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The Dichotomy

April 21, 2011

Dear Reader,

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I’m can be somewhat of a jerk.  I don’t mean to be; I try very hard not to be, in fact, but I have a tendency to latch onto things and not let go sometimes, to the detriment of both myself and others.

I start with this fair warning today because I am once again going to be a bit of a jerk.  I want to talk about parents and WoW, as prompted by Gevlon’s post yesterday.  There were some heated comments after his post, and I found myself struggling with my own internal dichotomies with the situation.

I’ve gone afk without announcing it before.  My wife was upstairs preparing dinner (I cook, too, just for the record, but not in this case) and I heard her yell for me.  I just went without saying a word.  We were mid-pull with a trash back in ICC10 when it was still a little hard and I knew at some level that I’d probably be causing a wipe, but I went.  It turned out that she’d cut her finger a bit – nothing even requiring stitches  – but still enough to scare her a bit with the amount of blood involved.

When I got back, our god-like paladin healer had kept the raid alive (this was before beacon and LoD, I might add, and he’s a parent himself).  Everyone assumed I’d been dc’d.  I explained what happened and apologized, and we moved on.  I wasn’t happy, or proud, or snarky about having to run off.  That’s because there wasn’t really a choice involved, I couldn’t look back and say “I decided to screw you guys and leave.”  When my wife’s in trouble, I go.  Once, when my wife was playing soccer and got spun literally heels over head by being hit in the front and back simultaneously by two men twice her size, I was on the field from the stands at her dazed body before the referee got there.  I was probably running before she landed.

Perhaps that’s what it’s like with some parents; I don’t know.  I’ve had bad players take unannounced afk’s for many, many reasons ranging from bio issues to getting a drink to “wife aggro” to their pizza arriving.  Most of the time I was quite annoyed, said so, and asked them to just announce that they were leaving ahead of time.  Yet I ran off once, too, and for a reason that’s probably akin to what a parent feels.

To be clear, I don’t think Gev’s anger was about the afk, but about the unannounced aspect and the total lack of understanding as to why someone else might be upset.  If I’d come back and gotten an earful from the raid leader, I wouldn’t have been surprised.  I probably wouldn’t have liked it, but I’d at least understand what he was upset about.  Once I was thinking instead of moving, I knew that I might have caused an inconvenience for a lot of people, but I was okay with that based on the situation.

That said, I sometimes get upset (here’s the part where I’m a hypocritical jerk) when parents have frequent or unannounced afks due to their kids.  I understand emergencies, really, I do, so I’m not complaining about that.  Even parents/kids aside, we had a player have to go because he’d just seen his car get hit through a window.  Things happen in the real world that take precedence, I know.

However, I’ve raided with people who had to stop for a half hour to put their kids to bed, who had to go afk every 15 minutes or so to check in on their kids, who had to stop and make their kids a snack, and so forth.  That time really adds up.  The half-hour bedtime guy was nice enough to let us keep moving when we could, but sometimes we were at a boss and couldn’t, and it added up.

I don’t think that people with kids shouldn’t play WoW; they pay their money and deserve the same gaming experience as everyone else, but like most activities, child care, I feel, should be arranged ahead of time.  You shouldn’t take your baby to an action film, after all; it’s going  to be loud, and the baby will cry, so you know you’re going to be inconveniencing a theater-full of movie-goers.  You’re making a choice to do that.  The same is true with WoW; if you are, at that moment, responsible for your child – you and solely you – then you’re making a choice to potentially inconvenience a lot of other people.

Sure, if they’re friends, they’ll understand, and we all did with our raider who had to put his kid to bed.  It’s still a lot of time though, and that’s why this dichotomy exists inside of me.  Perhaps if I have kids someday (neither my wife or I want them at this point, but I’m not foolish enough to say “never”), then I’ll be able to look at the other side of this issue.

I know some parents who play WoW without interruption because they arrange their child care beforehand, either with their spouse or someone/thing else.  I know other parents who constantly inconvenience others because they don’t take care of it ahead of time.  I think putting your boy to bed every night, making that special time with him a routine that you both cherish is absolutely awesome (and I really mean that, for the record, I’m not covering or pandering by saying it).  At the same time, on the other end, it kind of sucked to wait.

I can go no further than to say it’s a dichotomy.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (who’s split in many ways, and has split many pants, too)

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jonathan permalink
    April 21, 2011 11:53 am

    Oh, as parents it’s easy: you raid with other parents, and you go at a “parent friendly” pace. You schedule planned stops at kid’s bedtimes, for example. And you communicate. Note: this doesn’t mean “not hardcore.” In fact, the guild I’m in was a 10-man strict guild that cleared all but Sindragosa and the Lich King in ICC-10 hardmode… (only 9 guilds worldwide killed the Lich King in 10-man strict, and our guild was rated by GuildOx in the top 60 worldwide in that category).

    It *does* mean that you have to have a group that wants to do it, and uses their time well when it goes. But breaking for a cut finger? Yeah, obviously. Cancelling for the night? Sure, RL > WoW we’d all say.

    Trust me, raid schedules can be worked around baseball and kid’s soccer schedules.

    • April 21, 2011 4:45 pm

      You mention “strict” as a guideline for your guild, and I’m not familiar with that stipulation. Could you elaborate?

      Also, I wholeheartedly agree about parents not being able to be hardcore being a myth. I would be willing to bet that most parents are part-core gamers (the theme of this blog), and I know for certain that there must be some who are fully hard-core. I know that at least two of the parents I used to raid with could easily have been top-tier players.

    • Jonathan permalink
      April 26, 2011 9:33 pm

      “Strict” 10-man, back in WotLK, meant that the entire raid had to only run 10-man versions of instances, no bringing in the better gear that could be found in 25-man raids. If people in the guild had 25-man achievements, the guild would be removed from the ranking list. Very fun, quite competitive.

      Like the 25-man raiders, we were kinda sad to find the changes in lockouts that Blizzard put in… it eliminated our little niche. But it was fun while it lasted.

    • April 27, 2011 3:19 pm

      Interesting concept. I’ve played other games with self-imposed limitations like that. In DDO, there are “permadeath” guilds, where if your character dies and cannot accept a rez from a party member or make it back to the “rez stone” inside a dungeon (you have to be within 10 seconds of one at running speed to self-rez), then your character is “dead” and removed from the guild. Just getting to level 8 or 9 under that system was an incredible feat, and we had a few max-level players (16 at the time, if I remember correctly) who were quite well respected.

      The flip side of that is that if you’re having to “make your own fun,” it says something about the state of whatever game you’re playing. And probably not something nice.

  2. April 23, 2011 6:00 pm

    A good article… and something for me to keep in mind when I become a parent. While it’s true that being a parent comes first and foremost, I feel, but planning ahead does somehow make it all work.

    Thank you.

  3. April 25, 2011 11:29 am

    EVERY TIME!

    You really hit the nail on the head here Stubborn!

    You just clarified such a big argument/situation for me, in which I totally agree with your points and so on..

    This applies to WoW and many other aspects of life.

    As always, such an enjoyable read,

    Keep that mind open!

    – Jamin

    • April 25, 2011 11:30 am

      Also*

      I quite like this ‘Dichotomy’ word. It’s new to me, however very useful!

      Good for the argument,

      – Jamin

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