So. The dreaded day has come huh? Your kid has seen you play games like Rift or World of Warcraft and finally wants a piece of the action. Should you be proud? Concerned? Excited? I say a little of each would be the correct response. Your child is showing interest in gaming, but as an experienced player, you’re fully aware that, just like the real world, there are super-friendly people and insufferable a-holes. Do you think your youngster is ready to be exposed to an online world that is very much like the real one? If the answer is yes, then continue reading.
Think back on the day you played your first MMORPG. What was it like? What would you have done differently? Did you have someone to play with? How old were you? These are all questions that can narrow down how you would specifically introduce your kid to their first MMORPG. I was about 11 or 12 when I first played RuneScape. It had only been out for a few years at the time, so it was relatively fun to play since there weren’t that many jerks around just yet. My parents weren’t gamers so they weren’t too concerned (nor did they really care) about the kind of games I played online. Granted I never did anything that would’ve gotten me in trouble anyway, but I was on my own when figuring out the world of MMOs. Would this method still work nowadays? Probably not.
Let me elaborate.
There are more people today that are willing to cheat, scam, hack, or do whatever to become better players or make money. You can avoid these players for the most part, but if they ever catch a whiff at the fact that your kid is a noob, it puts them at a greater risk. It could ruin the entire online gaming experience for them and we don’t want that happening either.
So what do you do? Well, instead of the whole “watching over their shoulder” approach (which has a creepy vibe to it anyway), why don’t you create an account with your mini-me on the game? Depending on how old they are, research a few games that you approve of. Keep in mind that no matter what game you choose, there will be abusive or offensive players – yes, even the kiddie friendly ones have trolls. Sad, right?
RuneScape is still pretty decent for the tweens. You can turn off public chat and the graphic violence is kept to a minimum. Other similar games that you can play with your little gamer are Mabinogi, which is an anime-style MMO, and Conquer Online, a PVP MMORPG that is great for beginners. Also, check out this list for your little ones that are 11 or under.
Wait, what if your child has friends he or she would rather play with? Invite them over to play at your house and give them pointers and tips as they venture off into the vast world of online gaming. It’s always better to start playing with a group of friends instead of wandering alone with unanswered questions. You can also get the other gamer parents and join in on the fun, maybe create a huge family guild while you’re at it (just don’t embarrass the kids or you’re getting blocked).
Once your kid has the basics down, you can slowly ease off the game and let them explore other MMORPGs on his or her own. If you worry about what they’re getting exposed to then you shouldn’t have let them play in the first place. No matter what, your child will find out about scamming, foul language, and other atrocities in some way, shape or form. It might as well be in an online community where there are no real repercussions other than getting banned, which will be a lesson in itself. So just let them have fun with their online buddies, at least it’ll be one more thing to talk about at dinner (if they even come down from their room…just kidding!).