Granted, I am not a Millenium kid, but I like MMORPGs as much as the next techie-mom.
I freaked out my 14-year-old son’s friend the other day when I asked them which shard I should start my new warrior character on. He (the friend) stared at me, open-mouthed.
“I understood what you just said,” he explained,”but I can’t believe you just said it.”
Stereotypes (soccer-mom, nagging-mom, boring-mom, etc) die hard.
Here are some important lessons I have learned from playing RIFT and other online games:
1. Keep up with Technology
My kids played the first computer games on a Power Mac 7100/80 hand-me-down from work: KidPix, Carmen Sandiago, SimCity (precursor to The Sims). One winter we discovered Myst. It captured my imagination — the lonely island with a terrible secret, the dusty books with static testimonies, the ambient soundtrack with lapping waves. Myst satisfied the artistic adventurer in me.
Watching new gaming platforms emerge keeps me up to speed on new technologies. Myst, for example, increased the use of CD-Roms at the time. It’s always good to know what’s coming down the road because as a blogger, you’re in the technology industry, (even if you forget momentarily while you search for a clue in the Mechanical Age).
2. Learn the Shortcuts
The first time I played The Sims, I stayed up all night as my virtual family started peeing in corners because I couldn’t afford toilets. When my son woke up for breakfast and saw the plight I was in, he said, “Don’t you know the shortcut?”
He nimbly entered a string of letters and numbers, and suddenly, I was a virtual millionaire. I have to say, it was much more fun to be rich.
I blogged for years before I started to seriously learn the shortcuts from someone who’s been there. It’s worth it to find a good teacher and subscribe to their blog, try out their advice, buy their products and learn as much as you can. The best teachers will have patience and really good tricks that will make your life online easier and richer.
My recommended blogging and business teachers can be found on this page.
3. Understand your Weaknesses
The Harry Potter games came along, and playing Quidditch online was fun, but my kids were still better than I was at flying. Was it because their little fingers held a mouse almost before they held a pencil? Instead of giving up, I watched what they did, how they prepared for the next move, and I practiced doing the same.
It takes practice to be good at something. Is regular posting your weakest link? The technology behind custom designing your theme? Don’t give up! WordPress wasn’t created to give you nightmares, even though sometimes it feels that way. Use forums, friends and inner circles of experts to help you keep your learning curve curving.
4. Create a Virtual Place of Beauty
I next discovered Neverwinter Nights. A huge jump in online graphics made this world beautiful to play in. I opened my backpack from a semi-opague grid interface. The sound of clinking money, bubbling potions, raucous fighting, clashing swords, and especially, the crunching of boots on the snow-covered earth finally won me over and I played for years.
I think of my blog as a home where you can come visit, see what’s new, share some experiences.
I was recently searching for an image to go with a blog post and chose a digital representation of the air currents around the wings of a bat. It had nothing to do with my post, except the tangential link of a digital negative image, and the fact that the piece was shown at the Santa Fe Complex where I hold Blogshop, but I love the combination of art and science, so I shared that image with you.
5. Interact with your Fellow Players
I played World of Warcraft off and on for a couple years. This was my first foray into a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) where you interact with other twelve-year-olds and Chinese prisoners masquerading as dwarfs and goblins live on a server.
My son was usually a fleet-footed elf; I was a big cow with a gun. The first time I flew into Orgrimmar—the equivalent of New York City—I was stunned by the level 80s riding crazy beasts, duels breaking out in the streets, and the 3-character-deep lines at the auction house. I just virtually stared at everyone.
There were a lot of fun days during Christmas vacation when my youngest and I, on separate laptops, sat next to each other at my desk and quested together online. We joined up with someone once who kept asking to borrow gold from us, the creep. We joined up with another character and went on a fun hour-long adventure until she told us, “I gotta go shopping with my dad,” and signed off.
In the blogging realm, you don’t always know the real people behind your online audience, either. Get to know them better. Ask them to reply to your posts. Set up a survey to find out if you have helped them and what more you can do for them. Hold a free Q & A session. Go on a quest together.
6. Join a Public Group to Defeat the Rifts
RIFT came along early this year in Beta version. I only started playing a month ago since they don’t have a mac-supported version. What I enjoy most about it is the ease in joining a public group to battle elemental rifts. Join, battle, goodbye. Mount my double-headed turtle, and I am galloping off to collect unseen eyes or defeat more death invasions.
Blogging is sometimes a battle against unseen, deadly elements, isn’t it? I learned to join a public group or two, usually forums, to help me win those battles. Bloggers are online a lot, so even if it’s 2am and I am having a struggle formatting some CSS, or getting a gallery to work, I log on to a forum and look for answers, and post if I don’t solve the problem myself.
One good place to interact with other bloggers is David Risley’s Inner Circle. He is one of my affiliates (full disclosure!) but I promote him because I wouldn’t be a successful blogger without his sage and no-BS advice. Click here to visit his site
We may not be Ascended Souls in Gnarlwood trying to save the targeted world of Telara, but we can use gaming lessons to better our blogging game.