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I had actually started playing Runes of Magic on and off for over a year but had let my account go idle while I was consumed with my day job and my blogging activities at night. Lately my six year old now that he has a new laptop has been gaming Runes of Magic and we started making a habit of spending 1/2 hour or an hour a few times a week at night to game together. I have him bring his laptop up into my office (wireless) and we just sit side by side and adventure together trying to complete quests and hunt down monsters.
For a free MMORPG (that is Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) for those not in the know, Runes of Magic is incredibly deep and possibly as much so as World of Warcraft. I used to be a Dungeon Master and have always looked forward to doing old fashioned pen and paper adventures with my kids, but I must admit the content and size of this game world saves me the time of having to create my own quests, write my own encounters, roll up characters and engaging in an MMORPG though it isn’t as deep and mentally creative as a true Role Playing Game pen and paper style, is certainly easier for people who only have a small block of time to play and even less time to create new content and story arcs.
The game allows you to play in little 30 minute segments, drop off and rejoin exactly where you left off. You can be one of two races (Human or Elf) but if you want to game with others you have to be the same race as Humans start off in a completely different part of the world than Elves. My son is limited in how much he can figure out due to only being seven and the game having so many advanced options that I myself as a thirty something adult can’t figure out how all of the various skills, equipment and uses of everything. He can however read and accept quests, attack monsters and use his preset skills. The rest I help him with by having him play side by side in the same room, when we get separated in game, I can just look on his map and my own and we can sync up with each other simply and easily.
I have done MMORPG games online for years and even had some GuildWars adventures with a few coworkers where we would hook up online and adventure a few times a month, but that filtered out as people get busy in their lives. This is the first week I have ever engaged in MMORPG games with my own son and I can tell you it is a unique and different bonding experience, unfortunately my three year old is still too young for such and I am busy dividing my time between Super Mario Bros on the Wii, Toys or Wrestling in between engaging in more advanced games and activities with my older son. I already taught him how to play Risk and Stratego board games.
This had me thinking though, what if family game nights which were traditionally done via people sitting around a dining table and a board game started becoming more like parents and kids all having laptops and computers in the same room and adventuring online together while talking in real time. It would be no less rewarding and would still be the family all being together in the same room and immersing themselves in an online universe of creativity. Seems like a great family game night to me.