12/08/2013

Don Juan Matus on Awareness

For a seer, the truth is that all living beings are struggling to die. What stops death is awareness.
Don Juan Matus

11/04/2013

The Guild Attacks - 7

During the attack, leaders must be able to take advantage of the changing situations; not doing so invites a waste of effort and lack of support from the group.

11/01/2013

The Guild Attacks - 6

All players must understand the five developments and coordinate with each other appropriately.

10/30/2013

The Guild Attacks - 5

The guild must attack such that their advantage is lasting; do not attack with retreat in the forefront of the mind.

10/28/2013

The Guild Attacks - 4

When the guild attacks, they must be prepared for five developments: (1) when the attack comes from within the enemy’s stronghold, players must also attack from without; (2) when attacking there is no enemy response, the attackers must wait and not attack further; (3) after the initial attack allows for continued movement through the enemy, continue to attack; if not hold position; (4) when attacking from without, do so at the most favorable time and position; (5) when attacking do so from a position that requires a continued movement forward.

10/25/2013

The Guild Attacks - 3

Guilds must attack as if by fire, so the fire spreads and burns through the enemy force.

Players: The spreading of fire causes not only damage as it consumes, but a psychological impact because of the inability to fight if it spreads too quickly. Overwhelming causing this psychological damage are of great advantage.

10/21/2013

The Guild Attacks - 2

In order to attack the enemy, players must always have their supplies at hand and ready to be used.

Players: In the case of an MMO, supplies can mean a multitude of things, including but not limited to character level, abilities, skills, traits, weapons, armor, consumable products, ammunition for both personal and group use, and protective magic and mechanics. Each player must strive to have the best of all things to be sincerely at the ready.

10/18/2013

The Guild Attacks - 1

There are four ways of attacking enemy players: attack them in their starting position; attack their supplies; attack their strongholds; and attack them on the open field.

Players: The enemy is weakest at its starting position, equal at their supply depots, strongest at their strongholds, and most dangerous on the open field.

10/12/2013

Thoughts on Gates and Sandboxes

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was fun, for about a month. Unfortunately, it fell into the same formula that developers have become so accustomed to using, sometimes referred to as gating.

Gating is when an obstacle is placed in front of a player that requires them to go through the gate to be able to move to higher content. While gating in its simplest form is done by having level requirements for content, developers have fallen into a formulaic trap, of level (L) plus gear (G) equals the ability to overcome the gate (Ag) or in solo play:

L + G = Ag

The problem then becomes much more complicated through party play. Each member of the party (P) must fit the formula to allow progression, but add on ability of the player (Ap) and the formula becomes more complicated, in the realm of:

(n * P)(L + G + Ap) = Ag 

Since the dawn of MMO party content, the above formula has plagued players. For example, any player who does not meet the gear or level requirements will not allow the entire party to go through the gate. The more strict a developer makes this formula, the more unlikely a group of players will progress without having spent the time and effort to meet the requirements to progress.

FFXIV:ARR takes a more strict approach, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for those who enjoy the above stated progression formula. The problem is many players rushed to end game, while others took their time. Players in the second wave were less likely to be helped by those who went farther on, and players who had already finished content were not pleased to help others complete it (a common occurrence in MMOs). This creates two groups of players due to the current lack of end game. Being part of both of the first and second wave, and seeing very little of a new formula in the game itself, the author decided to jump ship early.

There is a formula the author is not as accustomed to that removes quite a bit (though not all) of the gating in an MMO. This is commonly known as a sandbox MMO, and these have met in the past with less success.

Sandbox games allow a more open approach, and while they may also include gear and level requirements, they are secondary to the player being in charge of the progression of their character rather than the developer of the before-mentioned formulaic approach. Often times players become more powerful through discovery in the game, than they do by upgrading gear, or obtaining levels.

It may be high time for MMO developers to move back towards a balance that includes much more of the sandbox approach to gaming. Everquest Next and Star Citizen are both games looking to lead in this movement. At least I am retired from formulaic progression MMOs for good.

10/04/2013

The Game Environmenet - 66

Appear as if all is lost and forces are weak, then move like lightning and make sounds like thunder.

10/02/2013

The Game Environment - 65

An excellent leader will conform to the enemy’s plan until such time they can strike decisively.

Players: Leaders who are quick to engage the enemy, and show their plans for attack or defense immediately, will find the enemy changing to meet them. Those who appear to lose, then suddenly attack or defend with ferocity not before seen by the enemy, will strike fear into the heart of the enemy such that victory is already obtained. Subterfuge and confusion are key tools of excellent leaders.

9/30/2013

The Game Environment - 64

Take what the enemy holds dear, and position yourself so that the enemy arrives at the time of your choosing.

Players: If a group takes a favorable position, but there is no enemy, the advantage gained cannot be used for any practical purpose.

9/28/2013

9/26/2013

The Game Environment - 62

MMO leaders must be stern to their subordinates, so that they may always control the situation.

Players: Stern in this case means to establish the leadership position. Strong leaders make clear their expectations and what is required of their members. Weak leaders allow those below them to sway their decisions without regard to the bigger picture.

9/24/2013

The Game Environment - 61

From the beginning, a new leader in an MMO must set the standards for conduct, and must lay down the expectations of followers clearly.

9/22/2013

The Game Environment - 60

A group must be persistent in attacking the enemy from all sides, thus ensuring the ability to kill the leader.

9/20/2013

The Game Environment - 59

A leader must know the enemy’s purpose, and feign adherence to it.

Players: By showing the enemy what they want to see, and feigning weakness, a leader has captured the enemy’s thoughts and can use them as a weapon.

9/18/2013

The Game Environment - 58

When players are put into a position of danger and are wrecked with the potential for loss, they are in the correct position to obtain victory.

Players: It is essential to place players in difficult situations regarding mastery of the MMO they are playing. Without challenges, players become lax in their duties and their responsibilities to other players through the course of the MMO. It is an inherent duty of leaders to place players in situations that make them learn and progress both as an individual player, but as part of the broader game community. Mastery of the game is essential and cannot be accomplished by individual players without influence from leaders and other players. Additionally, dangerous situations for the player mentally prepares them for future challenges.

9/11/2013

Edward Meade Earle on Grand Strategy

Strategy is the art of controlling and utilizing the resources of a nation-or a coalition of nations-including its armed forces, to the end that its vital interests shall be effectively promoted and secured against enemies, actual, potential, or merely presumed. The highest type of strategy-sometimes called grand strategy-is that which so integrates the policies and armaments of the nation that resort to war is either rendered unnecessary or is undertaken with the maximum chance of victory.
Edward Mead Earle, Makers of Modern Strategy

9/05/2013

Michael E. Porter on Strategy

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
Michael E. Porter

9/03/2013

Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

8/28/2013

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn Launches!

As the author, I don't often post much about myself, so I wanted to take this opportunity to post about my next MMO adventure.

