I hope you’re having a great Friday! I’ve had an alright week. I’d hoped to say that I finished more for Ryac and the Dark Mage, but I barely worked on it. So, instead of rambling about that. How about I just share a story with you from one of the games I’m playing?
So, before I begin on the story, I feel like I should give some background first. I play a game called RecRoom on VR (specifically with the Oculus Quest 2). RecRoom is actually more like a hub for a whole bunch of games. They have rock climbing, party rooms, paintball, a Naruto-themed arena, a dorm room you can decorate, and so much more. While much of what they have is created by players who log-in, I tend to lean more towards the things the developers created. My favorite activity in RecRoom is their quests.
Quests involve completing several stages before taking on a final boss. You can battle (depending on the quest) using swords, shields, bows, wands, guns, laser rifles, fish, bottles, etc. My go-to favorite item, if I’m feeling particularly active, is the bow. The bow takes time to master, but so do the quests. I can solo most of them, but I prefer having backup, even questionable backup.
And that leads us to today’s story. I get all sorts of characters when I join quests publicly. Sure, I could team up with people I’ve friended in the past and play privately, but they aren’t always online when I am, and it can get REALLY creepy with some people when you play with them privately (that’s a side story all on its own). For the most part, other players are absolutely terrible at surviving and defeating enemies. That doesn’t actually bother me. We all have to start somewhere. I find it really fun to help people through to the end of a quest, particularly when they haven’t made it very far. I’ll often hear (on the second level of 8 or nine levels) “I haven’t made it this far before!” And I get all giddy inside because I know I have the skill to get them to the end of the quest / dungeon.
That being said, I get players that I can’t stand, too. There are the smaller children that scream practically non-stop, the smaller children that demand to be revived when they’ve been immediately downed because they rushed Leroy Jenkins' style into a room full of enemies, or the young and older kids that groan and complain when I don’t charge into a room to revive them because they were reckless. There are also ones that use demeaning language or foul language. Now, for that last one, I just want to say that I don’t care when people say the F word when they’ve been struck. It’s when they say “F you for not rezing me,” etc. Or when they call other people losers or other nasty things. There’s no reason for it. And I report players for abusive language. It isn’t always because I’m upset, either. I do it because I’m looking out for those shy kids who don’t deserve to be treated that way. There need to be consequences for bad behavior.
Well, now I’m really going to jump into the story! I swear! So, there I was, selecting the Golden Trophy quest – my second favorite quest. The screen fades black and whatever as I’m transported to the room, all normal, by the way. Then, out of nowhere, I’m immediately noticed by the three other players already in the lobby for the quest. Normally, people are pretty chill in the lobby. You don’t get a sense for age, gender, or personality until after the quest begins (and by begins, I mean the second lobby where you can friendly fire your allies and there are zero enemies around). And yes, age and gender are important to note as I have never met an obnoxious young girl online. NEVER. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m just saying that when I’m trying to get a feel for how things are likely to go, that’s something to consider.
As I was saying, all three boys, I figured by their voices that they were somewhere around 6-10 in age. Well, I arrived to find the three arguing. Once they spotted me, the argument stopped and they bombarded me with questions like this (and no, I don’t know who was saying what, let alone who was talking. I’m only partially certain that all three of them were talking at once):
“A new baby!”
“You going to leave us, baby?”
“Baby! You’ve got to be our new baby!”
The word baby isn’t exactly my cup of tea. I seriously debated leaving. I wasn’t in the mood for dealing with immature children. I partially debated telling them to knock it off or I would report them, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to explain that what they were saying wasn’t alright, particularly to say to a stranger, regardless of age or gender.
So, in my hesitation, I pulled up my menu (this is done by twisting your wrist to look at a watch with a pop-up menu). While other players can’t see what you’re looking at, they can see that you’re looking at your menu. That same menu is exactly how you leave a room or report people, or select food items, etc. By opening my menu, I triggered an immediate response.
“Hey, baby! Don’t go!”
“Don’t leave us, baby!”
“Please, baby, you have to help us!”
“Don’t betray us like our last baby! You won’t betray us, will you, baby?”
At this point, I was pretty amused. I didn’t know, and still don’t know, what happened to the last ‘baby’, but I have a good guess that they got fed up and left. My curiosity got the better of me, however, and I decided to see where this train wreck was going. If nothing else, it was slowly becoming amusing.
So, I closed my menu and shook my head that I wasn’t leaving or going to betray them. I could have said something as my microphone was on, but I remained silent. I didn’t want them knowing I was a woman, a much-older-than-them woman.
The next thing that happened was that we started the game and went to a new lobby area where we could pick our weapons. There were shouts and fights over the four swords and two shields, which was fine by me. I took one of the two bows and waited on the platform (you need everyone to stand on these locked platforms before the door to the next area will unlock). Thankfully, this group understood that without me having to blow my cover and tell them to get on already so we could go kill some goblins.
Unfortunately, the vocal leader of the baby triad decided to stay off the platform and give me shit about using a bow. Basically, he was just saying that I needed to use a sword if I wanted to be any good to them. I proceeded to stand in one spot and annihilate every pot in the room – one shot each. I thought that would shut them up, but instead, I got cheers.
