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Filed under: Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: The couple that plays together, stays together

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

First of all, I would like to apologize for my lack of column last week. I may be good at balancing real life with WoW, but I have yet to master balancing anything with illness. I'm feeling a lot better now and looking forward to a WoW date with my husband, after not having played for a week.

Are you snickering now? Do you think that virtual romantic outings are unforgivably geeky? Well, if you don't think playing a video game makes you a bit of a nerd, go argue it out with Gabe. Those of us who are comfortable in our geekiness will be here when you get back. Regardless of the dork factor, sharing any hobby is a great way to keep a relationship going, particularly when the hobby is as time consuming as WoW can be.

Today, we're talking about established couples, not couples that are just starting a relationship -- WoW dating is a different topic which I will discuss in a future column. I've already talked about getting a girlfriend/wife to play WoW, so this is for couples who already both play WoW. I'm also not saying that WoW dates should replace romantic dinners and other traditional togetherness activities. But having romantic "outings" in WoW are a fun, low-cost way to supplement the other things couples do to keep things interesting. Spend your quality time together any way you like, but it's best to take care of the fundamentals to get the most out of it:

Make an Appointment: Set aside a day and time beforehand and don't be late. You both will appreciate having something to look forward to and the convenience of being able to plan around the session. Do not "play it by ear". This will make the person who is ready first feel neglected waiting for the other person to become "available".

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Filed under: Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: Reader Mail -- WoW for an hour a day

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.



Today I'm going to answer some Reader Mail from Berzurk:

Hello Robin,

I played the original EQ for about a year, and I took a break for a long time. I just last week got into WoW, and I am loving it. I have been scared, however, that it may end up ruining my life. My g/f doesn't like video games much, and I'm about to get a new job to help pay bills. I can't, however, give up my passion for MMO's. It's just my nature.

I did have one idea though. In your opinion, do you believe it would be beneficial to just play for a set amount a day on WoW, instead of hours at a time? I know that life comes first, but I almost always have about 2 spare hours to myself everyday. Do you believe that maybe an hour a day would be a decent amount of playtime?

Thanks.

Berzurk, Human Warrior, Lvl 8, Stormwind City


Hello Berzurk,

Because you are aware enough of the addiction risks in playing WoW and have already proposed a solution, you are definitely on the right track to playing WoW without it hurting Real Life. You can play WoW for an hour a day and have fun, but there are limitations to what you can do in WoW with that schedule of which you should be aware.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: Save the drama for yo mama

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

In my second column, I described the different personalities you can get stuck with when you invite friends and family to WoW. Of course, you can get stuck with these personalities even if you don't know them in real life. You see them in general chat, in groups and, unfortunately, in your guild. Today, I would like to discuss three possible severities of the Drama Queen. I know this has been done before, but sometimes the drama can affect real life and I would like to present some solutions for dealing with it.

Attention Addict: Not all Attention Addicts are Drama Queens, but all Drama Queens are Attention Addicts. (In logical terms, Drama Queens are a subset of Attention Addicts.) We all want some attention when playing WoW, which is why we are playing an MMO instead of a single player RPG. But the Attention Addict must have as much attention as possible at all times. Following are some of tactics the Attention Addict uses:

Attention Grabber: If Attention Addicts say what they want to say all at once, they can be ignored. So they want to make sure they have your attention before they tell their story/problem/world-ending-tragedy. They will say one or two phrases, waiting for responses before they finally give a hint about what they want to say. For example:

AA: OMIGOD!
<long pause waiting for someone to respond>
SuckerGuildie: What?
AA: I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!
ConcernedGuildie: What's wrong?
AA: Stupid @#@$#%$ Horde!!!!

The best way to handle the Attention Grabber tactic is to ignore the Attention Addict until he gets to the point.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: Happy Father's Day!

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

Today is the day we celebrate Dads, so I thought I would pay tribute to my favorite WoW-related Father/Child relationships, in no particular order.

Micah and Ezra: The story of Micah and Ezra playing WoW together, strengthening their relationship, and helping Ezra deal with the awful realities of a brain tumor is a truly inspirational one. Blizzard making Ezra's WoW wishes come true is even more so. I hope that Micah and Ezra are able to continue playing together for many years to come. Happy Father's Day, Micah!

Rob Pardo and daughter Sydney: Rob Pardo is the Vice President of Game Design at Blizzard and plays WoW (among other games) with his daughter, Sydney. Talk about balancing real life with WoW, Rob says that playing with his daughter has taught him to look at the pure fun aspects of the game to round out his overall perspective. Happy Father's Day, Rob!

South Park's Randy and Stan: Whose eyes didn't tear up after Randy's character was mortally wounded when handing the The Sword of a Thousand Truths to Stan's character? An excellent example, albeit fictional, of a father and son becoming closer together because of WoW. Happy Father's Day, Randy!

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Azeroth Interrupted: Long Lost Brothers

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

This week, I have discovered a new way to use WoW to enhance real life: facilitating the bonding of two long lost brothers. The story I am about to tell is true, though I have changed some of the names.

