Sunday, July 31, 2011

Playing to Your Strengths

"Play to your strengths."

"I haven’t got any," said Harry, before he could stop himself.

"Excuse me," growled Moody, "you’ve got strengths if I say you’ve got them. Think now. What are you best at?"

--From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

When you stand in a bunker in Alterac Valley, waiting for it to be destroyed, you have plenty of time to think.

Oh, I'm constantly moving my viewing screen around, checking for the inevitable attempt to retake the thing, but aside from the occasional nerd rage there's not much going on at 5 AM.  Most guildies are asleep, and those that aren't just came off of the graveyard shift and will be hitting the hay shortly.

This morning, however, I was still turning over something in my head that I heard on the Double O Podcast yesterday.*  Oestrus and Ophelie had on Vidyala and Voss from Manalicious and Sword and Board, and they were discussing guilds and guild leadership.**  The topic, while entertaining, didn't really apply to me; I'm not a GL/officer and don't plan on being one.  However, a statement made by one of them got under my skin.  The discussion had shifted to the officer corps and how some people take care of certain aspects of the guild, like fish feast preparation, without being an actual officer.  One of the panelists --Vid, I think-- mentioned how thorough their guild interviewer was, and how he's good enough that he was considering making it his career.  It was a minor point, but that got my attention.

How often are we advised to improve our weaknesses, but play to our strengths?  At work, certainly.  In sports, hell yeah.  In an MMO?  Um....

Yes, you can solo an MMO and do it successfully.  I'm living proof of that.  However, when you make that step into an instance, a BG, or a raid, the game changes.  It's no longer about you as the hero, but the team.  Then the question becomes:  what do you do well that can help the team?  Or guild?  Do you even know what it is you excel at?

Sure, maybe you've got that DPS rotation on automatic pilot, and you can just sense when some adds are zeroing in on the healer, but what else can you do with that attention to detail?  Can you help the prep work for the raids?  Does the guild need gems cut and ready to roll?  Enchantments available?

Are you good at organization, helping to line up raid and BG groups?

Do you communicate in an instance or BG, or is your 'communication' limited to "yoo all suk!"

Do you stop and help out the lowbies from time to time?  If you're on a PvP server, do you defend Grom'gol or the Rebel Camp from gankers?

Do you know how to make a killing on the auction house?  Why not apply that knowledge and help the guild's coffers?

Really, the choice is up to you to do what you want in-game; nobody is forced to do this.  But if you enjoy what you do, and you do it well, you expand the enjoyment of others in the game.***

And believe me, I hate-hate-hate a Polyanna attitude, but this is just common sense.  You can work on your weaknesses, but odds are good that you'll get more satisfaction when doing what you're best at.

*I used to be able to listen to podcasts on a regular basis, but meetings have been steadily consuming my work time to the point that anything more engaging than background music --and yes, a WoW soundtrack counts as background music-- will just get ignored.  That's a shame, as I've not had much of a chance to explore the WoW podcasts out there.

**Vid is the GL of Business Time/Moonrunner(US), and her husband Voss is the raid leader.

***Well, except for that ganker loitering around Forest Song that you took out, but he got what was coming to him, right?


  1. The phrase I like, from Robert Heinlein, is "Specialisation is for insects."

  2. Hello!

    I saw the link on your site that was referring people to our site and I just wanted to stop by and thank you for the mention and the plug!

    It sounds like you enjoyed the episode and listening to Vid and Voss as much as Ophelie and I did. Feel free to check us out again some time!

    Take care.


  3. @Oestrus-- You're welcome! Catch you around!