Monday, August 23, 2010

What's it like to be an older player?

I'm 42 years old and still playing WoW. And you know what? I'm not ashamed about it at all.

I wrote about this issue recently and won't repeat myself. However, I've written a follow-up on this, where I talk a bit more in depth about what's it like to be above the average age in WoW.

There has been a lot of discussions about gender issues lately, but what about age? Does ageism exist in Azeroth?

And what about performance? In sports, it's very rare that high age gives any kind of advantage, on the contrary. Can you expect a 40+ year old player to perform and act the same way as someone who is 20?

In my post I'm listing the advantages as well as disadvantages of being older in WoW. My conclusion is that on the whole I believe the older players have the upper hand.

If you'd like to read this post, head over to the blog The Company of the Wolf, where I'm appearing as a guest writer. (Link to the post)

Do you feel like commenting on the topic? Are you agreeing or disagreeing? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment to this post, since The Company of the Wolf isn't open for comments.

Edit: since there are a few readers who have reported problems to access The Company of the Wolf, I’ve decided to post my guest post here as well. I hope they’ll sort out the issues soon – it’s a nice blog, well worth following. Cheers at Jeff and Rebecca and than you for letting me post at your blog as well!

And here’s the post:

Being an older player – for good and for bad

There’s a lot of talk about gender issues in MMOs going on these days. There are entire blogs dedicated to this perspective on gaming, and it’s understandable. Female gamers have broken a lot of ground over the years, but there’s still much more to be done.

But sex isn’t the only way to sort the players in different segments. There are other dividers. Age for instance. In this I’d like to talk about this, because we don’t do it very much normally.

On most occasions when age comes up as a discussion topic, it’s about discrimination. Not of older players, but of younger ones. It’s quite common that guilds put up a minimum age limit as a way to protect their mature social climate, or to keep feeling free to use an explicit language in the chat channels without having to worry about how it affects the kids.

Some younger players complain about this, rightly pointing out that there isn’t any automatic connection between age and maturity. Many grown-ups behave ridiculously childish as soon as they enter an MMO, causing drama wherever they go. And there are teenagers who lead raids and guilds as well as any CEO.

However, in the end every guild is a social club that sets up its own rules, and I really can’t blame players who prefer to socialize with people about their own age for being prejudiced and narrow minded.

Prejudices against older players?
But what about the opposite; are there prejudices around against older players?

I’ve always been open about my age. It’s not as if I’m shouting it out from the rooftops – and these days I consider a PUG where you say as much as “hi” and “goodbye” as chatty. The topic rarely comes up. But if someone asks, I’ll answer truthfully (currently 42, if you’re wondering).

Until this day I’ve never been ridiculed for it, at least not that I know of. Most players don’t care, and if anything I’ll get an appreciating nod: “Cool”, after which we get back to Killing dragons or whatever we were up to..

However I don’t think the community is entirely free from views about elder players. I was reminded of this as I listened to episode 14 of the podcast The Mana Obscura. I wasn’t able to transcribe every word, but the conversation between the hosts was something like this:

“I am now the grand old age of 31”
“You’re officially old!”
“I’m not officially old, that happens when you turn 40!”
“Didn’t someone turn to you and say you’re too old to play Warcraft?” [Starts talking about a recent instance run]
“There was a 58 year old guy… He was sitting in BRD with us this moment”
“What a way to spend your retirement in Warcraft with junior olds!”
“So that’s why it took you three hours to finish it?!”

Laughter. Loads of laughter.

“It wasn’t so much the bad group but the fact that the healer was 58 years old!”

And this rubbed me a little the wrong way. It’s not that I think it’s impropriate to joke about age. I laugh a lot at my self. Self irony is one of my major cures against any angst that comes with ageing. But there was something in this dialogue that came out as if the guys weren’t laughing WITH the 58-year-old, but rather AT him, if you get the difference.

When I pointed it out to them, they were very remorseful and apologized:

“That’s a perfectly fair and valid point, possibly one of those ‘mouth activated before brain did’ moments, and then again maybe it a hint of age-bias that I’m not consciously aware of.”

I’m fine with that statement and I’m pretty sure it won’t happen again.

Pros and cons of being older
Let’s leave the discrimination side of this and talk a bit about what it’s like to be an older player in WoW, because that’s what I was asked to write about. Is it an advantage or a disadvantage to be above the average age? I would say a little bit of both.

