Firstly a disclaimer / declaration of interest : I am a gamer, as if you hadn’t all guessed, like Larísa over at the Pink Pigtail Inn I’m not in the middle of the age distribution curve for Warcraft players (or indeed gamers) and base10 no longer holds much atttraction when adding up the years I’ve been lurking on this ball of rock. I also have kids, one of whom is a massive disappointment and hasn’t levelled past 20 (just kidding… I think) and the other who while hating the whole levelling thing does have multiple 80’s two of which are raiding quality (tank & heals). None of the below is a comment on anything other than what is drifting through my mind, extrapolation is purely in the mind of the beholder.
Anyway, back to the focus of this post. Kids & Guilds, do they mix?
The answer, naturally, is variable and depends on what the guild is like, what the makeup of players is like and what everyone include the younger members and their parents are expecting from the guild.
Availability / Reliability
As with many of the topics I’m going to cover this does apply to adults as well as minors, though with minors the issues may be more acute. As a general rule those under 18 (and to a certain level under 22) are not in full control of their lives, chores at home, demands to get bedrooms tidied, groundings, homework and social lives tend to get in the way of a fixed raiding schedule. Those of lesser years have, generally, a lesser capability to shuffle demands on their lives to fit around the schedule and parents can be justifiably grumpy when said teen is busy raiding when they’ve failed to find the floor in their bedroom.
The manifestation of this problem with adults tends to focus more on work and relationship related issues.
To be honest this tends to be an excuse for keeping sub-18’s out of raid groups, my personal experience is that there are more jokes / comments about parts of the body from the mid-20’s than from the teenagers. The teens do tend to be less able to keep their mouths shut at times, but this is also a stereotype which applies to some and not others. What is more likely to be true is that minors haven’t fully built their mental filters on what to say and what not to, when to shut up before sticking their size nine’s into their mouths and do not have the life experience and ways of handling social situations with a group who’s age range may cover 3-4 decades.
The worry here is usually about the older members of the group and either not wanting to control their language to a more U or PG rated level. Parents will also have concerns about what little Johnny or Jane is hearing over vent or indeed whether there are some of those evil interweb perverts within the raid group. The former concern from the group is one which they need to make a decision on. Either “keep vent & chat clean”, “keep it clean when you know ‘foo’ is online” through to “We do not moderate our language, we expect a parental decision on this” to “we’re not taking the risk of a shouty parent, no kids”.
The latter concern is a real risk but the level of the risk is low, despite what the media is happy to tell everyone the internet is not full of perverts, or at least not full of perverts out looking to groom children for abuse. This does not mean that the risk is not there or that there aren’t any on WoW on the lookout for minors who haven’t got enough life experience to take their own precautions. The options open to the parents here are “ban the child from wow”, seriously, if as a parent you are that concerned about internet perverts I’m expecting you to take that responsibility seriously and either monitor properly or keep them off the network & game.
Or alternatively take on the task of educating your child, instil in them from an early age what the risks are and what to watch for, make sure they are aware they can talk to you about everything. Put in structures to monitor their usage until they’re old enough (when is a decision for each parent and each child). Make sure that they know that “friend” on FaceMyLiveRealIDBook doesn’t actually mean anything, friending someone does not mean that they are a friend, it means they can see your content on that site. Nothing more. That the Hot Night Elf chick dancing with no clothes on could be a 50 year old bloke, or indeed his grandmother.
In short, either wrap them in cotton wool or educate them to protect themselves (remember, the job of a parent is to make themselves redundant, ideally within 18 years).
Completely unrelated to age in my opinion, in all age brackets there are good players and bad, there are those capable of progression raiding and those not. I’ve encountered kids playing who I don’t want to be anywhere near, who think that epics is the same as a good player, I’ve encountered DKs popping 900 dps in epics who’s age I have no idea of, I’ve seen adults who simply can’t grasp the mechanics of how to get the most from their class. On the flip side I’ve seen teenagers tank Yoggie with no problems, be spot on with dps and so on, the point is pretty clear. Competence has nothing to do with age, reaction times might slow with age, however with age comes experience which allows for better forward planning, neither of these is necessarily true.
Kids in a guild, any guild
Really it’s up to the guild, want kids in, don’t want kids in, it’s a decision for the GM and the collective mind of the guild, nothing more, nothing less, anyway there is no age verification in WoW how do you know that 19 year old isn’t really 15 with a really creative backstory.