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[Column] General: A Death in the Family

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,638MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Death is never more than a whisper away. We who are gamers and who make connections around the globe are only now beginning to come to terms with the impact of real-world deaths of some of our internet friends. In his latest column, Matt Miller talks about the death of a City of Heroes friend. 

I learned this morning that a very well beloved player of City of Heroes passed away. Sometimes dealing with the digital world so much you forget that there is a real person behind an avatar, one that doesn’t get to respawn in the hospital when they die. In this case the community member was held in high regard by the team at Cryptic and Paragon for his utter love of the game and his dry wit humor he wove into the story of Paragon City.

Read more of Matt Miller's A Death in the Family.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • RohnRohn Saint Peters, MOPosts: 3,740Member Uncommon

    You're right, in an age of social media, we're only learning how to deal with death in internet spaces between people that have never physically met.  It's disgusting that some players would fake such a thing for an in-game memorial.

    This reminds me of the story of Ribbitribbet from EQ2.  That community did a good thing for that young man and his family during a very difficult time.

    Hell hath no fury like an MMORPG player scorned.

  • OmnifishOmnifish LondonPosts: 616Member

    Sad news indeed.

     

    Tre and I had a few fun RP conversations together, (especially in regards to Ascendant raising he's profile appearing alongside soap star Lightning Arc!), and it's all too rare these days to have those conversations with people in today's generation of MMO's. Times, inevitability, change.

     

     

    I never knew him in real life and I hadn't been in contact with the COH community for years but I had the impression, from my few interactions with him, that he was a passionate and creative guy who had so much to offer. Condolences to he's family and friends. 

     

    This looks like a job for....The Riviera Kid!

  • ApocalypseSunriseApocalypseSunrise Paducah, KYPosts: 80Member

    I was never around for Ascendant's bit and I'm very sorry to say that I'd never even heard of it until now. I always walked past the NPC that would say, "Ascendant who? Sorry, you must have the wrong number," or something very close to that. Bob Newhart has always been a wonderful actor and comedian and your friend sounds like a very cool person to share his comedy style with our game-playing community.

    I really wish I could have known him. Thank you for filling me in on the other side of the story. On behalf of all former City of Heroes players I wish to express condolences on the loss of your friend.

     (queues Atlas Park entry music) 

    Yes, I've read a poem. Try not to faint.

  • lyteinclyteinc Lake Fores, CAPosts: 1Member

    Gamed with Tre, but not enough.  The man had a way with words, but moreso timing; like comedy, Roleplay keyed off of having a flow that Tre had not only mastered but set the template for so many others to follow in a medium that was just being explored.  I had several conversations in game and all of them were amazing.  Moreso was his love for charity and helping others; he truly was a good man.  

    Service will be Thursday in Florida, and some people are spending hundreds of dollars to fly out to be in attendence, others are making donations in his name to Covenant Hospice, 5041 N. 12th Ave., Pensacola or Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 7979 N 9th Ave., Pensacola.  

  • lugallugal Escondido, CAPosts: 639Member Uncommon
    For me, I never wanted people doing such things in game. I felt it was an intrusion to bring the real world issues into the game. I game to escape, not to be reminded of real life.
    I've met people in game who have passed away, but things were kept close to us in the guild and not advertised. We say our well wishes through the forums, then get back to slaying monsters afterwards.
    I remember the serenity now guild doing the raid on a memorial, I wished I could have been there.

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    The reviewer has a mishapen head
    Which means his opinion is skewed
    ...Aldous.MF'n.Huxley

  • dwturduckendwturducken Des Moines, IAPosts: 14Member

    I attended a vigil online in Champions Online a couple of months ago for a player who had passed. He had gone to Champions from City when the other game went into open beta, and he evidently never looked back. I don't know what his name was in City, but in Champions it was Angel of Caine.

    The discussion started almost immediately on the official forum on whether to petition for a statue of him somewhere in game. It only took a page for the negative comments to start, but this was someone, like Ascendant, who all of the longtime players had known in game. I doubt anything will come of it, for a number of reasons, but, while I can understand the slippery slope, when it's someone who made such an impact, that person needs to be remembered.

    That said, I think the way you guys at Paragon (or, if it was Cryptic at the time) paid tribute to him City of Heroes was more fitting than a statue. I did my little tribute in Champions, and others have done theirs in their games. Now, we just carry him with us, keeping all the positivity that he embodied alive in our various communities.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    Death is always tough to deal with. You painted the picture of viewing your friends name and watching the time since last log in increasing and just knowing that name will never light up again.I don't doubt, in fact I know that in game relationships can be just as deep and emotionally involved as real world out of game ones. They may even be deeper and more emotionally involved because in the world of mmorpgs you just never know the time and place and circumstances you might meet someone that connects with you like no one ever has in or out of game.

