Researcher Claims World of Warcraft Builds Great Employees

Researcher Claims World of Warcraft Builds Great Employees

image

Does raiding train you to be a better employee? John Seely Brown says it does.

When you're spending your evenings toiling away in an MMO, you probably don't consider it to be valuable job training. Researcher John Seely Brown sees it as exactly that, and what's more, he considers high-level World of Warcraft players to be better suited for the business world than graduates of Harvard. In a new Big Think video, Brown details his feelings on how the social and organizational aspects of the MMO world translate into real-world skills perfectly suited to business.

"I would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than a MBA from Harvard," Seely explains. "To understand these massive multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, do not think about it as just game play, but look at the social life on the edge of the game."

He goes on to note how performance management is a huge part of high-end MMO play, and those same principles apply directly to business situations. "These guilds are truly meritocracy based. So even if you were the leader of this particular high-end raid, at the end you do an after action review, and in the after action review each person is open to total criticism by everybody else."

The full video dives deep into comparisons of dashboards - which are essentially management tools - in both World of Warcraft and in corporate structures, as well as the idea that learning new things is what drives MMO players, and why that passion is a valuable asset.

Seely makes a fine point and a reasoned argument for the value of MMOs as personal tools for growth, so the next time someone asks you why you spend your nights defeating digital demons, just tell them you're training for your next promotion.

Note: Unfortunately, the video has embedding disabled, so just hop over to the YouTube page to watch it in full.

Via: GamePolitics

Permalink

I can see it doing so as well, at least for High-End raiding guilds. You are given a task before, during, and after a raid night. Before, you have to get your items ready, pots made, and food cooked. During, you have to heal, tank, off-tank, decurse, curse, DPS, STAY-THE-FUCK-OUT-OF-FIRE-YOU-DUMBSHITS, as well as various other tricks including CC. Afterwords, you may be able to cash-in (sell your loot) to get your money.

I can see how it is a great job training exercise. Now the WoW Haters will come in saying it creates no-lifers. /sigh

Hurr both R endless grind, bashing MMOs is still c0ol rite guyz?

There, I summed up every comment that's going to be posted on this thread, you can all go home now

I can relate to this. At least two of my guildmaster were bosses in some smaller companies and my friends friend who leads one of the most successful high end guilds on the server works on airport where he does airplaine coordination or something like that.

So yep, these people do know something about leadership, discipline and coordination.

So THAT's why I don't have a job! I never played WoW.

Aeshi:
Hurr both R endless grind, bashing MMOs is still c0ol rite guyz?

There, I summed up every comment that's going to be posted on this thread, you can all go home now

No they are just gonna ignore this thread hoping it will disappear as soon as possible.

It verries. One of my guildmates is a well off manager for a internet company, while in the past one of my older guildmasters was a stripper. So who knows.

Things like these make me proud to be a gamer:-)Now if only people stop blaming us for crazy people losing their shit.

and no one will ever suspect that John Seely Brown spend years in azeroth instead of being in a lab researching something more important.

and now, with his ingenius "findings" no one will dare to fire him when he spends the rest of his probably goverment funded days as as researcher, in pandora.

dragongit:
It verries. One of my guildmates is a well off manager for a internet company, while in the past one of my older guildmasters was a stripper. So who knows.

Yes GMs always have some interesting jobs for some reason. In guild where I played most the GM was archelogoist. And not the university-teaching, book-writing type but the in-field-digging, Indiana-Johnes-aspiring type. Of course there had to be boss/manager guy who was his right hand and basicly a second GM.

This is old news; that video has been on BigThink's channel for some time.

Nonetheless, it is good as evidence to the "HURR DURR GAMERS ARE LAZY & UNPRODUCTIVE" crowd that we are the inverse.

Also, almost every video on BigThink is insightful(except for some of Penn Jillete's videos, but nothing that I personally think is tripe)

Its true, but only out of coincidence.

