We're here, we're bored, it's 3AM and we ain't takin' no mediocre theory no how from nobody!

Why I selected this topic

We've studied gaming as it relates to children's and teens, (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/books/06games.html?pagewanted=1) and perhaps how it even relates to gender and perception (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/index.cfm?journal=ps&conten...), but there is much to be gleaned that's very relevant for management. You can learn a lot from mistakes, and they are plentiful in virtual reality. Making them doesn’t impact your bottom line here. So play!

What Player Versus Player is and What Arathi Basin Is

What Player Versus Player is and What Arathi Basin Is

Arathi Basin is a Player vs. Player Instance in World of Warcraft. Your character competes against other people's characters real time in a mass duel. It's much more fun to play a person than it is to play a computer opponent. (Player versus enemy, or PVE is how that's put.) Humans are less predictable and have quicker reactions than a stale artificial intelligence.

Objectives and Basic Strategy

Objectives and Basic Strategy

There are five bases, or nodes, to capture. They're approximately equidistant. They are

The Stables (ST)
The Gold Mine (GM or mine)
The Lumber Mill (LM)
The Blacksmith (BS)
and
The Farm (farm)

To capture a base, the player works at switching the flag located at the node they wish to control. Once a base has been flying the team colours, a side can collect resources from that base. The more bases a faction controls, the quicker the victory. The first team to 2000 resources wins.

Dramatis Personae

Just like real life, there are basically jocks and dweebs. However, in virtual reality, you get to decide how you're going to turn out. Warriors and Hunters are the jocks of World of Warcraft. Priests and mages are the dweebs. Paladins and Druids can serve any number of functions. The overarching game strategy is to

1) Kill before you are killed (Damage per second {DPS})
OR
2) Be so buff the other guy gets tired and dies (Tanking)
OR
3) Keep another player alive long enough to keep you alive by proxy (Healing)

Lack of Communication (compartmentalisation) vs. Good Teamwork good buffs, et cetera

Lack of Communication (compartmentalisation) vs. Good Teamwork good buffs, et cetera

Sometimes good teamwork is as simple as providing one's fellows with food. There are also buffs, which are beneficial spells, that one may cast on another to help them along. Conversely one may harm an enemy by debuffing. In the first two minutes, it is free to help one's mates, and yet there are still a startling number of occasions where nothing is done.

Lack of correct Strategy for given situation

The largest reason that we fail in life and in the game world is that we don't apply the right tactics to the right situation. The most reliable successful strategy for Arathi Basin - take and hold 3 nodes - is most often applied in the Eye of the Storm Battleground, often to very little avail. Eye of the Storm is best dealt with by a hold 2 and capture the flag approach. People in game are on the wrong map.

Fixation on a sole objective - those are "our" towers or bases - "We need the Blacksmith for the win"

Fixation on a sole objective - those are "our" towers or bases - "We need the Blacksmith for the win"

Which three bases are captured makes no difference to the computer. It simply works its way through the sums. However, to a human, certain bases become "ours". This is mostly due to proximity and trappings. The "Alliance Base" is the Stables, the "Horde Base" is the Farm.

An alternative fixation is the centrally located Blacksmith. I don't think there's any strategic benefit to holding this node, in fact, I'd press the case that it's easily invaded from 3 of the other flags on the map. However, other players argue that it's easier to get to the other bases from the Blacksmith.

Clear Strategy, but impatience

Sometimes a good field commander is present. However, the best field commander means nothing if the troops don't fall in line. Early departure from the take and hold 3 strategy is a very common reason for a loss. Battleground modifications can be added on to World of Warcraft (Add Link to Deadly Boss Mods) to let a player know how much longer to hold, and relay of this time to the field,. That information can often nip antsiness in the bud.

Plenty of Patience but poor results due to low staffing

You've a good battleground leader, you've a good group, but the numbers are 7 to 15. Yes, you *can* pull a victory. However, the chances of success are quite slim.

This is as unpleasant in virtual reality as it is in real life. You simply have to join a different battlefield. In reality, you've to pursue and attain new funding for more staff. I'd think further outside that and recruit the volunteers that some snub.

Stagnation vs. Dynamic approach

Stagnation vs. Dynamic approach

When someone is fixated on a single objective or a node, it hurts. The sheer maths tell us that if 10 of their folks charge the Stables, the most they're defending with at their nodes is 5. And yet, instead of players picking up and heading out of an obviously losing battle, they'll stay. They'll die over, and over, and over again defending a lost cause. There was one occasion where digging in for the long haul actually succeeded, and yea, it is epic. However, the overwhelming amount of times, you'll lose.

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