How to add the WoW factor to your CV and your learning

Focused online gamer

So for those of you who’ve been living on one of Saturn’s moons for the last 12 years, World of Warcraft (or WoW for the indoctrinated) is what’s known as an MMORPG or Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game (you can see why they abbreviated it, although it is quite fun to say it phonetically, go on, try it!)

Muhmorepuhguhs…ahem, excuse me, MMORPG’s have been around for about 20-25 years or so in various incarnations but WoW was the first one to really find a global audience, at one point boasting over 12 million subscribers! Keep following as I’ll get to the CV and learning bit soon…

The general aim of the game is to create a character, to slay what feels like an infinite amount of monsters in order to gain experience points, which, in turn increases your character’s level. The whole gaming experience offers a learning curve which relies on critical thinking in immersive scenarios, in a free-to-fail environment – sound familiar?

Once you have “level-capped” your character, it’s time to band together with your team mates and enter a “raid” that requires very specific strategies and cooperation in order to be conquered. If you execute your tactics properly, the big dragon/demon/celestial being/generic-bad-guy will fall to your mighty sword/hammer/staff/bow/cheese & pickle sandwich/enchanted glow-stick…you get the picture, and will drop a small cache of items. These items provide powerful bonuses for your character and assist your group’s progression to the next level.

Think of it as a learning journey – overcoming a challenge, gaining from it and using the things you’ve gained to tackle challenges in the future.

If you’re still sitting there wondering what any of this has to do with learning and development, try searching the above text for key words such as “strategy,” “cooperation,” “performance,” “experience” and “progression.”

Sounds like a pretty good roadmap to a happier, more skilled and efficient team, right? Somewhere in a world full of swords, hammers and orcs there is the opportunity for players (or learners) to be rewarded for their successes, to progress to a more advanced stage depending on their current level and also the chance to continuously learn and improve.

Create a guild

There are many reasons for creating your own guild. However, the most common by a considerable margin is being unsatisfied with the way other people do things and thinking you could do it better.

It’s quite remarkable how many players show this inherently entrepreneurial characteristic when the only investment necessary is time. Being in a guild has its benefits, much like having a good job does. You are given a platform upon which you can improve your skills, explore new avenues of interest, and share some tips too.

But that’s not all! Much like an orchestra or sports team, through continued practice you really start to familiarise yourself with your fellow-guild mates’ (‘guildies’) playstyles which massively improves your chances of clearing these pesky dungeons, bagging the loot, and being the envy of your rivals!

Personally, my reason was more focused on developing my own team and enjoying the satisfaction of knowing I had covered every base, ticked every box, dotted the i’s. The autonomy to create a supportive and successful team definitely seemed more desirable than remaining with a group without any drive for self-improvement. It was through this that I gained even more motivation to discover other aspects of the game!

Stephen Gillet, chief operating officer at Symantec, has proudly discussed his passion for WoW and how it helped him land his current job. Although most of us wouldn’t go as far as attributing the skills listed below on our CV in direct relation to WoW, what is clear is the value that video games can have in creating and enforcing new skills and behaviours in a learner. When thinking of my time as a guild leader, I realise that I’ve honed skills in recruitment, logistics, research, strategy and motivation. I don’t know if it’s all this armour, but suddenly soft skills don’t seem so soft and unattainable.

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Fabio Felizzi - Developer

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  • Tony Burnett

    An interesting article, although only based on the “current” activity of online gaming there are some really good points to absorb and take into everyday working life.

    I come from a heritage of online gaming dating back to the “early days” when 800 x 600 resolution was considered extreme and 3dFX were the leading GFX card makers.

    I can say that clans/guilds/corporations have been around way before WoW and were an essential part to any participation in events; both locally and globally. The skills of the “Clan Leader” were/are more about organisation and recognising the skills of the team of people under them and then being able to plan accordingly to utilise these skills in the most effective way when facing an opposing clan. This included many aspects of modern day working teams – from planners and strategists, ministers for communication, grunts (to just do or die), research and development, educators and many other roles too.

    This does all transfer into how learning could be implemented in an organisation, but often, especially in software training, the team is comprised of people who do not or cannot commit the time to gain the passion — an essential asset in the success of any online gaming clan. This is where the focus never seems to be applied — people are selected as champions to cascade their knowledge to others not based upon the essential skills required by the “clan”, but based upon what they think the person can offer once they get up to speed — but that involves an investment of time before the position of champion can be used within the organisation and often changes as the person learns more about the software and how they use it. This is not the case in gaming! Within gaming there is already a generic skill set and a certain level of ability before people will even be considered for a clan — My most successful clan not only had an in-game “interview” process, but also a probationary period where objectives were set, monitored and changed during this time with the new recruit’s assigned “mentor”. We had a few people who went on to become professional gamers and one who has won a few “World Ranking” events.

