNOW they would have approved of… being just a bit silly.

A final word from your Host

With the changes that have come in the game, especially the addition of the Looking for Dungeon tool, sometimes the game can seem pretty cold and impersonal. I would love to make this a time, right before Cataclysm gets released, that we can all get together and remember why World of Warcraft has a MASSIVELY in the category, and kind of highlight the idea that sometimes you can have a lot more fun in this game than is hard-coded in by someone else.

We CAN take charge and find our own fun in the game, and not just zone in, pop some baddies, collect some Emblems and zone out.

I really hope I’ll see you there!

Please stay tuned for Raid From The Heart news!

Plans are almost finalized on the Raid from the Heart event.

It’s really looking to me like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

The event WILL be taking place on Kael’thas-US, both factions, on saturday, october 16th, in the early afternoon.

What are the details?

Well, you’re just going to have to stay tuned to find out! I plan on releasing our grand design this Monday.

Don’t miss it!

This is gonna be soooo much fun!

Hi! My name is…

No, it’s not Slim Shady.

My name is usually Big Bear Butt, and if you read Gnomeageddon’s blog like I do, you’ll see that Gnomer went a little nuts with the whole “having fun with names” thing. I do love that gnome.

Yes, as he said in that post, we are working on organizing an in-game charity event we’re calling “Raid from the Heart”. I said “we”, because it’s certainly not just myself… i’ve got a really nice team of volunteers that have been helping out a ton.

And yes, it is going to take place on my home server, Kael’thas-US, on both Horde and Alliance, and it will be open to players of both factions and all levels. We’re going to work to make sure that whatever happens, it’s all-level friendly. Or, at the very least, that we have plenty of rezzers.

At the moment, it’s not taking the form of an actual cross-Azeroth road race like our last event, the volunteer committee is leaning more towards an event-filled fun night with mile high club drops to go splat (possibly from the Dalaran sewer tunnel), and scavenger contests, and stuff like that. We’re working on it.

In the meantime, we do have a tentative date set for Saturday, October 16th, not sure of the time yet, and we do have guilds set up on both Horde and Alliance side, right now strictly for the purpose of in-game chat and a guild bank for the storage of linen cloth and to hold the finished Red Shirts we’re preparing.

If you’re interested in joining up early before the event on the server on either faction, the Alliance guild is called “Raid from the Heart” and the Horde guild is called “Raid to the Heart.”

No, you do not have to be in either guild for the event. That would be silly, what if you don’t have anyone guildless on the server free to join? No, there will be a big chat channel for everyone to join and chat in regardless of the guild allegiance, just like last year. But there is ALSO a guild available for those that are just making alts to pop in on the day, as it were.

Chances are HIGH that nobody will be online in either guild at the moment, because as I said… it’s just folks in the volunteer group right now getting some mats together, and a big thank you to Ninefingers/Fearro who has gotten a big start on it.

But, if you do want an invite, you can mail (in game) to Bigbearbutt on Horde or Windstar on Alliance to let me know what date and time you’ll be around to ask for one, I’ll try to log on then to do it. And anyone in either guild you happen to cath online can also send out invites, so don’t be shy.

I’m hoping we’re going to have lots of fun, but honestly, right now, it’s been a little hard for me to really break much time free for it. Work has ramped up, and I’ve been working a lot of weekends and 12 hour days. New machines coming in from overseas to install, other machines to move to make room, contractors to oversee, yada yada yada. But that should all ease off a bit in the next week or so. Either that, or I’ll be in a coma. Not sure which.

And in there somewhere, I’ve been teaching Alex how to browse the “play now” Scooby-Doo movies he can stream to his computer on Netflix. Man, does he like that Scooby-Doo.

I’m not sure if I should be evil or not, though. I haven’t let him see the anti-scooby.. Scrappy Doo. Once he finally finds out about Scrappy, I just know it’s going to destroy the show for him. Do I dare hold it back, and let his love build for the show until the eventual crash, and there WILL be a crash, and it becomes more than he can bear?

I just don’t know.

I know MY childhood was forver scarred. Darn you, Scrappy! Darn you to heck!

In other news, Tesh of Tish Tosh Tesh has been doing some insanely rad (do people still say Rad?) designs for the event, donating his time and (considerable) skill, and they look fantastic. Once we get closer, there will be shirts. That’s going to be our primary focus in giving this year, btw, shirts through Cafepress whose proceeds go directly to charity, do not pass go, do not send money to BBB. I’m really looking forward to it.

