Role Playing Games Are Good For You

Back in the early 1970s when I was in my twenties, I got hooked on role-playing fantasy characters based in the Middle Earth universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien. I got hooked on Dungeons and Dragons. A group of six of us got together every weekend and had marathon sessions that lasted from Friday evening until Sunday evening. Back in those days we played using paper and pencil.

After about ten years, when I went back to college to get my BA, I started moving in a different circle of friends who did not play D & D, but the community college where I worked as a tutor had a computer lab and there was an online version that I got to play in my spare time.

Then in the mid 1980s I stopped playing all together until about a year ago, when my kids discovered Warcraft and Neverwinter Nights. My kids started playing World of Warcraft and have been badgering me to come play online with them but I resisted for reasons that are not relevant here. Two weeks ago I broke down and started playing a little on each of the two accounts we have with WoW. That way I can take turns playing with my daughter and my younger son, both of whom take role playing very seriously, as do I. [For an introduction to the WoW unverse, click here.]

After testing out different kinds of characters, I have settled on one I intend to keep and one I will be giving to my daughter. Both of then are priests. Gee, what a surprise there!!! LOL The one I am going to keep as my main character is an elven priest names Prosperion. If you play WoW, feel free to introduce your character to mine, just do in character. I only associate with serious role players! 🙂 My current computer cannot handle WoW, so I play on my son’s big Sony and the kids take turns using my daughter’s laptop. When I get my new laptop – hopefully next month, I will get a third WoW account and move Prosperion to that account so the three of us can play together.

Because my son’s computer is silver, I cannot read the keyboard, which makes chatting impossible, so I am currently playing my characters as either mutes or as someone who has taken a vow of silence. You have no idea how hard that is for me. LOL When I get my silver laptop with a black keyboard, those vows will end and the mutes will be miraculously cured.

A lot of people who are unfamiliar with the RPG universes, bad mouth games like WoW and Neverwinter Nights, saying they are evil and a bad influence on our children. To me, that is said out of ignorance and/or a lack of parental responsibility to provide proper moral guidance. My kids do not play evil characters and, in fact, even races or character classes that most people associate with evil, my kids play them with honor and high moral values. The evil is not in the game or the characters, but in the person playing the game. The game and the character are neutral; they can only reflect the moral character or moral ignorance of the person playing the character.

In fact, if done correctly, playing RPG games like WoW can be very powerful parenting tools. Like most parents, I have made some mistakes with my first-born, my daughter, that I learned from and did not make the same mistakes with my two boys. But, those mistakes with my daughter, as I discovered yesterday in a marathon WoW session withe her, have left some negative residue I was not aware of. You see, one of her characters is Prosperion’s daughter and in the course of role playing, Dielystia, Prosperion’s daughter, let slip something that I picked up on and Heidi and I talked about later offline. I was able to clear up some misunderstanding between Heidi and myself and we ended up having a major bonding experience because of what happened while we were playing our characters. There is no way you can tell me that what Heidi and I were able to share because of WoW was wrong or evil.

I expect more of this sort of thing as my children and I role play together. For me. WoW is worth every penny I have spent on it, because what it has already given me and my children is, to use the cliche from the credit card commerical, priceless.

Here’s a screenshot of Prosperion and Dielystia.

Prosperion and Dielystia

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