    We can’t get everyone in an organisation to be able to teach, but we can get everyone to be able to improve their skills and then be identified — it is the identification that I feel is often lacking. I’ve been in situations in my day job where I’ve had clever people say things like “We didn’t do any training when we upgraded Windows to a new version”, when I’ve been trying to assist them with how to role out an Enterprise solution that has very little “transferrable” skills from other software (beyond using a mouse and keyboard).

    As educators I feel we should form the clan, getting our clients to learn and enjoy communicating with us whilst we do the job of clan leader. Once we see the skills developing, we can then start to prime those showing the best abilities to continue and carry forward our leadership in learning – eventually being able to “retire” and move onto the next “clan”. This is not about making them professional training consultants – it is about identifying people who can develop skills for learning leadership.

    Thank you for writing this article – I would never have put down these thoughts without first being stimulated enough to do so!

    For reference, and for those that might be interested, here’s my gaming CV:

    1999 – 2003
    Co-Founder of League of Gentlemen Counter-Strike clan. Achieved top 10 ranking consistently for two years in the largest European clan wars.

    2003 – 2006
    Officer in a Dutch gaming clan for “battlefield” (Desert Combat was our first mod) – We were one of a successful group of European clans and had people from all walks of life (One person is a very high ranking officer in the Dutch Military, another an artist, and one an air-conditioning engineer)

    2006 – 2010

    Eve Online – Went to “war” with one of the most renown corporations (Oblivion Systems) and then became a part of Sicarri Covenant; later going on to be CEO and taking us forward into piracy and wormholes! Our corporation not only amassed billions of “ISK” (in-game currency) but also became one of the most successful mercenary groups in Eve.

    2010 – 2016

    Time for my newly born children to get some time with “Daddy” — I still kept my hand in and continued to game with the other Co-Founder of LoG from back in 1999. A whole range of games that were pick up and play, but required thought, skill development and planning (e.g. 7 Days to Die, the forest, Left for Dead, Killing Floor)

    2016 – onwards

    Co-Founder with Rustler of myVRproject (http://facebook.com/myvrproject) to try and look at all possible applications of Virtual Reality, note and publish our thoughts and reviews and make VR not just about gaming but as a hobby that will become a life changing experience for many. I’m interested in using VR to help explain complex concepts, using it in Architecture and Building Information Management and for giving remote lectures. The possibilities with VR are only limited in how we try to apply it and what we are feeding back to the manufacturers and developers.

    • “Hi Tony
      Thanks for the epic response, I’m really pleased my article inspired you!
      I was actually playing EvE around that time, although I have to admit I was languishing in hi-sec space, happily mission running under the watchful eye of EvE-University. As with most new players, I didn’t stick around for too long due to the aptly named learning “cliff”.
      I made a few returns, eventually taking the plunge into null-sec space, ending up with Wingspan Delivery Services (if that name means anything to you, if not I highly recommend their YouTube videos, some really entertaining stuff there that I’m sure will have you reminiscing about the good old days).
      It would be great to have your insight into some of the work that we’re doing or for us to co-write an article? If that appeals, please let me know!
      Thanks again for taking the time to read my article, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Fly safe o7”

    • Hi Tony
      Thanks for the epic response, I’m really pleased my article inspired you!
      I was actually playing EvE around that time, although I have to admit I was languishing in hi-sec space, happily mission running under the watchful eye of EvE-University. As with most new players, I didn’t stick around for too long due to the aptly named learning “cliff”.
      I made a few returns, eventually taking the plunge into null-sec space, ending up with Wingspan Delivery Services (if that name means anything to you, if not I highly recommend their YouTube videos, some really entertaining stuff there that I’m sure will have you reminiscing about the good old days).
      It would be great to have your insight into some of the work that we’re doing or for us to co-write an article? If that appeals, please let me know!
      Thanks again for taking the time to read my article, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Fly safe o7

      • Tony Burnett

        Thank you for the response. I’ve heard of Wingspan DS! Small universe. Totally agree about the learning cliff, but absolutely love the way that when you first access something the help appears! Something I’ve always wanted to try with business software.

        I would be honoured to co-write an article with you – I’ve always had a very high respect for Saffron and have been on many a webinar via the LPI and the old IITT.