I’ll start with the negatives:

Slower reactions might cause problems
It’s not a secret that our reaction time will slow down slightly as we grow older. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem in WoW. With the exception for a couple of fights, WoW is quite forgiving. Provided that you have a decent computer and internet connection, keeping down the lag, you should be able to keep up anyway. But since it’s been announced for Cataclysm that there will be way more fights that require you to be constantly moving and reacting to your surroundings this might cause you a problem for a few older players.

We haven’t been gaming since we were born
Teenagers who play WoW started their gaming careers further back than they can remember. The hand-eye coordination is totally integrated in their system. It’s as natural to them to use the mouse and keyboard as it is to breathe and drink and sleep. It’s just something you do. If you belong to an older generation, you might still have been playing for a very long time, but it’s not the same as if you were born with it. I believe that this might lead to a slightly longer learning curve if you’re older. At least that’s the case for me. I need a couple of more wipes before I’ve learned the choreography of a new encounter than my younger guildies.

Families and jobs restrict our gaming time
Older players are more likely to have time constraints to their gaming. They have often more real life commitments to balance around, such as children, husbands/wives and job. An ageing body won’t as easily compensate for nights with only a couple of hours of sleep as before. The top guilds of the world have very few, if any, older players in their ranks. In those teams you have to be able to play very intensively – more than a full-time job – for short periods, when a new raid instance is released. For most 30+ers this is impossible.

It might be a bit lonely
The mix of people, coming from different life situations, of various ages and professions is one of the things that makes WoW attractive and interesting to me. But let’s face it; older players are after all in minority. And sometimes you might feel a little bit lonely when all the 20-year-olds are dropping names of artists and comics that don’t mean anything to you, and when you make a reference to something you think is as well known as Santa, they have no idea of what you’re talking about. Events that you have personal memories of – such as the fall of the Berlin wall – are history to them something that happened before they were born, something they’ve only read about in the books. They don’t remember what it was to grow up in the firm belief that the world would blow up because of a nuclear war.

Most of the time this isn’t a problem; you’re playing a game and not discussing real life issues. But if you only play with 20-year-olds, being Forty-plus yourself, you might feel a bit lonely from time to time, longing to at some point interact with people sharing the same past and points of reference.

And now for the positives:

We have more life experience
I think that our general experience of living longer helps us to become better players, especially from a team perspective. Of course there are exceptions – I’ve once met an extremely childish 58-year old who selfishly was raging and sulking over a piece of loot he thought he was entitled to; but on average I think that older players thanks to their experiences from job and family are better prepared to deal with all the conflicts and challenges that inevitably will arise within a guild or a raiding team.

We know when it’s best to speak up in a group if you have an issue with something and when it’s better to take it privately. We’re a little bit more used to give and take criticism than the young fellows, which is something very useful in a team sport like WoW.

We rule ourselves
Older players may have time constrains but at least we can decide for ourselves. Surely there may be angry relatives who will pull the power plug when they think we’ve played too much, but that’s really a rarity. Normally older players have way more control over their own playing hours, especially compared to teenagers who still live at home and are under the supervision of their parents.

We’ve got more cash
Older players, who are done studying and have a job income, have a better economy. Most of us can easily afford the monthly subscription fee and don’t have to worry that our game card has run out and we can’t buy any new until next month. If we run into trouble with our computers or internet connections, it normally isn’t such a huge deal to replace it as it is to someone who barely can afford their school literature.

We last longer
If there one big difference I’ve noted between older and younger players, it is that the older ones tend to last much longer. If you have one of those in your guild, it’s way more likely that he or she will stick around for a long time, while especially teenager can get ideas very suddenly and then act on them instantly, meaning that they’ll leave the guild, change server or start playing another game following a momentary impulse. I’ve never ever seen a grown-up act like that. Since player turn-over and the following recruitment can be a heavy burden for guilds, I think it could be an advantage for them to look for a few older players who can serve as the steady rocks that you know will stay there, not only when the guild is successful, but also in hard times.

To sum it up I think there are pros and cons about being an older player or having one in your guild. If you ask me, I think that there are more advantages than disadvantages about it.

39 comments:

Klepsacovic said...

While full adults have more money, are they as free to spend it on what might be perceived as trivial items? I think the biggest problem with age (which isn't actually a problem with age) is still the perception that gaming is for young people. Sure you can afford a great computer, go out and buy it the day after the previous one breaks, but will your spouse approve? Will the people at the store give you trouble? I think this feeds into the loneliness too. I think there are a lot of older gamers, but they'd be harder to find because their experiences are so much more varied that they don't have so many easy ways to start conversation.

