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An Interview With Destiny 2’s Senior Citizen Mother

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Recently on the Destiny Subreddit user shragae made a very wholesome post about her experiences with Destiny 2. Why was this interesting? Because unlike most of the players you’ll come across, shragae is 65. Her son introduced her to both Destiny 2 and Reddit, and she’s proving her prowess in each one. As is often the case with Reddit the post had to be locked because some people were being negative for no reason, but I reached out to shragae to see if she’d answer a few questions for me.

She replied saying that she’d be delighted to answer some questions! I thought that her view of Destiny 2 as an older gamer would be really interesting to hear about, particularly given the popularity Shirley Curry has seen on YouTube with her Skyrim videos. My questions and shragae’s answers follow, she didn’t want to reveal her identity because of the negative comments on her original post, and I fully respect her desire for privacy, and expect everyone else to as well.

Let’s start this interview out the right way, what was the first video game you played, and why did you enjoy them after that? 

Good grief – you expect me to remember the first video game I ever played? It was a really long time ago! I lived in Chicago in the 1970s and, in the late 70s, the Illinois Bell building downtown had these video game machines in the lobby. They asked questions and the answers were usually “Illinois Bell” or “AT&T”, lol. I’d stop off on my way back from lunch to the office and play. If you won they’d give you a little ruler. I had a lot of those rulers!

In 1980 I was hired by Burroughs (now part of Unisys) as a computer sales person and they sent me away to training school. It was a one year program, one month on campus and one month at home for a whole year, while you were paid! Those old proprietary computers had some games in them and after programming classes a lot of us would sit around and play them. I don’t remember much about them but I think they were pong and space invader type games. My main memory of early games were the arcade games. A lot of restaurants installed arcade games like Pac Man and I remember playing those and really enjoying them. You have to remember that back then no one had a computer at home, minicomputers were a “thing” for small companies and departments of larger companies, but PCs as such didn’t really exist except for some homemade ones, primarily made out of wood boxes with components they bought.

I’m about the same age as Bill Gates and he started off selling programming languages and kind of fell into operating systems, everything was pretty proprietary back then, no home PCs, so you either played games at work during breaks or on arcade machines. I enjoyed them, and usually you played them with friends, so it was a camaraderie thing, too. Beer and Pac Man!

Years later (like late 80s) I remember buying The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which was a text based game that came out in 1984. It was a lot of fun (really made you think). I think I was hooked on home games after playing that one! By 1985 I had a home PC and have had one ever since. I even gave one to my dad who would have been in his early 60s at the time!

So your son has been playing Destiny 2 a lot, and he introduced you to the game. How did that conversation go, and what were your first impressions of Destiny 2? 

My son is 20. He has been an avid gamer his entire life. I got him a PC from a garage sale when he was about 5 years old, and he loved the Gamecube (still think it is one of his favourite consoles). I never got into the Gamecube, controllers baffle me and I just don’t like them.

We haven’t really played many games together. When he was little we did play some Wii games together, but he only did that if no friends were around. Typical, right? At various times he had all the consoles, including Xbox 360 and PS4, but he moved away from them towards PC gaming a long time ago.

A few years ago he bugged me to try Fallout New Vegas. I hadn’t played games in years, but I tried it and it was fun. I got bored after a while, though (too much wandering around trying to figure out what to do next). He really loves Destiny 2 and has talked to me about it for a long time. His main Guardian is 748 (as of today) and every so often he would say “Mom, you should just try the game!” No thanks. He would sometimes talk to me about the lore (he is a great writer and loves the storyline of D2). I should mention that my son doesn’t spend all his time on gaming, he loves to go fishing with friends, is an “A” student at college and is always out and about. He mostly plays at night when I’m sound asleep!

Then one day he said, “hey mom, the game is free right now if you jump on it.”

Free?

OK, I’ll try it.

I should stop to mention that years ago, when he was small, I signed up for Wizard 101 for him, but he didn’t like it. I got into playing it and was a member for a few years. I hadn’t played it for a few years, but had gotten back into it out of boredom. So I had been playing a PC multiplayer game, albeit a very restricted one.

So my son has me download D2. I started with a Titan and while the game seemed a little fun I couldn’t jump worth a dang, so I didn’t get very far. My son suggested changing to a Hunter and that is when I got hooked! What did I love about the game? Lots of things!

First of all, it is visually beautiful. My son also suggested I download Assassin’s Creed Unity (also fee). I did and tried it for about an hour before walking away. The graphics were just so “old” and unrealistic to me that I just couldn’t get into it.

Secondly, I could move around freely, but there was that little diamond shaped thing that kept me from getting too frustrated from not knowing what to do next. I don’t really like the jumping, but the fact that it isn’t all shooting, but also some puzzles and interactions, keep it from getting boring to me.

