As some of you know, I like to game. Specifically, I like to play MMORPGs. In layman’s terms, that stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. The truth about how these games affect the lives of the people playing them varies depending on who you talk to. For me, it’s been a positive affectation. I finished typing out a rather long and embarrassingly nerdy explanation of such perks, but instead of giving you that version… Suffice it to say that I find the interactions between players to be of a psychologically interesting nature. Moving to the reason I brought up MMOs… I play Guild Wars 2 specifically, and I play it for the people. However, it has had some interesting outcomes that were unexpected.
#1: We have loot. I already wrote about this in a previous post last semester, but the loot table has gotten an upgrade (for those nerds reading this, it got patched). It’s easier to get loot this time around, but we only roll for it once a week. However, this has significantly improved our getting out the door with smiles intact.
#2: We level up. I love games. All types even. Biggest and Littlest do too. Their favorites though, all have characters to level up. So, this weekend, after failing for the umpteenth time to try to explain to Biggest why we put effort into things like listening, I gave up. Or rather… I told him to throw the effort out the window, since it wasn’t working anyway, and put some experience points into levelling up instead. The light bulb went on. I have yet to have an issue since. In fact, this morning, I had a discussion with him about picking his feet up when he was walking, and I told him that I levelled up my stealthy feet when I was his age even if he thought he was too young to learn that skill… And after two minutes, (his own words, I kid you not) “Mom! Look! I put my adulty pants on and I levelled up! See??? It worked!” (as his boots were no longer dragging on the ground.) (Side note: I didn’t realize he understood the meaning of adulty pants, but my inside voice was laughing so hard I couldn’t see straight).
#3: We have map bonuses and buffs. This is my version of a chore chart. In Guild Wars 2, when you complete an event in a specific part of the world (it’s broken down to maps to save on processing power), you may receive extra rewards specific to that map. Behold! Our household has been broken down into three maps: Biggest’s Reach, Littlest Citadel, and Momma’s Rest. Each has a customizable map bonus that may be chosen when regular household duties are completed. (I mean… events…) Better yet… Bonus events yield buffs. Buffs are temporary bonuses to individual people. For instance, I (the mother) have a Preparation Buff that I award myself for completing prep each night. My map bonus currently is +1 Brandy (Neat). My preparation buff stacks up to 5 times, each stack gives me an extra half hour of playtime anytime during the week, in addition to my “play days”. (I now have specific days I allow myself to play on only, since my training has commenced.) Biggest currently has +30min quiet reading time as his map bonus, and has 1 stack of Nourishment, which gives him an additional jelly bean at the end of his loot roll for the week. Nourishment is gained by eating dinner nicely and has a maximum stack of 5. Littlest currently has +30min quiet reading time as his map bonus as well, and also has one stack of Nourishment. If they complete the bonus event (which was dusting the living room today), they gain the Might buff, which gives them an additional 30min to spend either playing a video game with me or watching an episode of Paw Patrol. Also spent in addition to regular time and stackable up to 5 times. They both currently have the Regeneration (Momma’s Grace) Buff which allows them cartoons on Saturday, since they’ve been quite polite to me this week. There’s a couple more that they haven’t earned yet, but it’s been fun. More importantly, it’s worked really well so far! We salvaged this morning despite a near wipe by putting map bonuses on the line. I guess they wanted those pretty bad because they smartened up in less than a blink of an eye.
And, on a serious note, for the first time in well over 6 months, I feel as though I’ve actually connected with these little creatures. It’s been a really rough few months with attitudes, and I can happily say that this week, I didn’t feel like I was rewarding bad behaviour with snuggles, and I didn’t feel like I was being badgered every 5 minutes for something. Time for a new phase in our lives, the phase where they’re people figuring out how to be people instead of trying to figure out how to wipe their asses. Or perhaps… in a more nerdy fashion, we cleared the boss and we’re off to learn the next one.
I wish you good night, and happy gaming, whether it’s Words with Friends, Candy Crush, Monopoly, Catan, or something wilder like Halo or World of Warcraft. In the meantime, I’m off to get some rested experience points, since our event usually starts waaaaaaay earlier than I ever anticipate.