Redbeard said...

Very interesting comments, Larisa.

I completely agree about age not being an indicator of maturity. Quite a few of the most immature people I know are 30+, and they behave like they're horny teenagers with a death wish.

The guild my main is currently in has a mix of ages, but a good proportion of them are 30+ (including me), and that allows me to make a crack about something and everyone else will understand the cultural reference. If the group were much younger, I'd probably be quieter in guild chat.

It's a similar situation with any group, really. A guild of ex and current military personnel will have similar touchstones, for example.

One thing that is definitely different the older the WoW player is the amount of cultural resistance to playing MMOs and other video games. While these games have gained a lot of cultural acceptance, it has mainly come from the under 30 set. Those people have had gaming of some sort all of their lives, and they never had to live under the geek/nerd stigma that video games (and the non-electronic ones as well) acquired. For people older than, say, 35, it wasn't unexpected for them to be teased that they were still "playing games" when they grew up. For us older gamers, it's easy to feel a bit of jealousy toward our younger comrades, but if it weren't for us, they'd not have the gamer acceptance as it is today.

(And before people tell me that there's still a stigma, believe me it's not as bad as it once was.)

Rowan said...

I am a little in between, being in my late thirties. Also, being divorced, I have no one to answer to regarding electronics purchases. That being said, I still have constraints on both time and money.

Time constraints prevent me from playing for hours into the night, or sometimes for any time at all during the week. Unfortunately, I think much of this "time discrimination" comes from the game companies themselves. After all, this is their livelihood, of course they have time for it. The time requirements for raids in WoW, like ICC, mean that I have been able to participate in very few to the utmost. They simply take too long to complete.

Windsoar said...

As I'm sure I've said before, and will be saying again, I have gamed with older people, and frankly, I hope to be one of them as I continue to age myself.

While older players tend to have more commitments, on the whole, I've found them to be the most stable of guild members AND the most likely to keep guild commitments OR provide notice for tardiness because they had to schedule the time to play.

Enlynn said...

While age doesn't always reflect maturity, I myself know that I am more mature now that I'm a decade past college. I can handle criticism and take responsibility for mistakes like I just couldn't before, so I'm a better gamer than I was when I was the "right age" for playing MMOs.

Windsoar echoes my experience. It's the older set that are honest in accepting/declining calendar invites or sending a message if they can't make the raid.

Talarian said...

Being someone in-between (late 20s) I find that playing with older players is a pleasure in terms of maturity (usually). I do find that some of them have far more difficulty with certain mechanics in raid battles, though, as you point out in the reaction time section of your post.

An example of this is Sindragosa's Icy Grip ability. We have raiders in our 10-man who range from 21 to about 45. The couple of people who get nailed by Icy Grip almost every time? The two 45 year olds (a hunter and a mage, female and male, so gender certainly doesn't discriminate on that point).

But you know what? They're so much more patient than the younger raiders, even the more experienced younger raiders. We're on the Lich King, and you could tell which people are getting frustrated by the wiping, and which ones weren't. The older players are by far the more zen of the group, and it's so nice to have around. Willing to keep trying, willing to give input and take constructive criticism, whereas the younger raiders can barely stand to wipe once or twice.

In the end we continue to down bosses and make progress, and everyone has contributed (because if they didn't, they'd get the boot eventually, 21 or 45, wouldn't matter), and we all cheer like crazy over vent after beating a difficult fight :)

Jen said...

I've never seen ageism against older players. The oldest guy I've had in a guild was 48 or so, and he was a very nice guy and good player. We have a 42-year old now, I think, and while he's kind of annoying sometimes, I doubt it has anything to do with his age.

However, while we don't have an 18+ rule for the guild, we recently declined a 15-year old partly for his age. Our average age is around 25 and Vent is... full of innuendo, to say the least, and players were worried about having to censor themselves around a kid. And, while I have met amazing teens (I was in the same guild with a 16-year old for a year and I thought he was 24!), sadly the majority have been... less than stellar. It's prejudice, but the odds of getting a mature adult are higher than the odds of getting a mature teen...

Pewter said...

I've seen plenty of ageism, although it tends to come in the form of mild jokes (such as the example from your guest post) rather than out and out abuse/exclusion. Some players of my age tend to be a bit patronising - and I have been guilty of this myself when I was trying to introduce my Dad (56 years old) to the game. I thought he would find it too simplistic, being a long time player of FPS games (I grew up watching him play his nintendo and Doom and Duke Nukem) but in the end the amount of text wasn't compatible with his dyslexia and eyesight and he lost interest quickly.

