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Posts with tag family

Breakfast Topic: Connecting with loved ones

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

In our age of technology and isolation, we often unintentionally turn a cold shoulder to our pals and relatives for a number of reasons. Sometimes we may give them a quick five-minute call once a month to say hello, just to feel like we're holding up our end of the relationship. Pokes on Facebook or comments on Myspace (who uses that anymore?) are basically the same concept. It seems that the more methods of communication we develop, the less we properly utilize them.

Being the mushy dude that I am, I prefer physical contact. I want to see my brother, best friend or mother's eyes light up when I tell a joke. I want to be able to be gossiped up by my grandmother as she cooks a family-favorite meal in the house she's lived in for over 40 years. But sadly, I realize that most of us are given very few chances as adults for such real-life connections.

However, technology has helped bridge the gap between loved ones in one very unusual place: Azeroth. The closest I've ever gotten to "being there" with someone hundreds of miles away is through the use of an avatar. World of Warcraft has given me the opportunity to connect with friends whom I haven't seen since years back, and my mother, who always complained that I didn't call her enough before I introduced her to this game. Granted, Granny and I won't be standing in the kitchen chatting and preparing a meal when we next see each other; instead, we'll be running through the Plaguelands blowing up zombies and skeletons to smithereens -- which, in my opinion, sounds so much cooler.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

15 Minutes of Fame: When the guild family is literally all family

15 Minutes of Fame is's look at World of Warcraft personalities of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Looking for group? Not in this family. We've featured players before who share playtime with family members, but we're not sure that we've ever visited with anyone who actively plays WoW with every member of her immediate family ... and then some. First, there was Fizzcrank (US-A) player Artio and her husband Anomoly. Then Artio's 59-year-old mother decided to investigate what the couple was up to all the time. Hooked, she brought Artio's father into the fold. The oldest sister followed suit. Look who's playing now: Artio and her husband, her mother, her father, her two brothers, her two sisters, two spouses, Artio's two brothers-in-law and four grandchildren ... Not to mention the "extended family" of real-life friends.

Does this family run its own groups and 10-man raids? Of course! "My dad loves his pala-tank and becomes quite obsessive about gearing him with the best pre-ICC gear he can find, while my mother's hunter is doing more damage to the wildlife than Nesingwary," Artio reports. "It's a wonderful feeling to have three generations of WoW players together tackling anything from old-school content to newer heroics." Follow us past the break to meet this WoW-playing family.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Wasting no time gaming

15 Minutes of Fame is's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

David French is a busy guy. Take a glance over his bio: A graduate of Harvard Law School and David Lipscomb University, French serves as senior counsel and director of the university litigation project for a large non-profit legal organization. He is also a captain in the United States Army Reserve and recently returned from a year-long deployment to Iraq with the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, where he earned a Bronze Star. The former president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, he also taught at Cornell Law School and served as a partner in a large law firm. He is the author of four books and numerous op-eds. Regularly interviewed by both print and broadcast media, David has a guest on The O'Reilly Factor, ABC World News Tonight, The Fox Report with Shepard Smith, Special Report with Brit Hume, and Your World with Neil Cavuto, among others. He has been profiled in several magazines and appears regularly on dozens of radio programs, including National Public Radio. He is a married father of two.

There's one more thing that David French's bio doesn't mention: He's cleared the first wing of ICC-10 on two toons, ICC-25 on one and still found time to wipe for hours on Festergut. ("Good times.")

This is the story of how (and why) he does it all.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Are you in a parent-friendly raiding guild?

Recently, I wrote about the raiding as a parent and many of the commenters mentioned that they belong to raiding guilds that are extremely family friendly. These guilds are made up of parents who have similar schedules and little ones who may interrupt at inconvenient times. I knew these guilds existed, but I didn't think they were very common. In fact, I thought they were rare and wonderful things, like playgrounds without graffiti.

It is very important for parents, particularly of small children, to get some child-free leisure time in every day. But you are a parent 24/7, so no time is completely child-free. Most guilds understand when you have to AFK for emergencies and you don't make a habit of it, but few guilds want you to raid with them if your AFKing is more regular. Also, start times for parent-friendly guilds are post-bedtime which is often a couple hours later than guilds with child-free players who eat dinner at their desks while preparing for their raids.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Raiding

WoW, Casually: Deciding to raid as a parent

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

I finally hit 80 on my druid, Freja and since I am in The Spousal Unit's raiding guild, I was immediately able to put on some nice purples to help gear myself up. But gear myself up for what? Raiding has become much more accessible to those of us with limited playtime, but do I really want to go there?

