Monday, January 19, 2015

Qualifications: World of Warcraft Player

Video games are pretty often considered to be a "waste of time." Yes, excessive video game playing isn't the best, but overdoing anything isn't usually a fantastic idea. Fruit is great for you, but if you eat too much, you can get stomach ulcers because of the acidity.

but pineapple kicks ass

It's pretty undeniable that video games have distinct, quantifiable benefits. Of course, the benefits depends on what kind of game you're talking about. Simulation builder and construction games can teach you about resource management, risk vs. reward, and the value of preparation and planning. Even simple puzzle games have shown to greatly offset, or even prevent, the development and onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. There are war games purposefully and specifically used to help train soldiers in a safe, simulated enviornment. And, well, World of Warcraft can actually teach you a ton about the real world...

Something I find interesting on a general scope is WoW's economy. It's particularly interesting for study, since it's an actual real economic dynamic, simulated in a virtual world. Even if you aren't an economist using the game to study economics, it teaches us simple things like the overall concept of supply and demand and ensuring that something we are creating to sell is not worth less than the materials used to create it. Give Google a go - the economy in Warcraft is a super hot topic in academics.

But, on a personal level, WoW can help you in some pretty serious ways. This may be more relevant to raiding guilds - and probably arena teams as well - but cooperating as a team in a guild, and especially being a leader in your guild, teaches you concepts and methods you will see in real world situations.

think of it like this

Being a raid leader can help teach you how to delegate tasks, motivate and inspire your team, and - depending on the kind of raid leader you are - give helpful feedback. These are actual, helpful skills to be able to utilize in management or training positions. Of course, WoW raid leaders aren't known for their courtesy and tact, but being able to learn a skill depends on the individual's own abilities... regardless, someone who is a bad manager would probably also be a bad raid leader - the strengths and weaknesses of a person in both positions could easily be interchanged.

Even as a run of the mill raider, raiding teaches you about the delegation of tasks in a team - you have different roles and mechanics that need to get done to down a boss, and everyone needs to be doing a good job to succeed. The amount of wipes where I was top of the damage meter are uncountable - it doesn't matter how hard I hit the boss if the tank dies or someone blows up the raid.

who didn't run the fire out!?

There are so many times during my first job where I could relate a situation to a raid group or the organization of the guild - I recall one time naming all of our managers after different officer roles. The way managers explained or reacted to things was a behavior I did not find unfamiliar. Once I became a manager at my job, it became even more clear how the finesse and tact of delegation and feedback were so relatable to a raiding group.

"...and shaman please remember we're not lusting until 30%"
"thank you deborah, now onto our monthly budget"

And to top everything off, in the last few months, I became an active officer in my guild for the first time. The organization, communication, scheduling, and anything else you could think of was so familiar to me that it was almost uncomfortable. It was an entirely different environment, but the same aspects I remembered from being a manager at my old job were uncannily applicable.

What was so specifically interesting was the interaction and communication we had to make with our raiders. During our more or less blow up a few weeks ago, the officers all spoke about what was going on among themselves, but the raiders were not informed as to what was going on. Before we passed leadership on, one of our old officers was deleting goodbye posts and destroying all evidence that these people had ever been in our guild, then remained silent about them and all issues. The situations that were occurring were left unspoken, and the raiders were sort of lost on everything - and asking questions, which were subsequently ignored. The lack of transparency and communication were startling to me - you can't just do that to employees! Er - raiders.

something like this idk I needed another picture for this post

Yes, in a job, you don't talk openly about people who have quit or been fired, but people will notice that they are gone. There are tactics you use to speak about these things in a workplace, and they are completely applicable to your guild in Warcraft. The inability for the prior officers to address these issues with the raiders in an objective, informative way demonstrated a lack of public relations abilities - something you need in even the most "lowly" of management positions. The parallels between raider and employee, officer and manager, are actually incredibly interesting to recognize and even more so to experience firsthand.

The social and teamwork aspects of the game are amazing copies of the real world. Even guild applications are mirrors of job applications - they ask for what position you are seeking to fill, if you can 'work' the required hours, your abilities, prior knowledge, and experience - some applications even ask for references. It might take a keen eye to recognize the skills and abilities that a game is teaching you, but to even attempt to classify most video games as "mindless" is an archaic stereotype that has actually never been accurate and demonstrates a staggering misunderstanding of what gamers are actually doing in our games.

usually not accurate

Yes, as I said when I began my post, overindulgence of video games is probably pretty unhealthy. Playing video games for 14 hours straight without stretching or eating or using the bathroom is, as much as I hate to admit it, not a good idea. The thing is, the negative views about video games and negative behaviors attributed to them have far more to do with the predispositions of the people playing them than the games themselves. If a teenager shoots their friend over a video game, chances are, they would have done something just as stupid, if not the same exact thing, over anything else. You can make sound arguments against using video games in a negative way, but that goes for anything else - food is literally necessary for being alive, but you can even mess that up if you aren't doing it right. Using video games as escapism doesn't denote a problem with video games, it denotes a struggle within the person playing them, and blaming video games does nothing to help that person.

You can warp the truth, spin stories, and flat out make up lies to trick ignorant bystanders into believing that video games are bad, but the reality is that video games are as dangerous as knitting a sweater and far better for you than staring at a tv show for several hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment