MMOs and self-efficacy

Screenshot from A Tale in the Desert, an Egyptian-themed game. (copyright egenesis)

The main reason I used to see the back of Daddyman’s head more than the front of it is summed up in one lengthy acronym:  MMORPGs.  For the unitiated into this particular branch of geekdom, that stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.  These include everything from the ubiquitous World of Warcraft (no link for a reason) to explorations of life in Ancient Egypt in A Tale in the Desert.  (SOTW Vol 1 folks, pay heed!  Adult game, but good, cooperative culture for kids, especially at the beginning of a new game.)

Daddyman has been spending his time these last few years getting his RN and writing his first few novels instead of playing MMOs, but he still tries out the betas (trial versions released as part of the development process) to get the old gang back together. 

Sometimes he even plays them with the kids.

No problem, right? 

Wrong, but probably not for the reasons you’re thinking. 

He and Beara were playing a beta together, and it ended – deleting her character.  To say that she is upset is like saying she kind of likes chocolate; a massive understatement.  This wasn’t her first MMO, but it IS the first time her character has gotten deleted. 

Daddyman thought this was just about her disappointment in not getting to play anymore, but I suspect it goes further…

Being not-quite-five is a tough gig.  Add in a mother with disabilities, a twin sister and a baby brother, and you don’t get out of the house as much as you’d like.  You also have to ask permission/help to use things like glue, get things like milk (she can’t pour it yet), and call people like Grandma.  You (at least in our non-whole-life semi-unschooling world) get told what to eat, when to go to bed, and, more often than your energetic self would like, to be quiet.  (Small house + five people = Oi.)

Imagine being that child, under those circumstances.  Now imagine getting to sit down in your Daddy’s lap so he can help you create a grown-up version of yourself, looking the way you want to look, exploring whatever corners of the (game) world you want to explore, and being strong (and brave!) enough to bash monsters by the dozen and get up kicking every time you get knocked down. 

Pretty good deal, eh? 

Two young wizards outside of the School of Fire Magic. (image from IGN.com. Wizard 101 is produced by Kingsisle Entertainment.)

We played Wizard 101 a while back, and are about to start it up again.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It is a 100% family friendly game, with menus of available text for kids to use to chat with other kids as a default, and open chat ONLY with adult permission, and even then with any even remotely offensive words blocked by the server.  One deals with enemies and bad guys, but only with wands and spells, so no hands-on ‘violence’ per se.  Fun interface, and interesting enough for adults that I pretty frequently found myself logging back in after the kids had gone to bed.  The characters are all young wizards in training, too, so no adult models (and body issues/stereotypes) to contend with.  Plus, that way it is a KID kicking bad guy butt.  >:)

My girls, then not even four, could move themselves around the world just fine, but got scared of the scarier/tougher monsters/bad guys.  They worked it out though – they only went into those areas with a parent, and even then stayed on the safezone sidewalks.  When they played by themselves, often teaming up, they stayed to a couple of low-level neighbourhoods, dealing with their fears on their own terms

They also budgeted their own funds and training points, figured out where they were on maps, kept track of their mission goals, even between game worlds, and worked out which of their spells was best to use under what circumstances.  They teamed up with other kids, and defeated evil together.  They got to do it by themselves.

They even got pet dragons.  >:)

(You can play for free in the intro areas, and, should you want to play beyond that, you can either pay their low fee by the month, or buy content areas a la carte, which you can then play in forever.  Pretty sweet structure, imo.  No affiliation whatsoever – we’re just happy customers.) 

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