[City of Heroes] My wife hated MMOs. Before we got married, she saw them as competition for limited attention, something distracting from time we could be together, and could you and your friends shut up about that #@%^ game for once? Of course, now that we are married, she is quite happy for us each to have things for “me time.” You can run out of things to talk about just staring at each other all day.
She was never interested in playing them. Besides the horror of having met gamers, there is a lot of pressure in online games. You are playing with other people, and they are depending on you. If you mess up, you are interfering with others’ lives. You and I have seen a thousand people who apparently have no skills other than wasting your time and getting the whole group killed, so that view is novel and refreshing. Besides, many games are tedious, difficult, or just ugly, and who wants to play those?
Then we got City of Heroes.
Ah, the perfect way to indoctrinate the non-gamer wife. After all, you can spend hours just playing with virtual paper dolls. Look, you can change her hair or her outfit! You can play with the colors and patterns on everything! You can even put a pony right there on her chest!
And so PrettyPonyLady came to visit Paragon City. Bright lavender and pink colors, a huge smile, and the requisite pony on her chest. I guided her towards making a Scrapper, because they solo well and have few responsibilities in groups. The first would let her try the game without worrying about other people — it is like a single player game, only with lag! The second would let her group without too many worries. Scrappers are not fragile, put people do not rely on them as tanks (usually). She would never be late on a heal or worry about the finer points of crowd control. Half her defenses are passive powers, so just turn on the toggles, pull out the sword, and go to town on the nearest enemy.
I was clearly overthinking this. PrettyPonyLady appeared, wandered for a few moments, then logged off. A little more play with paper dolls to see who you could make from Angel, and that’s a night. And PrettyPonyLady slept.
A week later, after I had gone to bed, PrettyPonyLady awoke to visit the tutorial. Talk to the officer, talk to the doctor, talk to the officer again — okay, this is pretty simple. Head on to the next officer…she won’t stop! Autorun’s on! How do I turn it off? How do I make her stop?! Now she’s just running in a circle, wait, no, stuck in a corner, aagh! PrettyPonyLady logged off in a panic.
Another night and a briefing on some controls later, PrettyPonyLady contained the Outbreak and completed the tutorial. And so began a brave career.
Two aspects were very noticeable in my wife’s first online gaming experience. First, she was the member of the team who was never worried about dying. She was not a powergamer, and she was not terribly worried about leveling, so debt was not a big issue. “Oops, there I go again. No, don’t worry about it.” She might be level 50 by now if she hadn’t spent several levels continuously in debt. “Several” might be an underestimate. It is always nice to have someone in the team who does not care about hitting the ground, although that can be distressing to your healer (I am often a healer, but we play on the same account, so she cannot distress me).
The other aspect: “No, you can’t ride me. That’s a really clever line, I haven’t heard it six times already tonight.” Men are pigs. Does it make it more obvious that you have a real female player when she’s pink and purple, with a pony, and her bio sounds like My Little Pony for superheroes?
We heard that bases are coming. Can we put in a petting zoo? Do we get vehicles to? “I could make a Pony Lair and a Pony Car and a Pony…Pony.” I think PrettyPonyLady should be able to ride into battle on the back of a pony, don’t you? “Quickly, $sidekick, to the Pony Pony!” I like it.
City of Villains is coming, and it brings bases with it. We more or less stopped playing back in July, and I asked if she was interested. “What have I been talking about for the last year? I get to have a Pony Lair and a Pony Car, and I can make the villainous Evil Pony Lady!” Discussion of COV archetypes revealed the need for a PrettyPonyNinja. ‘Cause, hey, she has been playing a Katana Scrapper for months, so why not a Ninja Sword Stalker? Maybe a ninja-summoning Mastermind; there is still time to decide. She is my ninja wife, after all.
So, yes, I need to go pre-order City of Villains. My marriage depends on it.