I took a break from gaming recently until the launch of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn (FFXIV), and am enjoy my journey back into the Final Fantasy series (I played FFXI extensively).

As a member of Grievance Gaming, I hope to have a lot of fun in Eorzea, and expand on the doctrine this blog presents to players of our server, and to the FFXIV community as a whole.

8/20/2013

The Game Environment - 57

Leaders should place their players in danger so they survive. Making them desperate, they will be safe.

Players: When players are not in danger, they become complacent and expect victory. This makes them a hollow force at best. By keeping their lives on the line, they will always be prepared for battle.

8/19/2013

Voltaire on Rulers

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.
Voltaire

8/18/2013

The Game Environment - 56

Leaders should always focus their players on their assignment, not on the plan. When the outcome shows victory, announce it loudly. When the situation looks dire, tell them nothing of it.

8/16/2013

The Game Environment - 55

Leaders who reward players without regard to any rules, and issue orders without thought of alliances are able to handle their own forces as they would their own body.

8/14/2013

The Game Environment - 54

A leader carries out his own secret plans, and keeps his enemies in awe. He does not rely on the power of alliances to be powerful himself.

8/12/2013

The Game Environment - 53

When a leader attacks a powerful force, his ability shows in preventing concentration of the enemy’s groups. He astonishes his opponents, and prevents allies from joining with the enemy.

8/08/2013

The Game Environment - 52

A leader who does not understand the following is not fit to lead in a guild.

8/07/2013

Miyamoto Musashi on Knowing

To know ten thousand things, know one well.
Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

8/06/2013

The Game Environment - 51

A leader must understand all facets of the game environment. Advantages of terrain are not available without this knowledge—a leader must personally view these.

8/04/2013

The Game Environment - 50

Before a guild enters an alliance with other guilds, they must understand the precepts of all in the alliance.

Players: A guild leader who enters an alliance with another guild who does not uphold their principles and designs, is a guild leader who is not fit to lead. Leaders willing to make sacrifices in principle for the sake of safety will find themselves unsafe when turned upon.

8/02/2013

The Game Environment - 49

Players must always resist when surrounded, must play to the best of their ability at all times, and be able to follow directions without fail when under the pressure of the game.

7/30/2013

The Game Environment - 48

On enclosed ground, block all avenues of retreat. On desperate ground, rally the players and proclaim the glory of their upcoming death.

Players: Most MMORPGs allow players to regenerate after a time period, or at a specific location. Because of this, while on desperate ground, it is often advantageous to fight until all players are killed to buy time until reinforcements arrive.

7/28/2013

Baltasar Gracián on Being Wise

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The Game Environment - 47

On serious ground, always ensure supplies are available and coming in. On difficult ground, continue to push forward.

Sample Community Charter

A charter is a document that provides potential and current members a guide to their membership, and should include the following:
  • Vision and mission statement
  • Organization structure including ranks and responsibilities
  • General community policies and procedures
This sample charter (Google Documents) can be modified to allow any gaming community write a charter. The charter should be publicly displayed and referred to as the source document for all inquiries.


7/26/2013

The Game Environment - 46

While on open ground, always be aware of the defenses. On intersecting ground, consolidate groups.

Players: Because the attack can come from any direction, groups must be able to attack and defend from any direction.

7/24/2013

The Game Environment - 45

On argumentative ground, keep the group tight so that all players reach the goal at the same time.

Players: Never allow a member to lag behind on argumentative ground, as these players are the easiest to be defeated in both PVE and PVP. The group must master the ability to move together as one, as if parts of the body moving in unison to move the body.

7/22/2013

Strategic Planning For Gaming Communities

We have completed our newest guide, Strategic Planning For Gaming Communities. We hope this publication helps new and old communities alike in their efforts to plan and execute their community's specific goals.

The publication explores the MMO development cycle and how to plan a community around that cycle.

7/20/2013

Napoleon Bonaparte on Mistakes

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Napoleon Bonaparte

7/18/2013

The Game Environment - 44

On scattering ground, inspire players with a unity of purpose. On mastered ground, ensure there is close communication between groups.

Players: On scattering ground, it is very easy for players to lose focus on objectives due to the safety of the area. Without close communication, groups may advance without the advantage, and lose the ability to retreat safely.

7/16/2013

The Game Environment - 43

When the enemy’s stronghold is to the rear, and a narrow pass in front, it is enclosed ground. When there is no protection available it is desperate ground.

7/14/2013

The Game Environment - 42

When a group goes deep into hostile territory, they are on serious ground. When a group only goes in a little way, it is mastered ground. When there are means of communication and escape on all four sides, it is intersecting ground.

7/12/2013

Anuj Somany on Leaders

A leader is one who does not care about his rank and role but remains always responsive to lead, shoulder responsibility, and achieve the goal in such a way that everyone, in and outside the team, respects him for touching their revered souls.
Anuj Somany

7/10/2013

The Game Environment - 41

When a group goes deep into hostile territory, it will bring cohesion. If they only go in a short way, they will disperse and run at the first sign of conflict.

7/08/2013

Benjamin Franklin on Security

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
Benjamin Franklin

7/05/2013

The Game Environment - 40

A guild leader must study the nine environments, the rapidity of attack and defense, and the laws of human nature.

7/04/2013

Ignazio Silone on Liberty

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, the possibility of making a mistake, the possibility of searching and experimenting, the possibility of saying No to any authority--literary, artistic, philosophic, religious, social and even political.
Ignazio Silone

7/01/2013

The Game Environment - 39

The business of a guild leader is to gather players and bring them into danger.

6/29/2013

Negative Leadership Traits

The most important entity in a guild or community is the leader. The leader sets the stage and direction for everyone else, and helps players understand the organizational culture. Players should avoid organizations whose leaders display negative traits. The following are articles identifying these traits:

Wikipedia - Toxic Leader
Forbes - 15 Ways To Identify Bad Leaders
N2Growth - 12 Ways To Spot Ineffective Leadership
On My Mind - The Top 20 Bad Leadership Traits
Game-Changer - 10 Most Common Traits of Bad Leaders
EcSell Institute - 12 Characteristics of a Bad Boss
Joseph Lalonde - 10 Bad Leadership Traits You Need To Avoid

6/28/2013

The Game Environment - 38

A leader goes forward with the greatest of speed and purpose, and only he knows the final destination.

6/26/2013

The Game Environment - 37

At the right moment, a leader acts like one resigned to die facing forward. He moves far into enemy territory before showing his hand.

6/23/2013

Miyamoto Musashi on Time

Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast….Of course, slowness is bad. Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.
Miyamoto Mushashi, The Book of Five Rings

6/21/2013

The Game Environment - 36

By continually changing his plans, the guild leader ensures the enemy has no knowledge of future actions and cannot anticipate the proper response.

6/20/2013

CriticalThinking.org - Critical Thinking Development: A Stage Theory

View the article here.

