Friday, July 20, 2007

Warcraft player with brain cancer has birthday, last treatment Friday

Editor's note: The story below is an updated version. To view this story in its original form, click here.

Friday Ezrah Chatterton, the fifth-grade World of Warcraft player with brain cancer from Riverside, Calif., turns 11 years old and faces his last radiation treatment.

Last May Blizzard and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America teamed up to give him a tour of Blizzard’s studio in Irvine, Calif., where Chatterton was able to design a new weapon and quest giver with his own quest. The quest involves finding and feeding Chatterton's dog, Kyle (pictured below). The new content was added to the game in June. His character, “ePhoenix” of the Norgannon server, was artificially leveled from 63 to 70, and given new armor and gold during his visit to Blizzard headquarters.

Prior to his cancer diagnosis, Chatterton and his father used World of Warcraft as a way to bond. In an interview with the Orange County Register, Chatterton’s father Micah said, “We would talk about what kind of character do we want to create. This costume as opposed to that costume. We would make decisions together. Neither of us would feel comfortable about making a big decision without consulting the other.”

In a phone interview Sept. 11 with The Strider, Micah said, “He and I have always been very close… I don't want to say ‘best friends,’ because you always have to be a parent. We rely on each other.”

Members from Chatterton’s guild, the Thirty Second Fleet, say they have seen an outpouring of support from the gamer’s community for the boy.

“(We’re) getting used to the ‘level 1 quick question round,’” said his guildmate Delvanius in a chat interview. Players from other servers would create new characters on the Norgannon server just to ask how ePhoenix’s player was doing, and to send him well wishes.

“He is an awesome young man, always respectable and helpful,” commented Olathedyami, the guild’s Horde-side leader, in a chat interview. “Our guild wishes nothing but the best for him and his family.”

When he can get online to play, he likes showing off his gear and mount, she said. “He enjoys doing that and people enjoy seeing it. He tires easily, so his time online is limited a lot.” She asked that well-wishers let him play while he is online, and invited them to post letters to him in-game or on his guild’s web site.

“I feel for the family for sure,” Olathedyami said. “We didn’t realize he was so ill. We recall him talking about his headaches. Then he pretty much was offline for a bit.”

His guild, the Thirty Second Fleet, tries to make Chatterton’s time online enjoyable.

“We pride ourselves on being a family guild,” Olathedyami said of the Thirty Second Fleet. She plays in the guild with her husband and four grown children.

The guild has been active for seven years. It began as the “32nd Fleet” in the game Starfleet Command, and from there, it migrated through a series of games before landing in the World of Warcraft, where it now has branches on both the Horde and Alliance sides of the server Norgannon.

Because of its origin as a fleet in Starfleet Command, its ranks are built with a military structure. Ephoenix’s rank is “CNSLR,” which stands for “Counselor.”

Fleet Admiral Olathedyami said the guild hopes to take Chatterton in the next few weeks to see Karazhan, a new 10-man raiding challenge in Deadwind Pass on the Eastern Kingdoms.
“Even though he (was) one of the first to see Black Temple… Karazhan will look pale in comparison,” she said.

The Thirty-Second Fleet wishes their counselor a happy birthday.

“And may he have many more,” guildmate Shadowcry added.

--L. Waymire

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