To Game or not to Game: A parent’s guide to WoW introduction

Age Requirement

“Mommy! I want to see the spider pet!” My seven year old asks this often. I don’t know if it’s because it’s blue, sparkly, or multi-legged. Whatever the reason I oblige and pull it up on my Night Elf Hunter. She laughs hysterically and tries to take control. Eventually, I know she’s going to be playing all on her own just like the sixteen-year-old who is sighing at the desk across the room. She’s fresh in Outlands and decided she wanted to take on a Fel Reaver. Maniacally, I grin at her. I know a lot of parents who let their kids play at an early age. That didn’t happen in this house. I waited until last year. And before you ask why she’s only just now in Outlands when she started last year, she wasn’t sure at first if she liked it. She got bitten with the gaming bug again two weeks ago and has now been inseparable from it since. So then, why did I introduce it last year and not when she was thirteen? Well, I wouldn’t call thirteen age appropriate honestly. In my opinion there are factors to consider before you put your child in a Multi-player Universe, let them create a character, and say have it. And that’s after they establish an interest.

For starters, there is the basic control of the components. In today’s age our kids know how to work a keyboard and a mouse by two. Wonderful, now teach them how to control both at the same time. If you can manage that, we can move on to the second requirement. I toss how well they read both words and mapping in to this too, since you have to pay attention to the quests and the maps. Toss in math skills for the auction house here as well.

Do they understand the difference between a game and reality? I wish I could just unequivocally say across board, SURE! But I know adults who seem to not be able to tell master this. That really has nothing to do with the game as much as it does the person playing it. And this feeds directly into my third requirement.

Can they exercise self-control? Let’s face it, people in these games range from wonderfully friendly to outright cruel. So when your child comes across a stranger in chat who is ranting about how their DPS rate sucks, are they going to get all butt-hurt and escalate the fight? Are they going to get off the computer and throw things? If the answer is yes, an MMO is maybe not the smartest way to go yet. I can see some parent now on the other side of this screen going, “Well I just let him log in and mine for me.” You would be totally right, if nodes and herbs weren’t constantly under attack from other gatherers. If you have herbing or mining, at some point you’re going to have your chosen target snatched away without any warning, and on any shard. It doesn’t just happen in a PvP environment.

And finally, are you the parent going to keep an eye on your child? This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Letting your kid or teen, have freedom in game is fine. But be responsible about it. Inform them that they cannot give out any personal information. Make them check in with you before they add someone to their friends list. Be there for help with quests and questions. Put them in your guild or a guild you trust. Check the language settings for guild chat. Make use of in game filters. Do not just accept that they are fine because they are playing something on computer. On the other side of the screen from them are actual people with completely different agendas, just like any other online system.

If you can look at this list and say, “I will be watching my child regularly. They are mature for their age. They won’t throw a tantrum when insulted by a stranger across the screen. They are in a guild I trust. They can handle the controls.” Then sure, by all means let your child play at thirteen. If you have to answer no to any of the above, then wait a year and re-examine where your child is at. Doing so will save you a lot of hassle from your second-generation gamer and a lot of bad feedback from the people who come into contact with your child.

While it boils down to each parents personal choices on what is best for their child, remember that in an MMO your choices affect others too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darkmoon Faire: Not your average big top!

The serpentine eye glowing yellow-red in the impending darkness may look like it’s straight out of the Lord Of The Rings series, but for any WoW aficionado, we know differently. That eye against the purple, yellow, and green checkered flag can mean only one thing; Darkmoon Faire. For those who don’t know, the first Sunday of every month a tent and portal is put up in each of the main thoroughfares. For Alliance it’s Elwynn Forest right outside of town and for Horde, it’s Mulgore, right outside of Thunder Bluff. You can either run there or you can visit one of the Darkmoon Mystic Mages located in Stormwind and Orgimmar respectively. For a small fee they will transport you to the entrance tent.

Dmf Mystic Mage

Like any Faire, there are rides, games, and tasks you do for the equivalent of skeeball tickets. These are called Darkmoon Prize Tickets. While you can’t “taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell,” you can find your favorite boardwalk game down the street of big tops. Whether it’s the shooting gallery, whack-a-Gnoll, or my personal favorite tonks (which is a cross between RC cars and demolition derby) you’re sure to be able to find ways to let the time slip from your grasp and get lost in this mystical treasure island. Like any faire, the more games you play the more prize tickets you get. The more prize tickets you get the more items you have the power to purchase, ranging from clothing, to armor, to your very own set of stationary carousel toys. Additionally, the majority of the games are dailies so you can go back every day of the faire with the exception of the strongwoman.. and what I’m about to tell you.

DMF cannon2

All of the dailies are fun. All of them kill time. But none of them are the meat and bones of what Darkmoon Faire really is. This monthly world is a chance to get a leg up in your skills and professions. Once you are over 75 in your chosen skill set you can visit an array of characters who give you quests. Tired of running through Kalimdor for their dailies? No problem! Pack a bag of flour head, to the fair and visit with Stamp Thunderhorn. I promise you will never see frogs the same way again. You’ll also walk away with a +5 to cooking skill. Yes, you see it right. A +5. Of note, he also trains fishing. Around the corner from him you’ll find First Aid, Skinning, and Healing. Every last one of these little quests is +5. We all hate working up Enchanting. Well, make sure to hit the Faire because it clips off an enormous amount of time for you. Leatherworking, Herbalism, Alchemy, Inscription, Tailoring.. the list goes on and on. The kicker is that these are one time a month quests. They aren’t dailies.