Valdu said...

I get a '403 forbidden' message when I try and use the link, and so I can only speculate on the bulk of the content - but as far as age is concerned, actually I outlevel you, being 43.

How many of my fellow guildys, in-game associates, fans, friends etc. know this? Not many as it happens, as I tend to be vague when it comes to questions about my age.

It's nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of shame; it's more a personal philosophy based on the notion of wanting people to perceive me at basic face value, rather than allowing some arbitrary number to filter their perceptions (as it invariably will). Valdu: What you see is what you get!

I think that one common perception of older gamers is one based upon reaction speed. 'Older you are, the slower you are to move out of the fire'. Actually I do seem to witness kids running circles around me in one-on-one PvP battles, and finding myself incapable of keeping up - like a mud-stuck hippo, hardly able to get a shot off regardless of how frantically I jerk the mouse - but maybe this is simply down to poor skill, rather than slow reaction time?

Unfortunately, I believe that age actually does impact reaction time, teenagers, with their high adrenaline thresholds tend to have the fastest reactions, but I also believe this is balanced out by the fact that most PvE content in this game is not simply a 'twitch battle', and in most cases, a level headed, intelligent, and analytical style of play will more than make up the difference (that's my theory and I'm sticking with it).

The interesting question though (for me anyhow) is the age-old one regarding 'age = maturity'.

How many topics do we witness on the official forums, asking for 'over 18', or 'adult only' servers? The regular claim that 'young, immature, ill-mannered, aggressive kids' are ruining the game? A virtual paradise, of sober, sensible, polite adults on their own, dedicated servers would soon put an end to that! (ho hum).

The same posts are ALWAYS countered by claims that 'age does not = maturity', invariably accompanied with 'examples' of 50-year old players bunny hopping around the place screeching out 'OMG LOLOLOL FFS U FAIL GDIAF U TARD!!1111', and hammering out anal Chuck Norris Dirge spam in trade... and wild proclamations about 12-year olds being every bit as mature, as the 40-year olds... I'm sure you've seen them often enough, and they always manage to raise a dry smile from me.

Of course, age does = maturity, and any oxymorons claiming otherwise are usually doing exactly the kind of 'twitch reaction' I mentioned earlier. What they should have said was 'age does not necessarily = the DESIRE to express the innate trappings and clichés that come attached. The few old farts who genuinely bunny hop around the place and use teh game spk are simply mirroring - an innate empathic, and uniquely human trait that, which in this case can have the inverse effect.

...and I'm rambling again, as this subject is endlessly fascinating to me.

Larísa said...

@Valdu: I'm sad to hear you can't access it. Maybe if you try some different web reader? I've contacted the blog owners giving them a heads-up.

Dwism said...

Only problem is, you aren't old...

http://www.techxav.com/2009/12/19/70-year-old-man-playing-world-of-warcraft-in-public-on-an-imac/

Now have some respect for your elders young woman

Andy said...

I get the same error, even just going to companyofthewolf.org (in Chrome on Windows)

:(

Larísa said...

@Andy: Doh. If they don't straighten it out I'll post it here.

We Fly Spitfires said...

One of the things I love about MMOs is the diversity of the player based and how (most people) aren't ashamed about who they are. I've played with huge mixes of people from all over the world and of varying ages and sex and I love it. That mix in community is actually one of the things that brings me back to a game - I don't just want to play with 18-25 US males all of the time!

I also think MMOs are one of the few gaming genres where you don't need super fast reflexes or decades of gaming experiences to be proficient at. Like you said, age can even be an advantage. In fact, I would even go as far as to say it's a strong advantage given the maturity and sense age usually brings to a community.

spinksville said...

I personally feel that it's not so much about your age but how well you have been able to learn from your experiences.

It's entirely possible that an older player has a ton of good strategies for dealing with online stress and guild drama based on RL experiences. Or else they might be worse than the 17 year olds ...

Larísa said...

@Klepsacovic: yeah, it’s not that easy to find each other, especially since we don’t talk much about age. There are probably more people that are 40+ than I think of. And yeah, definitely, it IS a bit hard to explain to a non-gaming better half why a computer where you can browse the webs and write a PM isn’t good enough for your purposes and why you want to invest THAT much money into a hobby… On the other hand many sports, such as downhill skiing, are rather pricey too.

