Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

No, on second thought, you should be shitting your pants right about now.

My 9 year old son is joining LFG random teams, and I am coaching him on what to do in the background.

Damn.

You know, I used to make jokes about the ultimate power I held. I have a son who I can teach any kind of crazy shit to, and he’d believe it. For a while, at least. If I was convincing, sincere and made an effort to keep my story straight, it is entirely plausible that I could raise him believing that almost anything is really reals.

Amazing.

I did not use my powers for evil, unless you count sitting him on my lap and training him to say “Baby versus Rhino” and giggle while yet an infant, using my Penny Arcade t-shirt as a visual cue.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Baby. RHINO! *giggle*.

Mostly, they only giggle at rhinos. Mostly.

Okay, so there was that whole ‘take pictures of Disney characters’ butts’ thing, but hey, if I took a sneaking pic of your booty would you hold it against me?

Don’t answer that.

And if that was cool, we could maybe overlook that whole “posted it on the internet for millions to, err hundreds to… okay, for Frank to see” thing?

Note to self… don’t ask dangerous questions, or you might get a visit from The Law. We don’t got no truck with The Law, we’re all about teh kaoS around here, baby.

So.

My son is in ur groups, whacking ur mobs.

I have coached him carefully.

The rules as I made them known for a beginning are;

  1. Never get in front of the tank, for that is how you face pull.
  2. Never attack before the tank does, for that is how you tag team aggro.
  3. Never taunt, and take Growl off your pet, for that is how you yank aggro.
  4. Target a mob, attack with everything you’ve got, and if the nameplate (Threat Plates) turns red, switch to a different target immediately.
  5. Always pay attention at all times. You never know when the tank will run and pull something.
  6. If you are getting eaten, run over and stand on top of the tank.
  7. If you are attacking as melee, get behind the bad guy and TEAR UP HIS BUTT!
  8. Pass on ALL LOOT, unless it is the correct TYPE of armor or weapon and STATS.

It’s fairly simple. It is a beginning.

He started by entering instances on his Goblin Hunter, who at the time was a freshly minted 15. Cassie and I didn’t have anyone on Horde side at all to run with him, and I had given him the options for leveling;

  • The Questor: Quest through the zones, killing and exploring as you go.
  • The Grinder: Ignore quest objectives, kill anything and explore anything you like.
  • The Grouper: Queue for randoms and pass the time between queues however you’d like.
  • The PvPer: Queue for BGs to kill other people, and pass the time between battlegrounds however you’d like.
  • The Skilled Worker: Grind Archeology and Gathering professions to gain level up XP.

Of course, you can mix and match however you’d like, but it’s easy to forget that there are a lot of options for gaining XP and leveling. What would he choose for his Hunter?

He chose to Group, and kill stuff and explore while waiting.

I was a little… nervous when I let him loose.

I’m sorry, but the fact is… a lot of players are pricks. It is what it is, and I’m not saying there are more pricks in WoW than in other games, but there ARE a lot of pricks out there. I tune it out, but we’re talking a nine year old, and I’m not going to shut his Party Chat off when there may be important information in there from the tank or healer.

So, I sat there hoping that, armed with my advice, he would not attract the ire of the asshats.

I don’t hold out much hope for over the long run, he’ll see it and have to learn to deal with it maturely, because there are a lot of pricks that attack people in groups without any basis for their hostility at all. There are people that just pick someone at random, and unleash their inner asshat all over them. Nothing you can do to avoid it, all you can do is recognize that the problem isn’t something you did, it’s just them being them.

Not something I like contemplating for my son, any more than I like seeing it happen to any other stranger out there that may be just like my son.

Regardless, you don’t learn or grow by being wrapped in bubble wrap and sheltered in a box. You can’t prepare yourself to fight evil if you don’t even know it exists. In our modern world, learning to deal with internet bullies and online harassment is probably one of the most important lessons we need, so might as well get started sometime.

I’ve watched him in instances, and he’s outstanding.

He doesn’t say a word in chat, because he doesn’t type all that fast, although he does like typing in “/say Hello”.

Regardless, he’s been rocking the place, and I’ve seen other players offer to trade him items that he could use, and I have yet to see anyone be mean to him at all.

