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Posts with tag parents

How 5 minutes AFK cost one WoW player 476,000 gold

How 5 minutes AFK cost one WoW player 476,000 gold
We've all been there: leaving World of Warcraft running on our computers while we've run off to grab a soda or take a bio break. However, most of us return to find our characters safe and sound just as we left them. Not so for WoW-player 1104, who returned to his desk to find that most of his 476,000 gold was missing in action. The culprit? His 6-year-old son, who went on a pet shopping spree, picking up the rarest -- and priciest -- pets on the auction house.

It could have been worse, of course: clearing out gold isn't nearly as bad as clearing out a real life bank account, as kids have done accidentally with in-app purchases in mobile games. But still, getting half-way to the gold cap is nothing to sneeze at -- it represents a lot of time and effort, if nothing else.

So what's a WoW-playing parent to do? 1104 couldn't really blame his son, but does think this might be a sign that it's time to walk away from WoW. On the flip side, he could also take up pet collecting: he's bound to be off to a great start!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Blizzard releases parental control video

Parental controls are of paramount importance in games such as WoW, which appeal to a wide audience of young and old, and are sufficiently immersive to permit lengthy sessions. Blizzard has long advocated responsible gaming, and WoW Insider is no different. To this end, Blizzard has released a video clearly and carefully laying out all the Parental Control options available to the WoW-playing family.

These include:
  • Limited hours' play per day or per week
  • Scheduled playtimes and preset schedules
  • Limiting of the use of RealID and in-game voice chat
  • Preventing use of Diablo III's Real Money Auction House
  • Automatically generated weekly playtime reports.
These features may be useful for more than just parents. Students wishing to ensure they aren't distracted by WoW could have their own parents set up controls for them, or players who wish to limit themselves for any other reason could do the same. Additionally, any player might appreciate weekly reports of their playtime!

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items

A parent's guide to World of Warcraft for kids

Is WoW appropriate for children? While we're sure the inevitable trolls out there are already clicking straight to the comments to revile the very idea of allowing children into Azeroth, the fact is that with preparation and consistent parent moderation, WoW can be a fine fit for kids -- especially for families with parents who already spend time in Azeroth. It's definitely one of those cases in which your mileage may vary; parents who don't already play or who take a more hands-off approach to gaming will probably want to wait until their little goblins- or worgen-to-be are well into their teen years.

For players whose kids are itching to join in the family fun, though, there are plenty of ways to make World of Warcraft a productive, happy experience for kids, parents, and fellow players alike. Here's the thing: There's more to think about and more ways to throttle age-related issues than simply turning off trade chat and forbidding PUGs before walking into the other room to watch TV. We'll show you how to find the best fit for WoW with kids, teens, and even parents themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Do your kids play WoW with you?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

My 10-year-old son is quickly becoming a World of Warcraft junkie (can't imagine where he gets that from ...). He has two characters, a gnome mage and a tauren warrior. He hasn't managed to level either of them past 13, but that doesn't bother him in the least. He runs from capital to capital, fishing, riding the zeppelin or Deeprun Tram, hooking up with whichever relative is "lucky" enough to be on at that moment and even occasionally completing a quest. My brother, brave fellow that he is, actually took my son for a run through Ragefire Chasm. I still haven't heard the end of that. I confess to sometimes using his WoW obsession for nefarious purposes -- it makes a great reward for chores or homework well done!

If you have kids, do you let them play WoW? What types of characters do they play? Do you find it necessary to take any precautions? What limits do you set? Whether you do or you don't, what is your reasoning behind it? Are you concerned that they might fall in with a "rough crowd?" Do you love the idea of teaming up with your kiddo to take on Erudax? Are your kids in your guild? Chime in, all you WoW parents out there!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Drama Mamas: When NSFW guild chat aggros a parent


Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

We are planning a special Drama Mamas that talks about the results of our advice -- good or bad. Some of our letter writers have responded in the comments, but we'd love to hear from more of you. If you have had your letter answered here and would like to be included, please send us an email at DramaMamas@wow.com letting us know how your situation turned out.

