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Drama Mamas: Tips on getting wife back into WoW

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at dramamamas@wow.com.

Before I show you the letter this week, I'm going to fully disclose my sympathies here. First of all, I can't stand high-maintenance players. Questions about things? Yes, please. But "ne1 help me?" over and over (particularly if it's something above your level) means a polite warning followed by a gkick if not heeded -- also mockery about the use of "ne1." Ask once for help on something and if no one answers, it's not that they didn't hear you. It's not that they are mean and unhelpful. It means they are too busy with their own fun to help you at this time.

On the other hand, I totally feel the pain of being married to someone with a different playstyle. The Spousal Unit is an accomplished raider. I'm an altoholic casual who is increasingly more and more RP-curious. We used to have wonderful times playing SWG and CoH together. But we have rarely been able to match up our playstyles since we moved to Azeroth. Mostly I blame him, fairly or unfairly, because he won't make a WoW duo with me. Jack and Jane Blaze were so fun! /sigh But it takes two to tango. And if he would rather go line dancing with his raider buddies, then I either need to get a pair of purple cowboy boots or see if I have better success convincing him to do the hustle. Tired of dancing around the drama? Then turn the page.

Dear Drama Mamas, I know this sounds like a dumb question at first, but please hear me out. My wife and I don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to gaming, but she has tried (and actually likes) WoW. The problem that I'm running into is that for the most part, she got into the game as a tag-along and was on the recieving end of too many run-throughs by nice guildies, or role-playing with random people in capitol cities. I'm not saying that role-playing or wanting to enjoy the social aspect of the game is bad, though I never supported the power-leveling (some of which was begged out of people). But when the run-throughs and RPing dried up, so did her interest and she quit playing and became somewhat hostile to my playtime.

Lately, she has been somewhat interested in playing again, but I really want to avoid the situation we had last time. Any tips on how to ween her off the run-throughs and get her into a more self-sufficient style of play? All I've come up with so far is to level up an alt to one of her main characters and try using the dungeon finder with her. I'm just not sure if she has learned enough group and class skills to make it in a dungeon. One last issue, any advice on convincing her that playing a Blood Elf is inherently wrong, even if she does think they're pretty? All my main characters are alliance and switching factions would be a bit expensive to my watch or wallet.

Half-Way There


Drama Mama Robin: I have a very simple solution for you, Half-way: Roll a Horde duo with her on a server without any friends or alts. Make it Horde, so she can play a blood elf. (A little compromise goes a long way -- and have you seen my avatar?) Make it a new server so that no one she knows is there to fall prey to her begging. This should solve all your problems if done right. Here's how:
  • Set aside time to play this duo weekly. Set appointments you can keep, and do keep them. If you are committed to spending time playing with her, she will be less hostile toward your time in Azeroth without her.
  • Don't invite anyone else to join you. This is a regular WoW date just for you and your wife.
  • Don't play the characters without each other. If either of you level ahead of the other, it will not be as fun. And your leveling ahead of her will just mean running her around ... again.
  • Be patient about leveling. This is not your progression character. This is your play-with-your-wife character. This is your have-fun-without-stress character. Your expectations for fun rather than progress will help your wife not want to be hurried to catch up to your expectations.
  • Don't join a guild. Keep the temptation of begging for help from others away from her. She needs to become more self-sufficient before you subject her high maintenance to another group of people.
  • Suggest she make (or transfer) a character on an RP realm to play without you. Just like all your play time doesn't have to be with her, all her play time shouldn't be with you. Let her do her own RP thing on her own time, without you as a safety net or a buzzkill. Yeah, your attitudes toward character choice and RP make you as much of a killjoy as she is with her in-game issues.
In your time together, leveling from scratch and with no money in your pockets, she will learn teamwork and self-sufficiency. As you advance, you can play in random dungeons with her, coaching her gently as needed behind the scenes. In your time apart but still in Azeroth, you will have your kind of fun and she, hers. And if she falls back into her old habits on her new realm without you, well, how will you know? It won't be your concern.

I think I've been pretty clear here that under no circumstances should you two play together on your main realm, at least right away. Your playstyles are too different. Neither of you will enjoy it, and as I've said a bajillion times, your leisure time is all about destressing and having fun. But with your duo and your separate play times, you should be able to enjoy the best of playing WoW together as well as the best of playing with others.

Drama Mama Lisa: Half-Way There, I hate to break this to you -- but as far as building an enjoyable WoW partnership with your wife, you're far less than halfway there. If you want to enjoy playing WoW with your wife, you're going to have to play with her. That means finding a situation that you'll both enjoy, not figuring out a way to endure her idea of fun or how to entice her into tagging along with what you'd like to do.

Robin makes some outstanding suggestions for starting off fresh as a team -- and a team, my friend, is exactly how you have to approach this endeavor. This isn't about "my wife playing with me"; it's not even about "me playing with my wife" (insert melodramatic, back of the hand to the forehead). This is all about "me and my wife playing." Once you've become comfortable with this new approach to exploring the game as a team, Half-Way, I think you'll find you're effectively all the way there.

Drama Buster of the Week: Is your guild chat full of kvetching that is creating an unpleasant atmosphere? Create a separate chat channel for bellyaching. Making it is as simple as /join grawr (or whatever you want to call it) and invite people to join you there. Having a separate chat channel for complaining about things can keep guild chat open for pleasant chatter, helpful discussions or whatever. But it still allows for the release of certain frustrations. If you're not an officer, get approval from one before you suggest this. You don't want to cause extra drama with your drama-reducing channel, after all.

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at dramamamas@wow.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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