What advice would you give to your own children on playing online games? As a parent, and an avid gamer, it is a question I’ve found myself pondering a lot recently.
Don’t make friends with weirdoes! Don’t talk crap on Vent! Don’t pvp in your pve gear! Don’t get wasted and invite all your online friends round for a party!
Of course, it is hard to give advice on things when you are guilty of them yourself.
Recently, I rediscovered Rudyard Kipling’s “If”. An incredible poem, and it inspired an answer to my question; what gaming advice do I try to give my child?
To my darling daughter
It seems like only yesterday that you were lying in my arms at 3am, crying the night away, whilst I scoured the internet for clues on where your “off” button was.
In the tender years that followed you learned to walk, talk, dance, read and steal my phone, unlock said phone and play angry birds on it. I am in no doubt that by the end of another 5 years you will have surpassed me in height, intellect and gaming savvy.
But if you do grow to love online gaming, as much as your mother and father have done, then please take a while to read these words and listen to the message they contain.
If you can keep your head, and /smile and /apologise,
Never daring to blame it on the “lag”
When all about you are losing their cool, and blaming you for “leeroy-ing”,
If you can trust your build when all others doubt your heal/dps combo
But make allowance for their doubting and read up on your class
Then be prepared to test and to get it wrong and then to be honest in your findings,
If you can wait for hours on end for that battle-ground or epic fight
And not tire of the waiting nor indulge in smack-talking your group leader
After rushing home from work to gear up only to log off with no fight 6 hours later,
If you can read the stats, do the math and equip that terrible looking gear set
Because it does the job your group needs you to do
Even though that elf in the sexy-but-useless-bikini-armor looks way prettier,
If you can make the time to organise events or bring supplies
And give something back in support of your guild or kinship or corporation
And aspire not to be the member who only ever takes away,
If you can ignore the haters and the ignorant, the impatient and the rude
But never deal in hate or grief or lies or ignorance
And only ever give back patience, witty smack or cat pictures in response,
If you can be the master of your profession with full end-game gear
And glowing weapons; a mighty beacon of awesome gamer prowess on your server
Yet still find time to help the new guy kill 10 rats,
If you can understand the boundaries and rules and play what is actually in front of you
And not cry for being PK’d when you were sitting around making pretty potions
Whilst being subscribed to “Everyone Must Die Online”,
If you can make the best of friends with people that you’ve never “met”
And understand that some will stay by your side for many online adventures
Whilst others, whose company you will come to love, will simply drift away,
If you can lose it all – your loot, your credits, your skills, your guild
And not make bitterness your master nor let fear unsubscribe you
But take a deep breath, re-roll, and start all over again
Having learned some vital lessons and grown a little wiser,
Then yours are the virtual worlds and all that is in them
And, which is more, you’ll be one awesome girl gamer my love.