Congratulations Saldra!

My baby.  That’s her.  Over there, you know, the one with the glowing blue eyes?  Saldra.

On Monday, Saldra, the DK of my oldest daughter (11), made it to 80, with hugs and excitement all around.  It’s been a long stretch, and she isn’t still without some of her pre-80 awkwardness (weirdly allocated talent points, mismatched armor, and very few instance achievements), but we are all overjoyed for her, and look forward to big things to come.

Currently she resides on the Alexstrasza realm, in the Olympians guild, which is a nice group of folks.  We are hoping that when we have another computer that can play WoW, we can set up a second account and move her over to Moon Guard and Forsooth, so that we can all be together for instances and raids and such.

It’s amazing to see how a young player changes through the course of their leveling.  At first she was all about the pretty clothes in the auction house, but now she’s taken an interest in her talent points, and is even having me run Recount for her, so that she can see what her DPS is after making changes to armor, etc.  She loves battlegrounds, and spends a lot of time in them.  I do not, and she enjoys laughing at me mercilessly when I try to figure out where to go in Alterac Valley, for instance.  Although she rarely chats in guild chat (other than TY or GRATS), she is eager to be helpful, and spent a little bit of the other night trying to help out a lower level character in her guild with some quests.

The really cool thing about it?

She did it when she was 2 bars away from 80.

She could have easily said “no way, I’ve gotta level,” but she was really torn.  She really wanted to help out, and in the end, chose helping out, saving her leveling for the next morning.

Observing the game learning process has been, for me, a pleasure.  She is quiet, but determined.  She is laser-focused on her goals, and will work tirelessly to get to them.  Because we are learning this game together, it can be great fun (for example when we first discovered that Tauren characters could sit down in water containers in the starting area, turning them into hot tubs), but can also be hair-yankingly frustrating (for example when she wanted me to figure out how a Horde character could ride on an Alliance Gryphon at oh, around level 20).  I have observed many things about her personality that I am now sure that I will see as she pursues other, larger goals throughout her life.  With the knowledge I’ve gained about how she gathers information, pursues her goals, reacts to barriers, and a host of other things, I hope that I can be of more assistance to her when she IS pursuing those larger life goals.

As a parent, I would encourage other parents to reconsider their possible view that gaming is a negative influence, and consider the positive potential.  I’ve certainly seen my share in the two years that we’ve spent on MMO’s (one year with Pirates of the Caribbean Online, one year with WoW).

Gaming can stimulate learning and awareness in so many different ways, from numerical (think stats, battleground ratings, gear comparisons, etc.), to vocabulary (quest language generally is rich in vocabulary that is unique to legends, weaponry, strategy, humor, etc.) to research and problem solving (there are an endless number of topics that a young person may want to research further, from game mechanics to lore to the art of the game and its players), to art and design (games are full of artists who have websites for their work).

One tiny little point of interest can create hours of learning, opening doors to a future that you might never have imagined for your child.  Not to mention, if you are immersing yourself in the game at the same time, you will be able to have fun together, which is an even more valuable bonus, imo.

Enough about my philosophies though.  Big congrats to Sal, for all of her hard work and persistence.  It’s paid off and we’re all proud of you!

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