@Redbeard: yeah, I agree about that There’s so much that younger gamer generations take for granted. I suppose that today geeks are potential initiators of the future Microsoft, people that you might count on. That quite different from the times when anyone who was interested in computergames, sci fi, fantasy etc was a hopeless case, a loser.

@Windsoar & Enlynn: indeed. I’m obsessed with my commitments, to come if I’ve said I’ll come. It might have to do with age.

@Talarian: it sounds a bit strange that the mage has problems with death grip. Blink ftw! (but without it I’d be lost… ). Maybe there’s something going on with lag/internet issues? However it’s great to hear about the zen attitude they show. Hopefully others see it like you, that they’re not just burdens due to their difficulties at Sindragosa, but that they compensate for it by being an asset to the guild, boosting the raid morale.

@Jen: Yeah, I feel kind of sorry for the mature teens there actually are. They have to take the consequences for other teenagers behaving annoyingly.

@Pewter: Patronizing your father, heh? But it’s cool to hear that he actually was a good fps-players, mastering the twitchy stuff. It wasn’t that part that put an end to his WoW playing.

@Valdu: if you read this you have hopefully seen that I’ve reposted the entire post to give you the opportunity to read it.

“like a bud-stuck hippo” – on, so much this! And thanks for your thoughtful comments on this! It’s definitely worth pondering upon.

@Dwism: hehe… yeah I know… lvl 42 isn’t much to boast about. Only halfway to endgame.

@We Fly Spitfires: I agree on this. I think older players can do very well in WoW-type MMOs, while we might be a bit worse of in the twitchy game genres.

@Spinksville: True.

2nd Nin said...

@Talarian

From your post it is the older players though that are causing the issues (standing in icy grip etc), so yes they have more patience, but perhaps the group wouldn't need as much patience. Just a thought.

I don't think age has that much of an effect on players so much as experience does. The game is not exactly twitch based (< 1 s) rather we see abilities with 1.5s+ timers (even defile can be moved from). So really a lot of the issues are likely gaming experience, reactions, awareness, and demi-twitch moving out while doing other stuff.

I have played with people from 8 to 69, and the biggest issue wasn't reactions and similar but people learning fights which is an individual thing not an age thing.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Since Larisa's the right age to be my granddaughter, I'll add that what we older players notice most in-game is the lack of respect for others among younger players. Homophobes abound, as do sexist remarks. We also are struck by the fact that younger women say they just ignore sexist comments. Women of my generation are much more confrontational about such things and men of my generation much more respectful. I am not sure what accounts for this but maybe younger folks are less aware of what their words mean. We also note an alarming amount of self-centeredness among the youngest players. Am I turning into my grandmother (who was born in the 1880s)?

Hamacus said...

50 here and a lifelong gamer from the day when an interactive MMO was Winky-Dink... look it up kids :)
http://www.tvparty.com/requested2.html

I like to think I compare and compete very well if not better than the younger players a far as skill.

In fact just this last week I had to smile when one of the younger players in the guild said in awe "Is that a Priest at the top in damage?" This was in our Ruby Sanctum 25 run. I wanted to say no son...that's an old Priest :p

I also roll and 80 Lock, Rogue, and Druid with the Lock and Rogue both pretty geared out in ICC gear and also very competitive.

Yes RL comes in to play with older players but I feel we have an advantage in being able to balance RL with the game and keeping it fun.

My wife is 37 and also plays. BTW she has more 80's than I do. That said we still find time for kids, movies, sports, and other activities. Oh and work which I suppose I should get back to lol.

Pewter said...

@Larisa Yeah, he used to kick my arse when we played Goldeneye on the N64 :( I think it wasn't so much that I patronised him, but that I expected more from him and got annoyed when he didn't pick things up as quickly as I expected. I think coming from the FPS genre he didn't find the controls as intuitive as he expected them to be.

Kind of a reversal, he always used to get frustrated at me when I didn't have the patience/twitchiness with Doom that he did. (I will fully admit that I'm very subpar when it comes to fps games.) So it might be not so much ageism on my part as father-daughter grouching ;)

I will say that I greatly enjoyed your post. One of the reasons we carefully screen younger players is because we've found that they don't have the same control over their personal scheduling that an adult does. Our oldest players are generally our most reliable when they prioritise WoW, BUT they are also more likely to de-prioritise WoW for longer stretches of time than our 24-35 bracket of players.

Ratshag said...

