Business Lessons I Learned From Online Roleplaying Games

Business Lessons I​ Learned From Online Roleplaying Games
Most people,​ if​ asked how their hobbies and their work concerns come together,​ would say hobbies are a​ distraction from work .​
Games and other diversions take time that you​ might otherwise be spent getting things done .​
Online text-based games are some of​ the​ worse culprits for this,​ since employees sometimes find themselves diverted in​ the​ office itself.
Online Roleplaying Games (RPGs),​ however,​ are the​ ground where real life meets total entertainment .​
In them,​ although you​ are certainly being entertained,​ you're also learning important lessons about society,​ and being a​ part of​ a​ group .​
These lessons can serve you​ well in​ the​ workplace.
The Top Four Business Lessons I​ Learned From Online RPGs
1 .​
Treat Others Respectfully
When I​ first started text-based gaming,​ I​ was utterly clueless .​
I​ didn't know how to​ talk to​ someone out of​ character,​ or​ even that there was any reason I​ shouldn't just use the​ say command .​
People could figure it​ out from context,​ right?
This was back in​ 1997,​ on​ Harper's Tale MOO .​
When I​ arrived,​ people walked me through everything I​ needed to​ know .​
They told me how to​ get a​ client,​ how to​ use the​ game commands,​ how to​ communicate OOCly,​ and what I​ needed to​ know to​ get started .​
They were remarkably patient with me,​ and,​ as​ I​ became a​ veteran player myself,​ it​ became my job to​ take on​ that role,​ to​ deal with the​ raw newbies,​ the​ rude trolls looking for confrontation,​ and the​ demanding players seeking special treatment.
In the​ workforce,​ there is​ nothing more challenging than dealing with someone who frustrates you​ in​ a​ calm,​ professional manner .​
Whether it​ is​ a​ domineering boss,​ an​ incompetent contractor,​ or​ a​ rude customer,​ you​ are almost guaranteed to​ encounter someone in​ your line of​ work who makes you​ want to​ tear your hair out .​
Managing them with grace,​ tact,​ and respect uses the​ same skills that helped me deal with difficult people online as​ an​ area leader on​ Harper's Tale,​ a​ player helper on​ FiranMUX,​ and a​ staff member on​ Laegaria MOO.
2 .​
Fulfill Your Obligations
A text-based game takes work to​ maintain,​ and the​ people who do that work have a​ thankless job,​ in​ many ways .​
Anyone who has ever maintained code for an​ online RPG knows how much time that can suck up,​ but that is​ the​ least part of​ it .​
There are dozens of​ little jobs that need to​ be done by someone: adding players to​ areas,​ approving character applications,​ writing help and news files,​ organizing events .​
In many ways,​ online responsibility serves as​ an​ invaluable step between pleasure and business.
In the​ business world,​ one easy way to​ be sure you​ never earn promotions or​ gain a​ position of​ trust is​ to​ fail to​ meet deadlines .​
When you​ say you​ can do something,​ people expect you​ to​ get it​ done,​ or​ to​ tell them why you​ didn't .​
In the​ online world,​ there is​ a​ much less rigidly codified version of​ this same system .​
When I​ volunteered to​ build up a​ new codebase for X-Men Movieverse,​ I​ knew that nothing dire would befall me if​ I​ backed out,​ but I​ would be letting my friends down .​
If I​ agree to​ organize an​ RPed festival event on​ FiranMUX,​ it​ is​ my responsibility to​ be there for it,​ and if​ I​ fail,​ there may be consequences,​ but they aren't life-shattering .​
If I​ choose not to​ take that responsibility,​ I​ don't need to​ .​
Learning to​ fulfill the​ responsibilities of​ an​ online game helped prepare me for the​ responsibilities of​ the​ business world.
3 .​
Bullet Points Only!
The other day,​ I​ had to​ meet with my boss about a​ project we've been working on​ .​
He was strapped for time,​ so warned me I​ only had five minutes .​
I​ took the​ list of​ topics I​ needed to​ go over with him,​ wrote up a​ concise version,​ and was ready .​
When I​ went in,​ I​ was ready to​ hammer my way through the​ meeting .​
I​ hit bullet points one at​ a​ time,​ with lists of​ options detailing pros and cons,​ and had decisions on​ six points within those five minutes .​
He commented to​ be as​ we were leaving that he was impressed by how well I'd distilled the​ problem down to​ its core points.
It wasn't until that evening,​ when I​ found myself writing an​ IC speech for FiranMUX,​ that I​ realized how much of​ that ability came from my time online .​
Not only does Firan have a​ habit of​ scoffing at​ its longer-winded speechwriters,​ the​ nature of​ online RPGs enforced concision .​
In a​ text-based medium,​ everything takes longer than it​ does in​ person,​ because typing is​ more time-consuming than talking .​
Planning a​ meeting or​ a​ class to​ run in​ a​ reasonable amount of​ time online requires brutal pruning of​ non-essentials,​ and most people learn in​ time to​ prune their material down to​ the​ core .​
If you​ can extend that to​ the​ business world,​ you're a​ step ahead of​ the​ game.
4 .​
Keep It Quiet
One of​ the​ strangest things for my brother when he started working full-time was the​ need to​ conceal from family and friends what he is​ working on​ .​
Most companies ask some degree of​ discretion from their employees,​ and that can be hard for people who are used to​ sharing anything their friends might find of​ interest.
Fortunately,​ I​ was cured of​ that need through my online gaming .​
Although some games I​ play on,​ particularly X-Men Movieverse,​ encourage OOC spill of​ information,​ to​ build a​ deeper world tapestry,​ games like FiranMUX are very firm about maintain OOC secrecy on​ character issues .​
As such,​ I​ learned to​ keep absolutely fascinating plot arcs secret from all of​ my friends .​
After that,​ the​ decidedly less fascinating confidential aspects of​ my job were relatively easy to​ keep under wraps.
Games referenced:
FiranMUX (
Harper's Tale (
X-Men Movieverse (
Business Lessons I Learned From Online Roleplaying Games Business Lessons I Learned From Online Roleplaying Games Reviewed by Henda Yesti on July 18, 2018 Rating: 5

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