Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to get your mom to play MMOs

Disclaimer: This comes across as if your mom is a child that needs to be taught how to do every little thing, and this may not be the case at all. I tried to write it another way and keep the meaning, but found it very hard to do so. This post assumes your mother doesn't know anything about video games, and obviously if your mom knows some things about games, you can modify this to fit your (or her) level of knowledge.

So, you want your mom to understand why you need to be online at certain times? Why you're learning another language and can't leave the computer every time she calls on you? Look no further! This will be a short but comprehensive guide on how to slowly introduce your mother to MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft or Everquest without her even knowing you're doing it! The key to all of this is sneakiness. You don't want your mom to catch on to the fact that she's being set up. This means it may take over a year to get her to take up an MMO, but it may be well worth it.

Start with Facebook

Do NOT put this image into her head. This would take over a year of daily work, not just a 20 minute log in, and she will have a hard time stopping as it is.

Something little like a facebook game is a good place to start. These will show her the helpfulness of working with others. It also shows her a little about inventory, budgeting for that big item, and I know at some point or another she'll look up a guide or codes or something. This is the big first step, to get her into the games, you'll want to convince her it's a ton of fun, and it won't take much time a day. Start one yourself and play it with her for a while. Do not rush her into it. Take it really slow and if she doesn't bite at first, just talk about it with her and explain things. 

When she starts playing, make it super easy to start. Help her get everything, walk her through everything, and make sure you have time to spare because she's going to be confused. Your best bet here, to cut down on time, is to immediately have a good guide site ready to give to her, so you're not going to have to keep going to her computer and walking her through the same things. Show her how to find everything she needs on there. Now you can discuss the game with her when you two are together. If you're playing mafia wars, complain about the jerk who keeps putting a hit out on you, if you're playing cafe world, talk about when your pie is going to be ready. The big idea is to make it become a bigger part of her life. Already, facebook games are addictive, so this strategy helps to make it feel like a real MMO. A good idea here is to also bring other people into the mix, talking about how what they do helps her play or hurts her playing, as this will get her ready for the next step. To transition out of this step, you're going to want to start to get annoyed with the game. Tell her how the next site is so much better and how it's more complex and interesting. At first she will resist, and again don't push it. Just plant the seed and water it every day, and soon you'll start seeing sprouts.


They may look cute, but they will swallow your life whole if you're not careful.

This looks silly, and it is silly, but I swear it will work. Here are the comparisons you need to use with this:
  • It takes less time, you just need to do easy dailies and play a few fast games
  • You can make money while you're offline, just like in facebook games, but the amount is based on how good you are and strategy
  • You can make more money, and there's a wider variety of things to do if you have extra time
  • There's no win or lose, and nobody can take your items from you (other than the game itself, and that's a random event that nobody really controls)
  • It's a reputable company that won't be leading you to surveys that'll try to scam you
  • You don't need to pay money to get good at it
  • If you spend time on there, you immediately get 'cred.'
  • You're playing with a bunch of kids, so you're bound to do well
  • 'Trust me, it's awesome. Just try it for a couple days, if you don't like it I'll never bother you about it again.'
You need to have prepared for this event in advance. You should have an account with LOTS of extra money and a lab map and petpet lab map. The helpful part of neopets is that it's more interactive with other people. It has more moving parts, and more strategy, so she has a chance to think a lot more for herself. There are also a gazillion websites that'll help her excel, and there's an economy in neopets that'll help her understand the in-game economy on your MMO later. She'll also pick up the basics of a player shop, and rare item collecting, and neopets recently implemented fashion (most ftp MMOs have fashion for a price). Neopets also has a Cash Shop, which is a good comparison with ftp MMOs, and a messaging system between players. There are guilds, and quests, trading, auctions, and places to visit. There are events as well, and it has its own calender of days on which something interesting might happen... It really is very close to an MMO, just web-based and cutesy. Do NOT get her into the battledome. Not only is a terrible, but it's very far away from the battle system you're going to want her to adapt to, and she'll be comparing both of them when she's learning, and there really is almost no comparison, and if she likes that system she'll start discrediting your game for not using it. When your mom starts, pimp her out. Again, help her to get a good start and good understanding for the game. By now you should have an idea of what that means. Get her acquainted with the shop system and the dailies and talk her through the things you wish someone had talked you through. Get her a profile design, this will make her feel like originality is important, which will persist when she goes to make an in-game character in your MMO of choice. This step will take a long time to get over. You may even get a little absorbed in neopets (it's not as bad as people make it sound), but remember that you're playing with her not only for fun and bonding, but to teach her to play with others as a team and work together toward a goal. Make a big goal with her. Something like getting all the avatars and both maps for her or something of similar scale. When that's done, she'll feel a little less attached to the game with less focus on what she wants to do. She will begin to get bored with secondary goals, as she won't be able to make goals that big again, there just isn't enough exciting new content that often to support that. You'll want to plant the seeds while she's almost done with her goal.

Mention the game you've been playing and the similarities. Fill her in on things going on in your guild and start to get her familiar with the terms, even though she will most likely not want to hear it, or want to talk about neopets. Don't push her to get involved, but ask her to help you decide between this and that armor, defense or attack, this or that guild... Make it look like something that's just out of her reach, and if she felt like it should could reach out and grasp this game and everything that comes with it. Make frequent comparisons to neopets so she does understand it to a point. Show it to her sometimes, so she has an idea of what it looks like and plays like. 'Market' it as the next step up from neopets that's even more interactive and requires you to work more closely with others to do more exciting things. Do NOT make it sound like an interactive Indiana Jones movie, or she'll assume her age will make it so that she can't adapt to it because it's fast paced. The best comparison I can make here is the difference between having a birthday party at home, or having it at the neighbor's pool. It's more exciting, but it's not having a party on the top of a mountain during a snowstorm. Share your goals with your mom, and let her know how long it will take you to get them. She will identify with her goals on neopets and feel nostalgic for when she was working toward a big goal. Put a LOT of emphasis on new content when you talk about your goals. Tell her 'well, something new came out that does _______ and I have it on my list of things to get next. It's really neat!!!' Soon you will have her on your side. Offer to help her download it and help her get started, or even if you can get her into your guild, that would be a good start. People like to help new players, so she'll probably feel very good about starting the game.

By this time in the program, you will know how to deal with your mom starting a new game. Expect lots of questions, and more time spent explaining things than you had to do with the previous two steps, but if you played your cards right, you just got yourself a new party member and a closer relationship with your mom! Everybody wins!

This setup isn't uncommon when one tries to take screenshots in an MMO.

Let me know what you think of my guide, I'd love to discuss it with you!! Enjoy!

Lots of love,

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