Gots ta say, yer article pretty much fits how it be fer me ta be a fellow post-40 gamer - both the goods and the bads. Fortunatelies fer me, them goods done always outweighed the bads. Can't say as I've ever run into any real discriminations fer me age, though I's pretty much run with guilds where over-25s outnumbered the younger folks.

One of me absolute best friends is a woman what were all of 19 when we first got acquaintified through WoW. In the real world, I fears I might've felt a little creepy and dirty, even though I weren't, and kept some distance between us. But in Azeroth, it weren't an issue, and we's both betters off fer it.

Eaten by a Grue said...

I am also older, and I do not know if this has been touched on, but the main drawback is that everyone seems like an immature idiot.

I had to quit playing again - I just could not take the idiots anymore.

Gronthe said...

Ok, I admit, I'm ---- years old. Whew! What a relief to get that off my chest.

I've never experienced overt ageism in wow, but perhaps the reason for that is that by the time I was willing to step out of my shy box I found myself in a guild where the average age was over 30 - I felt at home with my peers.

There are times, I admit, where I feel ageism towards a younger player. But it's more of an occaisonal disconnect due to the differences in life experience. For them High School graduation was "the best" or prom was "the ultimate". For me it was getting married then the birth of each of my two boys. But when it comes time to play, I think that I perform just as well as those younger whipper-snappers, and experience makes up for any brain lag.

I'm ----- and I love it.

Redbeard said...

@Ratshag: Unless you hear them in Vent or they talk to you about it, you'll never know who is on the other end of the toon. You're judged purely by your actions.

@Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure: The anonymity of WoW allows people to be complete jerks if they wish it. That, coupled with the inexperience of youth, leads people to do some really stupid things. Believe me, some of the people in Trade Chat would be awfully surprised to know how much their bosses, coworkers, and/or fellow students would care if they knew what they were saying. In the U.S. at least, most people don't have to be fired 'for cause', so mouthing off with homophobic comments in Trade Chat could get you fired from your job.

The younger folks don't often have that realization that you won't be able to get away with that sort of behavior indefinitely. Of course, judging by the lack of maturity in some people I see in real life, being older isn't necessarily better.

windpaw said...

I hit 40 this year and find myself being self conscious about my age for the very first time. I'm not sure what flipped the switch, but these days when a random pugger I've struck up a conversation with decides to drop the age question - I almost don't want to answer.

"I'm 40"

There's usually a pregnant pause on the other end of the chat link where I'm sure the other player is doing a double-take at the screen. Because (most) gamers tend to be an open minded lot I have yet to run into problems.

It's funny - I come from a military background where I'm generally surrounded by (and usually in charge of) a whole lot of folks that are half my age. In a place where people can *see* me - I feel far less conscious about my age. We have common experiences - common ground and mutual respect that provides everyone a way to relate to one another.

In game it feels different. Honestly - I'm not sure if that feel is coming from those I meet or from somewhere inside myself. Do I feel like I've suddenly outgrown a game I love just because I turned a calendar year older? Sometimes I think I'm *supposed* to feel that way.

Either way - great post!

BigFire said...

Spouse? Paying $15 for that vanity pet means almost nothing for those of us with steady income and saving. If you're depending on an adult for stipend, yeah, it might not make sense to buy that vanity pet.

Littlebear (Stonemaul US) said...

"Old age and treachery beats youth and skill every time."

I'm 40, and my stepson plays. I have over 200 days /played on my main.

I even went so far as to change my main's hair (A Tauren Hunter) to gray. Why not?
Embrace it. I have fun with my age. I enjoy my "Grunt" title from vanilla WoW, and act like the low key, "say it like it is" veteran I am in our raids, and in guild.

Talarian said...

@2nd Nin

With the 30% buff, Icy Grip is survivable (by the Hunter at least) and the mage has a much better grasp on when to use Blink (after running a bit, not before) so it certainly wasn't the Icy Grip that prevented us from downing Sindragosa for 3 weeks.

Other problems, like stopping DPS on the Tombs and not paying attention to where you're walking in the final phase and getting tombed because you walked to close to someone else who was beaconed, which were problems all of our raiders were having, in fact the younger ones moreso than the older ones.

If someone's performance is a detriment to the raid, I'll talk to them and eventually remove them from the raid if I need to, regardless of age, but these folks are certainly contributing a lot to our raid, and do exhibit excellent raiding skills otherwise. Icy Grip just did them in.

