How One Dying Man Found Solace In World Of Warcraft

I'm so used to mainstream coverage of video games being this terrible, moral panic inducing mess of hyperbole — so it's really refreshing to see a mainstream story about video games that showcases the massively positive influence games can have on our lives.

MSN tells the story of Patrice Anseline, a 51 year old man diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer, and the solace he has taken from World of Warcraft and the sense of community and solidarity he has found there in the wake of his diagnosis.

He recently revealed to his friends in the World of Warcraft community that doctors have told him he does not have much longer to live.

"I told them ... I've got some bad news," he said. "A few people stopped playing and they just said to me, 'What, are you serious'.

"They used the word Eminance, that's my other nickname on World of Warcraft, and they said, 'Eminance, we are going to pray for you at church'."

Mr Anseline, who lives with his family in Moe, said he and other players with cancer were using the game as a support group.

"At the end of the day World of Warcraft is a game. But the difference between it and other games is it is a game that includes social interaction," he said.

It's an interesting piece. Most mainstream coverage of games tends to be negative, but this story reminds us that games can be at the centre of some really incredible communities — like ours.

Good luck to Patrice, and thanks for sharing your story.

Dying man finds support on World of Warcraft [MSN]


    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      You can say it sure, but no one is going to believe you found solace in the BF3 community.

      Dude, seriously...really. OK. SMH.

      Yes it is news. Mark's point is that there is very little mainstream media that reports on games in a positive light. He is right and it is an interesting piece that makes you appreciate the great communities that can be found among gamers, especially in times like this. If you look at the amazing things that the Kotaku AU regulars do for eachother on a daily basis you would be amazed...

      Thanks Mark for the story which i hadn't seen.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    I've had extremely good experiences meeting friends in MMO's. I'm still in contact with people I was in guilds with back in the 90's in the days of text-based MUD games, talk regularly with many of my old guildmates from more traditional MMO's, and just had all-round great interactions.

    I even remember when I was in the middle of a Heroic in WoW once, and I had to call the group to a complete stop because I got a call from my brother letting me know a friend had passed away - and everyone in the group (complete strangers to me, it was a PUG) was really really kind about the whole situation (except one prick, who everyone kicked straight away).

    While it's true that there are plenty of pricks in the online world (demonstrated above), and that they're more likely to actively be a prick when they're behind a screen, many people in the online game world are genuinely caring, and very supportive - even to strangers.

    Reminds me a bit of this...

    Thanks for the link, Mark - good read.

    Maybe the M in MSN had something to do with the coverage of this good story? ;-)

    It's nice to see a little balance in the reporting of gaming as pastime, industry and culture for a change, as being something other than the typically inaccurate violence fueling, low class substitute for a life pursued by only a very few people, all maladaptive social misfits and mental defectives or vulnerable kids training to be psychopaths a la Greenfield, et al, ad nauseum.

    I'm glad Mr Anseline's MMO of choice is helping the unlucky guy out, and others in similar straits. Maybe some day MMO subs will be on the PBS? ;-)

    Here's hoping more people in allied healthcare and government understand the very many positive benefits of gaming for those in challenged circumstances.

    I've dealt with one such (a nurse) who sure didn't, and despite conceding her ignorance, pooh-poohed the idea of using this medium to interact as a social outlet where others are less available.

    Despite meeting nice people, I found the MMO experience a bit of a poor fit. But Skyrim is another story. There, one can unwind, drink in the scenery and engage as one wishes, with as much or as little hurry as one desires. If you're cooped up at home all the time in a stressful job and denied social interaction as a result, relying on regular outings to artificial greenery like that can give you a real lift.

    Yet all I seem to see when the news (even the ABC) cover a gaming story is tired sound bites and clueless footage of what folk seem to think is meant by games. Some day, maybe that will change - and I think decent games journos like you and important stories like the one you linked to will help get us there.

    In late stage cancer, one could be in so much pain that there is very little they can actually DO but wait to die. If WoW can give them some semblance of freedom and mobility, good for them.

      Point of fact - ninemsn's news team is based out of Channel Nine in Wilhoughby, Sydney. (I work there.)

      I know the writer of this piece... It might surprise you to know the editorial team don't answer to Microsoft. We have far closer editorial relations with Nine.

      (And FYI, MSN stands for 'Microsoft Network'. Ninemsn is a 50/50 joint venture between C9 and Microsoft. We have nothing to do with MSN.)

      But I'll be sure to pass on that you enjoyed the article. Unless we get positive feedback to stories like this that come left-of-field, the likelihood of seeing more of them is slim.

      So please - as a gamer and a producer for ninemsn - if you liked this, then share it. I would personally like to see more of it as well.

        ...and yet again, Gawker's reply system betrays me.




          Thanks for the info, and please pass on my commendations. This is great work, and surely a boost to others who like Mr Anseline are in a very rough spot and haven't ever thought of gaming as a way of helping. May it spur further good coverage! :-)

          I must have missed the S in MSN. Not enough coffee, I know not drinking it is bad for one's heath and web posts, but c'est la vie... ;-) And yeah, point taken re C9.

          Already shared it. This is good work. I just wish Microsoft would get on the trolley and do more to publicize the very many positive and pro-social aspects of the diverse gaming community they service with their platforms. I don't know if the winding back of programming on Live would curtail such efforts or just require more from another department. Like or loathe the "Windows 7 was my idea" ad campaign, they spoke to a wide cross section of people.

          (And Microsoft seem to own the non-hip average person brand, as distinct from the trendy Apple set. They actually seem to be intentionally geeky compared to Apple's "effortless" elitist chic. But who we are and who we want to imagine we are play well into the tools of the advertising agencies, along with Hollywood and games themselves. Many differing approaches work well on a diverse audience.)

          I think if the gaming part of the MS business would only go after that in marketing, as distinct from showing parents play Kinect with their kids, it'd help wider appreciation for how common and good gaming is for so many people and for so many reasons, in so many ways. Instead it seems left up to Nintendo, with fitness titles for the most part, and likewise not really close to cutting the mustard...

          There needs to be more coverage of stories in the world of gaming beyond hype and promos and gossip, (negative and positive) and there's more than just one kind of gaming or publisher that could help with and benefit from such a show. I guess a web based format would make sense - and for all I know there's such an animal already out there I've yet to stumble onto. If not, Kickstarter anyone? I'll chip in, maybe others would too?

          If Nuka Break Season 2 can raise nearly 100K (with 3 weeks left on the clock) a show like this should have a chance, one would think. It's a big Internet and there's a lot of gamers...

    Good to hear.
    It is coming up to the 1 year anniversary of my youngest daughter passing.
    At first I felt guilty about even thinking about playing a video game. My mind was just numb, trying to comprehend the utter shock of having lost my daughter.
    A psychologist I spoke to at the time said that it might be beneficial to do something that was "normal" for me to drag me out of this surreal world where I had endured so much loss.
    I didn't actually particularly use my online community of friends as support (other than those I actually knew in real life as well), but rather as an effective escape from reality. When I'm playing Bad Company 2 or BF3, I can stop my world and delve into another.
    Better it's video games as my crutch rather than alcohol.

      Yep, a good choice indeed. My sister is an alcoholic (sober for about 10 years now) but I'll back you up there, you made the right choice. Games do have a lot of positives and yours is another example. thanks for sharing.

    There were some great people, that I have met through WoW.
    I don't play anymore, and the only thing I miss now is the constant interaction with said people.
    Although as I have said in the past, I met my wife on WoW and we are still together now after 3 years of marriage.

    Thanks Mark for bringing this article to our attention!

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