Raiding involves more than just a contiguous block of time during which you can participate in a large group activity. Raids need and expect quite a lot from its members – more than just showing up and downing a few objectives, like you can in AV. If you, like me, are the primary caregiver in your household and have many other pursuits vying for your time, you need to consider many factors before making the decision to wade into the endgame.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, WoW, Casually

Ready Check: Casual meets hardcore

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Archavon or Algalon, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, I attempt to find common ground with a casual player who's never raided and doesn't want to.

This weekend, I spent several hours talking shop with a woman who, as well as being a casual player, also has the unfortunate privilege of having given birth to me some time previously. As well as being my mum, Lynn is a gamer, and a few years ago I managed to lure her away from Guild Wars -- where she never got past level 10 -- to WoW. She now plays a level 80 enhancement shaman, as well as uncountably many alts (far more than me, and I'm an altoholic).

However, she's very cautious about group play. She socialises with her guild and has run the odd 5-man dungeon, but doesn't really understand the scene beyond that. Despite playing more than enough hours to join a raiding guild, she hasn't, and with raiding now very much accessible to all, I was curious why.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Ready Check (Raiding)

BRK fans post a goodbye video

A little while after BigRedKitty closed shop on his blog last week, there was another post from TJ on there asking for help with a "secret project" (that lots of you let us know about -- thanks!). And now, the secret has been revealed: a few of BRK's fans have put together a goodbye video for the knowledgeable Hunter with the big red cat, and you can watch the whole thing above.

Very touching, and very cool to see a community come together to thank someone who's done a lot for them. BRK also reported on his blog this week that he hasn't left Warcraft for good, but it does sound like the choice to focus on his real life and family rather than what happens in Azeroth was an excellent one. We've also heard, through the grapevine, that Blizzard may be honoring BRK in their own way in the future, much like they did with Phaelia of Resto4Life. We'll keep an eye out for nay Big Red items we may come across.

Filed under: Hunter, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

BRK taking a break from World of Warcraft

Our good friend and colleague Daniel "BigRedKitty" Howell has announced on his blog that he is taking a break from World of Warcraft. He's taking time off of the game and his blog to, as he says, "rededicate myself to my family." He thanks readers for their attention and kind words, and hopes that everyone will understand his decision, as well as examine their own lives to make sure that they focus on what's most important to them.

We of course wish him well -- BRK was an excellent contributor to our site and podcast, and we commend him on making the decision to do what's right for him and his family. We hope that everything turns out OK. And as many of his commenters have said, we wish him the best of luck in everything, WoW-related and otherwise.

Phaelia of Resto4Life, you'll remember, also closed her blog down recently, also choosing to focus on her family (and the sapling about to grow into it). Trying to figure out a good balance between your free time and your work and family life is a tough thing -- our Azeroth Interrupted column has covered exactly that battle. And as even Blizzard says, if any other part of your life is suffering because you're choosing to play this game or be a part of this community, it's time to make a break. Raiding the wilds of Azeroth is a lot of fun, and it's possible to do it while leading a healthy life. But if that balance ever gets thrown off, it's time to take a step back and do what's right for you and those closest to you.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Classes

Forum post of the day: Friends in low places

How much can you determine about someone from their guild tag? Andrys of Arathor believes that she should be able to rely on someone's performance based on the guild they're in. She's disappointed that she invited a low DPS player because of a guild tag. She then checked the armory profile to see that the player was ranked 8 in the guild, presumably a friends and family rank. The post finished with "Boot your friends."

I've been watching this thread for a couple of days, and am surprised it hasn't gotten more attention. Klepsacovic of Zul'jin pointed out that guild ranks are listed on the armory, and the OP should have checked there. Some people are in the habit of checking the armory for any potential groupmates? I am not, then again, I don't check guild tag either when PUGging. To me bad players can come in many flavors, tanks that don't pay attention to mana, low DPS that are not interested in constructive feedback, loot ninjas, unpleasant people, and anyone who refuses to follow directions or kill order.

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Filed under: Guilds, Instances, Raiding, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

15 Minutes of Fame: Three generations in Azeroth

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Most of us know guildmates who are related: brothers, or cousins, or even husband and wife. With the widespread popularity of gaming today, playing with family members has become commonplace. (Nightmare couples politics between the GM and incompetent DPS player #496, anyone?) But TomWolf of Sporeggar-EU (PvP-RP) isn't content to play with a mere one or two family members – he networks three generations of relatives together in an nexus of gaming and long-distance communications.

The family that plays together, stays together – even across the miles. When TomWolf and his wife Seriny flew from their home in Sweden to the Dominican Republic for their (real life) wedding, TomWolf's mother was unable to attend. She was, however, "very, very happy to attend the virtual version" in World of Warcraft ... a win/win for the entire family.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

RP Spotlight: Inadra's tale

RP Spotlight highlights little things people do to deepen their experience of the story of World of Warcraft, whether they are roleplayers or not.

