Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
 
Life choices

So as to not derail the previous comment thread: Hagu posed an interesting question there:
Thought experiment, if you had to choose between two adults to hire for a professional job, and all you knew was that one was great at an MMO and another was kinda bad, wouldn't you want to hire the kinda bad? Doesn't being great at an MMO mean you have made some poor life choices?
I don't think that knowing whether somebody was good or bad at an MMO gives sufficient information about his life choices. From my own experience being good or bad at an MMO is not so much about life choices than it is about a choice what you want to do with the time you spend in game.

People who are good at MMOs frequently want you to believe that this is an incredibly difficult feat, requiring a huge amount of skill and dedication. In my experience, that is not really true. It does require *some* skill and dedication, certainly. But I am certainly not the fastest button-masher, nor did I ever call in sick to play an MMO, and I had no problems being a valued member in a hardcore raiding guild in WoW at some point in time. Having experienced that I then rather played with a more casual guild, but that was simply a matter of choice. You *can* be great at an MMO without having to neglect job and family, but then you don't get to see much of the game except the part you want to be great at.

I would however ask that job candidate at what exactly he was so great at in that MMO. I would have no problem hiring for example an experienced raid leader. You simply can't do that without having leadership and teamworking skills. So *some* skills shown in an MMO can potentially be quite relevant for a job. I'd also might want to know what his class/role is. I'd hire a healer over a dps class, because the healer demonstrated more concern for others, and a certain willingness of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others.

Comments:
The questions evokes the mistaken thought that there's some sort of skill invariant. That to be better at one thing you are also worse at another. It goes back to the whole 'we're all equal under god' thing where nobody is actually better than anyone else, we're all just better at different things.

This is wrong; people are not all equally skilled just in different areas. There are high average performance people and low average performance people. People who perform well in one area are much more likely to perform well in other areas. People who perform poorly in one area are more likely to perform poorly in other areas.

If all I know about two people is that one performed very highly in an entirely different area (shuffleboard, personal finance, gardening, whatever) and the other did not, then I'd pick the higher performer expecting them to be a higher performer for this job also.
 
Hah. Well, first of all being good at an MMO isn't even much of an accomplishment even in the context of video game skills. At least in WoW, you can lift the best dps or heal build off the forums, and if you can't hit a button every .5 seconds you have the reaction time of a sloth.

IIRC at least at one point in BC the best thing for Warlocks to do was simply spam shadow bolt. That's a real challenge!

But of course when people talk about great players what they kind of also mean is players with great gear. I personally solo killed groups of 3-4 players on a semi-regular basis back in the BC days of WoW. How could I do that? Well, I was pretty good but mostly it was because I had way better gear than them. So it's hard to tell if they were less skilled than me or simply mathematically incapable of defeating my stats.

So to be great at an MMO means they also have the gear to look great. That means spending an enormous amount of time playing. Maybe thats just their hobby and it will do no harm, but maybe it means he'll be staying up until 1 AM raiding. With no other information on hand, I'd count his MMO skills as irrelevant and his proclivities as more likely to impair his work. Raid leading might be a plus, but the information I have is great at MMOs, not great at managing 10 people.

Therefore I'd go with the non-MMO player.

 
Also, Michael, this high average performance/low performance thing is a bit off I think.

For instance, I can't sing for the life of me. Terrible, terrible at it. That doesn't have anything to do with my other skills.

Many athletes are fantastic athletes who are horrible with money. Many brilliant scientists have terrible social skills.

It doesn't even out, there are people who are overall just better performers than others, but especially with a skill as esoteric and utterly pointless as MMO playing ability, you can't possibly derive useful information about a persons overall skill level. A person could easily have the potential to be a great MMO player but spent it learning to play the guitar, studying, or any number of other activities that lead to great performance in other arenas in life.

If you did that, with, say, income and drew conclusions about most hardcore MMO player's overall performance at life, I don't think the hardcore MMO players would come off well at all.
 
Are most fantastic athletes terrible with money? Do more brilliant scientists have worse social skills?

Or are you just following a few well-known cases that match the stereotype so to confirm your expectation?

I would expect higher performing players to also have higher incomes. I've never seen any data on it, but it makes sense to me. Has there been any work on that?
 
I think it would be very difficult to draw a conclusion about dedicated/"good" WoW players and job performance outside of the assertion that those individuals might not have a sense of pragmatism about how they spend their personal time.
 
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1200856-why-nfl-players-really-go-bankrupt

78% of ex-NFL players go bankrupt or are under financial stress even though they made more money than most people do in a lifetime. 60% of NBA players go bankrupt within 5 years of their career ending. So that's pretty well established. The scientist thing I don't have any numbers on.
 
Wait, why in the world would higher performing players correlate with higher incomes?

Isn't high performance in an MMO mainly an investment in time? Most highly-paid jobs also take more time, meaning less time available for the game.

Frankly I think trying to prove a correlation in either direction is unlikely to be meaningful, but if you *forced* me to pick one or the other, I'd bet on the 'higher power level characters = less real world money' side of things.
 
I assumed Michael meant higher performing athletes made more.

If he meant high performing MMO players make more money, he's out of his goddamn mind.
 
Personally I don't think I would prefer a candidate, all other things being equal, that was bad at *anything* to someone who was good at that thing.

Sure there may be levels of being dysfunctionally obsessed with the thing in question, but that doesn't probably even correlate very much with how good or bad you are.