In fact, he’s been doing so well that when he wanted to queue in randoms on his Feral Cute Kitty O’ Doom Druid, even though he is level 56 and had some massive places in his instance list, I let him give them a try.

He did so well in a Sunken Temple run, that the others asked if they could requeue as a group and do it again. And again. And again, even.

So, he’s doing well. I’m very proud of him.

Throughout it all, he finds the funniest things to get interested in.

I’ve been letting him go solo to see what he’ll get into. I’ve been pushing him on his Death Knight, who is level 82, to explore. As I’ve said to him, “there is very little in the entire world that has any hope of hurting you. You can travel wherever you’d like, get in the face of just about anything, and eat their lunch. Except here (points to Twilight highlands).

So, why not go looking?

He spent some time killing Hogger and clearing out the Stormwind Stockades. He liked running the instance solo, and feeling powerful.

When we did Children’s Week, he saw all of Nagrand, and went nuts.

His big thing has always been ‘rock guys’. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but he has loved elementals in the game for as long as I’ve played WoW, and rock dudes are his favorites.

He would love to see me kill rock dudes, and watch them split up into smaller and smaller rock dudes. Absolute favorites.

Well, he saw the rock dudes in nagrand, and spent the next two days killing rock dudes, then water guys, then I showed him the fire guys on the Elemental Plateau… he had a blast.

Then he went off the grid. I was raiding, and wasn’t watchig him too close. Next time I looked over, he was in Shadowmoon Valley, and he went on a demon killing spree that was unprecedeted.

He found the entrance to Black Temple all on his own.

He LOVED killing Uvoros the two-headed demon dog. The GIANT two headed demon dog.

That led me to show him the Petopia website, and I had to bookmark it onto his desktop and let him spend an hour browsing the awesome pictures of tamable pet designs.

And then… he went to Hellfire Peninsula, and without any prompting from me in any way, began hunting Fel Reavers across the entire landscape.

And now… he has come full circle.

He has discovered the Raging Colossuses, the giant rock guys around the red crystal just to the west of the Temple of Telhamut.

These are the holy grail of rock guys.

You see, when you start attacking these guys, they get a little smaller as you damage them, AND they make MORE rock guys.

He has also noticed… the Raging Colossus has, ahem, “Tushie Cheeks”.

This has been a new source of giggling amusement.

To the Blizzard graphics designer that decided ‘rock guys’ needed tushie cheeks? Well played, sir. Well played.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am being summoned to watch as my son kills another Fel Reaver, or, as he says, Watch him “Demolish a Fel Reaver of Doom”.

Watching my son destroy a Fel Reaver in fiendish delight, and exclaim with joy as the pieces fall apart and drop, scattering all over the place, is magical.

20 Responses to “The Cub Report: He’s In UR Groups!”
  1. Asherrylie says:

    Fantastic! You’ve taught him well :D It really amazes me how well kids pick up on the game, It’s even more amazing that children listen better than PUG’s. Way to go :)

  2. Ursa says:

    Good for him! He’s obviously taken to the game and doing very well. Way to go mini-bear!

    Way to go Big Bear for teaching him so well =D You should be a right proud Grizzly!

  3. Tsudrats says:

    :) Loved today’s update.

  4. Matty says:

    A good friend in game told me his nine year old’s toon name and that he had seen me in Azeroth…I asked him or hoped that I was nice to him, and my friend replied that I always am.. I wish that were true, and it was an important reminder that many players are someone’s cub…one of my missions in life is to get young folks to be gentle to each other in their real and virtual worlds. Trying Bear, I am trying. Loved this post.

  5. Thelandira says:

    I absolutely love your “Cub Reports”! As others have said, your son is doing wonderful and you have taught him well. I wish I had a toon or two on your server to see him in action. He sounds like the perfect PuG mate. To both of you, keep up the great work!!!!

    Now, it’s time to log into WoW to see what you/he mean/means by “Tushie Cheeks”….do they have cheeks that look like tushies? Or tushies that look like cheeks? Or both? I will soon find out. :o)

  6. The Ancient says:

    I was at first afraid to keep reading, as I didn’t want to hear he’d run into any asshats. I am so glad he had good experiences! And I’m so with him, I love nothing better than demolishing a Fel Reaver of Doom too!