Players: It is important that both players and leaders divest time and energy into being able to critically think about all aspects of MMOs, from community development, to playing the game itself. The better the thinkers are in any group of players, the better their outcomes in the game.

6/19/2013

The Game Environment - 35

The guild leader must keep the guild mystified by rumor and legend, thus keeping them in total ignorance of his inner thoughts.

Players: While this may sound confusing, and while guilds thrive on transparency between leadership and the general player base, a guild leader’s reputation is often driven not by what they have done, but by what others say they have done. It is best to keep up the appearance of the positive while quelling the negative quickly.

6/14/2013

The Game Environment - 34

The guild leader must be quiet and ensure secrecy while always being a model for what is just within the guild. Thus, he maintains order.

6/13/2013

Miyamoto Musashi on Weaponry with Comments

You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.
- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

Players: In most MMORPGs there are a myriad of classes that can use a myriad of weaponry to play the game. It is important to encourage players on a tactical and strategic level to ensure they are adept at using all weaponry within the game that is available to their particular character. This knowledge not only makes a better player for their chosen class, but gives them insight into the uses of weaponry throughout the game. Players often find a niche weapon for their character that allows them to take advantage of most situations, and suits their style of play.

6/12/2013

The Game Environment - 33

Skillful leaders conduct the guild as if leading a single player by the hand.

6/10/2013

The Game Environment - 32

The best use of strong and weak members is a matter of the environment.

6/07/2013

The Game Environment - 31

Guild leadership must set the standard for courage which all members must strive to obtain.

6/06/2013

Miyamoto Musashi on Strategy

The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy's useful actions but allow his useless actions.
- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

6/05/2013

The Game Environment - 30

Groups of players can be made to do the will of the skillful tactician.

6/03/2013

The Game Environment - 29

Skillful tacticians can strike from any angle, at any time, and use any enemy movement to their advantage. They leave the opponent always guessing.

5/31/2013

The Game Environment - 28

Players may become disgruntled at the notion of taking a well-defended objective, but once they are brought into battle, they will become courageous.

5/29/2013

Building a Better Guild – A Tunnel Approach

In his book Building A Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance, Kelly Starrett refers to movements as going through a tunnel. He explains when someone goes through the tunnel their starting position is the start of the tunnel, the movement occurs (going through the tunnel), and the ending position is the end of the tunnel. To properly go through the tunnel, the starting position must be proper in the aspects of form and tension to protect athletes from injury. This same methodology can be used when building guild membership as we will see below.

When discussing guild member progression, three main points make up the tunnel approach:
  1. The start of the tunnel occurs when a potential recruit identifies with the guild and chooses to actively want to join the guild.
  2. Movement through the tunnel occurs as a guild member actively participates with the guild.
  3. The end of the tunnel occurs when a member has gained enough experience to become part of the guild’s leadership and guide others.
Three important questions make up an approach to tackle this methodology with any guild or community:
  1. How are we ensuring the proper starting position for new members?
  2. Are guild members progressing and flourishing in the guild?
  3. Are guild leaders in the proper position to lead when given the opportunity?
Entering the Tunnel

When entering the tunnel, it is important that all information pertaining membership is available to the recruit. This is often a guild charter setting the requirements and expectations of members. All guilds should have a publically displayed charter clearly identifying policies and procedures, while leaving little room to the imagination.

Coupled with this charter should be an active orientation program that leads new recruits once accepted through a step-by-step ramp up program. As many players already have experience in guilds, most will quickly adapt to a new guild. This does not mean the ramp-up program should be simplified. On the contrary, not including the most basic of steps can be detrimental for even experienced players.

Guilds should develop a program ensuring the start of the tunnel will allow members to flourish. The program should also include progress checkpoints to evaluate participation and motivation. Truth be told, not everyone joins a guild to be an active participant. Some may join simply to stay with friends from previous games, and some may have devious intentions to gain information for outside gaming entities. Whatever the motivations, progression checkpoints give guild leadership a tool with which to judge new member activity.

Moving Through the Tunnel – Early Exit or Continuing towards Leadership

After reaching milestones proving the new member is committed to the guild and a competent player, focus is shifted to continuing progression and improvement. Encouraging participation and scheduling events is often the primary method of keeping guild members interested. Games themselves provide this medium and guild leaders should use games as a tool to judge continued improvement. Any guild member who believes they are beyond improvement should be watched closely, as they may distract others from improving. No player is perfect, and those who are extremely competent should be helping those who may be struggling. Creating a system to allow this type of mentorship is highly advisable.

Not all members will vie for continuation past this point towards guild leadership. That should not be discouraged – leaders need followers to accomplish goals set by the guild. Those who wish to leave the tunnel early and make their end point as a regular member should be continually encouraged to participate in the community. They should be trained and molded along with those actively seeking leadership positions to ensure the ability to take on a spontaneous role in games when needed.

The Light at the End - Leadership Roles

Because of the approach ensuring a solid start to membership, players with high aptitude rise to the top of the general membership as they progress in their abilities. The solid foundation built during the start, continuing on through general membership and general leadership training ensure those chosen for leadership positions will continue to be a productive member, and not get to the top and find themselves without motivation. One of the most dangerous types of players in a guild or community is one in a stagnated leadership position.
Games generally run their course from six months to multiple years. During this time, it is often appropriate to move members in and out of leadership positions to ensure they get back in the tunnel. This keeps the ideas and communication fresh and exciting, and shows to the rest of the community the continuing product of the tunnel started during recruitment. Many communities do this through elections, others through forced changes, but whatever the methodology, allowing as many people as possible into positions of responsibility keeps motivation high.

The Game Environment - 27

Players who live longer in confrontations do so not because they fear dying.

5/28/2013

Miyamoto Mushashi on Practice

You can only fight the way you practice.
- Miyamoto Mushashi, The Book of Five Rings

5/27/2013

The Game Environment - 26

Remove doubt from a player’s mind and there is no situation they will fear.

5/25/2013

Miyamoto Musashi on The Enemy's Mind

To become the enemy, see yourself as the enemy of the enemy.
- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

5/24/2013

The Game Environment - 25

Players led by the great leaders will do the leader’s will without waiting to be asked; without being commanded they can be trusted to follow strategies.

5/23/2013

Miyamoto Musashi on The Opponent's Mind

In battle, if you make your opponent flinch, you have already won.
- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

5/22/2013

The Game Environment - 24

When desperate, players lose the sense of fear. When they cannot run, they will not hide. When in the enemy’s territory they will stay put. When they have no help they will fight hard.

