Teamwork in the Game World and Business World

The gamer's computers are typically more expensive than business computers these days. I am not quite sure when the switch happened but it used be the other way. Likewise, I think gamers are more efficient at working together than their business world counterparts.

In World of Warcraft, reaching level 60 seems like the finishing line until you've reached it. Not even close. A whole new world of end-game instances (dungeon of sort) opens up when you get to level 55 or so. While it is possible to become level 60 without ever grouping with other players (known as soloing), end-game instances require 5 to 40 players to work together.

What startled me the most was the huge difference quality of teamwork makes in the game world. For example, Zul'Gurub is an instance designed to be raided by a 20-man group. With solid teamwork, it can be cleared by 10 man in an hour without wiping (every man killed). With bad teamwork, full 20-man group might end up spending 10 hours in there, wiping at every boss.

A good teamwork requires many ingredients such as experience, focus, and awareness. Good tools can augment and amplify teamwork. TeamSpeak, for example, promotes focus and enhances awareness by eliminating the need to type. Best form of teamwork requires no communication at all because everyone knows what needs to be done and in what order. But often a team has to improvise. At such times the leader can bark out short abbreviated orders between mob clusters, keeping the team moving fluidly with only occasional rests. That is, if every member of the team is using TeamSpeak or another tool like it.

As a consultant, I've worked at large number of companies and witnessed wide variety and quality of teamworks. At best, I've seen plenty of bad and ugly teamworks. I've seen occational good teamwork but, all too frequently, it lasts only a short while because teamwork is often brittle to change. I've never seen the kind of teamwork in the business world that I've seen in the game world. Even worse, I've never seen in the business world the kind of effort gamers make to improve teamwork.

What I have seen glimpse of in the game world is the next generation of groupware. IMHO, the key difference between today's groupware and what I envision is the intimacy. Group members don't just separately and occasionally exchange emails and chat over IM. They are in full contact all the time and each of them are fully aware of what others are doing at all times.

Powerful and exhilarating. Perhaps, even scary.

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WinFX Workflow

I don't know about you but the Workflow portion of WinFX is the most interesting part. No, it's nothing new but the fact that it will be done system and market wide is and will likely allow new types of applications and tools to emerge. Check it out.

Hmm. I think Workflow can be ported to Java world and Eclispe tools for visual layout can be built in matter of weeks. Of course, months will be wasted because there will be too many versions. By the time a winner emerges, Sun will launch a JSR effort, further delaying and confusing the market. In the end, it will take close to two years before Workflow becomes an everyday technology for Java developers. Hillarious

WoW Notes: Doggie Bag

Like me, others in the We Know guild are also trying to take something home from the table. Ross Mayfield (Kalevipoeg) is thinking about synergy between real life and virtual life. Joi Ito (Jonkichi) is looking at the impact of virtual world in learning, group dynamics, and social structuring. I am focusing on enhancing groupware/teamware with what I learned in WoW.

If you are observant, you'll see many veins of valuable knowledge in games just waiting to be mined. Each moments of realization or frustration is an ore to be harvested.

Learning from World of Warcraft

To be frank, my blogging activities has slowed down to a trickle mainly because I've been spending most of my free time playing World of Warcraft, leveling up with Joi and socializing with fellow We Know guild members. Now that Slashar (aka /R), my 'main', has reached level 60, I have been able to rise above the deafening noise of fun and reflect on the experience to see if anything really valuable was there other than mountains of thrills and forests of friends. I'll share what I found in future posts.

CheckPoint VPN: Brittle

I've just spent an hour cleanup mess after CheckPoint VPN uninstall went haywire. System rebooted in the middle of uninstall and then proceeded to reboot yet again. When I've recovered enough to see the desktop, I got a persistent system error. I tried CPClean but that didn't work. In the end, I had to brave installing SecureClient (CheckPoint's VPN client) yet again just to see if uninstalling without crashing might fix the problem. It did although it screwed up my drive letter mapping.

Security is great but not if it requires twisting system in sickly ways.