As players of Blizzard games, we enjoy heroic stories filled with betrayal, alliances, war and mayhem in general. One particular value comes afloat in each of Blizzard games: Sacrifice.
In Diablo III, players heed the call as one of the various classes and battle all the way to Mt. Arreat. These characters enter Hell knowing they might not come back in order to vanquish evil from the lands of Sanctuary.
In World of Warcraft, each character heeds the call -- whether it is the Argent Crusade to tackle the Lich King, the Earthen Ring to defend Azeroth from Deathwing and his minions, or the Darkspear, Blood Elven and High Elven odd alliance to halt the Zandalari agenda. We all fight the good fight to keep balance, and we make sacrifices everyday in a safe roleplaying environment.
In StarCraft II, heroes like Jim Raynor, Tassadar, and Zeratul make sacrifices day after day. Tassadar gave up his life in order to stop the Overmind. Zeratul lost his Matriarch, Aiur and many friends. Jim Raynor lost his wife and son, he lost the once beautiful Mar Sara, and his past life for one of constant war against the Dominion.
Jim Raynor lost many soldiers who trusted in him either to the Confederates, the Dominion, the Protoss, or the Zerg.
We are used to see selfless sacrifice in these wonderful stories built by Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Tommy Newcomer and James Waugh -- to name a few.
In real life, we hear of sacrifices made by illustrous figures in history, but very few heroes are ever mentioned in contemporaneous times.
Of course, firemen and cops are heroes by their own right. They save lives everyday in an imperfect society.
However, there are very few people who ever have to deal with saving an entire nation from destruction in real life. Very rare. These are the analog to impossible-odds Jim Raynor.
After the tsunami that hit Japan a few weeks ago, at least three nuclear plants have been vulnerable to potential radioactive catastrophe. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. reached some subcontractors to help at the Fukushima facility to do repairs, drop sea water into the reactors in an attempt to cool down the radioactive rods, and remove contaminated water which is sadly now been released into the Pacific Ocean.
If the reactors aren't cooldown, most if not all of Japan would be in danger of radiation and contaminated water supplies and food.
What all these volunteers knew when getting into the facility was that they would be exposed to high levels of radiation which might cause them serious health issues afterwards, and terminal cancer.
We don't know who these volunteers are, as they remain mostly anonymous. One volunteer however talked with the Associated Press, Hiroyuki Kohn, 44-years old.
These are true heroes sacrificing selflessly for the greater good of their nation.
"To be honest, no one wants to go," Kohno told De Freytas. "Radiation levels at the plant are unbelievably high compared with normal conditions. I know that when I go this time, I will return with a body no longer capable of work at a nuclear plant."
Kohno told De Freytas that as a single man with no children, he felt obligated to answer the call and join the team that the media has dubbed the "Fukushima Fifty." Better that he face the risk, he explained, so as to spare his colleagues who have dependents counting on them. Besides, he added, the workers in the plant are his brothers and sisters, and he feels an allegiance to them.
As the unidentified mother of a 32-year-old plant worker explained in a tearful phone interview with Fox News, "My son and his colleagues have discussed it at length and they have committed themselves to die if necessary to save the nation."
Do you feel empathetic and sympathetic? Or do you not care because you don't live in Japan?
In Star Trek: Wrath of Khan I bet you almost cried when Mr. Spock entered the warp drive room of the USS Enterprise to bring the warp engines online. He exposed his body to the fusion core's radiation to save his shipmates, knowing perfectly he was not going to survive. The 50 Japanese volunteers are doing that very thing. They know what the consequences for themselves will be. Yet they didn't hesitate heeding the call. They are saving their nation, their families, and their friends.
What makes us care for the lives of these sci-fi and fantasy heroes, and not care for those heroes who sacrifice themselves in real life? How do we honor them, and ours? Do you value what happens around you more after getting to know these video game hero characters? Are they a model to follow? Are you as heroic day to day in real life, as you are in a raid dungeon? Good stuff to ponder for a few minutes.