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Posts with tag parents

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

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

Leveling Mom and Dad through Zul'farrak

I think there's something so awesome about this story from Rufus on Livejournal-- his mom and stepdad have never gamed before, but they've leveled two characters up to 40, and during a run in Zul'farrak, they actually took on a whole gang of mobs, and lived.

We've talked about playing with older folks before, but that's not even the best part of this story-- the best part, in my view, is the thought of two people discovering that they can do something they never thought possible. There is definitely an accomplishment and a thrill that comes with gaming (and this game especially-- taking out trolls is always fun), and it's awesome to think that these two were able to discover that.

I did a run of Dire Maul last night on my up-and-coming Hunter, and just like that Blackrock Depths run a little while back, there were a few newbies in the group-- we had to explain tanking and aggro a couple of times, and I had to use Feign Death. But even through just the chat channel, you could tell they were having a ball running through all the demons in the old elven city. That kind of stuff definitely makes me happy this game is around.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances

All the World's a Stage: Drawing the line on ERP

All the World's a Stage is brought to you by David Bowers every Sunday evening, investigating the mysterious art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

There are some people out there who use online games as a venue for their erotic fantasies, from husbands and wives spending some imaginative time together online, to complete strangers flush with desire and looking for some sort of satisfaction in each other. Most of these people who try out Erotic Role-Playing (or ERP) in WoW realize the need to keep it private; they do whatever they do in private chat channels, where it stays their own affair.

But there are a rare few who take ERP to an extreme: they form a guild whose whole purpose is to engage in ERP, and proceed to garner a largely negative reputation for themselves. They wear their suggestive guild name like a sign above each of their character's heads, as if to draw as much attention to themselves as possible. Their members indulge in various sexual fantasies, some of which may even be extremely distasteful and objectionable, played out in an environment where everyone is encouraged to "explore" with one another in anonymity.

Obviously, the moral danger here is that young people may be tempted to wander in, way before they are mature enough to understand or deal reasonably with what they experience there. We generally assume adults to be responsible for themselves in such matters, but children may very well be confused and curious, even willing to lie about their age in order to unravel such adult secrets. Indeed, ERP is a subject matter that the vast majority of players do not want to see -- least of all parents who like their kids to grow and learn from their interactions with others within the game, or at least have a safe and fun experience. Therefore, roleplayers of any sort have a responsibility to keep the public environment clean and safe for all who play there, and for the few involved with ERP guilds to do otherwise is dangerous and unethical.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Addon Spotlight: WoW Timer


It's so easy to lose track of time when playing World of Warcraft. You start out grinding this reputation, leveling that alt, then get invited to go run an instance, then come back and check the auction, then inspect some people standing around in their pretty epics... and suddenly discover that it's 1 in the morning and you've spent many more hours playing this game than you had planned.

Then again, for some people, limiting themselves isn't at all the problem -- it's limiting their kids they worry about! Their children agree to only play for 1 hour, but then 2 or 3 hours go by and they're still in there at the computer, saying, "But Daaaaad, I forgot!"

If either you or your loved one needs a gentle reminder about how much time has gone by while adventuring in Azeroth, WoWTimer may be the addon for you.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Dealing with younger players, both good and bad

We've covered this kind of thing a few times before (quite a while ago-- man I'm getting old), but it's an issue that I find perpetually interesting. Tviokh over at WoW Ladies had to deal with a bad kid in her guild-- he constantly requested help for stuff that was easy to do himself, and constantly bugging the guild to try and fight a world dragon that no one really had any interest in fighting. Finally, the kid blew up in whiny 10-year-old fashion, and /gquit... only to pester another guild with his whining and begging.

Now, I should emphasize (since I am older, and have learned to be more and more patient over the years) that this is in fact a bad kid. While there are lots of younger players in Azeroth, not all of them are whiny beggars, and there are quite a few of them that are fun to have around. We've got a kid in our guild, and while he misses quite a few raids (because he has a little bit of a problem doing his homework sometimes-- his parents are in touch with our GM, and the fact that they keep him from playing when he shouldn't be only tells me that they're good parents), he's a fun guy to have around, and a respectable hunter.

Yes, he sometimes bugs us (as level 70s) to run Sunken Temple with him because it's his favorite instance, but in general he's a good kid. So Tviokh's experience isn't necessarily the norm.

Then again, there is part of me that still wants that adults only server, and I can definitely understand why some guilds don't allow younger players. But, as I'm sure WoW-playing parents will attest, not all kids are trouble.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Fan stuff, Virtual selves

Blame the Parents?

By now, you've all probably heard the tragic story of a 13-year-old Chinese boy who committed suicide after a marathon session playing Warcraft 3. The parents of the boy have filed a lawsuit against the game's Chinese distributors, but the author of this article from the University of South Florida Oracle makes the case that the boy's parents, rather than the game, are really to blame.

Although the article is short & doesn't give much reasoning to back up the author's point, I have to say that I agree, at least in principle. It is the parent's responsibility to teach their children the difference between fantasty & reality, after all. I have, and have always had, serious doubts about the media's ability to 'corrupt' our children, as long as we're talking about a sane, well-adjusted child to begin with.

As Dennis Miller once said on the subject: "If your kids can be influenced by anything Gene Simmons has to say, then you're not doing your job as a parent somewhere down the line." I don't see where video games are any different. What do you all think?

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

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