It is true.
Back in October when all the Hallow’s End fun was starting up in Azeroth, my daughter got very interested in watching me play World of Warcraft.
WoW is, as you may know, a very colorful game. It is bright and shiny and cartoon-like. My daughter likes to watch me play now and again, and I even let her run around town with one of my characters on occasion. But with a Halloween-like atmosphere in the game including costumes, candy, and trick-or-treat, she wanted to run around and play with me.
So I created a trial account for her (via a referral, of course) and got her set up on our iMac. She already had Skype installed on the Mac. I had put it there so we could talk while we played Toon Town. So we set up a voice connection and met up in game, me with a fresh character, her with her first character, and went out to play.
We had a good time running around and when my mom called later that evening, my daughter gushed at how much fun we had and how we talked on Skype while we played and so on.
My mother said she had a Skype account, so we went back to the game and conferenced her in and my daughter described what was going on in the game.
The running commentary sounded like enough fun that I got an email from my mother the next day saying that she was going to download the WoW trial on her MacBook Pro so she could come play with us.
And so her journey began.
My mother is not new to computers. She was working with them long before I bought that first Apple II.
My mother is not new to fantasy. The first time I read The Lord of the Rings, I borrowed her copy.
My mother is not new to role playing games. I got her to play D&D at one point.
But a computer fantasy role playing game, that would be new territory.
Of course, Blizzard had to throw in its own complications.
Once my mom signed up for an account, she started the download that would go on and on and on.
Imagine all of the problems you have ever had with the Blizzard downloader, then imagine they all happened to you before you had ever played the game.
Actually, that isn’t too big of a stretch. That describes my first install and patch experience back in 2005.
But imagine you aren’t used to big downloads of that sort.
The duration of the download, once it was finally complete, after many a false start, retry, and failure, was equal to her 14 day trial period. Basically, by the time she could play, she was no longer allowed to play.
Okay, it did not take 14 full days to download the software. But remember, my mother is not a hard core gamer. Even the idea of “start the download, go to bed, wake up and find it done” wasn’t a consideration until I mentioned it.
She did manage to miss the zombie apocalypse, and event that drove off one of my friends and upset my daughter.
She signed up for another trial account. This time she used a referral key that I sent her, so our accounts would be linked, we could summon each other, and we would get bonus experience when grouped.
So, on a Sunday afternoon in November, we managed, at last, to all meet up in game and begin to play.
And there the troubles really began.
On the one hand, I had my mother on Skype facing a game like she had never seen before. All those basic 3D world concepts that so many of us have grown used to over the years… stuff that predates EverQuest, stuff that goes back to early shooters… all that was brand spanking new to her.
How to move, turn, look, fight, see people, talk to people, use the map, buy stuff, sell stuff, wear stuff, compare stuff… all new.
And then how to do more than one of those things at once. Each task required a full stop and a few moments to figure out what was going on.
Years of gaming has made me assume certain concepts were common knowledge. My vocabulary is set to exchange information with people for whom WASD is ingrained.
I even had problems there. My mother is left handed, so she uses the arrow keys. That is fine, but that meant occasional confusion over what I meant.
Still, over time, the concepts built up.
We would play for an hour on a Saturday or a Sunday, myself, my daughter, and her, grouped up and running around the night elf starting area. That would wear my mother out.
Of course, having my daughter along, with all the attention span that being 6 years old brings to the table, helped with the wearing out. staying focused on something like a quest is tough at that age when there is something shiny in the distance or some body of water into which she wanted to jump.
Over time, the her skills developed.
She began playing at other times, when we were not on with her. She began to roll other characters, to experiment.
She began to get hooked.
Well, she was hooked when she first logged in. She loved the world.
She eventually downloaded the game to her Acer Aspire One notebook, which is a little more up to date than her MacBook. Even with the Intel Express video support and the little (to me) 9 inch screen, the game looks good and plays well.
And so, rather than watching the SuperBowl, we spent yesterday afternoon running quests together in Westfall with one of her latest characters. It was fun and enlightening. She has been through some of those quests already, so as we worked our way through, she knew where we needed to head and what we were looking for.
Which, if nothing else, meant somebody else to corral my daughter in the right direction.
I got my own little reward for getting her into WoW… aside from having family gaming on the occasional weekend afternoon. I got the Swift Zhevra mount for the referral.
You get your mount in the mail with the attached letter:
As much as I dislike the whole Nesingwary clan and their quests, I do like the mount!
We did squander the triple experience aspect of the referral though. Such is life.
But then, it isn’t like the experience curve for the first 60 levels or so in WoW are all that tough to begin with.
My mother is closing in on 20 with her dwarf hunter, he current favorite character, and is eager to get to 30 so she can work on getting a mount of her own.