    As I started with, death is always tough to deal with, I have found though that when I know someone I care for dies, it's much easier to cope with that loss when I know that person is a Christian. On the flip side if I am unsure of thier faith I hope that they were, and when I see someone that flat out denies Christ and they pass, it's very difficult to deal with. I pray that even in thier final breath they accepted Christ. I didn't know Tre Chipman but when I see people reacting enough to write an article about him, it's obvious he was a great person to be around and he brought joy to others. I like people like that and I pray that he had accepted Christ even if it was in his final hour.
  • drivendawndrivendawn montgomery, ALPosts: 1,251Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Battlerock
    Death is always tough to deal with. You painted the picture of viewing your friends name and watching the time since last log in increasing and just knowing that name will never light up again.I don't doubt, in fact I know that in game relationships can be just as deep and emotionally involved as real world out of game ones. They may even be deeper and more emotionally involved because in the world of mmorpgs you just never know the time and place and circumstances you might meet someone that connects with you like no one ever has in or out of game.

    As I started with, death is always tough to deal with, I have found though that when I know someone I care for dies, it's much easier to cope with that loss when I know that person is a Christian. On the flip side if I am unsure of thier faith I hope that they were, and when I see someone that flat out denies Christ and they pass, it's very difficult to deal with. I pray that even in thier final breath they accepted Christ. I didn't know Tre Chipman but when I see people reacting enough to write an article about him, it's obvious he was a great person to be around and he brought joy to others. I like people like that and I pray that he had accepted Christ even if it was in his final hour.

    Amen,brother.

  • warcabbitwarcabbit Ossining, NYPosts: 1Member

    I have two things to say about Ascendant. First, he was the first friend I made in CoH. It was the end of Beta. The Rikti Warships were coming down. And my character, Nomex Lass... motorcycle helmet, and a fire retardant suit... fire blaster, I think, was standing outside the Steel Canyon north tram, waiting. And this guy began to speak. He stole a bit from the St. Crispin's day speech, and a bit from Churchill, but it worked. I thought he was a dev, to be honest, because even then, he had it scripted to play evenly. And we fought the Rikti together, on the north side of Steel. And we fell back, as they advanced, past Icon, past the Magic Store. We fought them inside the hospital, and even in the recovery room itself. And we gathered people together, and we pushed them back, all the way to the tram. Or that's how it felt, at least. I remember we went looking for new zones to clear...

     

    I am making a tribute to Ascendant. But I was, even before he grew ill. It's a new game, in the spirit of the City, a new city. I didn't talk to him about it, because I didn't want to get his hopes up, to bring them crashing back down if we failed.

    But my decision to work on that new game, with so many other people, so much effort that may be wasted, stems back, at heart, to Ascendant and that day. That day will never exist again for me. But for someone else, it will.

     

    It's true, a giant has fallen. And his gift, more than anything else, was to make you feel he was listening to you. Anyone who met him will say that. He was interested in you, and he treated you, not like he was a celebrity, but like he was someone who wanted to make you the best player you could, to unlock your character's best, hero, or villain.

     

    They will never know his name. But as long as I can, as long as I work and live, when I need to be the best person I can, I think of Ascendant, of Tre. And if I inspire others, then he will live on in them.

     

    Thank you, Mr. Miller.

     
  • victoriavictrixvictoriavictrix Claremore, OKPosts: 3Member

    Tre did this for me: when my mother died in March, he spent hours in chat with me, doing his best to help me, consoling me, letting me rant.  He spent more time with me than most of the people I know in the "real" world. 

    That's how you know someone is a hero; they spend their precious time, not on something that makes them happy, but on trying to help other people.  We have so little time on this world, and so many people waste theirs, but Tre spent so much of his to help others and make them smile.

    Thanks for writing this, Matt. 

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon
    Matt you are one classy dude.  Thanks, as always, for sharing.
  • TheJodaTheJoda chicago, ILPosts: 467Member
    Originally posted by SBFord

    Death is never more than a whisper away. We who are gamers and who make connections around the globe are only now beginning to come to terms with the impact of real-world deaths of some of our internet friends. In his latest column, Matt Miller talks about the death of a City of Heroes friend. 

    I learned this morning that a very well beloved player of City of Heroes passed away. Sometimes dealing with the digital world so much you forget that there is a real person behind an avatar, one that doesn’t get to respawn in the hospital when they die. In this case the community member was held in high regard by the team at Cryptic and Paragon for his utter love of the game and his dry wit humor he wove into the story of Paragon City.

    Read more of Matt Miller's A Death in the Family.

    ...it is very true, friendship is not all face to face in this day and age.  I am sorry to hear of the loss.

    ....Being Banned from MMORPG's forums since 2010, for Trolling the Trolls!!!

