Exploring Azeroth with my mother, the level eighty tauren hunter
Write to the Point
By Al Stover
This past Mother’s Day made me reflect on all of the ways my mother helped take care of us as I was growing up. Being the primary breadwinner in our family, she worked to make sure my sister and I had everything we needed, whether it’s making sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table.
In my senior year of high school, she paid for my tuxedo for prom, my yearbook and my fees to make sure I graduated along with the rest of my class. I was fully capable for paying for all of those things with my own money, but she insisted.
When I was getting ready to face a group of assassins who wielded flaming swords, my mother made sure I had the best armor gold could buy and enough potions to make it through combat.
The last one doesn’t make much sense unless you are thinking in terms of video games — specifically “World of Warcraft.”
After graduating high school, I moved into a studio apartment, two floors above my mom, in downtown Spokane. Although we did things like go to movies at the AMC Theater and fed marmots at Riverfront Park during our days off, we spent several winter mornings and rainy afternoons exploring the regions Azeroth.
During many of these short sessions, my mother playing her “tauren hunter” — a minotaur-like character that traits of Strider the ranger from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy — would show me what shortcuts to take to avoid the guards, what quests to do to get the highest experience and the different ways to kill difficult bosses.
The game has two opposing factions — Alliance and Horde — and though at times we played characters on opposing factions. Once time she took me across hostile lands — to me, not her — to finish a quest when six players were behind us, firing arrows at me while leaving her alone.
As I was making my getaway, I could hear my mom type frantically as she muttered curses and sipped her Diet Coke. Once she stopped typing, so did the arrows from the players. As I drank a healing potion, the players gave a salute in my direction before riding away on their giant lizard mounts to cause terror somewhere else.
When I asked her what happened, she told me that they were asking why she was leading me — an “Alliance scum”— around the gates of the city. After she told them I was her son in real life, the group told my mom “how cool” she was and wished their own parents would play with them.
I realized that even in a videogame, my mother was still looking out for me. Although I was an adult in the real world and digital realm, I was still her baby and anyone who wanted to mess with me had to get through her.
My mother and I still get together whenever we can, mostly on the weekends and holidays for lunch or a movie.
Even though my “World of Wacraft” days are long behind me and I am no longer traveling the world by my mother’s side in the game, I still listen to her adventures, mishaps and battles with eager ears.
Al Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.