Last time on Ask DrmDestryr:
You play with your husband on Heroes all the time. How do I get my SO to do the same?
And now, on to the next thrilling chapter in the saga!
Chapter 2: Trying New Things
The strongest relationships are founded on years and years and years of compromise. As much as you two are alike, you are different, and both sides need to be celebrated and respected. While you might tease each other for liking what each of you considers stupid, when they invite you to try out something they personally enjoy, like country music, they are inviting you to partake in a deeper part of who they are. That’s why you want her to play video games, after all. And that’s why it hurts a little when she says no.
What’s even worse is if you’re chided for even liking such a thing. While it’s absolutely healthy to have differences of opinion, no one has the right to demean what you do like, even if it’s stalking celebrities. The only time an intervention should be staged is if the hobby crosses the line into an unhealthy obsession. But even then, there is no demeaning allowed. If it does happen, the offended party will build up a private (or not so private) resentment in regard to the other person. Eventually, they’ll just shut down sharing that part of their life with you, and as soon as they shut down one aspect, just think of how easy it will be to shut down others.
The same is true for trying things but making sure they know you don’t enjoy it. If you’re not willing to at least humor their likes, you can bet you’re a** they will outright refuse to join your nerdy little world. You don’t respect their likes, why should they respect yours? At the same time, if they are completely unwilling to try out what you like even though you’ve given in to their likes countless times, there’s a serious problem. Neither one is fair to either of you and requires some amount of maturity to overcome. It’s all about the give and take.
Assuming that’s not much of an issue and there is mutual trust and respect, there will always be fear of the new. It’s just how it is and that’s totally okay. New things are unknown and our brains and the unknown have always been mortal enemies. This is where you come in.
Safety in Gaming
Since gaming is your territory, the responsibility is 100% on you to make it as safe an experience as possible.
Rule #1: Treat Her Fears with Respect
You might not care about being called any number of slanderous terms by a stranger, but your SO might have extreme anxiety in regards to confrontation. This is not something you should tease them about. If you do, it will only make them resent you and hate your games even more.
Instead, listen to all of their fears and take note. Find a game you can control and that won’t spook them. They fully realize they’re going out on a limb and need to know you’ll be there to hold their hand when they need it if things get too intense.
Rule #2: Heroes is a Terrible Introductory Game
The simple reason is that it’s just too overwhelming for a new gamer. You’re no doubt excitedly explaining every little nuance while they sit staring in confusion at 38+ completely different Heroes (not to mention each comes with 3-4 abilities plus a heroic and at least 4 talents at different levels throughout the game).
It’s a lot.
Rule #3: Start Simple and Gradually Grow Complexity
Find a game that plays to your SO’s interests. Do they like puzzles? Braid, Portal, Myst and Antechamber are nothing but dedicated puzzle games. No combat. No Hero select.
If they enjoy it enough to finish, bring in the next phase—combat—but make sure the combat is easy and the story is engaging. I cannot begin to tell you how important story is when it comes to gameplay if your SO doesn’t express uncontained joy over weapon upgrades. This means Prince of Persia, Legend of Zelda and Shadow of the Colossus.
Next are the more combat-heavy names that put their current skill level to the test. God of War, Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Diablo. Crucial here is Diablo because it will give you both a game to play together, and it will begin to ground them in the world of Blizzard. If they’re going to care at all about Heroes, they need a franchise to favor.
Rule #4: A Word on World of Warcraft
I will warn against WoW because your partner needs to build their own gaming history without you in it. They need to want to pick up the mouse or controller themselves, otherwise they’ll never fully realize their abilities as a gamer. When you play together, they'll only learn how to game with you, not by themselves.
Rule #5: Shut Up
Just Keep. Your. Mouth. Shut. Let them enjoy the game. Let them take 30 minutes to run into walls before they figure out an answer. The only way they’ll feel rewarded is if they do it themselves without you taking away the glory of personal achievement by giving them the answer they never asked for. If you can’t keep your mouth shut, leave when they play. The only time you should help is if they ask, and even then, only give clues. Period. What you are doing here is allowing them to discover that they are capable of being good at video games and that video games can be engaging and a lot of fun.
Be sure to tune in next week for the trilogy's exciting conclusion: Chapter 3: Entering the Nexus!
Ask DrmDestryr is your weekly Q&A/advice column for Heroes of the Storm. Have a question for DrmDestryr? E-mail her your mental musings at firstname.lastname@example.org or send happy twoughts her way @DrmDestryr. Want to hang out? Check out the ITN PreShow with DrmDestryr! streamed weekly starting at 6 PM Eastern on Thursdays at twitch.tv/amovetv.