Published on August 26th, 2013 | by B Clancy
Gamer Parents Are Destroying Their Children’s DKP
C. Strife was excited that he found a perfect raid member — until the application process was interrupted by the new member’s dad.
The huge issue was that the father was applying as an add on to the application from the new recruit. “He wanted immediate information about how DKP was decided and how soon they could both be accepted,” said Strife, the Guild Master for a highly ranked Horde guild, the superior faction in World of Warcraft (WoW).
“I declined them both.”
There have been numerous instances where parents are negatively impacting gamer children according to Strife. He once had a Ventrilo conversation with a parent who was dissatisfied with the raid roster that included her son but not her. She asked if the guild would be willing to carry her through the raid despite a 30 level gap. On Skype, Strife has overheard parents gaming in the background and saying things like “If your Guild Master wasn’t such a [expletive deleted] maybe people would listen to him.”
No matter what a person’s gaming age is, prior questing buddies that helped them obtain achievements will occasionally butt into a guild’s schedules and expectations. However, when these so-called gamer parents have the same issue, they may not understand that their occasional gaming is screwing over their child’s potential to excel with elitist raiding guilds; they want their kid to continue helping them score shiny loot for their lower level characters.
In 2002, Balamb Garden military academy freshman Seifer Almasy secretly transferred factions after his reputation was tarnished when the adults in his orphanage displayed consistent noob-like antics. “It is just pathetic and silly that the adults from my orphanage are trying to connect with me through gaming when I am obviously using it as a form of escape from everything, especially them” Almasy said over Skype.
“He is the only one we know who is willing to send us a /tell while we game”, said an adult at the orphanage. “We don’t want want in on every 10 man raid. We aren’t asking for much.”
“Gamer Parent” as a term became well known after research was conducted that proved that as children grew into adults and had their own children, they continued to game. Urban-Dictionary does not yet define this term, but if it did, it would likely read: “A parent trying to engage in frequent connections with their child through social means in their video game of choice.”
“When applying for a new guild, the status of a person’s gaming expertise should be explained by the applicant, not his or her parent,” said Mindy Magus, a respected Aeon boss. “My experience has shown that a child who attempts to progress at the same rate as their parent will never be caught up to the speed of my guild,” Magus states.
Elite guild leaders, along with gaming experts like Strife and Magus, assert that dependent parents are crippling their children’s chances for success. “You are screwing over your child. Step back, allow them to talk about gaming on their own terms and don’t pout if you aren’t included,” Magus said. “Make it clear that you are making improvements to move beyond the realm of noobness but respect their opinion if you are told that you aren’t good enough.” Magus says that as much as children want to include their parents, it isn’t always feasible; guild leaders make the call.
S. Leonheart, an up and coming game developer at DigiPen in Seattle, says intrusive dads and whining moms can be the child gamer’s curse. Leonheart mentioned that children are, for the most part, exposed to a gamer parent from an early age so they are unsure how to tell the parent they would like to game alone.
“Sometimes they want to include their parents because they have been a positive gaming role model from an early age,” Leonheart says. The issue here is like “the difference between playing doom and halo” he said, “It is two different eras of games,” meaning that the ability to connect in one game does not equal a connection in another.
Leonheart makes a guess that overbearing gamer parenting is not an issue with a single cause. The first problem is that parents want to feel connected to their children in every way possible. This is very apparent when accounts are shared and parents want to progress at the same rate. Jobs and other adult responsibilities make this difficult. The parent is unable to log on as often as the child and the child is left waiting around without any in-game accomplishments. Leonheart also cites children as potential free tickets for invites into large scale instances or invite-only guilds. “It is a wish of the parent to remain up to standard so they can relish in the glory that comes with still having that ‘thing’ when it comes to gaming. A child that is skilled with games obviously did not fall far from the tree, so a parent should be rewarded for bringing up another worthwhile gamer.
This wasn’t the case 15 years ago, Leonheart asserts. WoW had not yet been invented and console games limited games to 2-4 players at a time, within the same room. Currently “Gamer Parents”, he says, are steadily becoming a negative influence on the under 18 gaming community. With parents in control of utilities that supply electricity and the credit card that pays for games, parents hold all the power for children wanting to game. “In addition to this,” Leonheart says, “the increase in Cloud usage and DLC makes it harder to claim a game as their own when their family has access. For each additional family member on an account, that is one less trophy they can keep as their own
Magus and Strife, like Leonheart, say while parental involvement comes off as kitschy, it is not always as obvious as it should be. “It is OK to want to share special moments with a child, but when it comes to gaming and actually getting in contact with a guild leader, the child needs to engage issues on their own,” Magus said. In regards to something that revolves around the parents? “Learn to build a bridge and get over it.”
Not badgering the guild leader is “a respectable beginning to a solution for the dynamic balance needed in a large guild,” Magus said. “If [children] have maintained perfect hand-eye coordination, good vision and avoided the development of CTS, they should be able to game with who they want, as they please, and without a third wheel”