Well unlike Larren, Njoying is a gregarious, wanna-be-in-a-group-so-she-dont-get-wasted-every-10min kinda girl. At level 27, I still get the 2 hit beat down while running through the uncontested areas. So, I partner up! I met this L27 Pally – Nas. He was running around with a bunch of other groups I was hanging with, doing multiple dungeons and what not. So we kinda hit it off. As a level 27 Druid, Im a pretty good healer to a Pally. (Priests obviously got the lock on rez and healing but, they seem to be in short supply). So, that’s me ‘N’, the healer.
During one of our many excursions into either Stockades or Westfall, one of the other players – Eiola, asks Nas how old he is. Now, we are all using voice on most of these excursions, it cuts down on the confusion and the effort to coordinate in the dungeons. Generally, voice gives you some clue as to at least the gender of your conversationalist. However, in this case for both Eiola and Nas it is completely unclear. Why? might you ask. There is a simple reason for this, pre-pubesency. Some boys have boy voices possibly until 20. So, this places both Nas and Eiola below 20. So, Eiola decides he must know the age of Nas. They start with this guessing game, – are you 16 or younger. 5min later it is revealed that Eiola (our fearless leader and organizer) is 16, Nas is 8, and the other members are teens as well. Then I am what? A perv, someone asks. Hell no -LOL but I told them to sum their ages.. they came up with 32. I accepted that. And to assure them told them I was in it for the research – and just not a typical nerd loser.
Of course to some degree, we are all typical nerd losers. Even at 8 and 16 these group members are spending every hour out of school (ends at around 2pm, home and online by 3pm) online playing games. MOST have parents who curtail their time online by either managing their computer time, or by squeezing their expenses. (Nas will be off line for a while soon, his account is expiring and his parents aren’t going to ante up for the next month – apparently a common experience no one seemed to commiserate or bat an eye).
Suffice it to say I have both quested with and gone in multiple dungeons and battle grounds with Nas and Eiola. Both are seasoned players with multiple chars. I know college students who are not this organized or leader-oriented. This is not to say that our adventures are not without its ups and downs. For example, Nas is broke. Not quite figuring out how to make money, he knows mostly only how to spend it. At level 28 now, he has only 1 gp to his name. His management style is mildly abrasive. The other day, Eiola kicked him out of the group after a few barbs about a dual or 2. He has offended Pas (a more than easy going Warlock of our sometimey group), and manage to bug the crap out of a lot of other chars. But overwhelmingly, he can organize a raid party on a dungeon without fail. He can recruit members for his party and in general keep them cohesive, – all while assigning duties and diagnosing issues. Skills that some managers 5-times his age have yet to figure out how to do. How will his early skills at managing people manifest? Is his personality in the game at all similar to the one inworld? If experience is any guide there is no way to tell. We can only hope that his skills in WOW, inform his skills inworld and visa versa. As an aged pally level 28 and player aged 8, Nas seems to have it ‘going on’.
And these other char in the game. I still wonder how this virtual world can attract so intently so many diverse groups for hours on end. What does WOW and guitar hero, and others have for everyone from 8-50+? If we can answer that, we will ALL be millionaires.