Don Juan Matus on Power

“Power always makes a cubic centimeter of chance available to a warrior. The warrior's art is to be perennially fluid in order to pluck it.”
― Don Juan Matus

5/21/2013

George S. Patton on War with Comments

Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.
- George S. Patton

Players: It is essential for leaders to prioritize the enjoyment and progression of the players as individual humans with needs and desires, before accomplishments in the game that have little value. A spirited leader who focuses more on the people, and less on the game, will have achieved victory, regardless of winning or losing in the game itself. To focus only on winning in the game, is to push aside the humanity of the people playing. When players are used as equipment to be thrown away after victory, they will flock elsewhere for enjoyment. Both the mind and heart of the player are intrinsically involved in gaming, and one's enjoyment is crucial in obtaining fulfillment through gaming mediums. Leaders must continually strive to be an architect of this enjoyment.

5/20/2013

The Game Environment - 23

Put players in positions where escape is impossible and they will prefer death to flight. They will put forth their greatest effort.

5/17/2013

The Game Environment - 22

Guild leaders should not over-tax members, either through the game’s monetary system, or through their time spent playing. Always be aware of the guild’s morale. Keep players continually moving and fighting, and develop wild plans of action.

Players: Most players abhor down-time and times when the action is lackluster. Guild leadership must be aware when there are lulls expected to devise ways to keep players interested. When a leader can keep the action alive, they can rely on the players they lead to be there for them.

5/16/2013

Chögyam Trungpa on Decency

"If you are a warrior, decency means that you are not cheating anybody at all. You are not even about to cheat anybody. There is a sense of straightforwardness and simplicity. With setting-sun vision, or vision based on cowardice, straightforwardness is always a problem. If people have some story or news to tell somebody else, first of all they are either excited or disappointed. Then they begin to figure out how to tell their news. They develop a plan, which leads them completely away from simply telling it. By the time a person hears the news, it is not news at all, but opinion. It becomes a message of some kind, rather than fresh, straightforward news. Decency is the absence of strategy. It is of utmost importance to realize that the warrior’s approach should be simple-minded sometimes, very simple and straightforward. That makes it very beautiful: you having nothing up your sleeve; therefore a sense of genuineness comes through. That is decency."
― Chögyam Trungpa

5/14/2013

The Game Environment - 20

The farther into an enemy’s territory you attack, the greater the resolve of your troops, and there is no force that can stand against you.

5/13/2013

The Game Environment - 19

Speed is essential; rapidly take advantage of the enemy’s discord, take unexpected routes and attack where there is no guard.

5/12/2013

The Game Environment - 18

Great leaders will take that which the enemy holds dear, and then impose their will upon them.

R.A. Salvatore on Luck

“Luck?" Drizzt replied. "Perhaps. But more often, I dare to say, luck is simply the advantage a true warrior gains in executing the correct course of action.”
- R.A. Salvatore, The Halfling's Gem

5/11/2013

The Game Environment - 17

Great leaders know when the advantage is gained by moving, and when to stay still.

5/10/2013

5/09/2013

The Game Environment - 15

Great leaders in MMORPGs drive a wedge between the front and rear of enemy forces; to prevent cooperation between players; to prevent good players from rescuing the bad, from leaders from rallying players.

5/08/2013

The Game Environment - 14

On enclosed ground, use strategy to gain the advantage. On desperate ground, avoid thinking and fight!

5/07/2013

George S. Patton on The Unknown

Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
- George S. Patton

The Game Environment - 13

On serious ground, attack and take all you can find. Over difficult ground, continue moving.

5/06/2013

George S. Patton on Orders

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

The Game Environment - 12

In open areas, do not try to block the enemy’s way. Where areas intersect, join with allies.

5/05/2013

The Game Environment - 11

On scattering ground, do not fight. On mastered ground, do not stop. On argumentative ground, do not attack.

5/04/2013

The Game Environment - 10

Ground where players must fight immediately to avoid destruction, is desperate ground.

Players: On this type of ground, attacks must be like lightning, with no thought of survival.

General Colin Powell On Associations

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

5/03/2013

The Game Environment - 9

Ground reached through narrow choke points, and retreated from by only small numbers at a time, is enclosed ground.

Players: It is dangerous to have an escape route that limits the number of players that can take it at any time, as this makes it dangerous to be attacked from the front.

5/02/2013

The Game Environment - 8

Ground that is hard to traverse is difficult ground.

Players: Often this type of ground involves vertical changes, or choke points where players must jump their character to a new ledge or cliff. This can also mean dropping down from a protected point to an unprotected area to move, or moving through terrain that slows the players. Whenever a player must take a risk to move from one area to another, difficulty is introduced to both attacking and defending forces.

5/01/2013

The Game Environment - 7

When group of players has penetrated into the heart of enemy territory, and has fortified defenses to its rear, it is serious ground.

Players: The attacking forces obtain their greatest advantage through keeping supply chains open via defended routes. The enemy is utterly defeated.

Guild Leadership; An In-Depth Look at Leadership in MMOs

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Of the most overused and misunderstood two words for gamers, leader and leadership are often the most confusing, simply because many people are thrust into roles in gaming without a clear definition of where they fit in the big scheme of the game. This is especially true when being part of a guild or clan in gaming, where tens to hundreds of players are interacting with each other through developer content in the guild setting. Thousands are interacting on any one server, and millions are playing the game for years. Each moment of this playtime a leader emerges whether it is expected of them or not.

The purpose of this article is to explore exactly what leadership is, the types of leadership styles, gaming leadership application, the art of the follower, and the importance of training leaders at all levels.

What is Leadership?

First are two definitions of leadership that we will use to discuss what leadership is:

1. Organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal.

2. Process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.

As we can see the organization of people is directly related to the achievement of the common goal(s) and completion of the common task(s). We will discuss this more in depth after looking at leadership styles.

Leadership Styles

The following leadership styles are discussed solely in terms of their benefits and complications when applied to MMOs.

Autocratic leadership

Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leaders have absolute power over their workers or team. Staff and team members have little opportunity to make suggestions, even if these would be in the team's or the organization's best interest. Most people tend to resent being treated like this. Therefore, autocratic leadership often leads to high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover. However, for some routine and unskilled jobs, the style can remain effective because the advantages of control may outweigh the disadvantages.

This is not a very productive style of leadership for MMOs in any case.

Bureaucratic leadership

Bureaucratic leaders work "by the book." They follow rules rigorously, and ensure that their staff follows procedures precisely. This is a very appropriate style for work involving serious safety risks (such as working with machinery, with toxic substances, or at dangerous heights) or where large sums of money are involved (such as handling cash).

This style of leadership is good for a guild’s banker or guild treasurer.

Charismatic leadership

A charismatic leadership style can seem similar to transformational leadership, because these leaders inspire lots of enthusiasm in their teams and are very energetic in driving others forward. However, charismatic leaders can tend to believe more in themselves than in their teams, and this creates a risk that a project, or even an entire organization, might collapse if the leader leaves. In the eyes of the followers, success is directly connected to the presence of the charismatic leader. As such, charismatic leadership carries great responsibility, and it needs a long-term commitment from the leader.

