Thursday, September 6, 2007

Heroic 3-year old arises to save Azeroth [Updated]

juBBjuBB is the proud father of one very charismatic girl who, aside from being absolutely adorable, is also able to play WoW! As he says in his forum post "YOU may have been GANKED by our 3yr old!", Charisma was captivated with her parents gaming activities and started out playing WoW at 1 and a half years old, doing very basic things like running and jumping and chasing bunnies, but since then has actually gotten the hang of some of the basic mechanics of the game. She has learned that you don't want that green bar to get empty or you'll "fall down," as well as the fact that the alliance ("blue") is good and the ugly ones ("red") are bad -- or enemies in PvP anyway. She knows to cap a flag and grind her way up in levels, too apparently.

Some people who read this story cry foul. How can a 3 year-old level to 20 "by herself" (as her myspace page claims) without being able to read? Also, it certainly does seem a bit much to say that she can "gank" people. I also doubt that she can play at the same level as, say, the proverbial 12 year-old WoW player could. My bet is that when the father says "level to 20 by herself" he probably means "without doing any quests and with me watching and talking her through things." And when he says "gank," he means "overpower a level 30ish opponent with a level 60ish rogue alt of her parents using very basic play tactics," which, hello gankers everywhere, even a 3 year-old can do by pressing just a few buttons! Good for her, I say, but shame on anyone over 9.

But I digress. Playing three to four hours per week maxiumum, juBBjuBB says, is helping Charisma get excited to learn the alphabet and cooperative teamplay. Fatherly love and pride in such progress may be leading him to exaggerate a little bit about her gameplay skill, or maybe leave certain details about it to our own common sense -- but can you blame him? If I had a little kid who showed a strong aptitude in any area, from computers to cartoons, I might need to rein in my superlative praise too. She may or may not be the one heroine destined to be the best gamer in the world, but she's the pride of her father's life, and in his Azerothian sky there's no star shining brighter than her.

Update: More from Charisma's father after the jump! You may find it hard to believe...

I am Charisma's 'Papi.'

I have appreciated reading so many constructive comments and points of view on this topic! She will be thrilled to see her picture on WoW Insider!

It seems some information was left to speculation regarding her ability: She CAN perform a class role in a group with minimal direction. She has learned through initial guidance & trial and error the complexities of the game, it's interface, PvP, quests, world navigation, etc.

She will need some development before she can go 1 vs 1 with an opponent of a similar level. The original topic on the official forums was "YOU may have been ganked by our 3yr old." IE: your lowbie may have been steamrolled as she passed by ;]

Her teamplay is spot on....we have tried her out in a few instances and she understands different classes have different jobs. She prefers to play more hack n' slash as a melee class (Feral Druid, Rogue, Warrior), but she can show a group full support as a healing class.

As a priest, she knows to sit and drink between pulls, that she needs to fill up everyone's green bar, and whoever is in front gets a bubble. She knows healer stay in the back and don't poke their heads around corners till the tank does.

Once she got started, she watched those healthbars like a hawk!

I hope you enjoyed reading her profile and seeing what she can do.
I say give him the benefit of the doubt. It's true that some kids are gifted in special ways. If one child can play WoW at three, perhaps another is making her own music, or else making up simple stories. Who knows? I'm not a father yet, so I'm still looking forward to having my own little genius -- and I have absolutely no real clear idea what little children this age are capable of. Maybe I just like believing in massive potential.

Many of you addressed the question: How young is too young to start playing WoW? For me, the greater question is, if a 3 year-old can do it (or as some parents have said, 4 year-olds), why is it still so much fun for us as adults? Is it nothing short of miraculous that a game could entertain the very young, the very old, and everyone in between?

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