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Posts with tag age

Is it time for age restricted servers?

Anyone who has been playing WoW for a bit knows that this game is unique in that both adults and children can enjoy it at the same time. Indeed this duality can be considered one of the best features of the game. How often can you sit down with your son or daughter and truly enjoy the same video game? Besides the amazing adventures of Dora The Explorer, other kid friendly games like Disney Online's Toon Town and Club Penguin just don't provide the same level of enjoyment for adults and their children. (What's the game in Dora, you ask? Assisting her in finding the red berries or yelling at Swiper. See this not-safe-for-work Kevin Smith YouTube excerpt for an explanation.)

However with that in mind, there are some compelling arguments that its due time for World of Warcraft to get a few age restricted servers.

For starters, take a look at what Second Life has done. They're a pretty successful venture, and have a lot of parallels to MMORPGS like WoW. They've created a server called Teen Second Life in which they do their best to only allow teenagers between the ages of 13 – 17 access. When you turn 18 you're moved up to the adult server along with all your gear and property. Of course this has the same pitfalls as any other internet site where you can fake your identity, but it is a start; and a good one since Linden Labs actively polices age restrictions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, News items

Breakfast topic: How young is too young for World of Warcraft?

Does it take a certain level of maturity to play World of Warcraft? In the past we have asked for opinions on how comfortable people are gaming with players of all ages. The general consensus seemed to be that behavior is more important than numerical age.

Surely there is value in gaming for young people. Although a full-grown adult when I started playing World of Warcraft, games have always been a passion of mine. They have fostered creativity and logic. Recently our Lisa Poisso featured a guild for Unschoolers, who use WoW as a tool for self-guided education. When appropriately supervised and balanced, the game can be a fun, family activity.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Features

On age discrimination

Fraid is a young player who says that people show discrimination towards teenagers in WoW. He plays maturely and responsibly, so well that most of the time other players are surprised to find out how young he is. Yet he often encounters guild requirements that say one's age must be 21 or higher to join. Is this fair?

In my own experience I've certainly met kids like Fraid who can behave just as well as (if not better than) most of the adults I've encountered in WoW. I've also met players who came across as bragging and became very difficult for me to deal with until a friend said "They're only 12," and I understood. After that, I found it much easier to tolerate the things they were saying as just part of being a teenager rather than some plot to make me feel inadequate. Another time, I went through several 2-vs-2 arena matches in which my friend was strangely quiet, and yet playing very well. Afterwards, my friend explained that it wasn't her at the keyboard, it was her 10-year old friend. This friend isn't very good at typing and talking, but he certainly knows how to play!

Kids can be fantastic players, or lousy ones, just like anyone else you might encounter -- it isn't right to judge them based on age alone. The fair way to deal with kids in WoW is to give them a chance to show their skill, and even to help them improve however you can. If they prove unreasonable, then kick them out the same way you would an unreasonable adult. For those adults who just exclude young people from their activities altogether without giving them a chance, there's no denying it is prejudice -- judging before knowing -- and it often means depriving yourself of some quality talent for your group. Of course, if your guild does some sort of ERP, or other "adult" activities, then by all means, exclude away! But in normal gaming, especially in a casual guild or a PuG, there's really no reason a kid shouldn't be allowed to join unless they've already shown themselves unable to do what's required of them. Anyone who says, "some of these people are not fun to be around, so I'll just exclude the whole lot of them," has some growing up of their own to do.

[Thanks Raegn!]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Forums

The odd couple, playing together

Playing with friends is probably the most fun you can have in WoW-- while it's fun to solo, a good group is where it's at, and there's no better group then playing with people you know. Unfortunately, because even people who have a lot in common hardly ever level at the same rate, level differences grow quicker than expected, and pretty soon it's just not possible to play with friends without someone wasting their time.

Until friendship shows up anyway. Lev over at WoW Ladies writes about an interesting duo she made with another player-- after joining up for a quest in Winterspring, they've rolled 10 levels together, and even played on their alts. And the weirdest thing is, she's 22 and he's 14, so you don't think they'd have a lot in common, but she says they play together great (she has a younger brother, and she compares their relationship to that). In the comments, someone about her age confesses to being grouping buddies with an 80-year-old person, and someone else tells a story of leveling up 40 levels with someone they met in game.

Makes me kind of jealous, actually-- I've played a long time with the same people at 60 (and now 70), but leveling, I was never at the right rhythm to really grow with anyone else, either in common or otherwise. On my very first character, I played a night elf hunter (duh), and got some help from a night elf priest on how to start playing the game. I still have that guy on my friends list on that realm, and still see him play online, but he outstripped me in terms of levels a long, long time ago (he's 70, and my hunter is stuck in the late 50s). Now, it'd be nice to somehow technically be always able to play with friends (you could have instances that averaged your levels, or just play with premades, which is what I think Guild Wars does), but I think that's just one of the drawbacks of having a leveling system-- unless you only play those characters together, someone will always fall ahead or drop back.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Quests, Leveling

How old are those playing your class?

Mianii of the Ursin realm is collecting data in a forum thread on the average ages of players. She has organized the information by class, and what she has found so far is pretty interesting. Each person that posts in the thread includes their class and age and she adds it into her calculations (eww math). Currently the average age of paladins polled is 22.88, while the average age of rogues polled is 16.24. Weirdly enough, mages average at 34.74, so yay for me being ahead of the curve for once.

Now before we start making conclusions based on these numbers, we have to realize she is polling forum posters, and that is a very small segment of the player population. I would love to be able to get access to this data from Blizzard, since I am sure they are storing demographics somewhere. If we had an accurate idea of the ages of the players then we could start forming generalizations about age, attitude, and class mechanics and behavior.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Classes

New Daedalus data: girls heal and play elves, kids play Horde

This has been the common wisdom, or at least a stereotype, for quite some time, but apparently female players really are more likely to prefer healing than male players are. The Daedalus Project, one of my favorite sites about MMOs, has published some new results. The site focuses on sociological research about MMOs and MMO players, and among other things, the new results look at the gender and age breakdowns of how MMO players would respond to various hypothetical questions.

There were four questions asked, although one of them is only slightly applicable to WoW. For nice charts (as seen above) and full data, see the site, but I'll summarize the interesting points here, question-by-question. Note that it's possible that this data, being an aggregate of players of different MMOs, does not represent WoW well. I doubt it, however; given WoW's market dominance, most of the respondents probably are WoW players. Edit: note that in my summaries below, I'm merely point out trends, not causes. I'm not trying to say (for instance) that girls heal because they're girls; there are many other factors at play here.

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Filed under: Virtual selves

Breakfast Topic: No children, please!

I recently overheard someone giving advice on how to avoid guild drama: avoid teenagers. Why? Because nothing loses respect for a guild leader more than their parents kicking them off the computer in the middle of a raid.

It's an interesting point, but I've noticed this sort of age discrimination becoming more prevalent recently. People are happy to tar all WoW's younger players with the same brush -- one experience of an abusive fourteen-year-old in Barrens chat blows up into a strong dislike of all under-18s, resulting in "mature-only" guilds which only take players over 30 (for example).

My experiences, especially of the last few months, have shown me that teenage players can be as mature and responsible as anyone -- perhaps more laid-back than older players who have limited playtime thanks to jobs and other responsibilities. Have you suffered from the common stereotypes of younger players? Do you cringe whenever the words "fourteen-year-old" are used as an insult? Or are you happily entrenched in a mature-only guild without a single curfew in sight?

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics

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