Our guild is ultra casual, a 500+ person guild with 1500 characters across 4 sub-guilds. Skills, ages and personalities across every spectrum that you can think of. The raid I help run is the most progressed raid in the entire guild, just hitting the Lich King on normal these past couple weeks. They may not be the best players ever, and I may be able to get a whack further in a more focused guild, but these people come every week because we all learn, we have fun, and we make progress, and that's something we can all enjoy, regardless of age.

Prelimar said...

i'm 43, and i agree with the points you make in your article for sure. i am leery of saying my age, even in guild chat, but there are some officers who know my age (and indeed several who in my same age group). BUT, i will also say that our guild leader just left her teens, and she is fantastic, so maturity is possible at every age.

i will also add that even though i'm not as fast in PvP as the younger people, i do get my shots in, and i have my PvP title set to "Elder" so they can know they were just owned by their elder. (ha!)

Larísa said...

@2ndNin: well it is a mixture of it. And while I think you can get away with not having high speed reflexes or being born with a mouse in your hand, I do think that that kind of twitchy fights on average might present a slightly bigger challenge to an older player than to one in the 20s. But as a whole WoW isn't too bad in those aspects. And I suppose that's one of the reasons why there are fairly many older players around.

@The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure: yeah... I can recognize this tbh. People used to be homophobes back in time, but did they really make it that public? I also think that the younger ones are pretty careless about protecting their integrity - reflected in my impression that the Real ID fiasco was a way bigger concern to people in my age than it was to 17 year olds. They publish ANYTHING on Facebook already, so not such a big difference to them.

@Hamacus: Winky-Dink - never heard of. But not because I'm younger probably, but because I'm a Swede. Great to hear that you're doing so well in the competition. Even if you don't necessarily point it out to the younger ones, the knowledge must be very satisfying.

@Pewter: it sounds like a father/daughter thing - or a TypeA-gamer vs TypeB-gamer thing tbh. Glad you liked the post!


@Ratshag: it's a little bit weird feeling at first when you find out that you're friend with someone who is the same age as your child. But I've gotten used to it. And I try my best not to fall too deeply into the mother-trap, remaining more of a friend than a mother (even though I suppose I can't entirely suppress my motherly side.)

@Eathen by a Grue: So when you get older you get some kind of disease making you think EVERYONE else is an idiot? Does that affect you in real life too? Honestly, is WoW really that bad to you? Or I guess it was, since you left. I haven't got as bad experiences as you have on "everyone" being an idiot. But sure, I suppose we have our share of it at my server as on any other server. I just tend to not notice them very much.

@Gronthe: You coward!

@Redbeard: yeah, there are a lot of things the younger ones don't quite realize. But you know what: I've learned not to try to tell them "how it is". Because it won't help a bit. They HAVE to make their own experiences, learn from their own mistakes. That's how life works.

@Windpaw: Well... I believe everyone around this age is getting a bit self conscious, pondering upon things. It's only natural. But listen carefully. Don't start to judge the game as childish just because it's expected from you!
And thanks for the kind words!

@BigFire: oh yeah. The RMTs aren't really much to talk about if you're a grownup. That I don't buy those items hasn't got to do with the cost, it's about principles, the fact that I prefer the subscription model that has been standard until now.

@Littlebear: Oh noes, I could never ever let the pigtails go grey! That's impossible. But like you I have the Elder title on my main, maybe I should display that one a little bit more often, and not just the Merrymaker one, which is my favorite. Like you say: Embrace it!

@Prelimar: PvP is one of those areas where it might be slightly more difficult if you're older. But nothing is impossible! Personally I suck horribly at PvP, most of all because I have no passion for it and never bothered to learn it properly. It would give a nice feeling though to bring down some cocky youngsters, showing who's the boss!

zetter said...

I hit 40 next year and while I am getting slower on the "twitch" side of WOW and would probably get badly mauled in call of duty multiplayer.

But as a healer I actually have an advantage as rather than reacting all the time I am planning ahead which help a lot on druid healing. Also despite having a few 20 somethings in the guild raiding I am one of the ones commonly still standing at the end of a raid encouter and am usually one of the last to go down on a wipe.
As far as the guild goes we have a few players over or approaching 40 so we dont get a lot of issues with it.

With regards to being past it for computer/ video game total rubbish I was one of the cutting edge of modern gaming. I played elite on the BBC, saw the development of the net and have adapted all along to the changes. I have been gaming since I was 10 and dont intend to be ever classed as "past it".

