Since I don’t play anything anymore, I miss getting to play online with my Mom. We had some fun times and some frustrating times.
Mom never cared if I got us into hairy situations. Mom didn’t care if I needed a night of just fishing to relax after a stupid day at work. Mom didn’t even mind spending nights gathering materials for crafting.
As long as we got to hang out, it seemed like Mom always had fun. She always offered portals to where ever we needed to go, mailed me all kinds of buff foods, and she always celebrated the in game holidays with me even if it meant taking time away from questing and leveling.
When my Mom first started, World of Warcraft was one big candy store and she was a kid again. She spent hours roaming around a new and exciting world, leaving the mundane world behind for just a few hours at a time. It really was a lot of fun watching my Mom during her first few days in WoW. As time went on I was even more proud to see how many friends she had, how far she leveled, and how much she still enjoyed the game, savoring the whole of it, even at a snail’s pace.
Sadly the first few times I started working on this post, I had a hard time maintaining it’s focus on playing WoW with my Mom. I had originally fallen into a bitter tangent on how I felt about playing games and how obsessed I always managed to get in doing so.
I guess I somehow started playing games with something to prove. I wanted to prove to the world in this space just as I have in any other, that I can do whatever I put my mind to regardless of who I am, what I am, and whatever limitations I might have.
That was stupid. Because of that blind ambition I always for got to just have fun. I fell into goal mode. I always felt like I was getting judged even if it turned out it was only me judging myself. All that pressure pushed me into spending way too much time in game and ignoring so many things. Not to mention ignoring things in game that were so much more important both in game and out.
Instead of just relaxing and having fun with my Mom, I kept thinking about how I’d make sure we had enough gold for things. I’d be obsessing over how I played my class or whether I was using the correct talent trees. I’d think about how I needed some specific gear to level faster or to just kill things more efficiently. I never pushed these thoughts on my Mom, much to the lament and confusion of friends and guild mates.
My Mom never cared about any of those things. Mom just enjoyed playing the game and getting a chance to spend time with me. Really getting to spend time with someone who cares about you is so much more valuable than any epic item. Even if she embarrasses you by telling your guild via vent that you’re table dancing in Exodar *facepalms*. Some fun things are best left unshared with a guild intent on raiding, but that’s not really something Mom ever really cared about and honestly, I think she had the right idea all along.
Today I was chatting over instant messenger with my Mom. Despite all the things we were discussing, one thing stuck out in my mind. Mom missed playing games with me too. If nothing else, I miss getting a chance to just hang out and chat while doing some fishing.
Though now I have two jobs, I’d love to find some time, maybe once a week, just to log into a game and go fishing with my Mom. Now that Lord of the Rings Online is free to play, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. Roll a Hobbit and just hang my big feet off a bridge and fish like an MMO hobo while hanging out with my Mom.
Sadly though is that pull enough to get to download and log in again? I really don’t know. It’s like saying I’ll only have one potato chip, or I’ll only watch the first 5 minutes of a movie. I don’t want to get into a game just to get mired in the grind, or obsessed with stats and progression. Only to end up ignoring the people I love while pouring all of my time and energy into a 3D vacuum.
Could I log into a game just for the fun of it? Could I learn to just enjoy games at the same level my Mom does? Maybe I should just tell Mom I’ll be on instant messenger. Yeah it’s not the same, but maybe it’s for the best. I doubt that Turbine would appreciate it if Mom and I used their game as a very pretty chat window.