World of Warcraft players are in the midst of celebrating the Tournament of Ages event while making a meaningful impact in real life. This year’s Tournament of Ages runs from Aug. 7-13 and brings champions of Azeroth together through competitions, festivities and a bunch of games and prizes. It also supports Blessings in a Backpack, a non-profit organization that “mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry,” according to its website.
The head coordinators of the event are players that go by Dravvie, Gavin, Greaves, Zaria, Sely, Maxen, Monty and Rease. They shared their thoughts on the Tournament of Ages itself, what it takes to run it and the impact of the Blessings in a Backpack charity.
Celebrating Christmas in August
Taking place in the Moon Guard-US server, the Tournament of Ages event is located at the Argent Tournament Grounds in Icecrown. It runs from 8-11 p.m. ET each day and boasts a plethora of activities.
“I’ve been at [Tournament of Ages] since the first year,” Gavin said. ”Every single year, I’ve loved the community, I’ve loved the competition and I’ve loved everyone coming together to celebrate one another. It’s a great experience — it feels like Christmas in August.”
Congratulations to our Vigor Sparring champion – Karitar! #Warcraft #WoWRP pic.twitter.com/sqicAfZXEJ
— Tournament of Ages (@ToA_Warcraft) August 10, 2022
Some of the activities this year include duels in the Coliseum, sparring and pet battles in Argent Valiants’ Ring and even Hearthstone activities right outside the Alliance tent. A couple of other events include Sword in the Skull and the Wonderlight Ball. While the Sword in the Skull activity gives World of Warcraft players two chances each day to pull a sword out from a skull, the Wonderlight Ball is a dance that celebrates the end of the annual Tournament of Ages.
There are onstage performances as well that showcase players and their creativity when it comes to acting and roleplay. While organized events are scheduled within the designated time frame, participants can still enjoy the festivities outside of that time as some booths are open early.
Competitions and World of Warcraft activities galore
“Most role-players I interact with are often super serious and dire with the stories they tell and how they interact with others,” Maxen said. “The Tournament of Ages is a breath of fresh air in regards to how fun and wacky it is in comparison — you’ll see knights, wizards and orcs, but then you’ll also see people cosplaying as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or a whole platoon of murlocs running around.
“It’s like the Saturday morning cartoon episodes where the heroes and villains take a break from fighting to discover the meaning of Christmas set in Azeroth. It definitely loosens the rigidity of people who take roleplay seriously and reminds them that this is a game with all kinds of fun and crazy characters and concepts.”
Below are some of the competitions:
The rules, prizes and registration information can be found in each competition’s respective page on the official Tournament of Ages website.
Here’s a list of the other in-game World of Warcraft events and how to participate in them:
- Fireworks Show
- Charity Art Auction
- Charity Raffle
- Date Auction
- Rhyme Battles
- Stage Performances
- Wonderlight Ball
- Sword in the Skull
- Photo Contest
What it takes to run Tournament of Ages
The booths boast unique experiences created by dedicated World of Warcraft guilds and individual players. Activities include live art drawing, roleplay and in-game quests. The full list of booths can be accessed via its dedicated page.
“I run the booths with Hazella, so they’re always my favorite,” Greaves told Upcomer. “We have this cool booth giving tattoos this year, J.Paint. It’s been fun to hear about the tattoo requests they receive.”
At another one of the booths is artist Irishmoo who does live portrait drawings and asks that viewers donate if they can. Back in 2021, Irishmoo completed 91 portraits in a week in honor of the Tournament of Ages event. To see her creative work in action, World of Warcraft players can also visit her Twitch channel.
Behind the scenes of these unique booths is a high level of organization. According to Dravvie, Tournament of Ages requires a lot of coordination and planning.
“I think we have a total of eight coordinators who make the choices and 44 staff members who help handle various duties,” Dravvie revealed. “That doesn’t account for the people who run their booths, and then the things like security who aren’t staff or make choices, but help organize lines. I think I spend more time staring into discord and looking at spreadsheets, emails, social media, moving things from drive and so on than in-game at moments.”
Dravvie noted that the team overhauled a lot of the systems to improve the event next year. This includes new websites, updated social media and more.
Tournament of Ages helps Blessings in a Backpack
The Tournament of Ages also supports Blessings in a Backpack through an art auction. Players get to bid and donate to Tiltify, who gives the funds directly to Blessings in a Backpack.
“Blessings in a Backpack means so much to me,” Dravvie told Upcomer. “I grew up in a community where food scarcity was honestly a very common thing for kids to be facing. It wasn’t even something I thought was uncommon until I was older. The community unspoken agreement was that if you had food to share you did because you might not later on. So it makes this charity make sense to me.”
Dravvie added how if the World of Warcraft community could make it a bit easier for someone and improve their futures, then any amount of work is worth it. A similar sentiment resonates with Gavin, Greaves, Maxen and Sely.
We are pleased to announce all the awesome potential prizes for this years Charity Raffle. Every $5 donated to our Tiltify campaign during the Tournament will get a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of these awesome prizes!#Warcraft #WoWRP pic.twitter.com/wjmFD859hg
— Tournament of Ages (@ToA_Warcraft) July 31, 2022
“Blessing in a Backpack is something that touches my own heart because there were plenty of times growing up where my siblings and I would’ve benefited from a program like this,” Sely shared with Upcomer. “I grew up in a community where children didn’t have a lot or parents were strained in trying to provide what they could. Living paycheck to paycheck can be a very difficult thing. This charity relieves some of that pressure on both parents and children and we’re able to be a part of that change.”
Meanwhile, coordinator Zaria is a new schoolteacher who has seen how great an impact efforts like this have had on kids. “There was one kid in my class whose paraprofessional told me the mother was asking for us to pack extra food from lunch because they lived in a shelter and couldn’t feed their son as much as they liked, so we started sending him home with some stuff I was buying especially for him,” Zaria said.
Last year, the World of Warcraft Tournament of Ages participants raised $18,181.19, helping with providing food for elementary school kids on the weekends.
Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!