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The Ordinary Platinum Pleb (O.P.P.) - Parenting Your New Hero

Hi everyone! 

I’m JayKay, a normal Heroes of the Storm player and enthusiast, just like all of you! Also like you, I have thoughts, opinions, and stories I’d like to share with the Heroes community in an informative and fun way. During my time playing HotS, I’ve spent virtually all time in the Platinum ranks of Hero League and Team League. Because of my time in Platinum and playing Heroes in general, I’ve decided to start a blog series documenting my experiences. So I’m here today to introduce my 2nd blog entry in a series I’m calling: “The Ordinary Platinum Pleb – O.P.P.” 

If you want to ready my past blog entry, “The P’s of Playing in Platinum”, you can read it here

On to the blog: 

Parenting Your New Hero: A Perspective of Playing Heroes of the Storm from a New Parent

Becoming a parent has been described as one of life’s true pleasures and greatest moments. It’s also tough as the burning hells. Parenting is rewarding, fulfilling, challenging, and every other –ing adjective that can be found in the dictionary. Because of these extreme highs and abysmal lows, we have to be careful of comparing the expectations of becoming a great parent to the reality of being a great parent or we can set ourselves up for disappointment. This emotional roller coaster of excitement and joy followed quickly by frustration and sleep deprivation can lead to some interesting moments in a household dynamic. As a parent, we have to remember: your baby is just that – a baby. You know very little what is going on in their brains yet they are learning something new every day along with you. Accepting there will be growing pains within your household as you progress as a parent will be a critical concept to learn as you move forward. 

Does any of this sound familiar? It might for a lot of us if we put some different context to it. In the paragraph above, let’s replace the underlined words: 

  • parent(s) with – Heroes of the Storm (HotS) player(s) 
  • parenting with – Playing Heroes of the Storm (HotS) 
  • household with - Team 
  • baby with – Teammate(s) 

Go ahead, try it! I’ll give you a minute……… What do you think? Cool! Right? 

As you can see, when we switch out a few words in my perfectly crafted comparison paragraph, parenting and playing Heroes of the Storm actually have a lot in common. Because of these similarities between being a parent and playing HotS, I’m here to give you a few tips and share what I’ve learned and maybe a few stories about becoming a parent that may help your gaming experience in Heroes of the Storm.  

If you have read my last blog, The P’s of Playing in Platinum, I listed five characteristics that I feel are paramount to succeed past the Platinum ranks. Coincidentally, all five of those traits (Performance, Perception, Patience, Positivity, and Perseverance) translate very well in to this blog as things that you can work on to become a better parent. If you haven’t read the blog, I’m going to shamelessly plug my last entry again by saying you can find it here. Anyway, let’s dive right in. 

Becoming a Parent and How it Translates to Heroes of the Storm 

I am the first to admit that I was always on the fence about having children. Most of us know the positives of procreating: kids are a source of fun, laughter, accomplishment, challenge, and a direct way to warp teach a fresh mind your views of the world. As with all things in life, having kids has a flip side that comes with additional costs - literally and figuratively. You have to invest a ton of time in to children, cost a lot of money, cry whenever they seemingly want to, and have bowel movements at the worst times. As they grow older, they come with attitudes, excessively talk back, refuse to take out the garbage, and blame you for ruining their life because you’re embarrassing them in front of their friends. Why would any modern-day human want to sign up for this? I enjoyed my life before becoming a parent. I finished school, found a career I enjoy, am happily married, travel twice a year, and played lots video games. Why would I want to change anything when my life was perfectly balanced, as all things sh…? Sorry. I’ll stop myself there and retire that meme. 

Memes aside, having kids is one of the true decisions every grown adult must make in their lives that rivals the toughest of choices like, “Should I get married? Should I take this job? Where do I want to live? Should I first pick #1 player killer Nova?” While the decision to have kids is an individual choice, assisting current and potential parents is always a communal effort. So if you want advice about parenting, I’ve come up with a numeral clickbait list of characteristics about becoming a parent and that also vaguely translates to a HotS composition role.  (#4 will shock you!) Hopefully this list will help you with your HotS gaming experience as well. 

Service - Support 

The first thing that happens after you lose your mind or jump for joy after your partner tells you you’re having a child, is you sign an imaginary contract saying your personal time no longer belongs to you. Your partner and future baby will demand attention you didn’t even know you could give. You are now responsible for a new member of the household that will need your undivided attention. 

What does this mean for you as a new parent? Service – or sacrifice, depending on how you want to phrase it. Your new baby will require babysitting in the form of feedings, dirty diapers, laundry, and overall incessant attention giving. Even when you feel you are providing a wonderful household environment for them to thrive, they somehow always find something to vocally complain about with the blame somehow usually falling on your shoulders. The best thing you can do is keep being a role model within your household and lead through service. Most babies will sense that you are a positive parent and within time, they will trust your judgement and your skills. If they don’t trust you, well maybe it’s time they can clean up their own messes and they no longer need assistance with their feedings. 