Many guild leaders fall into the trap of trying to be this type of leader, which in the end causes large people to leave the guild when the charisma wears out.

Democratic leadership or participative leadership

Although democratic leaders make the final decisions, they invite other members of the team to contribute to the decision-making process. This not only increases job satisfaction by involving team members, but it also helps to develop people's skills. Team members feel in control of their own destiny, so they're motivated to work hard by more than just a financial reward. Because participation takes time, this approach can take longer, but often the end result is better. The approach can be most suitable when working as a team is essential, and when quality is more important than speed to market, or productivity.

This is a very appropriate style of leadership for guild leaders who want long-term success for their guild. This is also appropriate in the group setting when playing through game content.

Laissez-faire leadership

This French phrase means "leave it be," and it's used to describe leaders who leave their team members to work on their own. It can be effective if the leader monitors what's being achieved and communicates this back to the team regularly. Most often, laissez-faire leadership is effective when individual team members are very experienced and skilled self-starters. Unfortunately, this type of leadership can also occur when managers don't apply sufficient control.

This is a more appropriate style of leadership for guild leaders who have long-standing successful guilds.

People-oriented leadership or relations-oriented leadership

This is the opposite of task-oriented leadership. With people-oriented leadership, leaders are totally focused on organizing, supporting, and developing the people in their teams. It's a participative style, and it tends to encourage good teamwork and creative collaboration. In practice, most leaders use both task-oriented and people-oriented styles of leadership.

This is an appropriate style of leadership for project organizers within the guild. It is good for focus groups for community relations and guild website projects.

Servant leadership

This term, created by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s, describes a leader who is often not formally recognized as such. When someone, at any level within an organization, leads simply by meeting the needs of the team, he or she is described as a "servant leader." In many ways, servant leadership is a form of democratic leadership, because the whole team tends to be involved in decision making.

Supporters of the servant leadership model suggest that it's an important way to move ahead in a world where values are increasingly important, and where servant leaders achieve power on the basis of their values and ideals. Others believe that in competitive leadership situations, people who practice servant leadership can find themselves left behind by leaders using other leadership styles.

This is an appropriate style of leadership very early on in a guild’s formation, later on it is not as powerful as other styles.

Task-Oriented leadership

Highly task-oriented leaders focus only on getting the job done, and they can be quite autocratic. They actively define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, plan, organize, and monitor. However, because task-oriented leaders don't tend to think much about the well-being of their teams, this approach can suffer many of the flaws of autocratic leadership, with difficulties in motivating and retaining staff.

This style of leadership is not appropriate in a MMO setting.

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Chances are, you've experienced this leadership style for years.

Transactional leadership

This style of leadership starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader totally when they accept a job. The "transaction" is usually the organization paying the team members in return for their effort and compliance. The leader has a right to "punish" team members if their work doesn't meet the pre-determined standard.

Team members can do little to improve their job satisfaction under transactional leadership. The leader could give team members some control of their income/reward by using incentives that encourage even higher standards or greater productivity. Alternatively, a transactional leader could practice "management by exception" – rather than rewarding better work, the leader could take corrective action if the required standards are not met.

Transactional leadership is really a type of management, not a true leadership style, because the focus is on short-term tasks. It has serious limitations for knowledge-based or creative work, however it can be effective in other situations.

This style of leadership is appropriate for project managers within a guild for short-term tasks. This style can be effective during group content to ensure the content is completed, but should not be used a long term style. Specific situations make this good, others, it will cause strife.

Transformational leadership

As we discussed earlier, people with this leadership style are true leaders who inspire their teams constantly with a shared vision of the future. While this leader's enthusiasm is often passed onto the team, he or she can need to be supported by "detail people." That's why, in many organizations, both transactional and transformational leadership are needed. The transactional leaders (or managers) ensure that routine work is done reliably, while the transformational leaders look after initiatives that add new value.

This is one of the most powerful styles of leadership that a guild or group leader can have.

Gaming Leadership

Now that we’ve seen the definition of a leader and the styles that best fit in MMO leadership (a mixture of people-oriented, task-oriented, participative/democratic and transformational) how do we put these together in a leadership package that ensures a guild can and will achieve its goals?

Let us define our process of leadership on a general level based on the definitions we viewed before.

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Clearly the best way to lead.

STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR GOAL(S).

This is known as end-state thinking, or what the leader wants the guild or group to accomplish as a completed task or completed ongoing tasks, defined as the end state. The leader must have a vision of what they want to accomplish before even starting to organize people. Without determination of the goal, or abstract and illusive visions of what they want to accomplish, the leader is failing at completing an essential step in the leadership process, no matter what level of leadership they fall under. Other words that can be used to describe this are: objective, mission, end-state, vision.

STEP 2: DETERMINE HOW TO ORGANIZE TO ACCOMPLISH THE GOAL(S).

While a guild can have multiple goals or overarching goals (i.e. “clear all dungeons”, “be the number one PvP team”), each goal must be treated separately so that a course of action (the organization of guild members) can be set out on how to obtain each goal. The goal itself helps to define the organization. For instance a PvP focused guild is not one that is apt to take on a majority of PvE-oriented players or vice versa. A casual guild is not one that should be apt to take on very serious, competitive gamers, or vice versa. The goal itself is the key to organization of a guild or group. 

Guild Leadership

A simple way to determine the overall goal of the guild (why are you making a guild in the first place?) is to make a statement in one or two sentences that defines the goal. This is referred to as a mission statement. The mission statement gives the overall purpose of the leader or their organization in writing for all to see. The mission statement creates a foundation for guild leaders and their organization, and should be the backbone with which all decisions are made.

An example mission statement from McDonald’s:

“To provide the fast food customer food prepared in the same high-quality manner world-wide that is tasty, reasonably-priced & delivered consistently in a low-key décor and friendly atmosphere.”

This statement sets the goal and purpose of every interaction in McDonald’s, and the use of a mission statement in the creation and organizing of a guild is the first and foremost task of the guild leader.

Once the mission statement is finished, use it to organize, train, and equip group leaders and guild members towards that goal. If a situation calls for a determination on how to proceed, use the mission statement as a guide to make the decision.

Group Leadership

Group leaders have a daunting task, sometimes even more so than the guild leader (who often takes on both roles). While their goal may be apparent (i.e. finish this dungeon, win this arena match), group leaders have the day-to-day interaction with the members of the guild and with those outside the guild. Given this, some common rules apply here as well. First, group leaders must ensure every member of the group knows the goals, just as a guild leader lets the public know their goals through the mission statement. Let the members of the group know the goal up front, and ensure they are aware of the requirement to complete the goal.

An objective-focused group that puts aside personal desires for the group’s overall goal is one that is much stronger than a group of players who are in the group solely to achieve a collection of personal objectives. The group leader ensures the overall goal encompasses all the personal objectives as well. Most players want the group the succeed just as much as they want to further their own objectives in the game. Melding these two together are essential. If a player is not in line with this philosophy they should be either convinced of its effectiveness or removed from the group. Disharmony of one player creates disharmony among the entire group.

