Researcher: World of Warcaft players make better employees

Digital culture researcher John Seely Brown says MMORPG's players have accelerated levels of passion and curiosity, making them attractive job candidates.

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Playing World of Warcraft will make a person a better employee in the corporate world, according to digital culture researcher John Seely Brown. Speaking in a new Big Think YouTube video, Brown said he would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than an MBA student from Harvard.

"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," Brown said.

Brown claimed that such high-level World of Warcraft players benefit from the fundamental collaborative nature of the game, specifically with regards to guilds and raiding. He said these guilds, which can number in the hundreds of players, are fueled only by a player's passion, not any external reward or bonus.

"When we look into the social structures and the knowledge capability, refining, and generation capabilities of this guild structures, there is something going on here," Brown said. "Now, these are not just self-organizing groups. Basically every high-end guild has a constitution. The leaders of these guilds also have to do dispute adjudication all the time. They also have to be willing to say, 'Let's measure ourselves.'

Another reason why a World of Warcraft player would make a better employee, according to Brown, is because players must create "dashboards," or ways in which players measure themselves and things happening around them. In the corporate world, Brown said, these dashboards are applied by managers, but that isn't the case in World of Warcraft.

"In World of Warcraft you invent a dashboard for yourself," Brown said. "So this whole idea of thinking about how do I build measurements to facilitate my own performance for me and me alone becomes very interesting. And in fact in the World of Warcraft there's a simple mantra I encounter all the time. If I ain't learning, it ain't fun."

Ultimately, Brown said employers would be smart to hire a World of Warcraft player because these gamers have accelerated levels of passion and curiosity.

"But it gets back to this notion of passion, it gets back to this notion of curiosity, and it gets back to this notion that this is an interest-driven phenomenon that unleashes exponential learning of a dimension that's almost unimaginable any other way," he said.

Discussion

364 comments
jimrhurst
jimrhurst

This dude is missing the boat.  Its not about getting those specific WOW people.  Its about generating that kind of fanaticism about whatever they are doing _at work_.  If you find industries where people get really passionate then they behave like these WOW players when they are working.  They dedicate long hours, learn obsessively, self-measure, form social cohesion, all that.  But these WOW players won't magically do all that stuff at your bank or grocery store.  Because they don't care about banking and selling groceries.  They are passionate about WOW.


As for a Harvard MBA, well, there are a handful of jobs where that's really useful.  The vast majority of jobs you could have won't benefit one whit from a Harvard MBA.  You'll just be in debt up to your eyeballs and convinced you're the second coming.  As a hiring manager, I'm taking a pass on that employee.  So in that sense, passion for the work would trump a Harvard MBA in a ton of jobs.  But I wouldn't look for people passionate about WOW in particular.

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

Who knows what gamers want from a game better than the gamer themself?

 

case closed, a bit late though john I thought of this years ago and I am sure I am not the first, its common sense.

anigmha
anigmha

"Brown said he would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than an MBA student from Harvard."

 

I'm gonna guess that's a hyperbole. There is no doubt that games (including WoW) can make you a better thinker, but surviving two years at one of the world's best business schools would probably make you an even better thinker.

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

"Brown said he would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than an MBA student from Harvard."

lolwut

 

it's no secret that some players can master games enough to help make them/their sequels, like daigo being currently employed at capcom as well as other evo veterans doing all sorts of things in the scene from games to tools.

 

but placing your bets on them over a graduated game designer is really stupid.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

I guess he needs to watch Make Love not Warcraft from Southpark

theperm
theperm

Personally, I think people who play Baldur's Gate make better employees.  F that WOW noise.

theperm
theperm

I guess lack of sleep in no way impacts job performance.

blackothh
blackothh

HAHAHAHAHAHA.......................

mmarufahmed
mmarufahmed

thats a fancy way of saying world of warcraft is monotonous

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

 Now THIS is seriously rich comedy gold...   Let's see:

 

BF3 players are lazy employees because they lie on the ground just outside the office and phone in their work.

 

COD/MW players are only suitable for menial jobs because they're too busy talking smack and repeatedly doing the exact same thing endlessly.

 

Left4Dead players are highly energetic, but paranoid -- they're constantly spinning around 180 degrees to look in the cubicle behind them.

 

Civilization players are "obviously" perfect.

 

Gamespot readers make great analysts, because they're enjoy spending hours each week dissecting mundane items of no importance.

 

 

(Love it...  Feel free to add your own!)

