Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How to Cure your Children of Wanting to Play MMO's

Answer? Let them play them. But make sure to

  1. Be there with them.
  2. Have them follow you and your guild members.
  3. Give them enough rope to hang themselves.
  4. Do everything you can to make their stay better, literally, that way they won't think you conspired against them, and on the surface, you didn't. You let the stress of the MMO and the Guild do it for you.
I got back on City of Heroes / City of Villians, though the latter wasn't part of the picture when I left, joining my friend Kevin in Virginia. After a few nights playing, my 10 year old daughter, Maria de Guadalupe, asked me if she could play with us. I realized the game came with a 14 day free trial so I said "Sure."

Now you might ask "Why is a father introducing his TEN YEAR OLD GIRL to the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games?!"

Here's why, and the result of the evening, in an e-mail I sent to my friend Kevin and my lovely Latin wife...

Last night was too much fun. And most of that was either
  • Watching Maria become frustrated with MMO's or
  • Watching my minions slay the enemy.
I genuinely wanted to give Maria de Guadalupe the chance - it was just like D&D, I just laid all that rope out there (the old adage of giving the D&D players enough rope to hang themselves and sitting back as the DM) and did nothing on my own part to make her time miserable, other than demonstrate how a team can be frustrated with another team member's ineptitude. After that, she, once again, got stuck on some stairs with enemies hitting her, and we risked ourselves to save her, and I'm sure she understood that. Nobody likes to watch their friends go through hardship because they did something wrong.

And, as I told you, when she wanted to watch her Spanish soap opera I reminded her that you and I had gone through a lot of trouble so she could play, and what were we going to do now that she's leaving? (Soap Opera: Not like the States, they last only 6 months a piece and this one is about an ugly girl who has the most beautiful personality and intellect, literally titled "The Ugly More Beautiful," or translated I would say "The most beautiful ugly girl." Sweet show, actually. Imagine an American Soap Opera that stars an ugly lead girl. The actress is kinda like Carrie-Ann Moss/Princess Leia: pretty only if you really truss her up, and they dressed her way down for this show - Like Carrie, she's the unbeautiful progeny of two other famous actors. Unlike Carrie, she can act very well, and has, up until winning the lead on this show, made a living in comedy shows.)

Anyway, so she got to feel
  • "MMO's dictate when you can play them because of who you have to play them with."
  • She got to feel "Pulls are bad."
  • She got to feel "Not being able to navigate the world is bad."
  • She got to feel "There are some real creeps out there." (Start area creeps trying to flirt with her father playing a girl character - she's 10, and she's a girl, she's not stupid, and she can read, and all she told me afterwards were there were some really bad people online.)
She also got plenty of good. She seemed to like seeing you, but she told me afterwards you didn't talk much. I told her "You weren't in the room with me, but you're right, he's kinda quiet. When he talks, it's usually interesting." That, she knows, is like her mother. She enjoyed our social RP before you joined us most of all, I think. I will never, ever show her Second Life. Actually she wouldn't like that either - too many creeps.

But... I'm glad. If she had liked it I would have kept playing with her and taught her how to be responsible concerning the time spent playing. Either way, as she likes her NDS and some PC games, I knew MMO's (as they are the future) were going to be in her life at some point, and I figured, opportunity knocking with her saying she wanted to play with us, there was no better chance to teach her the ins and outs.

Lastly, one day my 10 year old little girl will be reading Daddy's blog, and she won't mind coming across this. She knows I do lots of things like this to teach her about the world, rather than just try to tell her how it is.

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