Remember MMOs are both social endeavors and have a myriad of common tasks to accomplish. The group leader is the primary organizer to complete these gaming tasks and this is a position that should not be taken lightly. Being a leader in the game is like being a leader anywhere else, except in gaming personal goals often clash with overall objectives, and players tend to go down paths during group play that detract from the accomplishment of the overall objective. Most players need to be taught that accomplishment of the overall objective is a path to accomplishing personal objectives for their characters.

The Art of the Follower

No good discussion of leadership can be complete when talking about the customer of all leaders, followers. Let us look at Ten Rules of Good Followership by Col Phillip Meilinger and how his rules can apply to a guild.

1. Don’t blame your boss for an unpopular decision or policy; your job is to support, not undermine.This is especially true in both the guild and group dynamics. Your job as a follower is to follow decisions whether you like them at first or not.

2. Fight with your boss if necessary; but do it in private, avoid embarrassing situations, and never reveal to others what was discussed. If you disagree with the decisions being made, go directly to the guild or group leader (often accomplished through messages and private chat), and don't call them out in public. Then, don't go and talk about it behind that person's back. This undermines the leader and guild immensely when this is done, and is one of the primary reasons for people leaving a guild and guild's breaking up.

3. Make the decision, then run it past the boss; use your initiative. If you are in a situation where you have to make the decision, do so. For leaders, don't micromanage your followers.

4. Accept responsibility whenever it is offered. If you are given a task or role in the guild or in a group, do your absolute best to fulfill that task or role.

5. Tell the truth and don’t quibble; your boss will be giving advice up the chain of command based on what you said. Anything you tell an intermediate leader should be assumed as being directly told to someone higher.

6. Do your homework; give your boss all the information needed to make a decision; anticipate possible questions. Don't expect the leader to understand your situation immediately, it is completely up to you to take responsibility for providing the most information possible to help guild and group leaders make decisions based on your situation. Also, don't feel disrespected when a leader may not see things your way and ask you to explain further.

7. When making a recommendation, remember who will probably have to implement it. This means you must know your own limitations and weaknesses as well as your strengths. This is especially important when suggesting new strategies and tactics in a dynamic environment. If you are changing something everyone has to accomplish, you can almost always expect push back on the idea. Remembering your own strengths and weaknesses can help you assure others that your idea is plausible and efficient.

8. Keep your boss informed of what’s going on in the unit; people will be reluctant to tell him or her their problems and successes. You should do it for them, and assume someone else will tell the boss about yours. Remember to provide feedback especially if you are an intermediate leader. If a situation occurs within the guild that you believe should be brought to the attention of the leadership, do so. A guild's power rests on the respect between members and the willingness to stand up and say something if it empowers the members of the guild.

9. If you see a problem, fix it. Don’t worry about who would have gotten the blame or who now gets the praise. Often times people are reluctant to fix a problem because they either don't feel they are empowered to fix the problem, or they are afraid they will be blamed as being part of the problem requiring the fix. This is unfounded logic. Problems that need fixing should be fixed at the earliest opportunity lest they become bigger problems that cannot be fixed without drastic measures.

10. Put in more than an honest day’s work, but don’t ever forget the needs of your family. If they are unhappy, you will be too, and your job performance will suffer accordingly. As a guild member, real life comes first. Remember that, always. If your family and life outside of gaming is suffering, there is a deeper issue. You cannot be an effective guild member or player if your life away from gaming is being affected negatively by your gaming. If you need to, take a break from gaming, guild's understand that burnout from a game is a undeniable negative consequence from not requiring balance in one's life. Your guild will be better off having a player who is fresh and ready to take on challenges in game, than a player who comes to events with a negative attitude and poor attention span due to outside life challenges.

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Leadership Training

"Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal."
- Vince Lombardi

The Vince Lombardi quote should be posted on the front of any leadership book. Regardless of what people think about the quote, almost everyone has run into a good leader and a bad leader at some point in the their gaming career. The thing is we remember vividly the really good and really bad leaders and why they were good or bad. The thing about this is that the good leaders in many cases could have been a lot better, and the bad leaders may have improved had they actually been trained to be good leaders.

Since this is one article in a great many in our Academic Guides, this section won't go into great detail on how to implement a leadership training program, instead it will focus on why that leadership program is important to the overall success of the guild.

Why Train Leaders?

In a guild, everyone can be a leader at some point. The guild leader is often the most noticeable and recognizable but most other members at some point will lead a group and will lead a guild function. Training guild members in the art of leadership will do three things:

1. Training builds confidence among guild members in the guild leadership. The trust between leaders and members is essential to the success of the guild. If the general membership cannot trust members in leadership roles and their decisions, a guild will soon fall apart because of this lack of trust. Members will use the guild for solely personal objectives rather than be motivated to further advance the guild objectives (which in almost every case would more rapidly fulfill their personal objectives).

2. Training builds bonds of trust between guild members that can be counted upon during guild events.If members cannot trust each other to take on leadership positions in dynamic situations (i.e. a group leader dies and another member must immediately pick up that role) then events will fail time and time again. Along with this failure, members not trained as leaders will be unable to handle situations they would normally shy away from.

3. Training instills the confidence in each player to take leadership skills out to their daily lives and become productive members of not only the guild, but society itself. This is an often overlooked product of guild leadership qualities. More often than not, guild leaders and members who have been given leadership roles used gaming to help develop leadership abilities that allow them to operate in "highly distributed, global, hyper-competitive, virtual environments". By helping members gain confidence through gaming, you allow them to gain confidence in real-world situations that will in turn reciprocate back to the gaming environment. This sense of accomplishment reflects back and forth and creates happier, healthier, and more productive guild members and members of society.

References

1. Leadership. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership
2. Leadership Styles. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm
3. Mission Statement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_statement
4. The Ten Rules of Good Followership. https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.au.af.mil%2Fau%2Fawc%2Fawcgate%2Fau-24%2Fmeilinger.pdf
5. Virtual Worlds; Real Leaders. https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ibm.com%2Fibm%2Fgio%2Fmedia%2Fpdf%2Fibm_gio_gaming_report.pdf

4/30/2013

The Game Environment - 6

Ground connecting different parts of the game world, either via portal or change of the actual environment is intersecting ground.

Players: Some of the most important ground intersections different areas. This often provides: safety (in the case of an instanced game worlds where players escape threats by going to another instance); a method of ambush (players coming into an area are often defenseless against attack); and once obtained, defense for a small group when large numbers must funnel into a smaller area. Watch these areas at all times.

4/29/2013

Four Personalities That Hurt Guilds (And How to Fix Them!)