  • CygnataCygnata New Hope, PAPosts: 1Member
    I'm pretty sure that first meeting was at GenCon 2006, when Ascendant, Kelp, and I all descended on the CoH booth. (I was the one asking you all to sign The World's Largest Dungeon.) - Cygnata
  • TolrocTolroc Wendell, NCPosts: 99Member Uncommon

    Sorry to hear about Ascendant's passing. I never knew him, but did hear the NPC chatter about him. I didn't know until today what that was about. Sounds like a great guy. 

    Articles like this make me miss CoH so much.

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 186Member Uncommon
    /salute

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • DeanGreyDeanGrey Fresno, CAPosts: 154Member

    Sometimes the players can get the ball rolling on something and the developers can help. Like how Warhammer Online had "Pink for Tink" which the developers eventually showed their support by adding "Slaneesh Pink" at an NPC named "Tinkengrubber" with the title "Very Special Dye Vendor".

    This to me stands out as something "very special".

     

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Matt you are one classy dude.  Thanks, as always, for sharing.

    I know this wasn't about matt but I second this. I hope he gets back into making games again.

     

    Our guild is a 25+ and we have a lot of members who are older gamers. At first I don't think anyone every really thought about anyone dieing. When out first member passed it was pretty shocking to think that someone you knew just died and will never log in again.

    8 years later it's pretty sad to see how many names are in our gone but not forgotten section. One thing about the internet and mmos is you meet so many ppl. I know 1000s of people who are part of my community and it's something I'd never be exposed to in real life.

  • avalon1000avalon1000 Kihei, HIPosts: 754Member
    This happens in MMO's. We lost Sylidor last year in LOTRO and had a huge memorial service in the Moors (actually crashing the server in the process). MMO's allow us to reach out and touch other peoples lives sometimes in ways that we can't in real life. I have been in guilds/kins with people all over the world and had great conversations and learned much about other cultures. Ascendant sounded like a great guy and had a great impact on others around him.
  • Hekate27Hekate27 LondonPosts: 47Member

    My thoughts are with those of you who have been touched by this loss. 

    Over in our world we have our own little solution to loss, given that with some we do not ever know when a character just stops logging in and no message is ever heard.  Each year on 11/11 we hold an open remeberance ceremony that any may attend and name a loved absent character, we had to limit the numbers to 1 per person to save time, but as we hold it each year the numbers do grow increasingly large.  We record all the names spoken and the updated list is maintained on our guilds forum.  while not perfect it seems to work well for us, and a genuinely sombre mood filled with pathos is created.  Lest we Forget.

     

    Brightest Blessings

    Do what thou wilt, and harm ye none. - Witches Rede

  • jayartejayarte LancasterPosts: 450Member

    Condolences to all who are touched by the death of this person.

     

    Huge thanks to Matt for writing a compassionate, thoughtful and sensitive piece on a subject which touches us all and is not talked about enough in such an open and honest way.

  • PheonyxPheonyx Chandler, AZPosts: 8Member

    Matt would know me as DJ Pheonyx of The Cape Radio. This past Saturday I did a tribute to Ascendant in Champions Online (one of the two games the station moved to since CoH's closing, the other being The Secret World) on my show, but not a somber rememberance, but rather "Ascendant's Dance Party", music that, if he were in CoH, would do the /em dance 6 emote, or Monkey Dance... which Ascnedant called "The Spazz Dance". There were several tribute outfits at the show and the DJ Pheonyx character ingame wore a shirt with Ascendant's logo and color palatte. Tre and I were working with several others to start a comic book company, in which Ascendant would be one of the characters (modified to fit this new universe and no ties to CoH). Tre was a wonderful person outside the game, one of the most creative minds I have known.

     

    As a personal tribute to him, since I play Star Trek Online, I have named my Vice Admiral Vesta class science vessel the U.S.S. Ascendant. 

     

    Tre will be forever in the hearts of all the lives he touched.

     

    /e holdtorch

     

    [color=blue]"The coward knows only death; the hero knows only life"- Kakita Toshimoko, Legend of the Five Rings CCG/RPG

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon

    Well thought out article by Matt on an issue which when you think about it may touch any of us at any time in our online lives. It is very tricky with people wanting fame of some sort of being sure what to do when someone seems to have died. Not everyone is as well known as the fellow in question.

    Heart warming to see the tributes to him that have been made.

  • NymiethePoohNymiethePooh Fresno, CAPosts: 26Member Uncommon

    Great article. I never knew Descendant, but that bit he did was gold.

    I also never had a chance to meet Coyote as I didn't start playing until about six months after the game's release, but I do know his brother. His brother never played the game until he heard about Coyote being in the tutorial. I know he was sad that the old tutorial was replaced, but he was still playing for years after that.

  • ZydariZydari Fort Worth, TXPosts: 84Member
    R.I.P. Will miss CoH and all that went with it.

    Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.

    Thomas Jefferson

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