Discipline – Warrior 

As the rock of the household, discipline is the critical piece that bridges development with regiment. Babies will always have a desire to venture off at some point on their own to unknown locations in search of their individuality and out of pure curiosity. While this is an important part of a baby’s development, discipline is needed to rein them in when they stray too far off the path of safety when known danger is lurking around the corner. Sometimes parenting can get ugly. An entire household can act individually at the worst times but it’s crucial that the team performs as a cohesive unit instead of a flock of scattered squishies running from a thirsting Zeratul. Discipline can get everyone back on track by showing everyone the value of strength in numbers. 

Acceptance – Ranged 

One of the hardest things for me to understand with a newborn is that sometimes there are no answers to the current situation. Your baby is screaming or pouting when it seems they have everything they need, yet there seems to be no solution for consoling them. Accepting that certain things are un-fixable is a hard pill to swallow, especially if you’re a parent like me that believes there is always a correct answer to every situation. Sometimes babies just need to let it out and cry – and that’s ok!

A great wise man by the name of Grubby once said, Acceptance is the best decision you can make when there are no other options.” Through many days and nights of trial and error, I’ve finally decided that there are simply some moments when you don’t have all the answers and you just have to let the situation play out as it may. In your position, you have enormous responsibilities for the household like finishing tasks and taking out the trash. Even though you do your job like the best of them, sometimes you have to realize that you may not be able to carry your household out of a hole; it may take an entire group effort to move forward. 

Flexibility – Flex 

I told you #4 would be shocking! I'm guilty for being one of those parents that like to have a clear plan of attack for the day. I’m constantly running through a mental list of things that need to be done or thinking of ways to make my household’s daily life easier and more efficient.  

  • Do we have enough diapers, milk, and clothes for the weekend? Check. 
  • Is the trip departure at the same time as little one’s nap? Absolutely.  
  • Did we eat a solid meal and go to the bathroom before leaving so we don’t have to stop on our way to the grandparents? Hell yeah. 
  • Did I remember my wallet so I can show the nice officer my driver’s license after he stopped me for speeding because our baby started to complain as I was racing to find a pit stop? $&!@.  

One valuable lesson I’ve learned by becoming a parent is that you have to be flexible. It’s a given in life that things won’t always go as planned, but that’s OK. Unfortunate events happen but the true test as a parent is how you respond to a constantly changing household. Parents will never have all the correct answers at all the right times, but it’s critical to be flexible with your thought process. Keep an open mind and sometimes just go with the flow; you may be pleasantly surprised by what your household can do when you are adaptable to each situation.  

Awareness – Offlaner 

When I interviewed for my current job a number of years ago, I was asked what was one of my best traits that I could bring to the team. I quickly and emphatically responded: Awareness. I feel I have a unique skill in identifying what people are feeling in certain scenarios and understanding what’s going on in the environment around me.” After having a baby, everything I know about awareness was thrown to the curb. (Quirky side note: during the same interview, I was also asked “If I were a household appliance, what would I be and why?” I responded with, “a refrigerator because I like to keep it ‘cool’”. Suffice to say, the employee who interviewed me is no longer working for us.) 

Babies have an amazing ability to tell you exactly what they want. The best part is that babies are fairly simple in their needs so you’ll figure them out eventually. Is their diaper changed? Yep. Are they hungry? Just fed them. Do they want attention? Bingo. I like to think of it as a flowchart: There’s a set list of items to check each time a baby expresses frustration and It's your job to follow the checklist to see what the baby needs. This checklist can be very handy especially when you’re home alone with no help around, which can happen quite frequently. Trust your gut, keep your ears open, and eyes peeled because you never know what will be needed next. If all else fails, you can always take a lifeline and call the grandparents. 

Accountability – Everyone 

Situations can and will take a turn for the worst at any moment. Your baby had a meltdown, the household is falling apart due to tension, etc. Whatever happens, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure you hold yourself accountable to your household. If you mess up, that’s fine – we all make mistakes and will continue to make more. The hardest part is admitting you erred but you’ll do what you can to correct your actions in the future. It’s a simple task in concept to admit you were wrong but very challenging follow through with – egos can get in the way or you may have even been right but your household thinks that you were wrong. Either way taking the high road and taking blame for the situation can help ease the stress and will help everyone involved to move forward.

Fun Bonus Thoughts! 

As I was writing this blog, I would think about the message I wanted to send that would connect with every parent. While the list above can be considered more on the side of general guidelines, I kept coming back to the fact that each characteristic we talked about could be taken in a different context depending upon a parent’s parenting style. Let’s be real – every parent will approach every situation differently because of how they were raised, their environment, their values, and their goals. That got me thinking: if all the heroes in Heroes of the Storm were parents, what would their parenting style be? Would they be brash, forgiving, accepting, nurturing, or still continue to be a cold-blooded killer? Let’s fall down this hypothetical rabbit hole and explore the different parenting styles the HotS cast could potentially offer.

If Heroes Were Parents: The Different Parenting Styles of Heroes of the Storm 

The Shadow Lurker – Nova: The type of parent that follows their children by lurking over their shoulders from the shadows without them knowing. Consistently sends in decoys in the form of friends, family, or school staff to gain recon on how their kids are behaving and performing. Suddenly shows up at locations unexpectedly leaving a feeling of “getting caught” for the child. A teen’s worst nightmare. 