The type of person who will follow directions provided without ever questioning them. Plus
The type of person who is pointlessly competitive over trivial unimportant nonsense? Plus
The type of person who can operate a mouse and keyboard? Plus
The type of person who can repeat rote actions tirelessly and accurately to script? Plus

Congratulations... Your many years in playing WOW has qualified you for lifetime employment availability in the always growing telecommunications "Call center" Industry. With only nominal additional instruction, you will be able to build on your already established skill set and translate it into selling land line phone service, Magazine subscriptions, Charitable donations. Or if you are the truly aggressive type, you will find yourself right at home in Debt collections or Skip tracing. Did you customize your GUI? Great, youll also qualify as Technical support representative. Pay your account with a credit card? Congratulations, you can work in accounts receivable. Do you help with directing raid groups? You might have what it takes to enter early management programs. Are you a raid leader who has built a successful raid guild from the ground up? Excellent, you will have the skills needed to be effective in quality assurance.

See World of Warcraft is now the premier gateway to your vocational future. It is like what the US army was two decades ago, but without the nifty veterans benefits and the potential of the whole dying thing.

________________

In all seriousness, Yeah, its true. WoW can teach you valuable job skills that would be desirable. For some of the most loathsome and undesirable work humanly possible, of which is still sort of moot considering the biggest bulk of the types of jobs it would potentially help with........ have long since been shipped to India, Philippines, Costa Rica or any other country with a work force capable of learning basic English and blurbish that executives think is ok to ship off in order to cut down on "needless" overhead.

Better suited than Harvard Grads?

Wat?

I've met some dedicated MMO players in the past. I don't think I'd want them in my company. I have a hard time buying this one.

No mention of EvE Online? You know, the MMO where player groups are literally called Corporations.

I see how the organization of raids can help train people to work in large teams, which is a plus, but it should be pointed that this trains players to be an specific type of corporate worker, namely the "cog in the machine" type who performs inside a complex hierarchy.

Not too good for jobs requiring creativity or personal initiative/proactivity really, but, then again, those hiring for such profiles will most certainly disregard MMO players on principle. :(

@Krantos: A sad reality of the professional world, is that while colleges do train you in the skills you need for your job, they rarely prepare students for the corporate environment (teamwork, delegation, escalation, conflict resolution, workload management), which quite often results in people with shiny new degrees being ignored in favor of people with actual professional experience.

Playing a specific roll in a group environment certainly does train you to work better on any team, not just a corporate environment. He is right. Now the whole hiring a high level raider vs an MBA from Harvard... well that's retarded. It looks like he doesn't actually know anything about the social environment of Harvard, which is a much better environment for learning team mechanics than a raid in WoW. At Harvard, a portion of your grade in a lot of your classes are based on participation of extra curricular's outside of those classes, that means parties too. If you aren't participating, you cannot be some of the best Harvard has to offer by their standards. Now does WoW raids give you the creative problem solving necessary to tackle an ever changing corporate environment? I haven't really done them, but I don't think they do. I work a help desk, and I don't mean a call center, I mean actual help desk that solves problems, doesn't go off of a script and repairs field equipment while still taking calls. WoW couldn't prepare you for that if it wanted to. Harvard on the other hand, could prepare you for the ever changing landscape of such an environment. Though I'm willing to bet not many Harvard graduates are attempting to get help desk positions. So, I guess I agree and disagree, all at the same time. What a conundrum.

Fun and all, but I've yet to participate in a job interview where I wasn't about 95% sure that the mere mention I actually did lead pretty high level raiding would instantly disqualify me.

You can chalk it up alongside educations you left during the 6th and final year - they've probably taught you a lot, but nobody gives a shit.

Well this is good n' all but there's one thing not aken into account
The fact that the ones who are high level raider LIKE IT
if you don't like your job then it doesn't matter how much of a team player you ar ein a game or a sports team you wont work as hard
It might be similar and it might lay a base/ground/core for team functions but I doubt there's any kind of causality

I think I can sum this up as a mixed blessing. It's good that videogames are shown to be a positive influence towards teamwork and work skills; but 1- equating it to actual education and 2- implying that it's actually MORE beneficial than actual education is foolish hubris.