The worlds look different and that also keeps my interest. I’m too old to have been diagnosed with ADHD but I do think my attention span is a bit short! D2 hasn’t gotten boring, it keeps changing.

In your post on Reddit you said you had a career in high-tech. What was the work you were doing, and did that get you into video games?

I began working in the 1970s. I had a college degree, but it didn’t really lead to a job. I started as a “Kelly Girl” in Chicago. Back then women were mostly nurses, teachers or secretaries. I earned $7500 that year mostly typing and filing… A friend of mine ran a sales office for a company that did computer research and after some time I decided to try it. The next year, working for her, I earned $37,000. Hey, high tech was for me!

Around this time I met a woman who had been a programmer on the world’s very first computer – the ENIAC. She was probably about the age I am now (I was in my 20s). She was a highly intelligent, strong woman and was a very big influence on my life. “Women can do anything!” Her daughter went to work for IBM, too. I guess we were early success stories for “women’s lib” and feminism. I’m the fortunate recipient of that effort – wasn’t stuck in the secretarial pool for my entire working life.

In 1980 I decided to move to Miami (long story). I looked up some computer companies in the phone book, do your readers know what a phone book was? (I don’t know guys, do you remember? I definitely do!) and got three job interviews which resulted in two job offers. I took a job with Burroughs and sold computers, teller machines, ATMs, and proof machines to banks. I worked there for a few years when a head hunter sent me on an interview with one of the top companies of that era and I was hired! Soon I was earning six figures, was one of the top women sales reps in the whole country selling solutions. Solutions are a combination of hardware, software and services to meet a specific, custom, customer need. I sold very sophisticated solutions to American Express, Southeast Toyota, and others. It was very interesting, but had nothing to do with gaming. The company I worked for was highly competitive with the IBM PC and so I not only used one at work but they gave me one to use at home. For years I never bought a computer, I had company ones and they’d give us old ones when they became obsolete, which is how I gave my dad his first computer. I even had one of the first laptops!

By this time I was a geek, not a programmer or all that technical, but knew enough to be able to know how things worked and build solutions with the technical folks.

Eventually I moved from sales to corporate, climbing the ladder, to product management and even product marketing. At one time I headed the corporate relationship with Microsoft, we co-developed solutions with them. We built some products for them, and vice versa. In that era I was involved in OOP (object oriented programming), then business intelligence (Data Warehousing), and CRM (customer relationship management).

I retired this year, but an old customer reached out to me. He’s started a Blockchain solution company and so I’m doing some things for him part time. (That’s awesome! It really seems like people value your contributions.)

You also said on Reddit that you’re working through Black Armoury and Season of Opulence now. How are you finding the seasonal content versus the larger DLCs such as Warmind and Forsaken that you probably played before them?

I liked Warmind and really loved Forsaken, and for some warped reason like the Spider! He is a cool, mysterious fellow.

D2 has so many different ways to play that you can do as much or as little as you like, and that is appealing. The large DLCs like Forsaken are immersive and I really enjoyed it, I would like to play another DLC like it (Shadowkeep maybe?).

I’m not that far into Black Armory, and while I’m enjoying it, I am finding a bit of repetition. I just finished the questline for the sniper rifle. I had to precision kill a ton of enemies, and it got a bit repetitive, but it did hone my sniper rifle abilities so I understand why it was part of the game. I world hopped trying to get those hits, but eventually wound up on Mars and was able to farm enough to complete the tasks. Not my favorite D2 activity so far.

I do love the fact that I’m going to get some smoking weapons from my efforts on Black Armory. I really need to learn how to buff weapons. Now that I’m about 680 light I need to start learning a lot more about the game mechanics! My son just says “watch YouTube.” He’s no help, lol. (You definitely need to sort him out and get him to show you how to infuse!)

I haven’t really gotten into the Season of Opulence yet. I got the quest and have done the first part of the Chalice of Opulence and that is about “it.” I’ve been focusing on the Black Armory. I’m also not 690 yet which I think you need for Menagerie.

I have not joined a clan yet, and I’m hesitant to do so. I’m good enough at PVE (for now) but am horrible at PVP. I’ve only tried the Crucible twice and got slaughtered quickly. I haven’t done Leviathan, or Vanguard. I’ve avoided Gambit. I hate Crucible, so far.

But I know that I need to start teaming up, and will have to do so for Opulence. Lots of people on Reddit offered, but they were console players and I’m on the PC. I need to check out the Fireteam or Sherpa subreddits, or the100.io, to try to find some teams who won’t mind a player who is probably not going to be an asset for a long time, if ever, lol. So many people who responded to my Reddit post were warm and welcoming that I do feel better now at finding a clan like that, but probably won’t put much effort into it until I do some more Black Armory work and try to build up my gear.

At this point Destiny 2 has a lot of content for people to play through, and that’s a barrier. What would you say to those thinking about getting into the game, but might be daunted by the prospect of playing through all those hundreds of hours of missions.

