Farewell Battleground, my friend

I've written about my former guild before, Celtic Siege.

I have many fond memories with them, including countless Heroics at a time when we were undergeared newbies and each run was a fun, challenging affair. I can honestly say that while I had read hunter blogs & studied my class intently, it was only through these guild runs that I became comfortable and fully aware of the ins and outs of the hunter class.

One of the constants in these runs was our paladin healer/tank, Battleground. Battle, or BG for short, was one of the older guildies (in real life), with two teenage/college-age sons in the guild. He was present in my first encounter with Celtic Siege, when I pugged into their group to complete Hail To The King, Baby for Children's Week.

He wasn't the most well-geared or experienced player, but it was always great running with him because he never got discouraged or upset, would always listen to and try new tactics, and emanated a welcoming, encouraging aura. We all ran countless dungeons together; a great deal of my group experience today is from learning the ropes while Battle tanked or healed.

He was also extremely generous with his own time, and would always help run a lower-leveled guildmate through a regular dungeon, or fly all the way over to Zul'Drak to tank the Amphitheater of Anguish, etc. We often had to encourage or force him to take upgrades, because he was so eager to let others gear up, even at the expense of his own advancement. That was just his way.

When I left CS to join TTGF to raid, it was an agonizing decision that troubled me for days. I knew that my current game desire - to raid current, progression content - no longer matched up with Celtic Siege's, and I knew it was the right decision. But I still felt ashamed, like I was betraying and abandoning all the great friends I had made in CS.

I randomly ran into Battleground in Orgrimmar around Christmas, and we stopped to exchange greetings. Good old Battle was his cheerful self, asking how I'd been, how the raiding was going, how my brother was (who had also been in Celtic Siege). It was nice to talk to him, and inwardly I was secretly relieved that he didn't resent me for leaving. He was 84, so I gave him a pre-emptive congrats on 85. I also saw from his Violet Proto-Drake that he had completed What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been, so I popped mine out and we shared a funny /cheer at each other before parting ways.

Two days ago I logged onto my priest, who is still in Celtic Siege, to see how Discipline's Smite-spec was for leveling. Battleground's son Sneaky was online, and I was shocked and horrified to hear that Battle had needed heart surgery, and wasn't doing very well. Sneaky had just come from the hospital and was attempting to play for a bit to take his mind off things.

This morning I learned that Battle had passed away.

* * * * *

Celtic Siege has always felt like an online family, and Sneaky was logged in to share the tragic news. He told us he would be taking over his dad's paladin, now 85, to run the Cataclysm dungeons since Battle hadn't gotten the chance.

I really don't know much about Battle in real life, except that he played WoW with his children. I don't even know his real name. But anyone who has ever known him in-game has lost an amazing person today. He cared so much about his kids, about his friends in Celtic Siege, and about everyone he met. I never heard him say a negative word about anyone, and in WoW's world of trolls and terrible pugs, that is saying a lot.

I urge you to take a moment and think about your in-game/online friends, and realize that even though if you've never met, even if you don't know their actual names, how much it would hurt if they were suddenly torn away.

Battleground was a loving guildmate, a great player, and a wonderful person.

He was my friend.

15 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    I'm sorry for your loss, Rades.

    January 20, 2011 at 2:06 PM

  2. gravatar

    My condolences Rades, its a terrible thing to lose a friend.

    January 20, 2011 at 2:14 PM

  3. gravatar

    How utterly sad. I am crying. Sorry to hear of your loss. Of WoW's loss of a great player. We should be as patient and kind as Battleground.

    January 20, 2011 at 2:18 PM

  4. gravatar

    *hugs* I'm so sorry, Rades. If you share this post with his family - I don't know them either but I'm immensely sorry for their loss. :(

    January 20, 2011 at 2:35 PM

  5. gravatar

    My condolences.

    He just sounded like such a pleasure to play with, and made the game better because of him.

    Where I totally started to lose it a bit was when you said his son is going to run Battle in then Cataclysm dungeons.

    To me, that just seems to show how much he was loved.

    Thank you for sharing your memories.

    January 20, 2011 at 3:27 PM

  6. gravatar
    Satin Russell

    This made me cry. What a touching memorial for what sounds like an amazing person and friend. I"m sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with his family, guildmates and friends.

    January 20, 2011 at 3:55 PM

  7. gravatar

    Its sad to lose someone with that big a heart. I'm so sorry you all lost someone so special

    January 20, 2011 at 4:03 PM

  8. gravatar

    I usually like to think I have something profound or insightful to say, I don't. Your touching tribute to your friend says it all. The very fact you felt compelled to write about him and share the loss speaks volume for man and it seems clear that everyone who knew him has lost someone very special.

    My deepest condolences to his family, my deepest sympathies to you for losing a valued friend.

    January 20, 2011 at 5:06 PM

  9. gravatar

    You know Im a very cold person, when my grandmother passed away, there were no tears in my face, i usually read your posts and i like them, i was very happy reading this post about this player you know from the game, but then you tell me he dies, you tell me that he was your friend even though you never meet him in the so called "real life".
    This post really shake me, I have a good friend in this game, i have never meet him, and maybe i will never met him in the real because he lives in another country (Im Mexican and he lives in Puerto Rico), your history with Battleground is almost the same as mine with my friend, we have done lots of things in this game together and if something were to happen to him, i will be very sad
    Im really sorry for your loss, my condolences to his family
    PS: sorry for my bad English

    January 20, 2011 at 5:50 PM

  10. gravatar

    I teared up as well. So sorry for the loss, and this post is a great tribute to what sounded like an incredible guy.


    January 20, 2011 at 10:03 PM

  11. gravatar

    Lovely post Rades. My sympathies to everyone who has lost such a great person and guildmate.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:52 AM

  12. gravatar

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Even if you never knew his real name he was still a real friend.

    Your words here do him a great justice. When done reading I was left feeling as if I had lost someone that I knew, even if I didn't.

    My condolences to his family.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

  13. gravatar

    I have to admit when I saw that post title show up on my blog roll, I came here with the expectation of finding a humorous post about why you don't enjoy playing battlegrounds anymore. I do wish it could have been that and that you didn't have had reason to write this! It sounds very much like you lost the company of a great person, and you've given him a very touching memorial.

    I found the bit about continuing to play his character a bit weird to be honest because personally I would find someone else wearing another person's avatar a bit disturbing, but I understand that it's meant to be another sort of tribute.

    I hope Battleground's family and friends are holding up okay.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:34 AM

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    I am not ashamed to say that I teared up reading this, and I extend my condolences to you, your friend's family, and all of his friends. He sounds like the kind of person I wish I would've known, even if it was only in-game. It certainly makes me think about how close I've come to feel toawrd friends I've made playing WoW, even those I've only ever talked with online.

    Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful tribute.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

  15. gravatar

    Wow, Rades. I have no good words. But my deepest condolences for your loss.

    January 28, 2011 at 6:01 AM