“Baby’s good with a bow!”
“Baby can use a bow! Way to go, baby!”
It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but whatever. I was amused.
Being the easiest of the quests, I had little trouble racking up points, despite them running ahead and triggering waves of enemies. It isn’t easy fighting with a bow when you can hit players who are very chaotic in their movements. It usually takes the later levels, where there are more enemies, flying enemies, and distant enemies, that I’m able to acquire points. Until then, I’m usually at the back of the group reviving and providing cover fire. And that’s fine by me.
Thankfully, that was also fine by the kids I was with. They gave me shit at first for having the lowest score, but as the levels progressed, I ranked higher than them (also partially because you lose points for dying, and I didn’t die whereas they died often, revived each other, and then immediately died again).
Well! Things were going good, up until the library level. It’s a hellish level with so much going on that it’s easy to die. It took weeks of playing for me to find a high spot that I could hold my ground at. When I went to my favorite spot, the three kids started saying I hacked the game and was cheating.
To be clear, I wasn’t. I use teleport mode as it makes me sick to do the walking motion in the game, which is a much easier feature to use, and I wish I could do it without wanting to lose my stomach contents each time I attempted it. Anyway, the teleport mode let me teleport onto an archway, a spot their walking mode couldn’t quite reach. So no, I wasn’t cheating. And if they knew the level, they would have been able to get up to way better spots with their walking mode. Spots I couldn’t teleport to.
While I really, and I mean really wanted to defend myself with some harsh words, I kept quiet. One of the three figured out a way to get to where I was, and that shut the other two up, particularly when they died and we didn’t.
And that’s about where things started taking a drastic turn. You see, they hadn’t stopped calling me baby. In fact, the next level had one of them saying I was going to be his wife. I shook my head emphatically, but he persisted.
“You’re so good, baby! I’m going to make you my wife.”
Had he been older and had he actually meant it when he said it, I would have been creeped out, but as it was relatively harmless, I let it go. At least, I let it go. If you’re a female gamer, you probably know what came up next. The question all guys seem to want to know.
“Hey, baby. How old are you?”
I attempted a shrug, but it doesn’t work like that in VR. Now, normally, I don’t give out my age in games. It makes me uncomfortable, particularly with sex trafficking or creepy dudes. It’s none of their business and knowing it can cause problems if they happen to be looking for someone to groom.
Anyway, these kiddos were too young to be thinking along those lines, even if they were joking about marriage. To my extreme delight, they decided to keep probing on the age.
I shook my head.
“Over twelve?” – I could tell they felt clever for figuring out a better way than going number by number.
“Thirteen?” – or perhaps not so clever.
“Over fourteen?” – the first hints of panic.
“Are you nineteen?!” – panicked.
“Oh, good. So you’re younger than nineteen.” – way too confident.
“YOU’RE OVER NINTEEN?!” – full blown panic. The other team members get involved, and I start to lose it and start doubling over in order to contain my laughter. They were going way to low with those numbers!
“OVER TWENTY-FIVE?!” – extra panicked.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But….but….I didn’t knoooooow!”
“Oh, man. Are you mad baby?"
"She's not a baby!"
"Ah, man! I meant MoonMoon!”
Yes. My name in-game is MoonMoon. I am very proud of my user name. (see inspirational Google image search photos below)
“Sorry! Sorry! Are you offended?”
“Are you mad?”
“Are we in trouble?”
The sheer level of backpedaling these kids did when they discovered I was an adult broke me. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t see past the tears, which made it difficult later, but luckily we’d taken a break from fighting the enemies.
“WAIT!!! YOU COULD TALK THIS WHOLE TIME?!”
I barely eked out a ‘yes’ over my laughter. After that, we cleared up the whole age thing. I let them know I wasn’t upset. They stopped calling me baby, and we finished out the game on good terms. Also, I would like to say that the one that made the marriage demands apologized and said he was joking and that he wasn’t serious. I let him know my husband wasn’t worried. We had a good laugh.
I also think those little shits are going to be a bit more careful about how they talk to other players from now on, so no, I don’t feel bad. And yes, I am more likely to keep quiet in the future. This was just too fun. I cannot express how panicked they got and how amazing it was to get my revenge. After all, it shouldn’t take knowing a person’s age or gender before behaving appropriately.
Oh, and there’s one last thing that came up. They, like every group I’ve ever been in where they could hear me talk, asked one of these annoying questions.
“Do you know how to use walk mode? Can you walk? Walking is way better, do you know how to? Why do you teleport?”
The questions themselves aren’t annoying, it’s that no one believes me when I say I get physically ill using the walk mode. They tell me it isn’t that bad, they say I’ll get over it or that they got over it, they say teleporting is way more nauseating, or that I can take medicine.
So, seeing as how I was feeling particularly spunky. I decided to finally shut up everyone once and for all!
“I use teleport mode because walking makes the game too easy.” (Teleporting is notoriously more difficult, so it isn’t entirely a lie. It does take more skill, and I do enjoy a challenge.)
“Whoah, bab-er-Moon, that’s intense!”
“You mean, you’re even better than this?!”
And that, my friends, is how you turn the tables.
May your adventures be many and your inspiration be endless!