Last night, as my interest in Allods Online began to wane in the Imperial starter area, Alex sat down to watch me manuever my Orc around, killing Sewer Rats.
“I bet I can do that.”
Thoughts of operating a gold farming mob grinding child labor sweatshop momentarily danced through my head.
“Alex, you’re still too young to begin playing an MMO. I know you want to play what mommy and I do, but you still need to improve your reading skills first. You’ll get better, sweetie.”
“But it doesn’t LOOK hard.”
“Yes dear, but see, I’m left-clicking, right-clicking, moving the mouse, using the keyboard all at the same time just to move. And then using these other hotkeys to… “
“You know what, get over here and sit on my knee. Go for it.”
An hours’ impromptu course on the finer points of character movement in Allods Online follows, along with many Sewer Rats killed. Amongst the sheer craziness that is day three of an open Beta, where everyone and their brother and kid sister wants to log in and reserve “their” name, even if they never intend to play the game themselves, just so nobody else can take “their” name.
MMO people are freaking nuts, you do know that, don’t you?
Finally, it’s time for Alex to have storytime before teeth brushing and off to bed.
“Tell you what, buddy, tomorrow night we’ll get on the other game, and you can make a character and run around there and have fun.”
Fast forward to tonight, at dinner, over cheese pizza.
“Can I be done?”
“You only had one piece of pizza and a breadstick, sucka. Eat up.”
“But I’m just so excited!”
“Okay… why?” (dreading the answer)
“Because I’m going to play the game!”
Uh oh… mind reading parent powers activate… “Alex, you’re still not old enough to play the game on your own. We’re going to create a character for you together, and you are going to play while I help, but this is NOT the sign that you are finally old enough to play , you DO understand that, don’t you?”
So we go downstairs, I fire up WoW, I pick a non-PvP server (first test of the dark side successfully passed), and begin to show him races.
“I want to be a gnome!”
“Okay, no problem… now how about these other choices?” (fast scroll through hair and colors and stuff)
He picks a Gnome with high spiky black hair, a goatee with nefarious moustachios, and a face with a huge shit eating grin.
We had him go Rogue for his first class, even though he wanted a Warrior with the big big sword. Somehow, I feel he is destined to be the gankER, not the gankEE.
Pop into Coldridge Valley, and it’s time to teach him the finer points of mouse movement, and auto attack, and Sinister Strike, and ranged pulls with thrown daggers.
In an amazingly short period of time, he’s hopping all over, exploring the heights of the mountains.I’m unconcerned, because they changed Coldridge and the other level 1-5 starter zones to be pure yellow… no aggroing mobs unless you attack them first.
I then teach him how to attack. I’ve cleared off everything from his bar except Throw and Sinister Strike.
He spies a cute litte bunny hopping by.
He targets the bunny, chases the bunny around for a while, camera viewpoint swerving around crazily, until finally, he gets the bunny. He kills the bunny.
Kills that cute little bunny dead.
He then targets another bunny. He runs past Troggs and Wolves in his single-minded pursuit of rabbit… it’s what’s for dinner.
I go up and tell on him. I ratted him out to Cassie, oh hell yes I did. She, of course, is horrified by the slaughter of bunnies. Alex comes upstairs and promises not to kill anymore bunnies.
So, I help guide him through killing Wolves and Troggs, and then I show him how to get a quest, and how Questhelper puts up tracking info that changes so he can see how many more of something he still needs.
Then I leave him to decimate the Wolf population while I go feed the cats.
I come back, guide him to turn that in, get the Trogg quest, and help guide him towards Troggs.
He dings 3 and is halfway towards 4, it’s getting late, and I tell him that once he hits 4, he’s done for the night.
In the finest traditions of 6 year olds everywhere (almost 7!) he begins sandbagging it, slowing down, stops killing things, begins wandering.
Wasn’t it Bill Cosby who joked about loving small children because they’re so truthful? No deception or cunning in them? ROFLMAO!
I invoked parental clause #24… Call his bluff and raise him.
“If you’re not going to play, you can be done now.”
“Okay, I’ll play for real.”
I guided him to complete mail delivery, and then helped him take and understand the “Kill da Boars” quest, knowing that would be enough to ding 4.
I finally just grabbed a pad of paper and a pencil, and began to take that shit down. This would be the conversation from that point, verbatim.
“I’m never gonna kill a bunny again.”
“I might kill a rabbit on the way to kill a boar.”
“A rabbit or two.”
“Killing rabbits is fun.”
On noticing he is going to ding 4 soon on the XP bar, and reach GAME OVER time… “After I do this quest, can I kill a couple bunnies?”
“I want to make up my own quest.”
“And that quest is… [ominous voice] Killing Wabbits!”
“Congratulations on dinging 4, dear.”
“Thank you – Oh, and there’s a bunny!”
“How do I make my swords show?”
[clicks Z] “Dangerous Mode!”
“I killed a bunny!”
“Sorry… I won’t kill anymore bunnies…”
Yes, that’s right… my son, the Bunnyslayer.
My God, what I wouldn’t give to hear the conversation my son has with his friends recapping this, with his teacher spying and judging… I mean innocently overhearing.