Is Hell Getting Chilly?

wow[World of Warcraft] My wife told me a few weeks ago, “I’d like to try that game of yours.” To which I had to ask “What game?” Turns out it was World of Warcraft. Ugh. I really didn’t want to give them any more money, but the chance to introduce my wife to an MMORPG was just too great to pass up.

I intended on just letting her play without my interference. I tried, but it was pretty hard to stay out of it. She ended up creating a Human Warlock female. She wanted Horde, but I talked her out of it, if only because I have been playing Horde characters forever.

Learning how to move was the biggest struggle. I was getting sick watching her spin around with mouselook, so she switched to just using keyboard. She got a quest to kill some creatures and off she went. She killed one of them and then said “Now what?”. “Kill another one.”, I said. “Really? That is fun?”, she said. I didn’t know what to say, but I encouraged her to keep going because it will get better. Her next quest involved killing a bunch of humans to get red bandanas. “Do I need to kill them? Can’t I just ask for the bandana? Every one of these people have red bandanas on them, I can see it right there on their face. Why aren’t I getting them all the time?”

Finally, she was able to summon her first demon – the imp. She liked that, calling it her pet. She learned how to make it attack and was sad when it died. She was fascinated by the fact that it followed her around all the time. She found some plate armor and wanted to wear it. I told her she couldn’t because warlocks can only wear cloth. She thought that was stupid.

“Is that person a real player or the computer?”, she would often ask me. “How come they don’t talk to me? Can I help them kill the creatures they are fighting? Is there anything to do besides killing stuff?”. Eventually she made it to level 4 and wanted to take the horse standing outside of a building for a ride. “Why can’t I?” she asked. “Can I pay for a ride? Do I need more money?”. I told her she couldn’t ride a horse until level 40. She thought that was stupid. “How come you know where everything is?”, she asked. I told her I have played through this area more times than I cared to remember. She thought that was stupid.

She really liked the scenery, calling it beautiful several times. She also really liked the music. Then I told her I had the soundtrack that came with the collector’s edition and at this point I pointed at the box on the wall. “Dork.”, she said. She asked me what else came with it so I mentioned the pet. She did that quest and picked the Zergling. “What does it do?”, she asked. I told her, “Nothing but follow you around.” and she said “That’s stupid.”

At level 4.5 or so she decided to call it a night. I told her about some of the other games we could play together, but she said no. She likes her Warlock. She constantly amazed me at the choices she made. She does want to play Horde though, she doesn’t like the Alliance races much.

To sum up WoW from my wife’s point of view: Stupid, stupid, beautiful, good music, stupid, I like it, Horde rules. Of course, once she realizes how much it will cost for the two of us to play, she’ll say “That’s stupid.”

Strange world.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

23 thoughts on “Is Hell Getting Chilly?”

  1. You know… she’s right. Somehow people like us that are fanatical in are gaming in in such a removed state of mind from the “norm”. Make you wonder just how deviant we truely are. We spend hours upon hours, doing “stupid”.

    Maybe this an insight on why no game will ever be perfect to us. We long for the “stupid”, and dont seem to marvel enough at the “beautiful” in our passion.

    Most of us got started playing true role playing games with pen and paper. And it was fun, and to a degree healthy because of the social interaction required for that. Then the technolgy came along that would allow us to feed the adiction (the games) whenever we wanted. Over the years, we lost sight of that social aspect and were (like a junkie) hopelessly addicted to a stimulus that decreasingly satisfies a need.

    I mean, for those of us that played say D&D old school ask yourself something… how many times did you take your lvl 3 fighter out to grind on kobolds?

    I think your wife may just have her finger on the answer there.

  2. “Every one of these people have red bandanas on them, I can see it right there on their face. Why aren’t I getting them all the time?”

    This is what annoys me most about quests. There is no continuity, just an every decreasing drop percentage that masquerades as ‘content’.

    It is amazing how much we find ‘stupid’, the norm for MMOs. But we have to remember, if your wife *could* take the horse for a ride, whats to stop someone just stealing it and parking it in darkshire? Maybe to someone else not being able to steal a horse is ‘stupid’.

    I think designers should look at other demographs to help inform their design, as players such as your wife have very valid concerns, but it has to be tempered with practicality for the whole playerbase.

  3. It’s interesting what mechanics gamers will accept without questioning, and when it is challenged by a non-gamer, we’re left trying to make justifications for things that don’t really make sense unless you’ve been playing games for a while. I mean it is “stupid” that one can’t attempt to ask for that red bandana, or steal the horse, or do other things besides killing. It is “stupid” that one can’t ride a horse until you are Level 40 — it’s an arbitrary number to someone who is playing the game for the first time, and when you explain it to them… You sound really silly.

    Yeah something like this has happened to me, too.

  4. Good story. I wonder what your wife’s reaction would be to A Tale in the Desert or Puzzle Pirates.

  5. She saw a commercial for Oblivion last night and commented that it looked a lot better than WoW, “Why don’t we play that together?”. I honestly think we will end up playing Guild Wars together since there is no monthly fee. She really wants to play a game with me together once a week, something I’ve been asking about for 5 years now lol. I think she might like ATITD or PP but I didn’t really like either of them so the point is somewhat moot.

  6. Well that was an interesting read. I kept alternating between laughing at the newb and then going “Wait. No, she’s right. That -is- stupid.”

    On the subject of spouses and monthly fees, all the married MMORPGers out there are starting to make me think it’s time for companies to start thinking about two-player houshold subscription deals. Like, for a little bit more than a the regular monthly fee, you get two accounts with half the character slots. Or something like that.