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Surely its because they are used to the daily grind...

coralo
coralo

see title: World of Warcaft or World of WarcRaft? hahaha

peteyboi29
peteyboi29

i have been a wow player in the past and on the last expansion, and there is no way wow players make better  employees, wow  players have most there focus on one thing   "WOW"   and leave very little time for anything else, i have  known people that put wow before there wife and kids, before there jobs and unfortunately some times before personal hygiene....   

 

this is the biggest load of bollocks i have heard for a while, and in this world of bullshit, misdirection and misinformation  that is a tall order 

Pyerun
Pyerun

How does bullying people with homophobic slurs so you can get what you want make you a better corporate employee?  Oh wait.....

gauntlets_of_fi
gauntlets_of_fi

All WoW players would agree to this. As for the rest...

hesham214
hesham214

in General, players who reach high levels and are leaders of their guilds/raids tend to spend a lot of time online.  Thus, dedicating less time for real life priorities.  They might indeed posses the skills they earned playing WoW, but will have a hard time implementing them in real life.  I have never seen or heard of a WoW player at work not talking about his/her duels/raids/loots.  They are more dedicated to WoW, that's why more efforts are put towards the game than at work.

buccomatic
buccomatic

i agree with mr. brown for the most part.

 

there's some talking points, which he didn't state, that actually strengthen his theory - which in my opinion isn't just a theory, but is just the flat out truth.

 

i have personally have seen this happen in my life from playing mage, for all these years. i have seen it in on the fly strategy changes in BG's, running raids, and team arena and also planning out raid encounters that we were stuck on when we were unable to down certain bosses.

 

for example, crisis management.

 

 

the crisis:

what do you do when you're playing mage, and the raid leader is somewhat inexperienced. there's a rouge next to your sheep, and before it breaks you re-sheep (as usual per strategy of the boss fight) and then one of the other mages in the raid dies, and his sheep is about to break? the druid won't battle rez the dead mage because he/she is saving it for the main tank, off tank, main healer, or off healer in the event (emergency) if one of them is to go down.

 

the solution:

the sheeped mob (of the dead mage) is going to break soon, and then proceed to one shot the first thing closest to it. then it will run straight for the healer, and if you're really unlucky it will be the main healer who is keeping the main tank up. and if he dies and the druids battle rez has already been used, it's an automatic wipe. so what do you do?

 

if you're group is damn good you won't have to say anything because the skilled raiders will automatically know what to do. but suppose they don''t know what to do. you would have to make your fist tough choice, and that would be (see below):

 

1. quickly decide whether to break raid rules, and co-direct traffic over top of the main tank who is busy running the raid, and is usually the only one allowed to talk.

 

you could lose dkp, you could screw up if your strategy is wrong, or you could save the raid (from a wipe) if your raid leader has weak leadership skills and is somewhat new to raid management, and understanding raid group composition.

 

2. so you notice the off tanks target is about to die in about 20 seconds and decide, that since the raid leader is somewhat easy going and is not a DKP 50 MINUS DRAMA QUEEN, to quickly tell the rogue to evasion tank your sheep. as soon as he does this you take over for the dead mage and sheeping his target which would otherwise break and wipe the raid after killing the main healer.

 

3. quickly ask the druid healer (doing light healing duties of the raid) to drop down into bear form, run over and aggro the light adds coming out onto himself and hold them for a few seconds.

 

4. ask the off tank (who's elite mob has just died) to charge over and tank the heavy elite 3rd target you had sheeped (the one the rouge was evasion tanking). have him do this before evasion expires so the rogue doesn't get one-shotted. the off tank arrives just as the rouge evasion is up, he vanishes, and the off tank takes over.

 

5. ask the dps in the vicinity (who don't have crowd control, or other important responsibilities) in the vicinity to focus fire on his target for a second or two (while he burns shield wall to stay alive) and down it quickly! the target is dead

 

6. have the off tank to run back over (to his spot) and aggro the adds onto himself, and off the druid makeshift tank, druid pops up and starts healing again, AOE them down, and have him pick up the next elite, and continue the raid strategy (minus the dead mage) while you maintain control over the dead mages target.

 

7. kill the off tanks elite mob.

 

8. kill off the elite mob you took over sheeping.

 

9. focus fire on the boss

 

10. POSPER! AND GET PHAT LEWT!

 

lol!

 

these quick thinking skills (learned in wow) can be applied to real life crisis management situations at work, at home and many different situations. but i'm not going to explain how (would have to write a book). just know that wow does indeed train people to think, and use both simple, and extreme strategic maneuvers for prosperous outcomes in real life situations.

