One Big Happy Warcraft Family

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Family-07-2004 089
Originally uploaded by Furey.
My next few weeks will be a bit....occupied. If you haven't heard of the game "World of Warcraft" then you have been under a rock. They now have 8 million people playing this massively addicting game. My nephews have joined in on the fun and I went from obscure relative to rock star status with them.

For those who don't know the game I will try to explain the basics. It is a online 3d video game. Based on Dungeons & Dragons, you are in a medieval fantasy world in which you adventure in the form of quests, killing monsters & also battling other living players. There is an online economy, and you advance your character through experience in killing monsters, solving quests or other similar puzzles. The higher level you get, the more powerful you become, and a force to be reckoned with by monsters or players. There are other programs that allow you to use headsets and chat online with each other using Nextel-like style programs like "Ventrilo". You can play the game, press a key, "Hey, lets go to the stronghold" and everyone in your ventrilo channel will hear you talk and can respond.

Ok, so you should have an idea of what's going on. So I have played the game for the better half of 2 years, since it began, and my character, a mage, is probably more powerful than 95% of the rest of the characters on the server.

When my nephews started playing they were at the bottom level, or level 1. I was the highest level, level 60. My two nephews started to play, and by welcoming them, I gave them each 25 gold, which in the economy of the game was something that you would have accumulated by level...40.

The response was fun watching them jump around.

Little did I know that I was going to regret my generousity.

You see, I also have 2 OTHER nephews who heard about this and became very, very excited to also play. My visit to Washington DC was a marathon sesson of explaining to them how the game works and their excitement to start playing. Once I got them online, and taught them the basics came the problem.

Now, I am not a father or a parent (as far as I know), and I didn't realize how the "monkey-see-monkey-do" mentality works with kids. Maybe if you are a parent reading this, you might chuckle and if you are single, you may empathize with me.

Now my generous gift of 50 gold to my other two nephews was not lost on these two. Their immediate action was to ask ME for gold also, and quite honestly, I certainly could give them 25 gold each, but I was getting a bit low myself. So I gave each of them 5 gold, which is PLENTY for anyone their level. It should certainly last them 10 levels if they are careful.

Right after I gave 5 gold to one nephew and watched him start talking to another level 1, and I was busying chatting to someone else. Then I watch when the level 1 character exclaim "THANKS!" and jump around. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what he did.

"Did you just give him some gold?", I asked.

No answer.

"Do not, under any circumstances, give away your gold.", I told him.

That worked until the next day.

I get online, and my nephew, excitedly runs up to me, "Uncle Sean! Hi 2 PAC!"

(Their parents relay certain edited portions of my writings to them...)

He opens up his trade window and says: "GOLD"

I'm mortified and laughing at this at the same time. I created a monster.

Fortunately their parents have been nice enough to explain that Uncle Sean isn't a gold vending machine. But I must admit that it is nice to have something in common with my relatives that for years has basically been my dark secret.

Try to explain video games to the non-gamer and you can almost hear the eyes roll in their head. They don't understand it. They don't want to understand it.

You know it's funny. I played fantasy football in high school. Now remember, that is 1986 when I was in school. No internet. No Yahoo or CBS Sportsline sites to calculate your scores. We read the newspaper each day, and would, by hand, calcuate our scores. The jocks laughed at us, they didn't understand fantasy football. They didn't want to understand fantasy football. They thought it was just a bunch of guys who took their dungeons and dragons to the sports world.

Today, fantasy football is...normal. Everyone plays it, from jocks to nerds to girls to my uncles.

So what's my point? World of Warcraft is just the tip of the iceberg. It is what fantasy football is in 1996. It might not be the watershed game that the world plays, I still think that game is about 10 years away, but with the world growing more and more distant from each other, the one level of community that thrives is the online community.

Case in point. My brother-in-law was in California for business. He started to play Warcraft at the same time his children, my nephews, started to play. His home is in Great Falls, VA and when the kids got online after school last week - so did he. I don't know, it just is a nice way for parents to keep in touch and connect with their kids, if you ask me.

The same is true for my friends. Last March I was on a golf trip. While there I convinced a friend of mine to give the game a try. He wouldn't have struck me as your "typical" online gamer. He tried it and loved it. LOVED IT. To the point where he would email me and say, "Took the day off from work so I could play."

Hey, I know where he's coming from. A lot of my "vacation time" is basically "computer time". Some people go on a vacation to a beach to relax, or maybe golfing - relaxation to me is sitting in front of a computer and playing games with my friends.

This week an expansion to Warcraft was released. An expansion sells new content: more monsters, lands, spells, items and things to explore. It raised the levels from 60 to 70.

My one sister laughed with me yesterday saying how my nephew saw I got to level 61, and started to go bonkers, saying "UNCLESEANISLEVELSIXTYONEYOUHAVETOSEETHISOHMYGODHESSIXTYONEMOMMOMMOMUNCLESEANISSIXTYONE!!!!"

To the untrained observer and people that wouldn't understand his excited language it would be like watching a child hop around with a honey bee in his pants yelling bloody murder.

Now I am trying to figure out if there is a way I can get out of birthday presents and christmas presents in return for World of Warcraft favors for my nephews. That would be nice.

(The above picture was taken of the Koy fish pond & waterfall at my parents house at Collegeville, PA in 2004)


this will NOT help your quest to find a girlfriend!!!

Just going by what i read in your blogs...the ones where (about once a quarter or every 6 mo's) you muse about why it's so hard for you to meet someone special and how you'd like some change but just can't quite break the funk (I happen to enjoy those self analytical posts). These are usually written after a family event or after being put firmly in the friends category by another "cute girl". I'm just saying a fascination with video games at 34 could be one very good reason as well as still having roommates. Things that could easily be changed.

I would surmise other factors might be more important to women about men, like personality, looks, charisma, intelligence and a good job. I live with roommates to save about $600-800 per month towards buying a condo. I work a second job to save even more money towards that.

Video games aren't sexy? Sure, I can see that. I dated girls before where they come first and my video games came second. I'd just play when they were working or out with their friends.

I'd rather have someone like me for who I am, than change my personality and hobbies for what they want me to be.

Furey- I think Janine means that because of your quirks being out there, it's harder to find a girl... you're looking for a needle in a haystack.

But not to worry, we all are. And in 20 years if you want to come be a cat lady in my mansion with me, we can work something out. ;-)

Very nice thanks...

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on January 19, 2007 12:38 AM.

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