I was going to launch straight into a topic I wanted to write about .. and then I realised that my last post was back in April! So first off my apologies on the lack of news, I knew that concerns about my business had eaten up a lot of my time but to be honest I hadn’t realised it was so much of my time. I’m not going to go into that though as it is still stressing me out, while WoW is one of the few things which is still a total break for me. Which brings me back around to what I’ve been thinking about for the last few days, which is how any people say “I wish my mum/dad/son/etc played WoW”. So, with apologies offered I’ll jump back in the deep end.

So I (obviously) play World of Warcraft and to date my biggest regret is that I didn’t get it when it came out and missed the classic edition of the collectors box sets (damnit). I had played Warcraft 2, and Warcraft 3 as well as their expansions and virtually every other Blizzard game. I had though hesitated severely when WoW was released.

Why did I hesitate. Two reasons. At the time I was working in Sydney and commuting daily. 4 hours on a train every day plus travel time between station/office/home etc didn’t leave an abundance of free time. That was a minor reason though. My main reason was that it was an online game. Online meaning I would have to connect to the internet, where who knew what sort of demons and monsters lurked waiting to use a game to invade my system and do all sorts of terrible things to me. I now know whats lurking out there and could cause me problems and I don’t care but at the time it was a big issue.

If one of my brothers .. who unfortunately plays Alliance .. didn’t buy the game a full 2 days ahead of me I probably woudl have just continued occasionally reading about WoW and following the plots of the story elements from where WC3 left off through varied sources like Wowpedia. Instead, I was convinced to face my big issue and actually take the plunge. Now so many years later I do not regret it. In fact not only do I not regret it but I enjoy t thoroughly and have now also got my other brother playing, both parents and one of my cousin, as well as a five year old niece who now associates me with every tree she sees running across a computer screen.

So there is my big issue, actually starting to game regularly via the internet. One in retrospect which makes me smile, and will probably have others laughing as well. It does though surprise me what I take as non-issues that others take as big issues, or things for major excitement. For example the day I invited Mamajod to join our guild I had dozens of whispers of disbelief that someones mother would be playing wow, the same had happened earlier when my father joined (though to a lesser extent – obviously men playing is less importent than aging women!).

To many the people whispering me this was a huge deal, they couldn’t believe that someones parents were playing a computer game that was more involved then solitaire. To someone like myself who used to want to whimper and hide every time his mother challenged him to a game of Age of Empires (yes she was that good .. out of more games then I can count the closest I ever came to winning was a solitary draw), and who had laughingly played games like Unreal Tournament, Call Of Duty, and Quake with for years it was a shock that others thought this way.

I couldn’t get my head around why people were surprised that either of my parents played computer games. I mean they had introduced me to computer gaming and taught me very early on that if I was going to win I would need to earn it, they were not going to roll over and give it to me. Can you see how to me people who can’t fathom parent playing is unusual.

But to a lot of players I have encountered it is a huge issue, simply because their parents don’t play, won’t touch computers, or simply can’t understand the fascination with a game beyond the bounds of an occasional boardgame like Ludo or Stockmarket! Slowly I have come to understand this is a common thing, players feeling isolated from their families because no one ‘gets’ or ‘understands’ what they are up to., For myself it has never been a foreign concept, even my Grandparents have some limited understanding, I recall spending hours growing up playing Wizard of War on the C64 against my grandmother.

Today after 3 years of gameplay many guildies don’t think it strange my mother plays (though she at time still laughs because everyone online calls her Mama, and tended to even do so during a real life guild meet) though others I meet do, even though I can’t fathom it. We have in retrospect probably a good environment for families in my guild with at least 6 families in-guild that play (that I know of) so that many don’t feel shy about stating that their mother/brother/sister/father play.

To those out there that wish their families would play don’t give up. Do them a favour .. convince them to play. There are upsides and downsides to WoW, but that could be said of anything from joining a sporting club, watering the plants*, having children or going for a drink at the local. So don’t let the bad things drag down your enthusiasm, or let them stand in the way of you wanting to share your experience with family.

First give them an incentive to play, tell them you will get their first months game time or maybe even that you would enjoy spending time online with them, if they don’t see the appeal of gaming tell them that its like watching TV but interactive and 100 times more stimulating! Tell them its just as social as sitting at the pub drinking a beer but that the person you are chatting with could be on the other side of the continent or the other side of the world. Point out the positive aspects of the game, those which keep you attracted as well as others that may not make the top of your bestsellers list (i.e WoW promotes organisational and management skills).

Then once they are thoroughly convinced give them the trial, set it up and give them the very basics, then leave them alone for the first 10 or so levels to explore, they will need room to come to grips with the game on their own terms. If they need help be there for them, I am not saying stick them in a vacum. But let their initial foray into Azeroth be on their own so they can experience the world without you yelling “quick now go get a profession trained!”, that can all come later. First and foremost they need to as new games experience the wonder that is stepping into a virtual world for the very first time.

In the end you can’t force anyone to play, nor can you keep them playing once they start. But for most families having anything in common with each other outside ties of blood is a good way of strengthening relationships and creating understanding. So here is my sincerest hope that if you have a family member you want to play that you can convince them to do so, even for a limited time, and here is praying you both have fun in doing so!

* Just a note that this is actually a large consideration in parts of Australia at times of the year when water restrictions exist. Some people feel its is OK to risk a fine of several hundred dollars to water their plants at midday rather then in the evening because for them it is more convenient. As I said, everything has its ups and downs.