  7. Caliea says:

    Thanks for the cub update! Two of my sons have started playing, and my 8 yr old recently ventured into the world of PvP. He was determined to get Honor points, so I frantically tried to give him a crash course on what a BG was, and get him to look through his spell book to find the hunter skills that would slow peopel and keep them away from him. I then showed him how to queue up for a BG, and sat back and waited. It is a hard balancing act to give him information, without completely overwhelming him with too much stuff. His first BG, he gets killed pretty quickly (no Resil), and as he’s waiting for the spirit healer, I’m reminding him to say as far away from people as possible, while still helping his team. After he rezzes, he runs near the flag, then decides to ‘hide in the bushes’ while shooting people. It was no use trying to make him understand they could see his nameplate :)

    So…. if you’ve been in a BG lately with a hunter that doesn’t remember to disengage and hides in the bushes, and with his little brother sidekick that is a warrior who insists on using his throwing weapons while hiding in the same bush, all I can do is apologize. I’m trying to teach them, but it’s slow going :)

  8. Shane says:

    These are great… I have to agree with you regarding asshats in the game, Ive tried doing LFR over the last few nights and they just come out of the woodwork and I think last night I thought to myself “Why do they do this? Why oh why? Dont they want to be treated the same as they treat others?” I was pretty exasperated by this time… Eventually we won at lfr not without a whole bunch of wipes :(

    One thing I still like doing is zipping around the world and randomly causing mayhem at random places, and yes the Felreaver is paying for all those times it snuck up on me “How can a thing that big sneak up on me?? The ground shakes and he makes a racket?!” – anyway, I still zoom around on my druid in flightform making jet fighter noises while keeping “a map of the world” (I watched Broken Arrow the other night) and randomly switching to cat form and going crazy switch back and on my way again…

    Staying young in game is easy and reading these “Cub Reports” gives me crazy ideas to go off and cause havoc, like those Fel Reavers, I think they need to be reaved again…. :D

    • Kemonojin says:

      After I talked to (one of the good) GMs in game about a problem, he asked the usual ‘is there anything else’. I’d recently been pounded into a tauren hunter shaped stain on the road by a fel reaver, and asked how a 200 foot tall steam mech can sneak up on anything more alert than a mountain. He told me that during the BC beta, there’d been a contest for the NPCs, and the fel reavers won.

      The prize? A trip to Un’goro Crater.

      They learned stealth from the devilsaur…

    • Rowtan says:

      Haha .. I thought it was only me that made jet fighter noises when flying :P Or .. even better … flying and machine gunning .. gotta love those steep dives :-)

  9. Maruka says:

    Gotta start em out young! I have a 13 yo and an almost 16 yo and neither are interested in learning how to play the game. Which I guess is good in a way but it would have been fun to impart my wisdom to my kids. ;) You seem to be doing a fantastic job. I think for the in game LFG window should have your rules on it with an “I agree” box to check before people are allowed to queue.

  10. Mugician13 says:

    You have taught him gun safety, and how to check that the safety is on or off, as appropriate.

    You have taught him when to send his pet, and when to restrain him.

    You have taught him how to rock the DPS charts, without checking the charts.

    You are to be commended. Your Padawan has been well-trained. I’m sure BRK would approve. ;)

  11. Umrtvovacz says:

    Nice Pratchett reference up there with Soak. I wonder how many notice. Kudos anyway.

  12. Suxxy says:

    /sigh, /sniff, it seems like only yesterday he was “hunting wabbits”.
    They grow up so fast.

    As long as he understands that some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug, he’ll be fine.

  13. Jack says:

    Inspired my first wowblog post in many months. Thanks man.

  14. Hyperious says:

    The Fel Reaver Hunt!

    Your little cub is all grown up now! Those Fel Reavers deserve every bit of unimagineable vengeance we, the players, dish out to them.

    My wife found a soundfile of the Fel Reaver Roar. She uses it to wake me up in the mornings sometimes.

    I usually wake up screaming.

  15. Dulce says:

    That’s adorable! Your description of your son’s enthusiastic, awed, and wondering exploration of the game reminds me of how I felt leveling my first toon a couple years ago as a complete gaming noob. It’s easy to forget how awesome it is to just explore, do whatever you feel like, and enjoy absolutely everything after you’ve been playing a couple years. Makes me want to log on to a low level toon and just play, wander around, and kill random things :-)

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