Mom’s Guide to MMORPGs

So my mother came up to help us keep the Baby Vigil until the little one is born, which has been nice to have that extra support and also company.  She had a lot of questions about what I write for Massively and this blog, and the game that I played, so I asked her if she wanted to see LOTRO and she said sure.

My mom used to be a huge LOTR fan, but this was way back — like, the 70’s way back — so her memory of Middle-earth was a bit fuzzy.  I started to take her on a tour of the highlights: the Shire, Bag End, Prancing Pony, Weathertop.  The cool thing is that she had more questions about how the game worked than about the whole LOTR world, so I ended up trying to explain a MMO to a complete non-gamer.

One of the first things I pointed out to her was the social interaction between players, and how it links up people from across the world.  She got a huge kick out of me waving to another character and seeing them wave back, and realizing that it was another person controlling that toon.  It was confusing to her that the world was populated by both computer-controlled NPCs and player characters, but I explained how you can tell the difference and that seemed to satisfy her.

I used the overworld map to show how players progress through both zones and levels, saying that levels were kind of a requirement — a “ticket” — to access additional zones and adventures.  She didn’t want to get into the nitty gritty of character building, but instead gravitated more toward the fluffier elements, such as the outfits and player housing.

Perhaps the one thing that had her in awe was LOTRO’s music system, which she experienced as a pair of lute-players put on a little concert for a crowd in front of the Prancing Pony.  I told her how the music system lets players wield their creativity to make new things, and that just appealed to her in a way that killing 100 bad guys to gain a skill did not.

We also talked a bit about how the game has expanded my knowledge and understanding of the books and Tolkien’s world, and I realized at that point just how far I’ve come in understanding the lore, characters and areas of Middle-earth in being able to discuss them without stumbling over the words or using a lot of “um’s”.

I’ll give credit to my mom — she might not be a convert and doesn’t really get how people can pour so much time into these games, but she didn’t mock me for it, and she made an honest attempt to understand my fascination with these online worlds.

8 thoughts on “Mom’s Guide to MMORPGs

  1. mbp April 3, 2010 / 10:45 am

    Lovely reminder that the things we take for granted were not always so Syp.

    Is this baby number 1 Syp?

  2. Yogi April 3, 2010 / 11:06 am

    Great story. I wish my family would take the same stance. Most of them still hang onto them being a waste of time. I’ve explained the benefits of playing games and participating in the community a hundred times, but to no avail.

    Props to your mother (haha I just unintentionally sounded like an e thug) for taking the time to see and listen to your interests with a curious disposition.

  3. Void April 3, 2010 / 11:10 am

    It is always interesting to read about how non-gamers perceive gaming. I constantly watch my fiance’s reactions to seeing me play new games. If you know what you’re doing you can even draw some non-gamers into gaming.

    If you are trying to get non-gamers to play with you, it is really important to start with games that are easy to learn. Rock Band and Mario Kart go a long way towards converting a non-gamer.

    Syp, I’d love to see more posts on the topic!

  4. Efithor April 3, 2010 / 3:56 pm

    Now if only I could get my Mother to do the same,

    Seems MMOs are the root of all evil to her…

  5. We Fly Spitfires April 4, 2010 / 4:41 am

    Wow, you’re mum sounds very cool! I’m jealous 🙂 My mum can’t even pronouce MMORPG!

  6. boatorious April 4, 2010 / 5:16 pm

    You too Syp? Six more weeks until #2 here in Boatville.

  7. capnjohn April 4, 2010 / 11:17 pm

    My wife-to-be and I first met each other in the early mid-to-early 90s, while “playing” a MOO. I was still living with my parents at the time, in a small country in Australia.

    Many years later when my father passed away and my mother had trouble sleeping, my older sister’s husband set her up with an online Poker site where she whiled away the evening hours, chatting with other people (real people) while playing poker.

    And that’s how she met my Stepfather 🙂

  8. Azz April 6, 2010 / 2:50 pm

    Seems like a great mother you have there, and it was nice to say hello to her when you were showing her around.

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