Zetter

Chimpeh said...

"We last longer"

I found this to be a very interesting point you bring up. Currently my Wrath guild isn't raiding and has basically disbanded. I know that come Cataclysm it'll start up again as there's a core of real life friends behind it but my account is basically on hiatus because of this.

Most players that I played with for nearly 2 years now instantly left the guild as the announcement was made instead of sticking around. Some of them even transfered to other servers, including one of the guys I chatted a lot with.

"We have more life experience"

This almost goes back to the previous quoted point. World of Warcraft is mostly a social game, as much as people like to think different. Unfortunately it's also pretty clear that most people don't see it this way or are simply lacking in this department.

Anonymous said...

I'm older than dirt. Older than anyone posting here so far. Been playing WoW since Nov 06. Started because my son and his wife challenged me to do so. I cried about WoW for the first few weeks because it was soooooooo boring to me. The constant dying and grinding almost drove me away. I'm mostly a solo player because almost every guild I've been in did nothing together as a guild. Playing solo taught me to be cautious and calculating, planning every fight in advance. My age has never been an issue because most people don't ask.If they do I tell them I'm a grandfather. Their usual reaction is "Cool. Follow me Gramps." Lol.

My reflexes aren't so bad that it's noticeable. During an instance or dungeon run, I have a tendency to focus totally on my current target and ignore all else and get slammed by something I should have seen coming. I'm working on it.

Yes some of the immature kids drive me up the wall. But I never fail to stop and help anyone who asks for it. And I've met a few kids who were very respective of their elders and polite. The other day a level 6 Mage ask me for help while I was out farming copper in Elwin Forest. "Can you please help me or give me a few pointers," She said. "I'm just little girl."

I did. I didn't ask her age because she was so polite. I gave her 5 gold to help her on her long journey ahead and thought she would faint. Before long, she will probably forget the old Dwarf Hunter with the gray hair and handlebar mustache - but that's ok.

I'm 65+

Tesh said...

Tangentially, age!= maturity. Some of the most immature people I know are older than my thirty-something self, and some of the most mature people I know are half my age.

Also, any guild that feels that they need a minimum age limit because they are concerned about self-censoring is a guild to avoid in my book. To me, that's admitting that they are immature and obnoxious in chat, and I don't care for that. I'll take ignorant but innocuous teens any day.

Derek said...

I think you pretty much hit the pros and cons of older players.

Though the "haven't been playing all our lives" can be seen differently. At 43 I've been playing video games now for over 25 years and that's a fair bit of experience.

I think there are also a lot more older players than people typically think. And there are guilds where older and younger mix well. My guild has a number of parents in their 30s and 40s. Our oldest member is a grandmother. The GM however is 19.

For us age is just not an issue. Maturity on the other hand sometimes is. :)

Derek said...

Ok, gotta follow up as I missed a comment.

Prelimar, hiya, we're in the same guild. :) Guess we don't really talk about our ages all that much....

Larísa said...

@Zetter: oh, that's why I love my healind druid alt so much?! Explains it. HoTs is a slow-reacting older player's best friend!

@Chimpeh: I didn't quite get the message. Were the ones who left instantly younger and the ones who sticked around older?

@Anonymous: +65? Pfft! You have many years of playing left! And probably way more time at hands than most of us. Cheers!

@Tesh: I know there are exceptions in all directions. But to be honest I wouldn't support a decision to bring in low-end teenagers to our guild. Too risky. And it's too easy to slip into the mum-and-dad role, which isn't exactly what you're paying your monthly fees to do (at least not speaking for myself).

@Derek: I know that I was a very slow starter at computer games compared to many in my generation (born in the late 60s). But I still think the ones who have been computerfied ever since they were teenagers in our generation are pretty rare. Most of us didn't get into it until we had started our careers.

Chimpeh said...

Sorry guess I could've been a bit clearer.

Basically the whole guild is full of young players around 18-24. The only people that stuck around are the group of real life friends that all live close to eachother in Sweden.

The guy I talked to a lot and ended up transfering was only 27, but for me that's actually still quite "old" in gaming terms.

The main point I was trying to get across is that I've noticed how, at least the younger players, rarely stick to the same guild for a decent amount of time as you suggested. I'm not a big fan of having to change my social circle once every few months because it's not that easy to find a solid guild. Nevermind running into another one that's about doing your raiding content till it bores the majority of players, leading to disbanding.

Prelimar said...

hiya, Derek -- i figured that was you. : )
/waves