08 February 2011

Is it the Age Gap?

Current fashion at my birth
I have had the fortune to meet and become friends with several great people within WoW. These friendships will normally evolve after I've grouped or guilded with someone, and throughout the course of killing pixelated bosses we've communicated beyond the base "you trap square while I sheep the moon.. ok tank we're good" kind of communications. We actually start sharing some personal details from our lives. One of the fun ones is age. I've come to realize that -- in WoW -- I'm an actual Elder.

While I'm older than most of the players I've met, I don't consider myself old. I'm getting closer and closer to 40, which makes me approximately twice if not even three times as old as many of the players I've interacted with. While there is certainly no scientific statistical analysis behind this next opinion, I'd say that those players older than 33 make up less than a quarter of the players I've met. I may be wrong here -- it's just been my experiences.

See -- I don't consider myself "old". In my life, when people address me as "Mr.", I still immediately assume they are referring to my father. Sure, I'm married (for 13 years now!), I'm a father to 4 children, and I work full time.  But... I still make time to play a video game. Gamers can't be "old", can we?

So what sparked this?

Well... we had a great run as a guild 5m for the random heroic, and we pulled Deadmines. Now I've only done that one once before, and I did not have a great experience. The whole Nightmare is just not fun for me, and honestly I struggle with it. I handled the falling icicles in the Pit of Saron just fine. I handled the frogger slimes in Naxxramas without incident. I handled the Icehowl charge in ToC without causing an enrage, and I dispelled that enrage when others weren't so nimble.

See, I can move out of the way and avoid the poop in most cases. But I can't seem to avoid the fires or dodge the electrified limbo sticks in heroic Deadmines!  The only way I've been able to navigate in there is by stacking on top of another player as they run through and not looking at anything else but them so that I step where they step.  If they fail, I'm dead too. But I can't seem to do it without a visual reference.

How does this tie back into the age thing?

Two of us in the group struggled with dodging the poop in our run.  We were the older players. The three twenty-somethings had no issues. To prove how easy it was, two of them ran up and back and up and back to show how it worked, which was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "Come ON Gramps!"  It was friendly, but honestly there was a difference in our performance -- but ONLY with the dodging and only in the fire pools and lightning limbo.

I have to wonder: Have I finally hit something where I'm 'weaker' than a younger player? Is it my reaction time that's slower? My eyesight (please hold the cataract comments!)? Hand-eye coordination? Or, as I want to think -- just too much crap going on in a confined space? 

Don't hold back on your comments -- please give me both barrels if it's as simple as "Just friggin' dodge it, dude".  Obviously, I'm a big boy. I can take constructive criticism!