Succumbus
Succumbus

I dropped World of Warcraft so I could do well in a certain semester working towards my Bachelors degree in Physics/Mathematics. Don't you dare tell me WoW constitutes a greater work ethic then that of an education well performed.

MegaPyroFlame
MegaPyroFlame

This would be an interesting article/discovery, except that it completely disregards a few important factors, one of which is realism.  It seems Mr. Brown overlooked that the more "passionate" and "curious" a WoW player is (or any game, for that matter), the more likely they are to delve deeper and deeper into said game.  In other words, addicted.  Even if a WoW player does have the capacity to be a team player/leader, chances are that they'll be too busy playing WoW to do anything with the talents they may or may not have.

It's common sense, really, that not everything can be deduced 100% accurately simply through scientific observations.  Now, if Mr. Brown would've said that WoW players have "the capacity to be a better worker than a non-WoW player", that would've been plausible, assuming that said high-end WoW player has the self-control to be both a good worker and consistently playing WoW.  But saying that he would rather hire a high-end WoW player over a Harvard graduate is, no offense to WoW players, downright ridiculous.

ZabuzaR
ZabuzaR

As a WoW player for 7 years, I can somewhat agree to this article. Yes, high end raiding requires precise coordination that helps develop team working skills. As well as managing large guilds. Which can be beneficial in a working environment.However, that alone does not mean they have the other skills to do a job. And saying that they are a better choice over a MBA student is a pretty bold statement. I know several people in WoW who don't have the skills to have a professional job.

Sythion
Sythion

So the big revelation is that WoW drones make great RL drones? INCREDIBLE!

wyan_
wyan_

Go ahead and hire a wow player. Since every moment of his spare time is spent escaping the real word, he'll have nothing to offer you when he gets to the office. I know two wow players. Both are bums when it comes to work.

tgwolf
tgwolf

WHAT A LOAD OF GARBAGE! 

cjimrun
cjimrun

WOW players bring passion and curiosity to the game-world because they are choosing to be there and choosing to take-on the quests involved.  I doubt they would bring the same enthusiasm to a task that was lumped on them by management in a job they took cuz they had to make ends meet.

Diamondsoulz
Diamondsoulz

Is that why our former Fat Boss stands around and talks all day?

number1nick123
number1nick123

My Resume now says Dedicated World Of Warcraft Player for 7 Years as a previous job.

Darnasian
Darnasian

Hmmm , this page is fueled with retards. There is a difference between a wow player and an incurable addict as much as there is a difference between a player that manages countless raids and guilds and a mere player that wastes his days without getting any management skill out of this.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @anigmha Yeah , that's a hyperbole , either this or the dude has pretty weird things he like. It's his opinion , but I still think it's a little far fetched.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

 @peteyboi29

 Hahahaha, totally agree.  I used to be pretty zealous in my devotion to that game as well, especially arenas, and while I still maintained a fairly normal social/work life, they definitely suffered for my involvement with WoW.

 

I think Mr. Brown would be due for a rude awakening when he realized half of his workforce was either asleep because they ran out of Rockstar, or surfing the WoW forums instead of doing work.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @peteyboi29 Read 7 comments bellow and shut up. You must be a moron to think this article is about the average wow player. Is about those rare cases where people have an actual life and a career. And yes they exist.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @gauntlets_of_fi I'm not a wow player and I agree with this. Why? Because maybe I think outside of the box? As should the rest?

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @hesham214 *sigh* once again I will explain. Yes , what you say it is true. But I've seen actual WoW players that are both good in real life with an actual life and a major degree and were both raid leaders and guild managers in wow. Time would be an issue IF you were a the regular moronic wow player. However , when you actually manage this much in wow and have an actual life , you learn to also manage time. Outside from the skills you get from playing the game (e.g. organising skills , because coordinating 39 morons in a raid is painfully hard). We are talking about a comparison here were 2 people have the same degree and level of knowledge , one is a wow player while the other isn't. The wow player is better as an overall score , not because he learned his trade better from the game. 

And no , I do not play wow if that's what you're asking.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @Succumbus Don't you dare comparing WoW to a degree because that's stupid. Compare a WoW player to another human with the same degree. You'll see the WoW player is simply faster in thinking and can get out of BS. An overall better employee. Can't you people think out of the fucking box?

