A Parent’s Guide to Online Gaming, Part 2

In part 1, we talk about online gaming and your kids, including FPS gaming and exposure to violent content. We end this week by talking about RTS games, MMORPGs, and the additional threats of addiction and social predators.

RTS stands for Real Time Strategy. Strategy because these games generally take a much broader perspective, presenting the player as a general or commander of an army or even the leader of a civilization rather than as a single person. Real time because the action progresses whether the player acts or not. The alternative to Real Time is turn-based strategy, where each player moves in turns, taking as long as he needs. Turn-based games tend to have deeper strategic components and complex non-military progressions that make them less popular with kids. RTS games are a relatively benign genre, as they abstract violence and conflict at least down to the unit level, removing much of the graphical gore found in first-person shooters and reducing it to missing numbers and units. They also tend to have complicated decision structures, which makes playing them a good critical thinking exercise. Those same quick and complex decisions make this type of game difficult to watch, particularly if the player is competing online where there may not be a pause button. Because of the less graphical content, this type of game doesn’t require as intense parental scrutiny as some others, but it’s a good idea to at least casually watch a game and possibly learn what the loading screen looks like so you can tell when it’s over. “Just a minute” means “I’m in the middle of something” and when it means “I just don’t want to do what you want me to do.”

MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. They are descended from older single player RPGs. In this context, an RPG is a game that tells an evolving story using characters defined by various abilities, attributes, and professions. The Massively Multiplayer part of the name comes from the fact that there can be more than several thousand players in a game world that can have a surface area to rival small states. It’s hard to express how big and complicated these games can be. Accept that your children will talk about things you don’t understand, often about equipment or items they’ve purchased or battles they’ve fought. Put on your best “That’s nice, darling” face and let it go. While it never hurts to try out the games your kids play, you won’t get as much benefit from logging into an MMORPG for a moment to see what it’s like, as they require a significant time investment to get a feel for what’s going on. about.

That investment of time gives rise to one of the biggest problems with MMORPGs. A game writer once suggested that an MMORPG เว็บแทงบอล should be pronounced Morgue, because once you’re in, you never get out. If your children are starting to get very involved in these types of games, watch how they spend their time. The game will always present something new to do, some bigger hill to climb, and it can be easy to get caught up. Talk to your children, make sure they know the limits on the amount of time they can spend playing and what they should do first. Having said that; understand that you will often play the game with other people, with whom you may have some degree of commitment. Be flexible and use your judgment when you decide to let them continue playing. In general, it’s better not to let them start if you’re not sure than to try to stop them once they’ve started. Lean toward doing your homework first instead of stopping in time to do your homework.