Now on to this week's letter:
Last Saturday night very late in the evening and pushing into the early morning, our guild chat erupted into the usual filthy conversation as drunk people came home and got online, and those of us that were online slackened our usual standards to join in. However, this time, one of the guild members exploded after about half an hour of this, claiming that her 12-year-old child was on, that we had scarred him for life and ruined his childhood. I helpfully pointed out that perhaps she was not being the best parent for allowing her young child to be playing the game very late at night with an unfiltered chat box -- not the best move I have ever made.

This has now blown up to the point where I have left a guild I was very happy in to attempt to ease the obvious grief that the guild leaders were getting from this person. Unfortunately, this has not stopped it, as many of the guild members who were involved are still arguing about the situation and are disappointed that I have left. This guild member is now going to report us all to Blizzard and attempt to get us all banned from the game permanently. I was hoping for a neutral view on this.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

WoW, Casually: Playing WoW with your teen

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.

Last year, I talked about playing with preschoolers and reading-age children. Several months later, I'd like to continue the series by tackling the topic of teens. I'm now tempted to talk in tantalizing alliteration, but I really can't keep it up. Anyway...

Teens provide a completely different challenge than the young children we've discussed before. Teens are already extremely competent readers, experience Trade Chat-like talk in school on a regular basis and have the coordination skills required to fully play the game. So they don't need the coddling and constant supervision, but that doesn't mean that the benefits of parents playing with teens aren't just as valuable.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

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

Drama Mamas: Let the drama begin!

Let the Drama Mamas guide you through the sticky business of dodging drama, toward becoming that player everyone wants in their group. Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Getting your own 15 Minutes of Fame is not a bad thing – except when it's for all the wrong reasons. Leave the drama, Dear Reader, to the denizens of GuildWatch. Introducing WoW.com's Drama Mamas, here to help you stay out of the wrong kind of spotlight. 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.

What to do, what to say? Let the Drama Mamas guide you:
  • The polite way to share quest monsters
  • When someone "accidentally" ninjas your loot
  • When you accidentally ninja someone else's loot
  • Handling the (nice but annoying) pest
  • When your friend's significant other is an awful player
What's your dilemma? Send your questions to the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

And now, on to the matters at hand ...

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Drama Mamas

German Social Affairs minister calls for higher rating on World of Warcraft

Germany is reeling from a shooting rampage committed by a 17-year-old, and as happens in many of these situations, politicians are looking for answers to why a young man would do this to his community. One of the answers they've found so far is videogames. While we don't actually know if the young man played games or not (or what he played), Germany's Minister for Social Affairs Mechthild Ross-Luttmann is calling for a few games, World of Warcraft among them, to be moved up from an age 12+ rating to an adults-only classification.

The tie between the shooter and WoW is slim. But a new study over there says that 50,000 to 60,000 minors could be classified as addicted to videogames. And the combination of the two events is causing Ross-Luttman to call for stronger ratings on "addictive" games like World of Warcraft. It's also interesting to note that in the US, the game is rated T by the ESRB, which actually calls for children 13 and up to play it, one year older than the German standard.

But of course there are two conclusions here. First, every parent needs to take responsibility for what their younger children do: if these kids are addicted, parents need to step in and make sure things get straightened out. As a former employee of a gaming retail store, I can tell you that ratings only go so far. The responsibility has to lie with the parents. And secondly, while Ross-Luttmann is apparently using the shooting to try and push this agenda against addiction, the young man involved in the shooting was experiencing deep depression, and had access to firearms that he probably shouldn't have had. Changing game ratings is fine, but it won't do anything to help when you've got much bigger problems to deal with first.

[via GamePolitics]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

Man arrested for assaulting girl he met in World of Warcraft

Here's an unfortunate World of Warcraft mention in the news: a man has been arrested and charged with all sorts of terrible things for having a relationship with a 14-year-old girl that he originally met in Azeroth. Daniel Joseph Czelusniak is 23 and from North Royalton, Ohio, and is being held by Pennsylvania State Police after having a relationship with the girl last year, meeting at a hotel and her house. He originally met her four years ago (when she was 10 but apparently claimed she was 14) while they were both playing World of Warcraft.