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @MegaPyroFlame I doubt he didn't think about this. Take it this way: He compared 2 people with the same level of knowledge and the same degree. The WoW was better as an overall score because of the skills he might've gotten from the game. Another noteworthy mention is that the guy probably didn't mention but he was referring to those rare players that are both good in real life with an actual life and a major degree and at the same time raid leaders and guild managers in WoW. Yes, I have seen such people in my life. Just 2 , but enough to prove this guy's theory is true when put accordingly.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @ZabuzaR The researcher didn't compare a simple jobless wow player with another person that has a degree in cybernetics. He compared 2 people with the same degree in whatever and the wow player was better as an overall score. Not because he learned his trade better from wow, but because he has better organising skills and probably is faster as a thinker. Comparing 2 people from totally different levels of knowledge is simply stupid. Just thinking that other people thought the researcher's idea was this makes me feel sad to how dumb they are.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @wyan_ Oh wow! You must be really dumb to suppose the researcher was referring to the average wow player. you're probably dumber than the average wow player if you think this.

Succumbus
Succumbus

 @Darnasian As I don't want to argue at all, how would a highly ranked WoW player even look half as good on a resume as someone with a degree? Even with a non-prestigious school or state college. These are just different areas completely.

adamomars
adamomars

 @Darnasian

 why WOW, does not any proffessional aquire managment skilsl from their trade?

peteyboi29
peteyboi29

 @Darnasian Note how i don't say things like  " every single wow player "  or  "they are ALL"   its a generalisation  which in this case happens to be true. 

you don't have to be so aggressive in deffence of  your habits, if you play wow then enjoy and don't care what others think,  but i should warn you, the uncalled for aggressive behaviour your displaying is the exact same type of behaivour that addicts display when confronted about there addiction, ALSO  some thing very true with the wow community.

i played wow for 4 years and have been through this range of  defensive addictive behaivour myself, so i'm sorry!!!  but  you cant tell me shit about wow or wow players, in general ofc :) happy gaming :)

skullandbones91
skullandbones91

 @Darnasian  @peteyboi29 people who play wow on the kind of level with raids and guilds and constant game involvement WILL make their social and professional life suffer. To have such dedication requires too much time and effort to be only played during one's freetime.

Succumbus
Succumbus

 @Darnasian  @hesham214 Think of all the good things this intelligent person you speak of could be doing rather than wasting his time coordinating '39 morons in a raid.'

Succumbus
Succumbus

 @Darnasian I'm not going to argue, the article just stated that he preferred a WoW player rather than someone with a degree from Harvard. Seems a little absurd. Yes, WoW has stimulating qualities and brings in a large amount of strategy, but there are other activities out there that provide a much more stimulating and knowledgeable experience. Don't declare me a close minded thinker just because I'm making a statement against an abstract article.

CloWnCircus
CloWnCircus

 @Darnasian  Are you a Blizzard PR by any chance?

 

Because the page is filled with you lashing out names as "close minded"  to people who disagree with a rather futile piece of information.

 

  The only example I had in my life of a WoW high level player wasn't really positive, it didn't offer him anything in terms of professional related skills while decreasing his social ones.

  Neglecting your girlfriend because you have a raid scheduled for a Sunday afternoon doesn't really seem like adding much to anything.

Are they passion drive? Totally, but to what? World of Warcraft.

 

If this guy is expecting to have the same type of professional commitment to anything job-related he's going to have a bad time..   

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @Succumbus You don't seem to get it. Let me explain. They didn't take the average moron wow player and compared him with an neurologist. People should fucking erase this idea from their minds " Oh yeah they've taken a loser that quit his job and school and have compared them with a guy with a degree in cybernetics". No! They have taken 2 people from the same area of expertise , with the same degree , one was a wow player and probably a raid leader and was your regular human being.

The research's results showed that the wow player was a better employee , but not necessarily because he learned his trade better from the games. He was better as an overall score , having better knowledge in management and organising. Because coordinating 39 morons in a raid is fucking hard believe me. Just try it and you'll see I'm right. 1 idiot and you can simply lose.Now my question for you is: Did you really believe a famous researcher didn't think about all those things before starting the research? I mean no offence , but this is really dumb.

buccomatic
buccomatic

 @Succumbus  the wow player wouldn't look better or worse, he would just be better at convincing the potential employer to give him the job over the other applicants who lack the wow players evolved quick thinking mentality.

 

just as algebra teaches people to think in different and deeper ways, so does wow.

 

another thing to consider is that 99% of the time employers don't hire you just because you have a degree because all the applicants usually have the same degree. but only the ones who are able to show something extra, and are also better bullshitters are the ones that almost always get the job.