In the late 60s, my mother-in-law, whom we will call Viola, married a man (we'll call him Cletus) in Southern California and they had a son, Chris. They moved to Colorado, leaving behind all of Viola's family. When Chris was a toddler, one of Viola's sisters became critically ill and Viola returned to California to see her, possibly for the last time. (The sister did survive after many months of hospitalization.) Cletus took advantage of Viola's absence to get a divorce and gain custody of Chris. He separated mother and child and contact between them was lost.

Viola got remarried and had another son, my husband Chuck, in the mid 70's. When Chuck was old enough to understand, he was told of his half-brother. But this was a painful subject that was not brought up often by the family.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: How to get your wife or girlfriend to play WoW

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

WoW players do have girlfriends (and boyfriends and spouses), contrary to the taunts heard in The Trade Channel and Barrens Chat. Many Players even play WoW with their Significant Others, but often, players have trouble getting their significant others to join them in their hobby/addiction. In general, the problem lies with the girlfriend or wife not being a gamer. Following are some tips for getting your lady to play WoW.

First of all, have you tried the sincere, straightforward approach? Just throwing out "Well, if you played WoW with me, you'd understand." here and there is not the same thing. Neither are hints or endless stories of how much fun you're having. Try saying something like "I would have more fun playing WoW if you joined me and I think it would be a great way for us to spend more time together. It would really mean a lot to me. Would you please give it a try?" If this doesn't work, it is time to analyze and tackle her objections.

"It's just a stupid game."
Take a deep breath -- don't let it hurt you. She probably isn't a gamer and sees computers as tools, not sources of fun. Easing her into games is a very good approach to counteract a lack of interest. Be patient, this could take several weeks. Start her off with a simple and addictive solitaire game like Bejeweled. Once she catches the bug, and this is a double edged sword, move her onto something more complicated that has a wide female fanbase, like Sims 2. This will introduce her to the fun of character creation and a minimum amount of roleplaying. Once she grows tired of this, she may be ready to try WoW, but if she still resists, introduce her to your favorite single player roleplaying game. It can be an old one. The quality of the graphics is not as important as the gameplay (which is arguably always the case), and your passion for the game as well as your interest in how she is progressing will be flattering and encouraging.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: Introducing friends and family to WoW

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.



You play WoW... a lot. Your non-playing friends and family don't understand and feel neglected. So you have the perfect solution: introduce them to WoW! Be careful what you wish for. You may find that your brother (or bestfriend or significant other) has a not so pleasant online persona. Here are the most common categories of noob inductee to watch out for:

The Timesucker: This person is usually playing while working or parenting. You make an appointment to play with her and she's there: on time and enthusiastic. But then the phone rings. A little later, a child needs discipline. You finally finish a quest and an afternoon snack must be prepared. So many understandable priorities take precedence over WoW and you end up spending an hour or more hanging around the Valley of Trials all dressed up and no one to power level.

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Filed under: Azeroth Interrupted

The Dangers of Internet Parenting: an Azeroth Interrupted Special Feature

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

A local Philadelphia news station covered this story yesterday about the dangers of MMO addiction. It is a more responsible article than most because it quotes an actual psychologist as saying that most people have no problem playing WoW, just the people who have problems dealing with reality. On a related note, the always delightful Jack Thompson seems to have sent out another letter, this one to Microsoft, about Halo 3 being marketed to underage gamers. I'm not going to get into a discussion about the merits of Jack's case (cough media slut cough) or the impossible task of marketing to 17 year olds, but not 16 year olds. I also don't want to belittle addiction. Addiction is a real and horrible thing that ruins more lives than just the addict's, whether the addiction is WoW or alcohol or whatever. Often addicts will move from one addiction to another, unable to cope with life without a crutch. I, unfortunately, know somebody like this.

The problem I have with the Internet Addiction news story, all news stories like it and everything having to do with Mr. Virtual Ambulance Chaser is the fact that it is "news" that children don't do well when they are electronically babysat. Well, duh.

More on this topic and some solutions after the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Azeroth Interrupted

Azeroth Interrupted: Introducing a column about balancing life in Azeroth with life on Earth

Each week, Robin Torres contributes Azeroth Interrupted, a column about balancing real life with WoW.

My husband, who plays WoW 5 to 6 hours a day at a minimum, informed me the other day that playing video games in general and WoW in particular was very unproductive. Most people would give him the Captain Obvious award, but I consider the timing of the statement a bit odd, considering WoW Insider just hired me to write a regular column (yay!) about balancing real life with WoW. Certainly, playing WoW can range from being a very pleasant escape to ruining your life, but that is actually the case with any hobby or recreational activity. The fact is that, with a little effort and planning and lots of learning from mistakes, you can successfully balance real life with WoW and even use WoW to make real life better.

There are many examples of WoW players using their hobby for being productive, and I am not even talking about the despised and pitiable gold farmers. I'm also not talking about the Blizzard employees, because anyone in the video game biz can tell you that working on a video game can not only ruin your fun in that game, it can make you not want to play any video game at all for a while. But there are people who use the social aspects of WoW for professional networking, there are the professionally sponsored arena teams and there are people who actually put their WoW playtime on their resumes.

Of course, there is more to life than just making money and WoW can help there, too.

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