I spent the entire weekend playing an MMO with my girlfriend!
If you're wondering why that's such a big deal, then perhaps I need to fill you in on a little history. My girlfriend very rarely plays video games. I'm talking maybe 20 hours of gaming every 6 months. The only way I've managed to get her interested in games in the past, was by appealing to her love for fantasy and sci-fi (i.e. Star Wars). KOTOR on Xbox and Pokemon on GBA were winners, but almost everything else failed miserably.
There was a period nearly two and a half years ago, where I managed to get her playing WoW. She loved the game, but she stopped playing after about 20 hours online. It was completely my fault. I'm a min-maxer by nature and so I tend to rush through MMO games in order to have the most awesome PvP character available. My gf had no interest in PvP. She was having fun picking herbs and using emotes in the Evermoon fountain. I tried to push my min-maxing style of game play on her in order to improve her character, and it consequently destroyed her entire WoW experience.
If I had of just let her do her own thing, we'd probably have spent the last two and a bit years playing MMOs together. Lesson definitely learned. You cannot try and push 6+ years of MMO gaming experience onto someone completely new to gaming and expect them to understand, or even enjoy it. You have to let them take things at their own pace. This includes learning about the dynamics of the game through VERY slow PvE exploration.
So how did I manage to get her interested in an MMO again after the scare I gave her with WoW?
Friday night, I downloaded the trial version of City of Heroes. I'd been reading about it for quiet some time through various blogs, and I thought that it was a good idea to check it out before Champions Online hit the shelves. I installed the trial and created a female Scrapper (melee DPS). I got to the screen where you create your super hero costume and my gf walked into the room:
GF: "Wow, that looks interesting! What game is that?"
ME: "Just some super hero MMO that lets you design your own costume and then go around beating up baddies"
GF: "Your hero looks like a slut! You should give her some more clothes. Bad guys are more likely to ask 'how much?', than actually run in fear."
ME: "If you think you can design a better costume, you are welcome to try..."
(how good was the bait?)
Ten minutes later, I had a trial account set and the game running on her computer (my old beast). We spent the next 3 hours or so having a blast designing super hero costumes. It's amazing how many combinations there are. Then came the big silent breath hold for me... did she want to play her newly designed super hero? Luckily she instinctively pressed the next button before I even had to ask. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it certainly did me a favor.
Learning from my previous mistake, I took things very very slow. We did the tutorial together, but I made sure I was always 2 steps behind her. She was the expert and I was the novice. She loved thinking she was teaching me and I loved pretending she was as well...
We spent the rest of the weekend leveling our characters in the City of Heroes. We even ordered pizza and ate it in a LAN party style fashion. I couldn't have asked for a better weekend.
A big thank you to NCSoft/Cryptic for City of Heroes and to the bloggers that got me interested in the game to begin with: Sente, Tipa and Syp.