This isn’t really my story to tell, this one belongs to my friend Judye, she of the blog Confessions of a Geek Mom, as it pertains to her daughter and her ongoing introduction to DDO.
But I was there, and I was the raid leader, so I have some claim to this story, even if only on the fringes of where it intersects with my own experience. If you want the whole story, straight from the Geek Mom’s mouth (or pen, or more probably, keyboard), you can get it here. I urge you to do so, Geek Mom has a unique and funny voice and I’d be reading it regularly even if it didn’t emanate from a personal friend.
But I digress. This is not about Judye’s most-excellent blog, but rather instead her most excellent daughter. Who is eleven? Twelve? I think twelve. And who joined us for guild night Tuesday, in a spontaneous rather than planned event, that on the spur of the moment we decided to turn into a raid. Her daughter’s first raid. Once the idea got out (I do not remember who initiated it), I waited until it was clear that Mom was on board with the whole thing. She shepherds her daughter through DDO rather gingerly, avoiding the potential for griefing and abuse by avoiding other people. Her daughter’s DDO gaming has been a sheltered, insular thing, at least to-date.
But this is a raid. And we are a rambunctious bunch. So … no pressure, just allowing a few moments to pass while the idea percolates about and Judye can wrap her brain around it; eventually she agrees. But it has to be Halfling Commandos only; no PUG pickups. And everyone has to remember that a child is in the chat channel.
Curious, I wonder why I didn’t worry so much about the Dad, who was also with us and is also a personal friend. What does that say about the difference between mothers and fathers? That only just now occurred to me. Huh.
But anyway, once it became clear that this was going to happen, I sent a /Tell inviting her to the raid personally. I thought she might like direct interaction rather than through her parents; “Would you like to raid with us tonight?” “Yes!!” came the reply, replete with multiple exclamation points. Awesome.
And so she joins us, on her fighter Pink, who has heavy armor and glowing pink hair. Within moments we are raiding. The Chronoscope is not a difficult raid, even on elite, even for a group of only nine. Not when we are all level 7-9 and we have been buttressed by years of power creep, and months of TOEE mushroom farming. But it is a rather busy raid. I like to take a backseat role on these things, keep the voice channel clear for social chatter, avoid the whole constant step-by-step instruction thing; no one really needs it anyway, not on a raid we’ve all run dozens of times.
But this time we have a newbie, and some instruction is necessary. Plus, I think our new fighter might like getting instruction from the raid leader rather than from her Dad, because it might seem more grown-up and exciting. So I call out the things that need calling out. “Armorers first”, I remind everyone, and then point out the armorers as they appear. “Okay, now get the big guy”.
And she does. We are a chatty group, it can be tough to get a word in. Sometimes we are so chatty that my Gamer Girl gives up on the microphone altogether and just types whatever she has to say. But every now and then I hear the excited voice of a twelve-year old girl; “I got the big guy!” She says excitedly, and she is right, she did!
We wander the city seeking enemies and fallen guards. We split up a little bit, not too badly, nothing fatal, and for the most part our passage around the Stormreach Marketplace goes smoothly. Eventually we are in the steam tunnels. Our plan is to stay up on the raised platform and shoot down at the bad guys, but the boss doesn’t cooperate. I have to jump down and administer the beating to Razor Arm personally. Except I find that our little pink-haired Fighter is already there, fighting furiously. Razor Arm is quickly dispatched.
Shrine. Buff. Portal into the big red tent. “Is that guy summoning a demon”? Yes he is. She is a bright kid.
I look at our group and wonder out loud who will be tanking the end boss. I am on my Druid/Knife fighter Bricky Lee; not a good candidate. There is a second fighter in the group but it is a strictly-DPS-build fighter that cannot hold onto hit points. And there is our new little fighter, she of the heavy armor and flaming pink hair. “Pink could tank the boss?” It hangs there for a moment while everyone ponders. And then, the best moment of the evening.
“I’ll be tanking”? Comes the young voice, excitement causing her pitch and emphasis to rise on every syllable, like a wave of happy that grows as it approaches the shore. “I’ll be TanKING?” I wish I could communicate all that enthusiasm that was built into that one question, all that newness, all the innocence, all of that, but I can’t, it was one of those things where you had to be there. My Gamer Girl and I look at each other and laugh, big smiles. That kind of moment.
Yes young one, you will be tanking.
A brief bit of instruction: her job will be to stay on the big boss from the moment it appears and do nothing else. Ignore all the other monsters. Don’t worry about your hit points, we will make sure you have plenty. Do watch the bad guy though, because sometimes it turns into a dragon, and when it does you have to step away quickly. And then come back in and get back on it.
And it goes exactly like that. There is a moment of confusion early on; someone is ignoring instructions and hitting the boss before Pink can get a solid grasp on it’s attention. And then the same someone does it again. I don’t want to name any names, so for the sake of this article I will just refer to the miscreant as “Hanork”. But eventually we execute the plan. And in turn, the plan executes the boss. Boom. Dead. Victory. A nicely tanked victory.
One forgets about some of the trappings of this raid when one is slicing through it in minimum time with maximum efficiency. But not this time. We have a newbie who has never been here! Tonight we take seats and wait for the death of the marketplace tent.
It does look pretty cool.
And that is that. There is looting, of course, and more chatting. But nothing that can match the fun of bringing a youngster on her very first raid. Thank you for sharing her, Judye!
So! Much! Fun!