First of all, the FSF did not just mail the Free Ryzom project a cashier's check for $60,000. The *pledge* has conditions: mainly that the software and artwork be released under entirely free licenses. Many commenters seem to be particularly confused as to what is free and what is not: let me clarify. The goal of the Free Ryzom project is to license the client, the *server*, and all of its related content, code and technology under free software licenses. All of it. The entire thing. Ryzom's Social Contract is modeled on Debian's, with slight modifications - including the assertion, which is rather revolutionary as far as MMORPGs are concerned, that the avatar belongs to the player.
This would be an entire commercial MMORPG - client, server, libraries, artwork, models, etc - entering the free software realm. People who can't understand the utility in this need to have their heads examined. As another commenter put it, I'm sure a bunch of other people said "What good is Netscape, anyways?" many years ago.
The project proposal would create a French non-profit that will function as the caretaker of the existing Ryzom shards. The players will determine how Ryzom will evolve as a game. And, again, 90% of the people commenting are missing the big picture, and why the FSF made its pledge: this will enable anyone to build MMORPGs using the Ryzom engine as a base. The FSF sees this as a stellar opportunity to push the advancement of free software gaming - a typically neglected arena. This is also a wonderful opportunity to bring the tools for making MMORPGs back into the hands of the users, and allow anyone to set up a world and modify it however they like. The FSF feels that this donation will encourage, in time, a vast collection of unique worlds, all based around the same basic toolkit.
An auxilliary effect will hopefully be to help advance the cause of free software drivers. After all, complex 3D applications are pretty good for testing, eh?