Ironically, I was already thinking down the line of work and productivity when someone retweeted a fascinating bit about WoW players being ideal employees.
Brown refers mostly to raiding in particular.
Basically, the whole point of his statement is that WoW presents a platform for tracking progress while promoting critical thinking through an advancement structure built on self-motivation.
Unlike in a workplace, WoW has clear indicators of progression available both in-game and out of it. Through addons like Skada and Recount and websites like WoW Progress and World of Logs, gamers can get precise and immediate information to compare themselves and others. Over a period of time, they can also track their personal progress and improvement, as well as that of a raiding team as a whole.
Brown talks about the sheer number of new ideas and strategies put into place on a daily basis in the WoW community – thousands everyday. Each individual boss, and sometimes even the trash to reach that boss, has numerous ways to get that health bar to zero. Some work. Some do not. Some work for certain personalities or compositions. Some are obvious. Some are downright crazy. But each idea has merit when it is that spark of inspiration in the mind of a raider.
The blogging community and the WoW online community in general (such as webpages like Icy Veins) are great, tangible examples of this! Think of all the posts and strats and class guides published daily!
Even more importantly is how those strats are planned and executed on a raid group level. There are the strats, but then there is how the raid group as a whole decides to use those strats. Deeper yet, there is each individual person, with their class and spec and gear and playstyle, working with others in ways that fit them as an individual.
The end result is to accomplish a goal as a group (ie. down a boss or clear a raid dungeon).
As a gamer, and a raider in particular, we all have our personal motivations – feeling accomplished in your role, downing bosses, getting loot, earning achievements, belonging to and being a trusted part of a larger entity – and these are far stronger than outside forces. There are no Christmas bonuses or sales commissions, you are motivated by what appeals to you most.
The leadership that keeps the forward momentum going is vital (just like a management team in a work place), but it is less effective without the individual efforts and will to progress of every member of the team. Leadership is the glue, but each and every raider is the structure.
Work is the same way. You accomplish more based on what motivates you.
For me, I am motivated by feeling my work helps others – be it coworkers, customers, or the community. It is the same when I game. As a healer, I do not kill things. I help others kill things, and helping them accomplish that makes me feel I am doing my part and most importantly the part that I enjoy.
It all comes down to passion and imagination, both of which I think most of the raiders I know possess in spades.
If it were possible to replicate this environment in a work place, just think of all of the self-motivation that would drive employees to brainstorm, form plans, and carry them out!
This is not the first time I have heard work and gaming in the same sentence. There have already been studies done on using Second Life to train employees. In fact, while trying to find the article, I discovered there are seminars for it! Not only can you train employees through video games, it is also said that video games increase productivity, and now that gamers make ideal employees.
Surprisingly, this was already on my mind thanks to what I consider “busy work.” By busy work, I mean mindless drivel – I am looking at you, data entry. I especially mean data entry that involves information that is already present somewhere, but not in the format that is preferred. Sure, even busy work has its purpose and needs to be done, but it gives me far too much time to think about all of the ways I could accomplish it better.
For example, I was given a stack of old reports to collate into an Excel spreadsheet for my boss. My plan is to make the spreadsheet capable of giving him information in several formats. BUT, had I the information in a digital report, I could think of half a dozen ways to turn it into even more useful information – and minus all the tedious typing. Instead, I am squinting over scribbles and highlights, and typing it all manually. Ugh.
I cannot wait until our new system is in place and I can show my boss what real reports can do in the right hands.
Anyway, these are my thoughts on a Thursday afternoon.
Maybe, someday, I can put my raid experience on my resume. :)