Dispatch from Dun Morogh and Ironforge, with His Majesty King Magni Bronzebeard
Y'know, normally on a Friday, we'd be ready for another party-down day here in beautiful downtown Irvine, California. Not today, unfortunately. Check out the following, and you'll figure it out:
Brian Wood spent his life thrilling millions of gamers; yet he was to spend his last moments on Earth rescuing those he loved most of all.
33-year-old Wood, a lead designer at popular game developer Relic Entertainment, was on his way back to his Washington State home when his wagon was struck by an oncoming Chevy Blazer, being driven by a 21-year-old woman believed to be driving under the influence. With his pregnant wife Erin in the passenger seat, Wood swerved his own car, putting himself directly in the path of the oncoming SUV: a move that ultimately cost him his life, but nonetheless protected his wife and unborn child from harm. Two other passengers riding in the backseat of the Blazer were also killed.
"All the policemen say that if we'd hit the car head-on, all of us would be dead," Erin Wood told The Vancouver Province. "At the very last second, [Brian] braked really hard and turned right so that he would be put in the path of the SUV, and not me and the babay, and that is the only thing that saved us both. He was always sacrificing himself for me and the baby."
Brian's impossibly brave act may have left a permanent void in Erin's life, but the very people whom he strove to please with his work have returned the favor with an unprecedented show of support for his bereaved widow. Within days of the incident, a Memorial Trust was set up; and countless game developers, journalists and fans posted links on Twitter and Facebook, resulting in literally thousands of supportive comments, messages and financial donations --- prompting Erin to send an open letter to the gaming community to popular gamers' blog Kotaku:
"Hello, my name is Erin Wood, and I wanted to send a request to please pass along my most sincere, heartfelt thanks to the entire gaming community for the overwhelming support provided to me in the past two weeks. I asked several of Brian's co-workers how I might best send along my thanks; and they recommended sending them to Kotaku --- hence, this e-mail. Any way you can help share this with the community would be much appreciated.
"Brain always told me about how close-knit and wonderful the videogame community was, but I had no idea until this tragedy just how special a group it really is. From all the articles and comments, to all the e-mails and donations, I am simply stunned and so touched by the love, kindness, and generosity shown to me and my family. As everyone knows, these last 10 days have been the darkest and most difficult days of my life. But it's been a journey eased tremendously by the thoughts, prayers and well wishes received from friends, family, and total strangers living all over the world. It is just so meaningful for me to hear about how my husband's work and enthusiasm for this industry has touched so many others.
"Brian was completely and utterly devoted to the gaming industry, and was pretty much living his dream every day. He woke up every morning excited to be working in such a creative, demanding field. It was such a joy to be married to someone who was absolutely passionate about his professional life.
"Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all the compassion and support. It is so appreciated, and has been a light to me in this impossible situation."
Brian Wood had been assigned to the post of Senior Designer for Company of Heroes Online, currently in open beta test.
Well, there you go, kids --- and on behalf of all my fellow Dwarves, I just have to say: we here in Azeroth are here for you, Erin Wood. You just say the word, we'll do whatever we can for you, dear. Wanna help Erin and her family out? Do some good over at http://www.brianwoodmemorialtrust.com. See, even here in the world of Blizzard Entertainment, we don't just cater to our fans. When something like this happens, we give 'em as much of a helping hand as we can give 'em --- and that's something that takes REAL courage!
Until next time, Dwarf-lovin' dudes and dudettes. Hang in there.