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How games can improve your skills in the real world

alex_barashkov profile image Alex Barashkov ・7 min read

If you’re going to play the game, you’ve got to learn to play it right or how games can improve your skills in the real world. There are a lot of avid gamers in the world, but many people still think that playing games is a bad habit or a waste of time. But the story of my gaming experiences shows that some valuable lessons can be learned from various games.

As obvious as it seems, it’s worth remembering that the main feature of online games is the ability to play with real people. This is useful for learning how to communicate with them, how to manage them, learning their behaviour, habits, problems, and how to predict their moves.

Communication

Talk more with people you are playing with. This is a great way to improve your communication skills, get better results in game, and practice touch typing. You should never play alone in online games if you can help it — find friends, participate in events, use voice chat. Even if you’re young, don’t hesitate to talk with adult players. Be smart, however, as your behaviour also be adult if you want other people to listen you. When I was 13 years old, Lineage 2 was my game of choice and I held an HR position in a large, strong clan. I was responsible for doing background checks on people who wanted to join our clan and did it well enough that people who were 10–20 years older than me listened to my opinions.

Real world skills: This experience was important for teaching me to communicate effectively with other people,especially when interviewing new employees. Now I can get a feel for possible candidates and understand them better, allowing me to more effectively determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Entrepreneurial streak

In MMORPG games like Lineage 2, Aion, and World of Warcraft, you learn early what it means to be a businessman , particularly how to earn and manage money. In an online world, everyone thinks about how to become rich and you need to figure out a few smart strategies to get there yourself:

  • buy cheap, sell for more.
  • become a specialist in something unique and sell that service. For example, you can fill a specialised role in a party to help others fight monsters.
  • find people who will support you.

Real world skills: If you learn and practise these money making skills online, you’ll be able to apply them well in the real world.

Management and leadership

Be active in the games and don’t be afraid take responsibility for others. When you are in a dungeon with 6 unfamiliar players, it has to be someone’s job to manage them, otherwise your chances of success will be much lower. That job could be yours. Of course, there is a degree of responsibility in this, but in online game you can fail dungeons multiple times and use that experience to think about the mistakes you made. Over time, you become better and finally lead your group to success. I personally found this to be invaluable experience. When I was around 20 years old, I played *Aion *and was a leader in a big legion that sometimes ran raids and castle sieges. Through this, I had experience managing more than 300 players in real time, who listened my commands and gave me responsibility for the success or failure of our quest. I was always telling the group what to do and where to go, coordinating different sub-groups of people to keep them heading in the right direction and complete the raid.

Real world skills: This experience teaches you the principles of human management more effectively just reading boring books. It’s also an ideal way to practice and keep your skills sharp. If you can succeed in leading up to 300 people, you can survive with management of any small department, project, or business.

Company growing problems

When playing online games, you’ll face many of the same growing problems as real businesses. Clans in an MMORPG always start with just a handful of people. They might be good in fights, smart, and work together effectively, but to achieve more you need more people. Once you get 30–50 members, you start to understand that it’s time to build a proper structure in the clan, delegate responsibilities, build bounty systems, show career growth possibilities, and so on. If you do it right, you have the potential to grow your clan to around 200 members. At this point you will be able to achieve a lot more things not normally possible, such as killing raid bosses, running your own castles, and earning tons of virtual money.

Real world skills: Just the fact that you aware of that problem gives you a chance to prevent it.

Alertness

When you are young, it’s normal to be naive. Online games help dispel that fast, because there are complex social groups, there is there fraud. Lineage 2 offered a lot of options to make money by fraud and deceit. Let’s imagine your character run across the village, and you see someone selling amazing moon stone that you’re looking for, for a very cheap price. You buy it and are pleased with your find, but suddenly, a few minutes later, you understand that you bought a fake, something that looks like moon stone but is actually some other, useless material.

Real world skills: Even now I have friends who spent 30 years making the same mistakes and losing money in reality just because they did not pay enough attention and were the victims of scams.

The speed of decision-making

It goes without saying that there is no script when you fight with a real person in online game. You need to train your decision-making skills and quick thinking to compete. Just imagine you have around 20–25 skills you use in a given fight and your opponent has their own 20–25 different ones. When you fight, you need to keep in mind factors like cooldowns of enemy skills, cooldowns of your skills, what skills your enemy has and how they affect to you, and territory around the both of you. All of these things could mean the difference between victory and failure. To mount the pressure even more, theses analyses need to be done in real-time if you want to have a hope of winning.