Isn’t it an ancient Chinese saying that goes “the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”? Don’t be overwhelmed at the sheer size of D2. Focus on the gameplay and enjoying the experience! There is so much you can choose to do, or not do. You can follow the main questline, or focus on Public Events, short but fun and always with loot at the end! Even when you start the game on the EDZ you are immediately at the site of a Public Event! They are throughout the game and if you get bored grinding a fun way to distract yourself.

I like Lost Sectors for the same reason I like Public Events. They tend to be longer in duration than Public Events, but lots of bad guys and a boss at the end. If you don’t want to focus on the main storyline quests you can still spend hours doing Public Events or Lost Sectors and you get loot while you power up.

This is one thing that really appeals to me about D2, you can grind, you can focus on big storyline content or you can hop in and do a quick Public Event or a Lost Sector. It is a bit like a buffet, you choose what you want to do, so there is a little something for everyone.

There is no need to focus on hundreds of hours of missions, do what you want to do! Be warned, though, D2 will probably draw you in once you start , you will wind up wanting to know the story, wanting to do the questline!

Because I’m older video games don’t come to me as naturally as it does younger players. I have to read guides and watch videos, someone suggested Byf to me, and that has been helpful!. I would have struggled a lot more if I didn’t watch some of those videos! Thanks to all who spend the time to make them.

My son now wants me to start a YouTube channel with my gameplay, but I really think I’m not good enough to do that. Maybe we should start a mother / son channel, lol. Sadly he goes back to college in the fall so he’ll be too busy to spend much time with mom. (I think I speak for everyone when I say I would definitely watch that channel!)

What’s your favourite weapon in Destiny 2 right now? It doesn’t have to be Exotic.

I love, love, love my Thunderlord! I’ve upgraded it a few times. I did get Hammerhead, but still lean towards Thunderlord.

My son also had me use the one shot Golden Gun helmet. My helmet needs to be upgraded, it’s about 518 I think, while my Guardian is 680. But that gun has really helped me get through a lot of boss battles! That last battle in Forsaken, I died a ton of times at the first boss, the worm, but I finally got him with the golden gun which took of a ton of his health, allowing me to finish him off with Thunderlord.

I’m really starting to love hand cannons, too. I don’t have Ace of Spades yet, need to do Gambit, right?. (I think that’s correct) I really want it and my son has been bugging me to do Gambit. I may start that in the next few days ugh. I’ll probably wind up loving it, but I dunno.

So I’d have to choose between Thunderlord or Golden Gun right now, and because the use of the Golden Gun is so limited I would lean towards Thunderlord.

Are you in a clan at the moment? If not are you interested in joining one?

Nope. I got an invite from someone on Reddit with players about my age and older. I was so psyched! Then I found out they were on PS4, sob. I’m not against younger players, I’m just afraid they’d be too fast for me and lose patience with me. I’m definitely interested in joining a clan, and have to start looking into it. I really do think I need to understand more about the game before I do, although I’m about at the point in the game where I can’t progress much further without belonging to a clan.

Maybe this is a bit like swimming? Maybe I just need to jump in? (That’s exactly what it’s like! I think the readers will agree.)

You say you don’t like the PVP element of Destiny 2 because you’re not that good at it. Have you attempted to play through any of the game’s raids?

Nope. Again, my son has told me to do this, but I don’t even know where to find them or how to start. More videos I suppose!

I’ll give you an example: I saw videos about Leviathan, this was to do all those sniper rifle tasks for Black Armory. I couldn’t find it to save my soul, then my son showed me that it is on the map of Nessus, way at the bottom.

Who knew?

I still haven’t done Leviathan because you need six people. I need to join a clan, lol.

How are you finding the Menagerie?

Turn left at Nessus?

JK.

I completed Mended Chalice. I’m at the Destroyer of World’s step and haven’t done it yet. This is Leviathan, right? I need a clan. It keeps coming back to that, doesn’t it? (I actually think you can mend the Chalice without needing to be in a clan, but you do need a group to play the Leviathan raid)

Post-Interview

I want to thank Shragae once again for being such a good sport and answering my questions, I think her view of Destiny 2 is so valuable because it’s unique in a sense. I also want to offer a big welcome to Shragae to any clan out there, because I know they’d love to have you. Some clans aren’t worth your time, they’re the ones who will want you to be a pro on day one. But most clans are amazing and will work with you to complete your goals, it’s not about being the best of the best out there.

Everyone who reads this please message Shragae and offer her a hand with a raid, PVP and Gambit match, or even just Black Armory missions if you can. I know that this community is all about helping each other at its core, and there’s no better way to get into working with others than putting some feelers out, so do it!

Let me know what you thought of the interview in the comments.

Image Source: Metabomb

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