 

so if you want to land attain a career based on the fact that you have a degree. remember, all the other applicants will have that same degree. having a degree will not land you a career, but it might land you a job. and most importantly, it will only get your foot in the door for the interview. so you had better learn to bullshit, real good, if you want that career.

 

 

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @adamomars From what I've understood: Ok , so WoW players ,by this guys logic, make better employees in comparison to your regular human being because they already know the tension and it's pretty damn fucking hard to coordinate 40 or more people at the same time without being near them physically.I don't know if this is what you asked , but I hope the stupid questions can stop coming now. 

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @adamomars I really don't understand this question given the fact the grammar is BS. Can you repeat?

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @peteyboi29 Not to sound too shabby but I think I've explained I don't play WoW. My defensive behaviour is due to the fact that as a gamer I've seen loads of people playing WoW. I must say , I don't know how WoW players behave in general , all those friends of mine whoa re playing are pretty devoted to the game , but their priorities are their lives first. I don't expect anybody to believe me I'm not playing WoW because my avatar is one with Arthas , although this avatar is from the early Warcraft 3 days and because I'm defending the WoW players that actually have a life. But know this, I'm mainly an RPG gamer and care little for MMOs except for MOBAs with whom I dabble from time to time due to teamwork involved. The idea of playing WoW struck me a few times , but I simply have too much gaming to do and starting playing a game that is infamous for making you too addicted would simply hurt my life and my gaming. I dabble with both current gaming and retro/classic gaming. Mostly hardcore RPGs which are infamous enough to take up to 100+ hours of your time. So this is the explanation why I don't play WoW and why I don't want to play.

The idea struck me many times and still does , but I have neither the time to play it nor the funds to play WoW and continue with normal gaming at the same time. Plus I have school and studying takes a fuckload of time.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @Succumbus  @hesham214 He can do loads of things , but if playing WoW is how he relaxes himself , who are we to judge one's preferences? He can do better things yes , but can he enjoy them as much as he enjoys playing? 

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @Succumbus yes , the article states so , but if you look at the author you will see it's Eddie. He is rather infamous for not giving all the info there is to news. While it's true the dude said this , it is also true that having a Harvard diploma doesn't necessarily make you a fast thinker. This statement may be far fetched , but I've looked up some of this researches on internet. it's like I said. They compare 2 people of the same level. Anyway , not to stray away too much from the article , a Harvard diploma may as well be bought if you have the money.

To end it , that statement of his is just his personal preference and we shouldn't judge a rather good research on just one statement , far fetched or not.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @CloWnCircus And then again , you didn't understand a thing. This research is not about the average moron-like type of wow player you just described. It's about the people who....*sigh*...I've really grown bored of this. Ok , one more time: This research is about people who excel at one trade and are still very good WoW players that coordinate guilds and raids. In other words they manage to coordinate loads of people without being physically near them. In comparison to another human , the exact same type of person , with the exact same degree , level of education , the WoW player would be a better overall employee because of the feats his position in WoW as a player gives him ( feats like a better organiser , a faster thinker).

People should just stop assuming this research is about the regular moron--like WoW player.

In order to fully understand what I mean , just try to fully read some of the comments bellow. 

People should at least try to think outside of the box once in a while. It seems like an editor is giving you what he understood from something and you simply take it for granted instead of thinking it. This is probably the sad part.

Why do I comment this much? Because I want to see what drones without a brain to think most of the people on GS actually are. For the record : I don't even play WoW.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @buccomatic  @Succumbus This is something similar to what I've said. I've detailed it to the 'dumb" level of details in order for people to fully understand in the comment bellow.

adamomars
adamomars

 @Darnasian

 I was trying to make a point. That is, anyone with a brain, and who does what is expected of them will be a good employee, or WOW leader, or doctor, policeman, dentist....

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @adamomars To be more precise , I believe this researcher is referring only to a certain category of people. Do not take it for granted that every wow player is this way. Let's say you just started working. A WoW player , by this guys words , is better because of the traits he earned while playing.  Of course one can earn skills from his trade , but once he has some years behind him. I think the guy is referring to people new to the trade/work life. I haven't done any experiments to say this is for sure , but as far as I'm concerned this makes gaming look better in the eyes of the public. So making fun of this topic makes us look weird among ourselves.

Darnasian
Darnasian

 @adamomars I think there is missing a "," and that's why i didn't understand...still , I explained bellow.

adamomars
adamomars

what are you talking about? The grammar is fine, stop being sissy.