World of Warcraft has been around for quite some time now. I can still remember downloading the game on release day back on November 23, 2004 and making my first character, a Night Elf Rogue. I eventually made a dozen other characters, settled in on my favorite (the Hunter), and stuck with the game for the following 10 years. My then girlfriend, who later would become my wife, even got in on the Warcraft love and made her own character. Just like me, she is still playing today. There were lapses in the subscriptions, but if one thing was constant in my household, it was that World of Warcraft was always installed on the family computer. It was the one game that stood the test of time and kept us interested as gaming systems came and went. When our son was born in late 2013, I thought it would mean the end of our time in Azeroth, but much to my surprise, it actually didn’t. My wife and I may not have quite as much time as we used to, but we still find time to play our favorite game. What I’ve found is that World of Warcraft is actually quite facilitating to parents even more so nowadays with their latest expansion, The Warlords of Draenor. So, if you’re a parent and either used to play WoW or want to get in on the action now, let me explain why this is a great game for the modern video gaming parent.
1. An Escape
If you are unfamiliar with how an MMORPG (Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) works, think of it like this: you create a character in a world and live in that character’s shoes alongside thousands of others doing the exact same thing. From the moment you first boot up the game, you’ll create a character from a diverse list of races with unique traits, stories, and lore. You can modify their looks, choose a class, and then embark on your journey into the world of Azeroth. As a 30 year old working professional, my days can get pretty hectic. As a parent, when you come home you are still on the clock and need to take care of chores, dinner, putting the kid to sleep, etc. When everything is said and done and you have some time to yourself, it’s nice to be able to get out of own skin and into the skin of a Night Elf who shoots fireballs at enemies or a Worgen (WoW’s version of werewolves) who raises demons from the abyss to strike down their foes. Unlike other games, you’ll be mainly playing one character (or a few if you really get into it) and you will be that character each time you login. If you are into role playing, there are servers where you can literally speak and act like your character would and be completely accepted by the community. Some times it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and play as someone else in a fantasy setting, and for that, WoW has you covered.
2. The Community
One thing you’ll notice within your first week playing WoW is that the community is fantastic. Every community has it’s fair share of bad apples, but the overarching kindness and helpfulness of the longtime WoW residents are something that will make any new or old player feel at home. Longtime friendships have been started in game and the ages that play WoW range dramatically. You could find a guild for 18+ players like I usually do and talk to other parents about the struggles a teething 16 mos. old (I had this conversation last week in my guild). The wide range of ages and socio-economic status of the players in WoW almost guarantee that you’ll be able to find people in game that will allow you to connect and share stories with others after the kids go to bed.
3. 5 Minutes of 5 Hours
There was a time when you really needed to invest time to enjoy everything that WoW had to offer. People would spend hours upon hours leveling up their character to max level, finding groups, raiding, etc. to get the best loot for their character. All of this still exists today and if you are a hardcore player, you can still find this type of commitment with some of the more serious guilds out there. For other more casual players of WoW, Blizzard has streamlined a lot of the processes in the game and made leveling a lot easier and faster. Finding a group is as easy as clicking a button to LFG (looking for group) and you can even do this for the big end game raiding once you reach max level. Loot drops much quicker so you aren’t spending hours re-running the same dungeon nonstop for that one piece of loot. You can still do this, as there are high end items that still require time sinks, but for casual players this isn’t required. You can login to WoW and spend a couple hours playing the story missions or, when you really don’t have a lot of time, you can login and tend to your Garrison, something Blizzard added in the most recent expansion, The Warlords of Draenor. With the Garrison, you are made commander of a fortress of sorts and you pick what buildings to build, what to craft, collect followers, and send those followers out on missions to get items. Think of it like a Facebook game but inside of WoW. You’ll collect followers from questing throughout Draenor and they will show up in your Garrison. From there, you send them out via an NPC and they’ll complete missions while you’re away from the game. When you come back, they’ll have their spoils and you can send them back out and repeat the process all along leveling them up and increasing your Garrisons standing. This is perfect for those couple minutes you have in the morning while drinking coffee or late at night before going to bed.
4. No Gore/Child Friendly
One look at Warcraft and you can tell this isn’t a gore filled game. The colors are vibrant, the landscapes are beautiful, and everything has a cartoony cheer to it of sorts. You’ll do battle and kill things, but in terms of fighting games, this is truly mild. If you child sees you playing the game, they aren’t going to inundated with blood and violence like in other popular games on the market. In a world where violence sells a ton of games, it’s refreshing to play something a little more calm and collected that the kids can see. Plus, there is no bad language in the game that I know of, so if the kids hear the conversation you’re having with Thrall, you can rest assured he’ll be on his best behavior.
5. Pick Up and Play/Easy to Come Back To
If you have read any of my other gaming while a parent articles, you’ll know that the ability to put down a game and come back to it easily is a big plus in my book. This is why I’m so fond of the Nintendo 3DS, Vita, and the Xbox One. Both offer the ability to suspend play and immediately pick up where you left off for those times where you have to drop everything and attend to your child. WoW is pretty similar in this regard. You will play in a persistent world where whenever you log off, the world is still evolving and others are playing. If you’re in the middle of a quest and your child wakes up, you just need to logout and that’s it. When you return, you’ll be exactly where you left your character and you can continue without missing a beat. Now, with that said, you don’t want to partake in group encounters while your kid is sleeping or while someone else couldn’t keep an eye on the child. If you’re in a group, you’re tied up for the next 30 min or so depending on the encounter you’re doing and leaving abruptly wouldn’t just affect you but also the others in the group. So, as long as your mindful of the time you have and only engage in solo activities when you’re under time restraints, you’ll do just find in managing time in game.
There are many games out there that are good for gamer parents. World of Warcraft is just one game among many that truly helps gamer parents enjoy the hobby they love while also giving them the ability to jump right back into the role of parent/caregiver. Do you have other games that are favorites of yours and are enjoyable during your downtime? Is WoW one of them? Let us know in the comments.