Baresark:
Playing a specific roll in a group environment certainly does train you to work better on any team, not just a corporate environment. He is right. Now the whole hiring a high level raider vs an MBA from Harvard... well that's retarded. It looks like he doesn't actually know anything about the social environment of Harvard, which is a much better environment for learning team mechanics than a raid in WoW. At Harvard, a portion of your grade in a lot of your classes are based on participation of extra curricular's outside of those classes, that means parties too. If you aren't participating, you cannot be some of the best Harvard has to offer by their standards. Now does WoW raids give you the creative problem solving necessary to tackle an ever changing corporate environment? I haven't really done them, but I don't think they do. I work a help desk, and I don't mean a call center, I mean actual help desk that solves problems, doesn't go off of a script and repairs field equipment while still taking calls. WoW couldn't prepare you for that if it wanted to. Harvard on the other hand, could prepare you for the ever changing landscape of such an environment. Though I'm willing to bet not many Harvard graduates are attempting to get help desk positions. So, I guess I agree and disagree, all at the same time. What a conundrum.

This basically, any type of grouping in a mmo will quickly indicate who are team players and who are not in a mmo. some situations can even show creativity in how players use their skills in certain situations, like to save a group ending wipe, high end raiding (in the 40 man days of wow) certainly required orginazation and teamwork of a decent to very high degree depending on the encounter, and managing personalities and etc while getting people grouped up and so on.

I think it would be more accurate to say that people that excel at high end raiding and guild managment have skills that would translate well to the business world. But then again strategy in general is seen as a very direct relationship to business the book of 5 rings and art of war are two books that are studied in business world.

"....each person is open to total criticism by everybody else."

Bwaahahah, i laughed so hard when i read that.

That depends...

Do we accept insinuations of the promiscuity of your mother as a criticism?
Do we accept accusations of same-sex sexual preference criticism?

But aside from that, i can see how that would work out. The idea of roles, and the "everybody has to do their part" can be seen as useful lesson. It also often puts you in a stressful situation, teaching you to react to it.

And lets not forget leadership. MMO's is how i have learned to encourage peace in a group, all the times when i had to calm raging people sure did pay off in a long run.

Then again, any good place of learning will encourage growth of those skills, especially universities.
I assume Harvard is still considered above average? Then im sure they teach that as well.

viranimus:
Its true, but only out of coincidence.

The type of person who will follow directions provided without ever questioning them. Plus
The type of person who is pointlessly competitive over trivial unimportant nonsense? Plus
The type of person who can operate a mouse and keyboard? Plus
The type of person who can repeat rote actions tirelessly and accurately to script? Plus

Congratulations... Your many years in playing WOW has qualified you for lifetime employment availability in the always growing telecommunications "Call center" Industry. With only nominal additional instruction, you will be able to build on your already established skill set and translate it into selling land line phone service, Magazine subscriptions, Charitable donations. Or if you are the truly aggressive type, you will find yourself right at home in Debt collections or Skip tracing. Did you customize your GUI? Great, youll also qualify as Technical support representative. Pay your account with a credit card? Congratulations, you can work in accounts receivable. Do you help with directing raid groups? You might have what it takes to enter early management programs. Are you a raid leader who has built a successful raid guild from the ground up? Excellent, you will have the skills needed to be effective in quality assurance.

See World of Warcraft is now the premier gateway to your vocational future. It is like what the US army was two decades ago, but without the nifty veterans benefits and the potential of the whole dying thing.

________________

In all seriousness, Yeah, its true. WoW can teach you valuable job skills that would be desirable. For some of the most loathsome and undesirable work humanly possible, of which is still sort of moot considering the biggest bulk of the types of jobs it would potentially help with........ have long since been shipped to India, Philippines, Costa Rica or any other country with a work force capable of learning basic English and blurbish that executives think is ok to ship off in order to cut down on "needless" overhead.

We take "pride" in the fact that we are the largest BPO place...thingy...location...whatever. We have a very large workforce of call center agents (vampires/zombies, since most of them are nightshifters because of night differential making their pay higher). Good for us, since it creates jobs. Though even with that, new terms are being used in our country. Terms like "Retrenching" and "Strategic Bankruptcy". So there.

[aside]Personally, I work as a Software Engineer and operate my business on the side. It's not easy, I'll tell you, but then it's the only thing holding on to my goal that I could retire by 30.[/aside]

You have earned an Achievement! [Job Training]. I see this every day while I'm working. Everything is a risk/reward scenario. People and organizational skills (player mods) can often translate over to real life application. In my Vanguard days, I even started looking at new tasks in terms of their crafting system - Perform Action / Complication / Fix / Improve Quality / Success! Sometimes as a gamer you can't help but look at life in these terms. It definitely makes the day to day grind more appealing.

