Blizzard Entertainment has built a strong fan base over the years in large part thanks to its ability to always do the right thing. Whether that means waiting to release a game until it's absolutely polished or killing a game that just wasn't working out even after years of development, Blizzard has built up a great deal of trust with its supporters through decisions like these.
The company has also helped its image through several fundraising drives for worthy causes. The company announced this week that its latest fundraiser, from sales of a World of Warcraft in-game pet named Argi, has raised more than $1.9 million dollars for the Red Cross effort to fight ebola in Africa.
According to a post on Battle.net, 100 percent of the sales for Argi during most of December were donated to the charity. Blizzard didn't release official sales numbers, but Argi goes for $10 in the World of Warcraft pet shop, which should mean somewhere in the neighborhood of 190,000 pets were sold during the charity drive. Argi is still available for sale, but the drive itself ended on December 31.
This is just the latest fundraiser using a Warcraft in-game pet to make a big impact. The Moonkin Hatchling raised money for the Make-A-Wish foundation in 2012 and the Cenarion Hatchling raised funds for relief efforts in Asia after an earthquake in Japan and a tsunami in the Pacific.
The ebola drive most likely benefited from the fact that WoW's subscription base saw a dramatic increase with the release of the game's latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, in November. Warlords has gotten some of the best reviews Blizzard has seen since the release of Wrath of the Lich King back in 2008. This praise was even awarded despite some of the problems the game had at launch – including a DDoS attack. Still, this didn't stop plenty of players from returning to the game, not just for the expansion, but to celebrate World of Warcraft's 10 year anniversary.
In-game pets in World of Warcraft have become increasingly popular since the release of the pet battle system in the game's previous expansion, Mists of Pandaria. Players can collect, level up and train their in-game pets, and then got to battle against other players in a system that has a lot of similarities to Pokemon. The pets purchased through the in-game store are not necessarily any stronger than other pets in the game, but many fans want them anyway thanks to the "collect-em-all" mentality surrounding the feature.
World of Warcraft is available now on PC and Mac.