(a ramble from the geeky side… virtual parenting)
So, after getting Brad and Brian hooked on this MMORPG called Sect (you can click on the icon above to check it out, and yea… it’ll give me some credit if you play, but not enough for me to be pushing it – just being honest!), and as I’ve played my first character up to a fairly high level, I started a second character, which I meant as a joke!
Back up a bit… for the non-gamers: In this game you must fight with other players, hoping to kill them and offer sacrifices to your chosen deity in order to gain favors… it’s set in a destroyed sci-fi future scenario… visualize it… it makes sense (sort of)… Anyhow, it’s a text based game, nothing graphic or we wouldn’t let the 9yo play. When you get down to the bare bones of it, it’s just a numbers thing and I have no problem letting the kids play a game like this that makes them think in math. Honor doesn’t play this one, yet, the numbers and multiplication/estimating/predicting required to play well is a little bulky for a 1st grader. The most basic way to explain this game is you must gather resources by fighting or completing missions, buy items which boost your stats and improve your income, and hope for the best when you click to roll those virtual dice – the odds of course, being weighed by the choices you make with your stats. Turn length is limited by energy points, which are also part of your stats. Stat points, which must be earned, and are rare and precious things, you try to allocate in such a way as to promote your character’s strengths. All points are limited and refreshed only after (real) time has passed. You do NOT want to waste your energy, as you don’t get it back once it’s gone, and accomplishing tasks within set times will earn you bonuses.
As for the ‘joke’, often, when attacking other players, you’ll hit them to within a couple points of zero (dead), and that’s it. You’re not allowed to attack the wounded, put them out of their misery, and rack up another sacrifice point for your chosen god. Instead, you’ll get this annoying message that says “Your opponent is nearly dead already. Let's fight him later.” … very frustrating! I don’t want to “fight him later”… I want to finish him off now! There are perks to be gained. Now! Not later. I got tired of my “opponent” being “nearly dead” and untouchable. I figured that other players might feel the same way, so I decided to create a fighter to be an actual ‘touchable’ opponent.
Trouble is… my new fighter, Nearly Dead, has turned out to be a tough guy. Not to mention, lucky as all get out. This ‘whipping boy’ joke I started him with… he’s not into that. Not at all. He has proceeded to kick virtual behind from the moment I turned him loose. Winning fights, snagging loot in quantities beyond anything my other character could ever imagine, increasing stats and acquiring gear and real estate in ways that ought to be illegal. You do not have to “fight him later”, he’s real (virtually) and ready to fight right now… but doing so is probably a very bad idea… his reality, not the one I thought he’d have… and yes, I like his version better. Is it silly to be proud of a over-achieving collection of electronic data? Well, I am.
Oddly enough, this makes me think of my real, and not so blood-thirsty, offspring. As a mom, most things usually wrap back around to my real kids somehow. My Nearly Dead fighter guy has made me think back, way back, before the kids were born – I had these ideas of how our kids would act, what they would look like, how we’d teach them and how they’d learn, how they’d relate to us and each other, etc. Ha! How naive! Nope. Instead, each came into the world with their own agendas and plans for world domination… all I get to do is boost their stats, devote energy wisely, and provide them with what I think are the proper tools, using what little time I am given within this ‘turn’ as their mom, then my role is to merely stand aside as they play their own games… because, well, they will. No joke.