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 a 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 keywords 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.