My Mom Plays WoW

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.

Thanks Mom!

Thanks Mom!

You get your mount in the mail with the attached letter:

zhevra_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.

12 thoughts on “My Mom Plays WoW

  1. Syrana

    Awesome! My husband and I got my parents to start playing in November. My Mom continued to play and has surpassed level 40 now, while my dad is trying to find time to roll a new character.

    I know what you mean about taking some aspects of the game for granted (like repairing, vendoring) and figuring out how/when to explain things. But it’s been fun having them join us in-game!

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  2. Swift Voyager

    Yep, I got my daughter into the early Wizard 101 Beta with me. My mom saw us playing and got herself an account. I lost interest several months ago, my daughter still plays once in a while, and my mom forgets to start dinner because she’s in a quest. lol. She’s completely hooked and I fear I’ve made here a hardcore gamer by mistake.

    In a strange twist of fate, I went back to Eve after I quit Wizard 101. My daughter (nearly 13 years old) got interrested after seeing me play and she signed up for a trial account yesterday. She was awake an hour early for school today so that she’d have time to change a skill training. :) …that’s a good girl.

    Wizard 101 was the first MMO either of them ever played, but that’s very much an MMO-Lite game, so the learning curve was nice and gentle. I’m quite sure my daughter will “figure out” eve, since she already understands much about it from watching me. My mom has said that she’s going to quit Wizard 101 soon. I wonder if she’ll be lured into Eve by my daughter, and if so, whether she’ll be able to handle the game. The built-in voice comms in Eve make it very attractive for family play.

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  3. tenfoldhate

    Heh heh, that’s awesome. My Mom’s retiring next year, and she claims that she wants to pick up “gaming” as a hobby once she’s through with work. I’m not sure if she’ll have the patience for the learning curve that comes with first encountering MMOs, but I’m hoping she can translate her ebay addiction to playing the virtual market in EVE or WoW or something. I’m sure my Dad will thank me…

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    One fun aspect of the whole thing is that my mom is not yet “quest jaded,” so she reads all the quest text and follows the story arcs through the game.

    So, while I always know what we need to do, she usually knows why, and usually then explains that to my daughter who, like me, just clicked “accept” and moved on. Then I say, “Uh huh” like I knew the reason all along.

    Like

  5. Placebo Effect

    I’ve been helping my 45 year old brother (I’m 26) level his first character in World of Warcraft.

    Long story short, it took 30 minutes to explain how to post an item on the auction house =/

    Explaining an MMO is hard enough, but to explain it to someone with no basic computer operating skills, even worse! (He didn’t know what a “tab” was)

    ~Keystone

    Like

  6. Gribblethemunchkin

    This is a heart warming tale. Its sad you never see stories like this in the main stream press, only idiots like Jack Thompson screaming that video games will make us all psychopaths.

    Stuff like this can bring families together to have fun, Wil Wheaton gave a speech at the Penny Arcade Expo in which he mentions spending quality time with his son playing guitar hero and how enjoyable they both found it.

    Hurrah for fun family gaming! Now if only i can get my semi-retired folks in EVE. A man can dream.

    Like

  7. Kilanna

    *sigh*

    I wish my Mum would try and understand what is so much fun about MMO’s and not just write it off strait away. She doesnt get my interest – you are soooo lucky!!!

    Like

  8. Ess

    Hehe, that is so awesome. My parents always bought us computer games, but would never play them. They never seemed to embrace leisure time the way that we did. My mom never retired at all, and when my dad finally retired, he immediately got another job! Crazy!

    I have managed to snag one of my sisters and her husband into WoW though. It’s been a total blast watching them discover the game. We created a small alt guild with them so that we can more easily chat, share items through the bank, and we also meet up one night per week to run instances. I got us some cheap space on a vent server so we can all blabber and catch up with one another while we’re adventuring, too. It’s really helped us keep in touch. :)

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  9. Gallaria

    Wilhelm had the patience of a saint when it came to the beginning WoW – which is MoM upside down.

    Now I’m in the process of downloading LORTO – and have encountered sign up hell. It will probably take longer than the 10-day free trial period to quit getting all the error messages on Internet Explorer when creating an account. “Your user name and password don’t match” Right! Then you get the “you’ve used up your attempts…try again later” BS – Oh what fun.

    Then it’s back to my now level 21 night elf hunter, or the level 13 human warlock, or the…and so it goes.

    The fun of playing with son and granddaughter 2500 miles away makes it all worthwhile! Oops, just got attacked by a Harvest Golem – bye!

    Like

  10. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    So remember, my mom now reads the blog.

    And be worried. She was saying just last night that EVE Online looked interesting. She’ll probably end up in Mynxee‘s all-girl pirate corp, Hellcats, and I’ll be all, “Mom, you can’t ransom my ship, I’m your son!”

    Like

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