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Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

My son: Showing how reality imitates videogames

Okay, I 'fess up, I play World of Warcraft (WoW). One night per week I log on with a group of friends, don the noble garb of Slowhand, a level 70 Tauren druid, and chastize evil. Evil respawns pretty fast, so we're kept busy. It's fun, it provides instant gratification, and it allows us -- one in Nice, two in Paris, one in Montreal, one in Honduras -- to meet on a regular basis. Not bad, actually.

So my son is a fan. He's only 8 so he doesn't really play himself, but he loves sitting with me and watching Slowhand change from bear to lion to cheetah to hawk, relentlessly fighting The Good Fight. He's conversant with spells, skills, and bad guys. Quite conversant, it turns out.

He's also scared of bees and wasps. Pretty normal, I'd say, particularly in his case because he really swells up when he gets a sting. Just a few days ago I was trying to explain that wasps won't chase you, they don't go far out of their own territory, and they generally won't sting you unless you do something to them. A couple minutes later he came up with this:

"Wasps are like level 20 red guys, aren't they."

It took me a few minutes. First off, the 'mobs' (short for mobile entity; something that moves around on a given path) in WoW may or may not be friendly. When the mob's icon is red, of course, it means they are hostile. In this case they attack you automatically if you get close enough. Secondly, however, if the level difference is huge -- like level 20 and level 70 -- they won't attack unless you attack them, or walk directly over them. So basically, a level 20 mob, even if it's red, really has to be provoked before it attacks you.

I gotta tell you. Wasps are so like level 20 red guys. My son is brilliant.


Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

December 2011

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