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, the compelling conclusion of the SO Saga!
Chapter 3: Entering the Nexus
The timeline to get your SO into Heroes will vary greatly from person to person. Some will try it outright and have a good time because, hey, they have a great time with anything they try. Consider yourself a lucky person. Others try it because they know it will mean a lot to you but won’t really have any fun because, honestly, they have no clue what they’re doing. Other times, they’ll simply refuse.
Unless you are with the first kind of person, take the path of least resistance by easing them into the gaming arena. No one wants to log in and die 50 times while you leave them behind to get mauled by abusive players. On that note, to make this easier for yourself, pick a hero you suck at so the two of you can suck together. Nothing’s more endearing than bonding over who can get salted the most in chat.
Step 1: Raynor Rollout
No one wants a fun evening all ready to go only to be met with 30 minutes of intro gameplay lessons. While voiced by a very smooth talker, it nevertheless kills the mood. Make sure they play the entire intro before the session on their own time. Since they’ll be playing with you, it can be safely assumed they have their own computer and can do so at their leisure in the privacy and comfort of their own home.
Step 2: Hero Selection
During this phase, do not pick anything for them. Do not rush them. Do not suggest anything. Let them make their own decisions. They are grown-ups and can think for themselves. This is the only way they’ll learn. Period. The only time you suggest anything should be when they ask.
Also, let them explore the menu for themselves. It might just be me, but a great frustration in my life is starting something new only to be bombarded with tips and tricks. Spam Q, huh? Too bad I don’t even know what Q is. Tips and tricks at the start of any new thing essentially neuters the player. It says to them that their decision making can’t be trusted or isn’t good enough. It can even make them a worse player in the long run because it crushes their initial curiosity, and in Heroes, curiosity is what leads to discovering phenomenal gameplay strats.
Step 3: Have Some F*cking Fun
Start in a custom AI game where they can control the map choice. Basically, let them decide as much as they can on their own. You want to show that you support their decisions. By inviting them to take the lead, you give them power, letting them pick what is fun for them in a situation that could be stressful. I mean, they are well aware they’re going to suck very hard. What they need is a comfort bubble knowing they won’t be called out or laughed at and picking what would be fun to them is a way of creating said safety net.
Once they’re ready for QM, make sure they know where the mute button is. Salty dogs are extremely hurtful that first toe in the water. Show them how to report toxic players so that they have some semblance of control over their gaming experience. If they make a mistake, laugh with them and never at them. This is especially true during their first QM experiences. Understand and accept that they will not be good. None of us were in the beginning, but humans have this amazing capacity to comprehend and analyze their mistakes so that they are not made again in the future (whether all of them use this is still up for debate…). However, this only happens when you encourage a safe learning environment.
Other than that, always be supportive of one another. Talk about the game after losses and wins to analyze what was awesome and what could be improved and otherwise have each other’s backs. If done correctly, one day, you, too, may have to get broken up with because your dear one needs to venture out into League on their own terms. When that days comes, set them free. While they no doubt love playing with you, going out into the wild blue on their own allows them to grow into better, more formidable players.
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 3 PM Pacific on Thursdays. If that's still not enough, come hang out for Monday Morning Murder where she tackles all forms of video game horror starting at 11 AM Pacific each Monday.