This post will present four personality types that generally wreak havoc on a gaming guilds, along with a starting point for fixing problem members. Some members may fit into multiple personality types, so treat each person as an individual and give special attention towards their wants and  desires versus guild goals. In the end, the guild needs to win, not the individual.

The Motivated Ghost

Key phrase to listen for:
I haven’t seen <insert name here> since joining, where did they go?

Qualities:
  • Gives good ideas but isn’t around to, or doesn’t want to implement them
  • Excited when joining the guild, but doesn’t participate in guild activities
Why they are a problem: Motivated ghosts are generally great people, but when push comes to shove they are taking up space in the guild – space that could be supported by people who actually participate.

The fix: Encourage motivated ghosts to participate in guild activities and give them chances to excel. Often it just takes a little nudge to motivate these people. If they still do not participate, gently show them the door with the advice they find a guild more suited to their participation goals.

The Dictator

Key phrase to listen for:
You are going to do things my way, or you’ll be kicked out of the guild (removed from the group, etc.).

Qualities:
  • Often raises voice to get point across
  • Uses threats and ultimatums
  • Unwilling to listen or consider other points of view
  • Resorts to personal attacks when directions aren’t implemented
Why they are a problem: Dictators range from leaders to members. Anyone who shows these qualities shows a key inability to listen to others, and can’t reason through an argument without resulting towards a defensive tone. This brings down the general morale of membership because they eventually succumb to the dictator and lead an unhappy life as a guild member, or leave the guild entirely.

The fix: Dictators are best dealt with in a one-on-one setting, rather than with a group to avoid the feeling of being “piled on.” Explain to the dictator that their demeanor is a detriment to the guild, and they need to “listen first, talk second.” If a dictator is unwilling to change, it is best this personality type is removed from the guild entirely. If this is a guild leader, it is best for players to avoid the guild.

The Ego Monster

Key phrase to listen for:
This guild wouldn't be anything without me.

Qualities:
  • Attempts to change discussions into arguments
  • Uses threats and ultimatums
  • Requires that others consider their point of view
  • Discussions revolve around unhappiness with guild
Why they are a problem: Ego Monsters are one of the drama-creators guilds fail to resolve because they are often very charismatic and loved by the general guild population, while despised by leadership. Guilds are inherently a collaborative environment, and a person who consistently puts their needs and desires above the rest of the guild, bogs down that environment. Their rhetoric is consistently aimed towards changing a guild to fit personal desires, not for the betterment of the guild as a whole. Ego Monsters see the guild as a piece of their equipment, not as something they take part in.

The fix: Ego Monsters need to be brought down to Earth. No guild requires an Ego Monster to survive or flourish. They are best dealt with by a neutral negotiator (ideally someone good at conflict resolution) with both sides present in the discussion. The negotiator needs to be able to address both sides of an issue objectively and without bias, which will make the Ego Monster more comfortable and less defensive. Negotiations give the Ego Monster a sense that the guild wants to keep them, which isn’t always the case, and the point must be made that lack of resolution is not an option.

Along with “listen first, talk second” the Ego Monster needs to be able to understand guilds are about many people, from many backgrounds, all working towards common goals, with a collective desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. If an Ego Monster will not change and is a continuing problem, removal is the final option and should be done swiftly (see The Disintegrator below).

The Disintegrator

Key phrase to listen for:
I’m going to destroy/bring down this guild.

Qualities:
  • Subversive in attempts to undermine guild leadership
  • Attempts to change discussions into arguments
  • Discussions revolve around unhappiness with guild
  • Maliciously attacks guild through media
  • Refuses to interact with guild leadership
Why they are a problem: This personality is attempting to destroy a guild by any means possible. They are often very subversive in attempts to do so and can be hard to weed out. If mixed as an Ego Monster, they are much more apparent.

The fix: Immediate removal. This personality’s goal is simple, and the best fix is to remove their ability to  attack the guild on the guild’s turf (normally a forum or voice chat). Once removed, they may continue to  attack from other venues, but these attacks usually backfire because the larger community sees someone complaining. Once removed, ignore further attacks and attempts to “troll” guild members.

Conclusion

Did you find yourself falling into one or more of these categories? If you do, then perhaps it is time you  reevaluate what it is you want out of gaming. Is it a hobby, or is it a means to justify an ego? A little secret -  gaming is meant to be fun. It is OK to be motivated, and to be competitive. But it is not OK to ruin gaming for others, and to put self-interest above the goals of a guild. They should be complementary, and gamers who truly enjoy their experience with others have realized fun comes with a sense of community, and social interaction.

4/26/2013

The Chat Box

How many players feel the need to chat? Almost all of us have the urge to put our two cents into the chat box. Especially when a heated argument is taking place between players. A verse from the Bible strangely comes to mind, Proverbs 17:28:

"Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues."

Why does this matter when it comes to strategy? Simply put, when a player is quick to anger, and is easily aroused in the chat room, they have already lost. A leader is brought down to the dirt when a temper is flaring. Group members are embarrassed, and guilds are shunned. To display a weakness makes a player a fool in front of everyone.

The Developer's Mind

In today's world, the interaction between players and developers is much more frequent across the spectrum of social media. Because of this, in the last 10 years, players have become much more brazen in requesting of developers what they want out of the game based on their likes and dislikes.

This is mind of a failed player.

MMOs are unique in the world of gaming because they are updated regularly, often to fix an imbalance that was unforeseen by the developers, through the the actions of the players. Players jump on this opportunity to make suggestions without thinking about second and third order effects that will occur if their requested change is made.

So, one should ask oneself when playing a game, "how would the developer play this game?"

Using this question is to the advantage of the player. It allows them to have all the rules and constructs built into the game at their fingertips from the beginning. It removes a bias of the statement, "this is how I want to play this game," and changes the statement to, "this is how the game should be played."

Only after subjecting oneself to this line of thinking, can a player begin to see the subtlety going into the game play. Only then can a player begin to see how a change, if made or needed, will begin to affect the rest of the game, from the point of view of the developer.

4/22/2013

The Game Environment - 5

Ground that allows freedom of movement on all sides is open ground.

Players: This type of ground while allowing freedom of movement for players, often allows a clear picture of the battle from any side. Any movement that may seem to gain an advantage can be easily defended due to the lack of cover, and very few feints may succeed without early recognition. It is over best to move quickly over this type of ground to one where the advantage can be obtained. Because of how games are designed, any ability to gain line-of-sight is an advantage, while the inability to move to cover is a great disadvantage.

4/19/2013

The Game Environment - 4

When territory allows the advantage to either side, it is argumentative ground.

Players: This type of territory is argumentative such that those who possess it can assume they will be continually attacked. Because of the great advantage afforded to those who hold the ground it will always be in contention. This is often the case in “capture the flag” style engagements, where holding the territory gives points to the holding players. The advantages may include large line-of-sight, extra power to the holder for either attack or defense, or quicker resource production. Once captured this territory must be continually defended for the advantage it gives.