    My wife and I both play City of Heroes/Villains (mostly Villains), but we only actually play -together- when we can get ahold of a trial code, because we are too goddamned cheap to shell out thirty bucks a month on this foolishness.

  7. I am amazed at my wife’s comments when we play WoW together (or in the same room if we’re not the same level.) I am continually laughing or grinning when she says something like “Take that you noob!”

    This past weekend we went on a 8 hour round trip. At one point she called me 1337. A guy who was riding with us just stared at her and then asked, “do you know what that means?” She laughed and said yes, then mentioned that it was like calling someone a noob. I told her she was a little off on that remark, but she assured me that she was not.

    It’s time like those that make me so proud to have married an awesome woman.


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  9. Ok, so what’s the trick? How the hell did you get your wife to play? =P

    Very good article. It puts things in a new light doesn’t it? The limitations that she’s noticed ARE kind of bizarre. Why CAN’T your ride a horse until you’re level 40? What if you could, but it wouldn’t add any advantages unitl you were a certain level, or have a certain skill?

    Now, if I could only get the wife to play EVE Online, maybe I’d learn something new about that game too.

  10. The trick? For me it was to game less often, and do some things that she enjoys and yet she knows that I don’t. Eventually it made sense to her to try something I enjoy, just for the sake of trying to find more things we can do together. Together is the key phrase.

  11. Together is THE phrase.

    Ethic has great ideas that seems to pay off. Here are some of my own observations.

    Make sure she’s a gamer of some sort. I think my wife started with Sims or even some vague internet game. I continued to get expansions for her because I knew she liked the game. Knowing how to play a computer game or beginning to enjoy gaming really is the first step.

    Even if we didn’t play the same game together, we were in the same room together playing. I’d tell her to check out something cool that I did in the game and she would get my attention. As we spent more time playing in the same room together, she noticed how “pretty” WoW was. She’d ask questions here and there. I made sure not to push her into playing with me. We’d played a MMO or two before, but it was because I would go out and buy the game for her and she wouldn’t really feel like she made the choice to play.

    I was utterly shocked when she said that she would kinda like to try it out. I got a free trial from a friend and the rest was history. She has achieved her highest character yet in any MMO and is having fun. We’ve met a few couples that play and the fact that she can converse with another woman has made her even happier.

    Just what worked for me. Good luck!


  12. My wife has a 36 Shaman, a 28 Mage, a 25 Druid, and a lot more as well. The trick is to play with her. Their counterparts are a 42 Warrior, a 32 Warrior, and a 28 Druid, and a lot more as well. I also have a 60 Shaman who will no doubt be helping her 36 Shaman since they’re on a PvP server. Two Druids is cool and we hope to get our friend to roll a Rogue and we 3 can do stealth BRD runs. Someday.

    She’s a gameplayer, lucky me. She’s into Oblivion (Me: “But why? You could be 40 now??!” She: “I like it.”) and Guild Wars (Me: “But why? You could be 40 now??!” She: “I like it. It has good graphics.”) and she just downloaded the D&D Online trial (Me: “But why? You could be 40 now??!” She: “Cause I am playing this now.” “Is it any good?” “I keep dying.” “You’ve got great characters in WoW. You could be 40 now.” “But I like this.”)

    Trick is to play with her and let her keep up with her. I have “me” characters (60 Shaman, BG Hunters) and “us” characters. And she gets it when I need to raid MC till 2 am on a worknight.

  13. I tried to get my wife to play Counter-Strike w/ me, but it made her Motion Sick :P As for any other games, She tried the SIM’s but got dis-heartened when some burgler stole the hotub from her SIMS house :P So she sticks to DDR type games :P Go DOnkey Konga! :P hahah…

  14. Someone should study this, but it seems to me (given very limited data) that multiplayer capacity in CRPGs is one of those features that may actually capture the female gaming market. My wife, who considers herself a gamer and a Pen-and-Paper geek, rarely touches single-player CRPGs – notable exceptions being Planescape:Torment and Oblivion. Even so, she only played those games while I did, and seemed to particularly enjoy the social aspect of comparing notes and sharing gameplay stories with me afterwards.
    However, she has bored me to tears with hack-and-slashers like Diablo II and Dungeon Siege, but will only play them multiplayer. She adores Neverwinter Nights, in multiplayer or Persistent World play. Many years ago, we used to MUD and MUSH together, her at home and me at an Internet cafe to prevent banning from logging in multiple times from one IP. When watching me play MMO’s, she forces me to group with people because she wants to watch the group dynamics. We have yet to really play an MMO together, because I refuse to pay for two accounts – otherwise, I’m pretty sure she would play anything even remotely decent, as long as I was grouped with her.
    But she will not touch a Japanese console “RPG” like Final Fantasy with an 11-foot pole.

  15. After many unsuccessful attempts to introduce my girlfriend to a game that could be played together, she finally introduced me to one. It’s called “Animal Crosssing”. 8-) I’m wandering around, collecting pears and cherries to sell, with the eventual aim of levelling up my house. I asked her how I beat the other animals in the game. She said you don’t. I ask her how I can tell if I’ve pwned other players when they visit my town. She says that’s not what the game’s about. Says I, “That’s stupid.” (BTW she was wrong, I totally turned the entrance to my town in a minefield of pitfall seeds.) I’m hoping there’ll be an expansion with some sort of PvP arena.

  16. wait wait wait…..Kitten, your married o.O

    No seriously. My wife played ADandD with me and my mates eons ago. She said once she wanted to try EvE but couldn’t because the army had made her a single parent.
    I’m just hoping to teach her and the boy to mine when I get home. :D

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