Suffocating – Maiev: Otherwise known as psycho wardens, these parents stop at nothing to make sure their kids are always accounted for and where they’re at. Constant texting, phone calls, barging in on conversations, and mobile device tracking are the norms for these kids who become paranoid over time that their parents are everywhere around them. When these parents don’t know what is going on with their child or find they have escaped their high security home, they search to the end of the universe to find their unprepared youngster and lock them in their bedroom for 10,000.... seconds. 

Babysitter – Medic: The parent who always seems to be following behind their children correcting all their mistakes, picking up their messes, making sure they don’t get hurt, and guards them from perceived incoming danger. The child usually loves these parents, until they grow up and become an entitled liability yet still call out for mommy when things get tough. At this point, the parent usually labels their child a liability and resents the fact their kid has learned nothing from their past errors.

Servant Leader – Artanis: A model parent who leads through service by showing the ins and outs of life alongside their children. They are the first to help out their kids but also give them the freedom to learn, fail, and grow from their experiences and also accept that they, as parents, will make mistakes along the way as well. These parents also distill accountability, respect, and hope in to their children showing the youth that they must learn to become independent and self-sufficient as they get older to thrive.  

Scholarly Wisdom – Deckard: The parent who had kids later in life that has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to his offspring in the form of timeless wisdom. Useless history tidbits and statistical facts accompany modern tricks of the trade, financial advice, and the occasional funny joke. Hidden deep in all the verbal clutter will be a golden nugget of information the children will seemingly pass off as pointless, but will come back to correct a sinking ship scenario at a vital point in their life. Days at the beach or park were never a reality for these kids as they would spend most of the summer break in school, the library, or in the room playing video games pretending to be reading. 

Annoyingly Positive and Encouraging – Li Li: You know the type: Whether it be a parent, colleague, or friend, these people always seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the rainbow in a torrential downpour. The worst of tragedies could happen yet they somehow find a way to put a positive spin on a situation that it actually becomes borderline annoying. Phrases of “Great job!”, “You’re awesome!”, “Never give up!” and “We’ll get ‘em next time!” fill your mental vocabulary. Turns out, all of this positivity actually helps you in your life as you start to feel better about yourself even though the thought of more positivity makes you cringe and die inside.  

Affection Matriarch – Ana: The common saying is “Mother knows best”. These super moms raise their kids to be independent, productive, and good people of society by giving their kids space to grow and fail. While these mothers tend to be older in age, the knowledge they’ve gained through years of experience help isolate their children’s needs to efficiently provide support from afar. Although not perfect, sometimes a problematic, active child will get in the way and distract mom and steal praise from mother instead of directing the parenting to where it’s needed most.  

Overprotective – Medivh: Generally, a good parent. However, these parent’s past mistakes have caused them to become extremely overprotective of their offspring and vow to make sure their children never have to experience the pain and misery of poor past choices. While these seems like a logical way to raise kids, the burden of this parenting style ultimately takes its toll on body.

Sacrifice for the Greater Good – Tyrael: These do-gooders are typically servants of the high heavens and have a parenting style similar to the church. These parents usually bring their kids up the right way. They teach respect for other people, do the right thing, sacrifice your personal pleasure for others, and defend humanity from all that is evil. Of course, in all of these laws, there tends to be an opposing reacting that surfaces in the form of definitive judgements, static values, and altruistic beliefs. Only after when parents remove their self-righteous “angel wings” and see the world through their children’s eyes are they are able to think more objectively about being a parent. 

Enforcer – Garrosh: The quint-essential military type parent that has a knack for keeping their kids on their toes. They conduct a regimented lifestyle fit for the army that would translate perfectly to any MMA octagon. In the heat of battle, these warriors know precisely when to throw their opponents to the ground, taunt them for psychological advantages, and tease them with perceived vulnerability only to harden up when seemingly on the ropes. The fun comes when theses absolute units show their softer side and play with their kids at home only to accidentally toss their kids in to the fray of the next-door neighbor’s pit bull dog pen. 

The Cool Uncle – Blaze: The childish, fun parents who ultimately want to be their kids’ friends more than anything. They still have a great time playing in playhouses, spilling drinks, and most importantly, playing with fire as they are heavy pyromaniacs. The perpetual life of the party in their adult circle of friends, these parents always seem to have a lighter on hand in case for emergencies or if they feel a party needs to be started.

Condescending Praise- Alarak: Somehow these parents find a way to make themselves look great at their children’s accomplishments. When a young son or daughter comes home with a full ‘A’ report card, these parents bask in the light of greatness and proclaim, “We’re your parents, of course you got ‘A’s” or “well that’s proof we taught you correctly”. Even with all of the sarcastic, condescending overtones of their daily speak, these parent’s do have a soft spot for seeing their kids succeed, even if they think they are the reason for all the victories.  

Anyone else have any stories of being a parent gamer? What do you think other Heroes’ parenting styles would be that weren’t listed above? I’d love to keep the list going! 

Until next time, Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in the Nexus! 

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