Inadra's voice chills you from the very outset of her story: "I have walked on the bones of my people," she begins, "on a path so long that I could not see where it ended, or where it began..." So have you. You remember walking on those same bones, on the Path of Glory in Hellfire Peninsula -- where the corpses of the draenei people that were killed in a genocide by the Old Horde paved the way for the orcs' march to the Dark Portal and into Azeroth. (For more on the background of this genocide, find out how the orcs became so bloodthirsty.)

If you've done the quest called "Path of Glory" at Honor Hold, then you will have seen a glimpse of the tragedy in this story. Perhaps, like me, you felt touched at the cleansing of some draenei bones, reminded of real people who had suffered similar ends at the hands of merciless enemies.

Phaedria, of the Venture Co. realm, must have been touched too. She drew on this element within the Warcraft lore to craft a beautiful and heartbreaking tale of her own, set on Draenor just as the genocide against the draenei was beginning. It's about how the draenei in families such as her own faced such a terror with bravery and sacrifice, and how a few managed to survive with hope alive in their hearts. Phaedria narrates her tale in the voice of her main character, Inadra, and sets the mood perfectly, with background music, and subtle changes in her tone of voice.

It's a great piece of audiodrama; so give it about 10 or 20 minutes of your time. After listening to it, you may never see draenei, or the World of Warcraft, the same again.

[Thanks Tyche, for letting us know!]

Filed under: Quests, Draenei, Lore, RP

Forum post of the day: Cliques aren't just for high school anymore

I was under the impression that the purpose of a guild is to have a group of folks that you enjoy playing with and have common goals. It's a good way to share the game with friends and family, in addition to experiencing new adventures and progressing together. Triamala of Blackwater Raiders fears that such actions are seen as cliquish, causing drama amongst the ranks.

In a post in the Guild Relations forum she said that a previous guild of hers feel apart because of cliques and her current guild is facing the same fate. Members of her guild apparently get up in arms if she runs instances together with her husband or other friends. In a later post she admits that she is closer to the officers than other guild members because they've been playing together for quite some time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

The family that games together stays together

We've covered the topic of family members gaming together before, but Sonya Smith, Gadgetress of the OCRegister, brings an interesting story about it to light, which she learned about on her tour through Blizzard's new HQ.

Like our own Amanda Dean, J. Allen Brack, senior producer over at Blizzard Entertainment, plays World of Warcraft with one of his parents. Unlike Amanda Dean, his relationship is paternal. Brack relocated to California from Texas two and a half years ago to take his position at Blizzard, moving away from his family. Interested in the work his son had taken up, Brack's father began playing the game himself, having never been a gamer prior to that. Now they use the game as a way to spend quality time together, half a country apart.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

WoW Mom! An interview with the newest newbie on the block

I got a call from my mom on Friday night that she was having an emergency and needed me to call. It turns out the emergency was that she bought World of Warcraft and needed some instruction on how to play. Since I was at work, I told her to get started by reading up a bit on the WoW Rookie until I could spend a little more time with her. I was excited and somewhat terrified. I really hope she likes it and doesn't get too frustrated the first week.

My mom isn't what you would call a gamer. I'm not going to tell you how old she is, but she could tell you where she was when Kennedy was assassinated. She's a master Euchre player and a wiz at Scrabble. Her video gaming experience is limited to Bejeweled and online versions of card games. She used to love me watch play Tetris, but would respond like the controller was made of lava when I tried to hand it to her. I invited her to join Dungeons and Dragons sessions, but she always declined.

I moved 2,000 miles from my native Michigan for graduate school about five years ago. Since then my interactions with my mom have been limited to phone conversations and the occasional short visit. I'm really glad to get to share this time with her.

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Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves, Leveling, Classes, Interviews

Insert cute pet story here

About 3 months ago I got my first pet. His name is Max, and is a grey domestic short hair cat. He was a stray that was scratching at my apartment door on a very cold November evening. At the time it was decided that he was just going to stick around for the night, but he grew on us so quickly that we weren't able to let him go. He now is a happy member of my family, and just like the rest of them, he has to put up with me playing World of Warcraft.

Except, it's not really "putting up with" WoW, it's more like "intensely interested in what's going on." Max will often times spend the whole four hours of the night's raid spread across the desk staring at my computer screen. He'll react to the sounds, the bright flashes of light, and occasionally even other in game cats. When someone says "lol" and their character laughs, he'll jump and stare down the speaker the laugh came from.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor

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