World of Warcraft players: hordes of pimply, unsupervised pre-adolescents sprinkled liberally with socially backward, Cheetos-chomping basement-dwellers? Forty-eight-year-old Catten of Quel'dorei knows better. Frequently confined to her bed with fibromyalgia, a debilitating condition that causes pain and fatigue, Catten's world opens up when she logs in. This relative newcomer to gaming escapes her physical challenges in The Outland, sharing raiding, world-wide friendships and a warm relationship with her grown son (and guildmate) Bigkountry.
15 Minutes of Fame: Tell us about the path that led to your playing WoW.
Catten: Well, when BK (Bigkountry) was about 5 to 6 years old, I went out and bought him a Nintendo and a couple of games for Christmas. One of the games that I got him was Castlevania IV: Simons Quest. I watched him play it one day and like what I saw and became very interested in it. Lets just say that he didn't get to play his Nintendo for a while after I got going on it. I also like the Sonic the Hedgehog games on the PC. Other than that it has been a lot of puzzle games. Then I got into playing more in-depth games. I started with Heroes of Might and Magic 5 and my son kept telling me that Heroes sucked compared to WoW.
So after I cleared all the campaigns in Heroes I decided that is was time to start a 'toon. I had watched my son raiding Kara, ZA and Gruul's and was very interested in playing with other people from around the world!
I like the fact that you join up with a group of people and run stuff together. I love the guild aspect of it all and my son found a server with a bunch of new transfers and got me over there in his guild. This game has brought me more than I expected and I love it. My son says that he introduced me into the WoW experience to help me with my condition and keep my mind off of the pain and being sick a lot. It helps to relieve some of the stresses of everyday life. Now all my son and I talk about is what we need to farm or what the guild is raiding that night. It all revolves around WoW for the most part, and my husband just looks at us like we are crazy. LOL
Many of our readers may not be familiar with fibromyalgia. Can you explain how your condition limits your activity?
The best way to explain it is a piece from Wikipedia: "Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia. An example of tactile allodynia is when a person perceives light pressure or the movement of clothes over the skin as painful, whereas a healthy individual will not feel pain. Fibromyalgia patients are often affected by a number of symptoms other than pain, including debilitating fatigue, abnormal sleep architecture meaning the brain does not reach all the restorative levels of sleep necessary for overall health, functional bowel disturbances and a variety of neuropsychiatric problems including cognitive dysfunction which can mean short and/or long term memory problems, slowed information processing ability, diminished attention span and anxiety and depressive symptoms."
The memory issue that they explain is referred to by us with the condition as fibral fog. Causes confusion and disorientation at times but it is manageable.
As to how it limits my activity, I am unable to work anymore. I was running a business that my husband and I opened. Business was slow and I was always sick or in too much pain to do a lot of physical activities or manual work. There are times where it is near impossible to get out of bed and I just sleep or read all day.
What makes WoW and other games such a good fit for your life right now?
One thing about it is that it allows me to play at my own pace, unless I am raiding or in an instance; then I have to step it up a bit. LOL You have this vast world of areas to explore, farm or quest in. The quests are very interesting and I am getting into the lore a bit more now. I am a sci-fi kind of person and have tons of books with off-the-wall stories. So this fits right into the genre of what I like and enjoy. Being able to play something and relate to something my son enjoys so much is also a nice bonus. I like the guild aspect of the game too. My son and I were in a guild on Kargath server, and it was an Australian-based guild. A player that we always ran stuff with and talked to a lot was coming to the United States with his wife to visit. They decided that they were going to come to Kanab, Utah, and visit me and my son. It was such a great time. We all went to dinner and then hit the bar and my son showed them how to drink. LOL I just really enjoy playing with a group of people I now call my friends and it makes me feel good!
We hear that Catten hit level 70 rather quickly, is that right?
Yes, Catten did hit 70 pretty quick. I started a NE Druid named Catten and loved the questing and trying to get to the even levels to go train and see what new spells I would get. Plus, I saw Bigkountry on his epic mount and had to have one. If I remember right, I hit level 70 in about 5 to 6 days played time. My son says it was faster than that, but I think it was right around there. I was forced to go resto and hated it in our old guild on Kargath, but I did it for the guild. Then I went to balance boomkin and transferred servers to my son's guild, and they love me.
What parts of WoW have been most enjoyable to you?
The questing was really fun. I also love the guild aspect of the game and meeting people from all over the place. The content is amazing and keeps getting better. The details to the environment are great and very pleasing to the eye! I am really glad I got into this game and look forward to the expansion!
Do you use voice chat in game?
Yes, my son has his own 50-man Vent that he rents for the guild for raids and PvP and all that good stuff. Whenever I run an instance with the guild or am in a raid, then I am on Vent and use it actively. It is fun to connect to people on that level of the game as well!
Have you experienced any sort of generation gap or disconnect with players based on either your age or relatively limited gaming background?
Not so much. I have been called a noob, and people know that I am BK's mom or whatnot, but that still hasn't affected my playing or anyone else's playing with me. The guild that I am in, Arrested Development on Quel'dorei, is a more mature guild. My son met the GM the day he transferred over there and was one of the first few members there. They have made sure that the immaturity is checked at the door and the guild consists of players 17 to 49 years of age. Now at times, people will ask me how old I am and I tell them then I get a little bit of poking fun from them, but nothing too serious.
How often do you typically play? Will we see Catten online more when you get your own system?
I play four to six hours a day, more if I am able to and feel up to it. Sitting for long periods of time takes its toll on me, so I have to get off the computer for a while. I usually get back on in the evenings and finish my dailies or level my Warlock alt. My son is almost finished building his nice computer and will have that up and running soon. Then I will be able to play and raid with him and not have to sit back and watch. LOL Will be fun to actually run something with him, being as I have never ran anything with him before. I know that I will always have a pocket tank, too, and that he is very skilled and never have to worry about pulling agro off of him. LOL
What does your husband think about this new interest?
Haha! He doesn't mind me playing so much, but he always says, "I know how to fix your computer – let's shoot it!" One time he actually brought a gun out and said he could fix the damn thing right there. We were having some problems with it and my son and I were bitching about it. LOL My flat screen monitor went out recently, so my son told his dad that he finally has something to shoot now. My husband hates all technology is what it boils down to. Give him a Harley and he is as happy as no one else.
What about your son? How long has he been into WoW?
My son has been playing WoW for about 2 1/2 years now. He has a 70 NE Warrior, Bigkountry, and a 70 NE Priest, Avanora. He loves playing my boomkin. His tank was his main for a long time. He was MT for raids, but then we started getting sooo many warriors and tanks and he got burnt out on it. The guild had no Shadow Priests, so he decided to play his priest and get her all geared out, took her from 380 shadow damage and 0 spell hit two weeks ago to 945 shadow damage and 169 spell hit. He is a determined player and does everything and anything he can for the guild. He rents and pays for the 50-man Vent server and the dedicated website. He works hard and plays hard. Like all 28-year-old kids ... He helps out a lot around the house, being as I can't work, and helps his dad out immensely.
What other pastimes do you enjoy?
Basically reading and computers. That is about the extent of what I can do so ... LOL
So we hear you're getting your own system soon. What do you plan to do with all that time? Any special in-game goals?
Yes, as soon as my son's computer is built I will be farming for my epic flyer. That is my main in-game goal, that and the Belt of Blasting so I can wreck face in raids. LOL I need to farm up a lot of badges for when the badge vendor is unlocked. Soo much shiny lewtz! I love this game and am very glad my son introduced me to it. He isn't at times but meh ... LOL