Being good probably does correlate with generally positive attributes like "sticks to the task", "learns about the subject", "motivated to achieve" etc.

Even then, it's probably not a strong correlation. Since you have no idea if their MMO playing is a little bit of chill time for them, and they excel at some other thing that is their main hobby.

As for thinking that healers are more concerned about other people than DPSers, that seems a pretty unfounded generalization to make.

People choose classes for all sorts of reasons, like what they find fun, what is recommended as beginner friendly, what their friends play, how easy it is to be invited to groups etc.

If you want to know whether people are team players, probably more relevant to know if they like to group at all, whether they have a regular group etc.

Overall the information value of knowing that someone is good or bad at MMOs when it comes to assessing their likely job performance is pretty close to zero I'd think.
 
So to be great at an MMO means they also have the gear to look great. That means spending an enormous amount of time playing. Maybe thats just their hobby and it will do no harm, but maybe it means he'll be staying up until 1 AM raiding.

This doesn't really seem true. While I am certainly not in the world first category, the guild I am in is usually server first final heroic boss each raid tier...and I spend 8 hours a week playing World of Warcraft (4 hours, twice a week). That hardly seems like an enormous amount of time.
 
I would never hire someone who fails in a task he choose for himself. After all, if you suck at your hobby that you LIKE, how hard you'll suck in your job that you don't even like!
 
I listed my experience as guild officer and raid leader in the 'Hobbies' section of my business school application.
 
There are instances where being good at MMO is relevant to job (hiring testers/QA for developed MMO, for example).

When being good in MMO is not relevant to the job (e.g. hiring vet doctor) hiring based solely on this information is a mistake. Hiring must be postponed until actual qualifications are established.
 
Hah. Well, first of all being good at an MMO isn't even much of an accomplishment even in the context of video game skills. At least in WoW, you can lift the best dps or heal build off the forums, and if you can't hit a button every .5 seconds you have the reaction time of a sloth.

You should look for actual data about this instead of anecdote. If what you say were true then DPS=f(gear ilevel), while reality shows that for the same ilvl you get wildly variable results. Actually, if you really played as much as you say, you should have SEEN that people with same ilvl can have completely different performances....
Then, I'm the first to agree that MMO (videogames in general, actually) are not really very hard.... they are GAMES, if they were as hard as building space shuttles you wouldn't get many people playing.

BTW I would ask if they are into theorycrafting, since the math of MMOs can be interesting and complex.

 
Well Heli, as far as the gear thing, any halfway competent player in great gear is going to blow away a great player in bad gear in any statistical realm you want. If the difference is fairly marginal (great player is in heroic dungeon gear, ok player is in starter raid gear) the difference could be overcome, sure.

It's just like car racing. You put the greatest race car drive in a Toyota Camry and have him race somebody in a Porsche. As long as the Porsche driver has enough skill to not crash, he's going to win. And easily too.
 
No, I do think better performing mmo players will likely also have higher incomes. Perhaps not the people at the very top, but I'd bet the top half makes more than the bottom half. Being a person who can make a high income makes you more likely to also be a person who can play well.

Say you've got a successful person and they try out an mmo. If she decides playing isn't worth the time, she'll stop, spend her time more productively, and won't be a bad player. If she decides playing is fun and worth the time, then she'll work to get better. So more productive people will tend to end up in the top half of players.

While a less successful player will 1) be less inclined to stop and do other stuff, because the other stuff is comparably less valued, 2) be less inclined to push to become better because they're not as accustomed to being a high performer.

I would imagine that less successful people are more evenly distributed, while more successful people are biased towards the top. So overall, more successful people are better players.
 
@ 8f559f86-7761-11e3-ac30-000bcdcb8a73

Your wrong, and the empirical evidence that your wrong was Gevlon's "under geared" experiment. A group of players in WoW successfully raided only in blue gear.
 
@ 8f559f86-7761-11e3-ac30-000bcdcb8a73

Your wrong, and the empirical evidence that your wrong was Gevlon's "under geared" experiment. A group of players in WoW successfully raided only in blue gear.
 
I'm pretty sure brilliant scientists DO tend to have bad social skills.

Think about it! You don't get to be a brilliant scientist unless you spend most of the time thinking about science, even while people are blathering on about football or their love-lives all around you...
 
Science is just a different kind of dungeon.
 
Your comparing apples to oranges.

A raid group is a raid group. A player is a player. Also there's no control group of well geared "bad players" to compare against. In addition, I'm comparing it against a competent player, not the worst loser who ever played a character with epics.

Successful raiding is more about people actually giving a shit. In a limited experiment with motivated players it's no wonder that they did well in the gear that one is supposed to have to start raiding.
 
The people I consider bad MMO players are usually the ones who turn up with little/no perparation and let down the team.

There's no way I want to work with people like that. If they cant get their shit together and make a decent contribution outside work what's to say they will be any different in a professional capacity?
 
"I'd hire a healer over a dps class, because the healer demonstrated more concern for others, and a certain willingness of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others."

I'd just like to mention that this can be completely untrue.

Me, for example. The reason I play healer doesn't really have to do with 'others' and 'self sacrifice'. I just like to be able to heal myself. The fact that I then can heal in groups is just an added bonus.
 
I'd say I'm just more likely to hire a gamer. Being a gamer requires to to build certain skills.

The guy I'd skip is the one who spends an equal amount of time to the MMO player watching TV.
 
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