4/16/2013

The Game Environment - 3

When a guild has penetrated into enemy territory, but only a short distance, it is mastered ground.

Players: Territory taken just outside of the home territory can be seen as an extension of the home territory. Because there is a safe territory just behind, players can take advantage of a quick escape route. This is especially important when the route for escape is always present. If the escape route is not easily defended, players must ensure a continued watch for the route or they may succumb to flanking or ambush.

4/12/2013

The Game Environment - 2

When a guild is fighting in its own territory, it is scattering ground.

Players: When playing in their own territory, players are most likely to be very educated on routes of entry and escape as well as the best attacking and defending points. For this reason, players are often scattered across the territory. Because of this, help in a fight may require more time to reach a player in need of assistance.

In many games, territories are guarded by non-player characters (NPCs) of great strength that cannot be defeated by enemy players. Additionally, these NPCs can give warning when enemies are present. Use of these NPCs can be of great value when forces are spread out.

4/09/2013

The Game Environment - 1

The art of MMORPG war recognizes nine types of environment (e.g., ground, territory) in the game world: (1) scattering; (2) mastered; (3) argumentative; (4) open; (5) intersecting; (6) serious; (7) difficult; (8) enclosed; (9) desperate.

3/31/2013

Terrain - 32

If you know both yourself and the enemy, victory is never in doubt.

3/30/2013

Terrain - 31

Once in battle, experienced members are never confused, and are never at a loss for proper actions.

3/29/2013

Terrain - 30

If the leaders know the enemy is open to attack, the members are ready to attack, but unaware that the situation makes fighting impracticable, then only half-victory is obtained.

3/28/2013

Terrain - 29

If the guild is not ready to attack, but is unaware the enemy is open to attack only a half-victory is obtained.

3/27/2013

Terrain - 28

If the guild is ready to attack, but unaware that the enemy is not open to attack, only a half-victory is obtained.

3/26/2013

Terrain - 27

If you (guild leaders) use the guild for your own personal desires, but are lacking in authority; kind, but unable to issue commands; and incapable of instilling discipline: then your guild members are like spoiled children, and useless.

3/25/2013

Terrain - 26

Treating guild members as family, they will follow you through to the end; look at them as your brothers and sisters and they will remain loyal.

3/23/2013

Terrain - 25

Guild leaders who lead without thought of gaining reward and without fearing failure, with thoughts only for the advancement of the guild and the guild’s members, are the pinnacle of leaders.

3/21/2013

Terrain - 24

If fighting is sure to bring victory, then fight, even if the leader forbids it; if fighting will result in defeat, do not fight even if under the leader’s direction to do so.

Players: Fighting when able to win, players will be recognized by a good leader as taking the initiative, and will be rewarded for doing so. When not fighting even though at the leader’s bidding to do so, which results in sustaining the force instead of destruction, will be rewarded for being wise in defeating failure before it occurs.

3/20/2013

Terrain - 23

Guild leaders who reflect, plan, and put sound plans into action, create guilds which blossom into successful ventures. Those who fail in these respects, create guilds which are doomed to failure.

3/18/2013

Terrain - 22

The game world itself is the best ally of the player; but the ability to estimate enemies, control the guild’s members, calculate and plan against difficulty, are the true tests of a guild leader.

3/15/2013

Terrain - 21

All guild leaders must think upon these six faults and take action up front to avoid being hindered by them, as well as determine a plan to prevent them.

3/11/2013

Terrain - 20

When the guild leader is unable to determine the best size for a guild based on the game being played, when he or she allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, forces a weak group to engage a strong one, and fails to properly place those with strengths within groups to allow victory, the result is defeat.

3/08/2013

Terrain - 19

When the guild leader is perceived by members to be weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear, when officers do not have fixed responsibilities, and when ranks have no meaning to the guild members, the guild is disorganized.

Players: It is of utmost importance when developing and planning a guild, clan, or group for any video game that requires a use of teamwork, a document that defines the roles and responsibilities of each rank in the group is written with the clearest of language. Ranks should fit a system that is easily recognizable by members, such as recruit for the newest of members and leader held by the guild leader. If there are multiple leaders, they should all have the same rank. It is often easiest to pair the rank with the role in the group such as recruitment officer or logistics officer. The document (e.g., charter) should use the same terminology as is used within the guild, and be accessible to those both in and outside of the group.

3/04/2013

Terrain - 18

When the highest officers of the guild are insubordinate to the leader, and when leading the guild in battle resenting the leader and the members below them, before the guild leader can tell the state of the guild, the result is ruin.

2/14/2013

Terrain - 17

When guild officers are insubordinate towards the guild’s leader, upon leading the guild into battle, and even before the guild’s leader can see whether in an advantageous position, the result is destruction.

2/11/2013

Terrain - 16

When a guild’s members choose to be in subordinate to guild officers, disregard for directions will hinder the progress of the guild. When the guild’s officers are overly harsh and critical of the normal members, the result will be failure of the guild.

2/08/2013

Terrain - 15

If all else is equal, a guild coming up against a force greatly outnumbering its members, will result in the flight of members.

Players: This is common in MMORPGs where game servers are pitted against other servers with unequal populations. Members will naturally flock towards servers with higher populations to ensure they have other people to play with, who serve as a protective and social measure.

Designers: It is in the best interest of players to ensure balance in the number of players across game servers. Additionally, by limiting the amount of transfers, along with making it unsavory to transfer, this helps to ensure balance among servers. Finally, when all else fails to create balance, the combining of servers to ensure population balance is advised.

2/05/2013

Terrain - 14

A guild is subject to six weaknesses arising from the faults of the guild’s leader. These are: (1) Loss of membership; (2) disregard for directions; (3) failure; (4) destruction; (5) disorganization; (6) defeat.

2/04/2013

Terrain - 13

If at a distance from the enemy players, and your players’ strength is equal to the enemy’s, fighting is not advantageous.

2/01/2013

Terrain - 12

If the enemy occupies a height before you, do not go up, but attempt to bait him away from his defense.

1/29/2013

Terrain - 11

With regard to high terrain; if you occupy the area before the enemy, occupy the high points and wait for the enemy to come up.

1/10/2013

Terrain - 10

If the enemy occupies a passage, do not attack if the pass is fully defended, but only if weakly defended.

1/07/2013

Terrain - 9

Attempt to occupy narrow passageways and routes first, then strongly fortify them against the enemy.

1/05/2013

Terrain - 8

Even if the enemy gives you bait, do not move, but rather retreat to entice the enemy to come towards you. When part of the enemy's force has come out, you can then attack with the advantage.

Players: This is especially important in games that have choke points. Often enemies will have a player act as bait in tight areas or in areas with small amounts of line of sight, to lure a force into an ambush. Instead, turn the ruse into an advantage to gain the upper hand.