Seriously, these look fabulous. Here’s a little teaser he did as a desktop background;

Seriously, Tesh is fantastic.

Thank you!

For those of you that contacted me offering your aid in planning/organizing the upcoming Red Heart Roundup, thank you very much for volunteering!

I’ve sent out the invitations to our communication group, so if you emailed me to volunteer and didn’t receive your invitation to group, check your spam filter… I might have ended up there. 🙂

Again… thank you all very much.

Looking for more than Group

Last year, on November 14th, quite a few of us within the WoW community took part in what we called the Raid for the Cure.

It was an in-game event for both factions on the Kael’thas-US server intended to increase awareness of the importance of early testing for breast cancer.

A lot of wonderful people, including many of my readers at the time, all got together that Saturday afternoon and took part in the event. It was an amazing experience to be a part of.

All cheesy BS aside, I know that I felt really choked up by how many people came out to take part in the run across the realms, and wore Pink Mageweave shirts and /danced and generally had a great time together.

Several people took the time to whisper me during the event, and email me both before and after the event, to share with me their own personal stories of how breast cancer had touched their lives, and how they were taking part in the run as a way to once again feel closer to the person or in some cases people in their lives that breast cancer had taken from them.

Being a part of something like that, even for just one day, really reminds me why the “massively multiplayer” part of this game makes such a difference. We do have the power, all of us together, to transcend the programmed intent of the game and make of it something else, something with great personal meaning for each us, if we decide we want to.

And then we go back to the serious business of smacking Arthas upside his head.

I was asked yesterday by Kit in an email if we intended doing another Raid for the Cure again this year, a RftC2.

Sort of, kinda, but not really.

Yes, we do intend to try and organize a charitable event in-game across both factions on the Kael’thas-US server.

What we are not doing is continuing with the Raid for the Cure theme for a second year.

Last year, we had a very personal reason for organizing the Raid for the Cure. Julie’s diagnosis, and her battle with breast cancer, caused within us a desire to show our support for her. It was a personal cause, not a general one.

This year, Cassie and I want to show our support for a different cause, one that has intense personal meaning to our family, one that is really never far from our thoughts.

Our own personal lives have been touched, very deeply, by Heart Disease.

Cassie’s maternal grandmother died of complications arising from her battle with heart disease on June 4, 2007, and within less than three weeks, her father had passed away very suddenly from heart disease as well on June 21st.

Cassie was devastated by this, she was just torn apart. I really don’t have the words to describe how close her relationship was with her father, a wonderful, caring, loving man. He was such an incredibly warm-hearted man, I felt so welcomed by him into his home and the incredibly warm extended family that he had helped nurture, that even within the brief time that I knew him, I have only ever felt pride in choosing to take her family’s name instead of keeping my own when Cassie and I married.

The biggest factor that caused Cassie to begin playing WoW was as an attempt to find a means to distract herself from her grief at her father’s passing, and though several years have passed, it’s been clear to see that her grief remains as fresh today as it was when he passed years ago.

That is why this year we’d like to organize an in-game event meant to heighten awareness of the risks of heart disease, and to be a time of remembrance and celebration of the lives of those of us we loved, and still miss, that have been taken from us by heart disease.

It’s a very personal cause for us, and I know that I would feel joy in thinking that I had done something, however small, in helping to support organizations that are working to find solutions.

What we’d like to do, starting now when there are still months to go before October/November, is to ask for volunteers who would be willing to work with Cassie and I in planning the event, organizing it, and running it when it happens.

The event we will work towards and take part in will be on the Kael’thas-US server, both Alliance and Horde side. If someone likes the idea, and wants to organize one of their own on a European server, I’ll certainly be happy to advertise it on my blog if you let me know the details.

We’ve got some ideas, but now is the time to really get a plan going, and we can’t do it without your support.

This event is going to completely driven by the individuals that want to come forward and take an active part, a true community activity, and everyone that wants to participate in the planning stages or wish to offer their services as event volunteers are not only welcome, but needed!

So if you’re interested in taking part in this with us, with a planned event date somewhere in the end of October, or early November, please email me at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com.

I can tell you one thing… Cassie pointed out that the Red Linen Shirts look quite attractive, and the mats are certainly a lot easier to come by than the Pink Mageweave ones. Cassie told me she could see a vision of the event, and a scene of dozens of players wearing bright red shirts, forming the shape of a big old heart in the middle of Barrens. Is she the only one that sees that vision?