Of course, this is hardly the game's fault: parents of young children need to closely supervise their activity online while they're doing anything, be it browsing the Internet or fighting dragons in Northrend. WoW itself is rated T by the ESRB, which means no children under the age of 13 should really be playing it without parental supervision anyway, and the added online component of the game should be even more of a red flag for anyone overseeing younger children. This is a great game (and you couldn't find a nicer community of people who play it), but there are the same dangers in this environment as anywhere else your child might go online.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

UC Irvine studies differences between Chinese and US players

Our good friends at the OC (don't call it that) Register have an article up about how the University of California at Irvine has received a grant to study the differences between US and Chinese players of World of Warcraft. And the differences are fairly interesting: apparently US players use many more UI mods and addons than Chinese players do. Additionally, more Chinese players play the "more challenging version of the game" (seems like they mean PvP servers to us, though that may change with yesterday's big news), and Chinese players, say the researcher, tend to talk more about color schemes and architecture than American players. Finally, the demographics are fairly different -- here in the states, women make up 20 percent of the playing audience, and in China that number is almost halved. And while people here may play with parents or even grandparents, in China, the older generation isn't interested in the game at all.

These observations seem more to be based on anecdotal evidence of Chinese players in cafes more than anything else, but the study is just getting started, so maybe with some more research they can come up with some more solid numbers (or even more reasons) showing why this is the case. But it's interesting that inspecting how people play this game in two different countries can reveal something about the cultural differences between each.

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

Forum post of the day: Where's my big brother

At one point in time Chuck Norris jokes dominated trade chat. Then it was the Murloc game. I'm sure we've all noticed that now it's the anal <insert spell> gibberish that now floods the channel. Dolce of Blackrock believes that it's time the Blizzard begin moderating trade channels during prime time. The chat channel can be turned off, but then it loses utility for valid messages such as selling enchants, transmutes, and well, general trade.

As a parent, Dolce continued his argument:

Wow has a very broad appeal and the average parent would look at the packaging of the World of Warcraft and assume that it is nothing more than a fantasy game where their son or daughter can play with their friends and have "adventures".
The average parent I imagine (and this is merely a broadstroke comment based on the huge playerbase), may not have any sort of familiairity with online games, and even to a certain degree, computers as a whole.
Asking parents (although I am extremely attentive to what my childrens activities are) to have an intimate knowledge of joining and exiting out of city channels is a bit extreme. Perhaps if there were parental controls that you could set ot make this easier...... /wink
In any event I would not be suprised to see some news anchor with some over the top expository on the lewd and profane content that is seen in WoW spun out of context in the near future.
I would say they would be killing a variety of birds with one stone if they simply moderated these popular channels.

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

Breakfast Topic: Father's Day for gamers

Happy Father's Day, to all of you fathers out there!* If you and yours aren't the type to go out and about on a day like this, never fear. For the family that games together, I Heart Chaos has 8 great ideas for an Azerothian Father's Day. A few other things that come to mind for Dad's special day:
  1. Roll a new alt with your pops, maybe crossing your primary faction lines. Sometimes leveling together is more meaningful than twinking an alt.
  2. Talk your guild into having a Father's Day raid night! Take your dad to Karazhan or Zul'Aman, assuming he isn't further progressed than you are. Hey, don't give me that look. My raid has Dads in some pretty phat purps. Yes, I did just say 'phat'. And 'purps'. Don't judge me!
  3. Fill his mailbox with delicious cake.
Do any of you have Father's Day plans in Azeroth, or any Father's Day plans at all?

*Sorry if I missed any of you!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Leveling

What's your guild's age spread?

One of my favorite WoW podcasts(besides our very own, of course) is Casually Hardcore from WoW Radio. They're a very fun bunch and they cover the topic of age fairly often in their fan mail.

I realize a lot of young people play WoW, but I haven't had much direct experience with the really young crowd. As far as I know, I've only played with someone under 16 a couple of times since late 2004. I'm 21 now, and I'm actually the third youngest person in my guild, and there's only a few others younger than I am in our entire guild alliance. We probably just fall short of 200 people across all of the guilds, so the idea of people so young playing WoW is actually quite strange to me. I see parents saying "AFK, my daughter needs me" more often than kids or teens saying "sorry guys, I have school in the morning."

While there are definitely mature younger people playing WoW(I like to think that I was/am one... maybe) but I haven't honestly had much experience with the younger crowd at all. I'm willing to bet money that my guild's average age is somewhere in the high 20s. What about you guys, willing to take a guess? Is your guild younger? Older? A mix of all sorts?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

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