Life as a raid…

My semi-addiction to World of Warcraft continues. Over the last few weeks I’ve been levelling up a Feral Druid (pictured) and a Shadowpriest. Playing these has greatly extended my appreciation of the complexity and intrigue of the game.

I’m sometimes coy about mentioning Warcraft but it nearly always prompts interesting conversations. I’m now having some very interesting chats about setting up some experiments to compare WoW as a form of management training against… well against the boring sort we’ve all run into before.

I’m also loving the power of the party or raid in WoW. Basically to slay the bigger dragons and visit the more interesting dungeons, you have to team up with other players in parties (up to 5) and raids (up to 40). The more I play, the more I want to party rather than go solo. And I’m struck by how meritocratic these groups are.

I guess each player has his own way of engaging but I’ve noticed a strong correlation between clumsy play and the offering of loud advice to other players. I’m getting fairly good at spotting early on the signs of a player who’s going to be a pain (eg bullying, ninja-ing, making terrible pulls). Equally, you soon build up a list of hard tanks, super healers and nifty dps-ers it’s fun to hang out with in fiery furnaces and shadow-magical charnel houses.

And the bottom line is: this a voluntary activity. If naff players don’t self-destruct, fellow raiders boot them, leave or just avoid them in future. No complex infrastructure of unfair dismissal rules to worry about. Just gravitate towards the people who are fun to travel with. This is the world of the free agent.

I’m really starting to get how this reflects my preferred style for engaging with work away from the obsessive keyboard-tapping addiction of Azeroth: flexible collaborations with people. A great willingness to try stuff – group together with interesting-sounding people around the idea of a challenging-and-fun project. Minimum writing of rules. If it’s fun and works, do more. If it ain’t, form a different group. With core mates like James or Rob, it’s pretty easy to propose a raid and drum up the necessary volunteers.

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