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Blizzard immortalizes late World of Warcraft player Reckful in-game

A Rogue Trainer in Cathedral of Light

A World of Warcraft character in front of the Reckful tribute in Shadowlands Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Following Byron “Reckful” Bernstein’s death in July, World of Warcraft players flocked to the game’s public gathering spaces to honor the player. Now, World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment is adding a permanent memorial to Bernstein.

In a recent update, Blizzard added a non-playable character (NPC) to World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands expansion. The NPC, a Rogue Trainer named Reckful, now stands permanently in the Cathedral of Light, the spot where players gathered following his death. World of Warcraft players can interact with the Reckful NPC, which has a line of dialogue that’s a nod to Bernstein’s World of Warcraft career. “I don’t train Assassination Rogues,” the NPC says — a reference to Bernstein’s skill in Wrath of the Lich King, according to World of Warcraft website Wowhead.

Bernstein, a storied World of Warcraft player and popular Grand Theft Auto Online streamer, died by suicide in July, at the age of 31. It was World of Warcraft, however, where Bernstein first saw success in gaming. He’d reached Rank 1 in multiple World of Warcraft seasons and participated in multiple offline esports events. Following his death, Blizzard called Bernstein “one of the most memorable WoW players of all time.”

He was also working on a “social online open world game” called Everland, set to be released sometime in 2020.

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