Cooking quest DMF

I’m not sure any of us are ever finished. After all, there are alts to level and pets to collect. Something you can do at the Faire as well thanks to the new tent they put up. But even if you’re 90, there is the Darkmoon Den Mother Moonfang to kill who drops a pet, among other loot. Make sure you get your experience buff by riding the carousel!

Buff from carousel DMF

Finally, Last not but least; make sure you see Selina Dourman the Undead at the start of the main street and grab a Darkmoon Adventure Book. As long as you have it on you, while you’re out doing dungeons you have the chance for something from the Faire to drop. When it does you can return it for more tokens and tickets. Don’t forget to visit the stage near the waters’ edge so the Chieftans can rock your virtual world!

DMF information desk

From our big top to yours….

 

 

 

 

One Egg, Two Egg, Red Egg, Blue Egg: Cloud Serpent Riding

WoWScrnShot_031314_054311

When the Mists of Pandaria expansion hit, the landscape changed within World of Warcraft once again. Far from just geographical, five more levels were added along with stunning graphics and dailies we would all eventually consider selling our first born to avoid. Level 90 was “the new black.” The starting line was drawn, and off we all went to explore, to quest, and to climb to our new end game content. There was one little hitch, you couldn’t fly in the new world until you hit that new cap. Pandaria, for majestic as it is, as a land mount only, is challenging and generally resulted, at least for me, in a cliff jump on more than one occasion.

At level 87, we finally got to see our main city of the expansion; The Shrine of Two Moons or The Shrine of Seven Stars depending on your Horde/Alliance affiliation. Nestled in the courtyard behind the flight master we would spy a serpentine Dragon reminiscent of classic oriental decoration and lore. This would be the representation for the Cloud Serpent riders, those who controlled flight throughout Pandaria.  Wonderful, but it would be 3 more levels until we could interact! When that ding hits and 90 has arrived we breathed a sigh of accomplishment and relief and set out to talk to the afore mentioned Serpentine Dragon. A small cost later and we were up and away on our multicolored mounts. There was something stuck in the craw though, if we could talk to this dragon and it clearly had a place for a rider, then it must be one we can achieve ourselves at some point. I immediately set off to do just that.

CloudSerpentGrown

Let’s start at the beginning. There are several types of Cloud Serpents you can get. How to obtain the Heavenly Golden Cloud Serpent can be found here: http://wow.stratics.com/guides/heavenly-golden-cloud-serpent-mount-guide/

There is also the Thundering Cloud Serpent and the Onyx Cloud serpent, both rare and both to be discussed at another time.

For our intents and purposes we are going to discuss the Azure, The Jade, and the basic Golden Cloud Serpent. Near the edge of the rock face, and splattered with grass and foliage is what is called The Arboretum. It comes complete with its own Flight Path and can be easily found if you simply fly across the eastern coastline. There you encounter Elder Anlii, The Serpent Master. He informs you that you must go to Windward Isle which is located right off the coast. You have to rescue tiny versions of the serpents, kill Saurok and Slitherblade (lizardlike creatures), and complete the starting quest chain. Once you have done this, you get to choose the color of Dragon you want to raise. Yes, you heard me right. I said raise. Winterspring has a similar idea for their cub and Netherwing has a similar daily grind for their drake as well.

 

Once your darling little serpent has hatched, you face the task of helping it grow. For starters here are the dailies. You’ll start out with quests that range in picking up their poop, to hunting wild cats. All the while working up your reputation with the Cloud Serpent Riders. Once you hit Honored another set of quests open all based on profession skills like Fishing and first aid. This was the stage when I realized archeology would have been good to have and I doubled back to work it. At Revered you are introduced to a few buyable items at the quartermaster near the flight path as well as your now full grown serpent! Time to learn to ride it. Unlike other mounts where you get on and go, you have to train with this one. Sky race it is!

racestart

 

 

 

Dip, dive, duck and roll through wisps of smoke. At first you follow the trainer and make sure to stay close. At halfway through she cuts you loose though and you are on your own to get to the end. The trick here is to follow the hanging lanterns amid the blowing ribbon. Decorations point the way and are evenly matched with hot air balloons adorned in checkered flags that you will have to tag again when you hit exalted.

CloudSerpentQuarter

 

Let’s examine that word: Exalted. By the time you hit 90 you are well acquainted with this on a lot of levels. The kicker is that there are several ways to get there if, like the rest of us, the daily grinds begin to twist your knickers. As previously mentioned in our own Sylier’s guide to The Heavenly Golden Cloud Serpent Mount at Revered you can purchase the Cloud Serpent Commendation. This gives you extra reputation points.

 

 

Onyx egg

 The next shortcut can be found at no matter your reputation, Onyx eggs. They are grey, small and they spawn in the following places:  Atop the high islands around the Arboretum, in the small stone egg holding crevice next to the Slitherscale Lizard-Lord off Windward Isle and in the skeleton behind the Windward Saber in the same area.

 

 

In order to assist late comers in grinding reputation two additional modes of rep gaining were introduced. In patch 5.4 came timeless isle. A number of Rare creatures came with this island for those at end game. One of those was Houlon and The Crimsonscale Firestorms. Both of these are Serpentine Dragons in nature, and both of these have to either be looted or killed in order to get to the Quivering Firestorm egg. You can’t miss it, it’s red and angry like a boil that cannot be popped. It binds on pickup and you turn it in at the Arboretum the same you do with the Onyx eggs. Last, but not least, there is now the ability to champion a group for reputation when you queue for either of the heroics: Dungeon or Scenario, as well as plain scenarios as well. You simply select the star and queue up!

No matter which Cloud Serpent you selected, once you hit exalted you can purchase the others and move on to the three extended additions!