Gaming as a Family
Ben “Kilsin” Walters & Anthony “Minus” Guidi
Community Matters is a phrase we use quite often within the Pantheon community, but what does it mean? To us, it means players having the means to build individual identity. To achieve this, social situations must live within the gameplay development of Pantheon. Afterall, isn’t that why MMORPGs first appealed to us all? Before social media, MMORPGs filled that void. Think about it, where else could you build relationships with people from all parts of the world?
It wasn’t our age or social status that mattered. You didn’t even need to be a “gamer.” Playing MMORPGs took us out of our defined lives, and allowed us to live fantastical lives online, within a living and breathing world. It was most impactful, because we needed those around us. We needed friendship or alliances to achieve our goals and build our story. We needed rivalries and challenges to make us better. These things allowed our characters to feel real and meaningful.
Behind these characters, are real people who are all affected by these experiences. These can range through all our humanistic emotions. From great joy to crushing defeat, we experience it all. These emotions don’t stay within the game world, but can manifest within our real lives. Without building an MMORPG around social interaction, we lose these important moments that define the genre. For us, it’s even more powerful when these moments occur outside of the game.
Sparoh and Bountycode are two dedicated supporters who enhance their family life through MMORPG gaming; join us in learning about them.
So tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Sparoh: We are both in our mid-to-late 40s and have been married for 18 years! We have four lovely children together between the ages of 8 and 14. My husband, Bountycode, as the community knows him as, is a programmer at Ford and has been coding since grade school. He even created a game when he was 14 called “Dungeon of Death” based on pen and paper rules. I stay home to homeschool our kids. I love to dabble, and find my way into almost anything I can get my hands on. I love to learn, and doing so makes me happy. Examples include writing, drawing, gardening, organizing, planning – like I said, almost anything that can catch my attention.
How did you two meet one another?
Sparoh: We met in high school as friends. We hung out together with other mutual friends spending a lot of time playing pen and paper games. As adults we began dating in 2002, and after 6 months we were married!
Do you use the age-old tried and true method of Rock, Paper, Scissors to choose your classes, or do you have some other fancy method?
Sparoh: We usually play whatever we want at the time. However, typically I’ll play a ranger and he will play a Wizard. From there we’ll build on play styles that allow us to duo together. It has evolved a lot over the years, sometimes we play tank and healer. It depends on the game and what is required for us to be successful together.
Do you know what classes you’ll play in Pantheon yet?
Sparoh: Well we haven’t seen all the classes just yet, but I think we have an idea. Since we said before I typically play a Ranger, and Bountycode plays a Wizard, I see us starting there. That said, this feels like a game where we are going to have a lot of alts, because the classes all sound so cool.
When it comes to Pantheon, how do you stay up to date with the development progress?
Sparoh: First and foremost we hang out in discord, especially staying connected to our guild, the Plus Guild. We watch the PantheonPlus Rewind every week and make sure to tune into the Developer Round Tables, as well as the official live streams.
How important is community to both of you?
Sparoh: At this point in our lives, community is very important to us getting enjoyment out of games. Over the years we’ve enjoyed working together as a duo, but now we find that games don’t really stick with us if there isn’t a good community to back it up. Grouping is now more fun for us, and seems almost essential for us to enjoy our MMO experiences.
Are the two of you typically focused on finding a good guild to grow in, or stick to smaller groups?
Sparoh: Since landing in the Plus guild, we’ve become very guild focused. Before Pantheon, we usually ran with at least a set group, but now we enjoy hanging out with our guildmates, even when bounty and I aren’t in the same group together.
How do you resolve family disputes over what games to play, or what content to complete?
Sparoh: I usually drag Bountycode to whatever new game has caught my fancy. That said, Bountycode was the first to discover Pantheon, back during the Kickstarter. Now I instigate the amount of involvement in Pantheon, and we are really enjoying it. Believe it or not, we usually end up playing separately, because Bountycode loves to savor the quests. He completes every single one and often finds himself lost ‘smelling the roses.’ My preferred experience is a little different. While I will do most quests, I only read the really epic ones that catch my attention. I like to move at a faster pace and tend to explore more on my own. We still play together when we need a hand or if we want to jump into a dungeon.
If you could give your younger gamer-self some advice, what would it be?
Sparoh: I may tell myself not to hop in and out of games so quickly. Sticking with a good MMO has more merit and enjoyment than fleeing to the ‘newness’ of a game. Bountycode would probably tell himself the opposite however, as he sometimes gets too attached to a game, and misses out on new experiences.
What is a fun or memorable story you can share with the community?
Sparoh: I vividly remember my brothers-in-law bringing me, a very raw and new player into one of the harder end-game areas of the game we were playing. They did so many crazy things together that they just assumed I could do the same with my druid. One of them gathered up a horde of mobs and then ran towards me. I was instructed that when they ran by, I was told to AOE snare them, and start running them around. Then picking them off one at a time. So here they come, running right at me. They yell out for me to RUN!!! Well, I snared them and tried to run, but they were too close and just trampled right over me, killing me instantly. It was pretty funny and we all had a great laugh about it.
Bountycode: I always found quad-kiting to be exhilarating. As a wizard, it was a great way to solo and get experience. There were some great areas where I spent so much time grinding out experience and some of those zones are still my favorite of all time.
Anything else you would like to add?
Sparoh: We very much enjoy playing MMOs together, even when we aren’t always side-by-side in the same group. We discuss strategies, share stories, and enjoy seeing one another develop their characters. We are both looking forward to making Terminus our new home. Even more so, we are excited to meet many great people looking for the same challenge and friendship we hope to achieve. We feel this game can be so much more because of its focus on building a community and a world for all of us to explore together.
We would like to thank Sparoh and Bountycode for sharing their experiences and excitement with us. Congratulations on 18 years of marriage, and sharing your gaming experience together.
We are thankful for the amazing stories our community has shared thus far with us. Do you have a story about how MMORPGs have made a difference in your life? Has it driven your creative urges? Has it made you a better leader? Has it helped you overcome difficulties in your life? We’d love to hear your tale, and show why community truly matters. Drop us a line in the forums.