And the most important lesson? To mentally cope with incompetence and immaturity and not to resort to bringing an assault rifle into work one day and mowing down everyone that has wronged you.

This doesn't mean playing WoW will make you better at life, and it doesn't mean a lot of gamers aren't lazy either.

It could work either way I think, having good leadership skills IRL makes you a good GM.

God, people will latch onto anything if it makes them feel better about themselves.

teamwork, ability to listen and follow orders well while having knowledge of strick and dynamic leadership structure vs theoretical knowledge, of which 80% is never EVER needed in real life and a paper claiming "you are now educated". yead i can see where he is coming from.

It could work either way I think, having good leadership skills IRL makes you a good GM.

God, people will latch onto anything if it makes them feel better about themselves.

yes, havig good leadeship skilsl IRL make you a good GM. but thats the point. if you had good leadership skills in RL but no way to prove them, the guy wont emply you because they dont trust you on your word. by being a sucesfull GM you prove that you have them. its not that wow teaches you, its that wow is providing a proof of sorts.

For me personally. World of Warcraft has done exactly what this article says.

But on a case by case basis... egh... bit of a stretch.

But whatever people act dismissive whenever I make the claim, they'll probably dismiss this too.
But raiding really does put structure, pre-planning, organization and teamwork into overdrive if you take it seriously, and will start to reflect in your habits outside of the game.

A player who has raided competitively is a very different beast from someone who has only played the game half hearted-ly and dungeon-ed/lfr'd a bit.

They may have the right skills, but a WoW player still faces a very difficult obstacle in getting hired: They are a WoW player. As an employer I'd want some darn good evidence that they've been off the MMO and clean for a number of months, and aren't likely to relapse.

Crazie_Guy:
They may have the right skills, but a WoW player still faces a very difficult obstacle in getting hired: They are a WoW player. As an employer I'd want some darn good evidence that they've been off the MMO and clean for a number of months, and aren't likely to relapse.

Only most wow players don't play it obsessively and just play cassually. Besides, if it doesn't effect their work, why go out the way to say they can't.

Most people I've run into on WoW are responsible adults with jobs and families.

I work in the transport industry managing a LOT of people from a lot of different walks of life much like a raid group. I can honestly say that raid leading high end content in WoW taught me a lot of valuable lessons which i applied to my work life.

Conflict resolution being one of the biggest. Keeping the peace, keeping all participants happy with their role, learning to notice strengths and weakness in people and how to use that knowledge to improve and motivate.

It was a fantastic training tool for me and a lot of fun to boot.

I no longer have time for that kind of thing though, which raiding itself is partly to blame for. The skills i learned while raiding helped me improve my management skills to the point that i received a few promotions, big pay increases and unfortunately though, a lot less spare time lol

But yeah, it was great.

Aeshi:
Hurr both R endless grind, bashing MMOs is still c0ol rite guyz?

There, I summed up every comment that's going to be posted on this thread, you can all go home now

Actually I was going to say because they are already accustomed to menial, unrewarding and repetetive tasks.

I don't see why that's something to get upset about. I loved playing WoW before Cata came out but I didn't feel the need to pretend it wasn't a massive grind. It's only "bashing" if you try to argue that grind can't be or shouldn't be something enjoyable.

It's a bit more complicated than that. It's probably possible to level up without joining a guild. And then there's the fact that management is only half of being a good businessman. There's also things like focus, being presentable, having good manners, etc. etc. and etc.

aattss:
It's a bit more complicated than that. It's probably possible to level up without joining a guild. And then there's the fact that management is only half of being a good businessman. There's also things like focus, being presentable, having good manners, etc. etc. and etc.

Of high end MMO play. High end MMO play is almost always managing people, organising times for raids, sorting out group conflicts, basically everything those shitty team building exercises offices always have people doing. Honestly if they want a team building exercise they should just take the employees to an ice rink and tell them that by the end of the day, they all need to know how to skate to stay employed. Absolutely everyone would need to know, or even the people who know/learned would be fired.

There, instant team building.

Didn't that Norwegian massacre guy say he played WoW every day for a year before he killed all those people? I guess it makes good mass-murderers as well.

Captcha: grain of salt. Yep.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here