Real world skills: Whether learning to drive or taking part in an important negotiation, thinking quickly and accurately is the key to success. This is an excellent general skill to master.

Strategy

Successful games need planning. Time is limited, so you need to determine short and long term goals to get the most from the game and spend your time effectively. If you can plan for success in complex game challenges, this develops a series of related skills that all contribute to effective strategizing.

Real world skills: Business, projects, and a wide range of other aspects of life needs effective strategy. Without considering strategy or the skills to execute it, you’re going to rely only on luck and accident, which will only get you so far.

Diligence

Diligence is absolutely characteristic of the experienced MMORPG player and the area that it’s arguably most effective at improving. In Lineage 2 you are expected to kill thousands and thousands of almost identical monsters in the same location, wasting 3–4 hours for a reward of just 3–4% of the necessary experience for your next level. Only by doing the same things everyday for a long time are you able to reach a high level.

Real world skills: Even something as simple as writing a short article, like this one, requires a level of diligence to do it well. Diligence also helps
people stick to their their goals and achieve what they want in life, especially with their careers and passion projects.

Stress management

When you play with a team of people you don’t know well, occasionally someone will consciously try to ruin your game by picking inappropriate characters, helping the opposing team, or any number of possibilities. This is fairly common in online games. Some people do get angry and spend a lot of energy trying to explain to such people that they are wrong. But the reality is that this only harms them and possibly others in their team. Another example is that the opposing team will consciously irritate you in order to frustrate you and cause you to make mistakes. To succeed, you need to learn to manage this, rise above it, and prevent yourself from becoming too angry.

Real world skills: You can’t expect to always be working with or talking to kind people, friendly customers, or reasonable chiefs. Sometimes you’ll see negative comments on your articles, for example, that seems completely unfair. The experience handling this pressure that games give you helps you react to these things in the healthiest, most constructive way.

Conclusion

Like most people, as I get older I don’t have as much time as I used to to play games, but it’s still an effective way to relax after a hard day’s work. Online worlds can’t replace the real one, so even if those games help you get better at certain skills, you need to apply them in a meaningful way to get the most from that. Finally, when you do play games try to really achieve something through them. Analyse your actions and improve yourself where you can. I do not regret the time I spent playing games in my childhood because it was fun, memorable, and helped me in a real, tangible way.

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Discussion

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While I'm not a gamer anymore, I consider games to be one of the most important driving forces for learning English when I was a kid.
Also, I feel like I can type faster after playing some StarCraft II. 😉

 

Same to me :) When I played Lineage 2, there were not localised version supported Cyrillic, so I learned blind typing in early ages on both Cyrillic and Latin.

 

Most of my English vocabulary comes from GTA Vice City and San Andreas because the translation was hilariously terrible

 

I'm a strong supporter of game transference skill building. I ran a WoW guild for 8 years, which I'm convinced was a contributing factor in my successful pivot from development to management.

I often liken managing guild members to Olympic training at high attitudes: the degree to which you are working blind/constrained builds resilience such that the corporate world is a cake walk, by comparison!

 

I don't stop mentioning my game experience for my coworkers. Because for years of leading guild in Aion, so many different stories happened which you not always could get for years in real project, but all these stories make you stronger.

 

I got faster with the mouse by playing games, haha.

But mostly I learned indirectly.

Playing games led to scripting games which led to modding games which led to building games on my own.

Also back in the days, you had to know quite a bit about computers to get a game running on your PC if it was old.

 

For me it started from running own Lineage 2 "pirate" server and understanding of SQL and how the game data stored :)

 

I always admired the people who hosted private servers for games.

When I was young and played games full-time, I had neither the skills nor the money to pull that off.

 

There is nothing better than fast shooter. My fav Quake 3, after Unreal Tournament (hate sniper) and of course Half life for pure fun.
Skills learned:

  • Critical, analytical, decisive, constructive, deconstructive thinking
  • Money will give you nothing, skills do
  • There is no time for stress
  • One person is enough to deal with a lot - you don't like somebody, change server
 

I really miss playing in a clan, mine used to be Battlefield 2 with a few coworkers and people from their circles. Strategy, value added by playing your part; rehearsing and planning, becoming a specialist. I think there’s value also in standalone games, for honing strategy and skill sets building, but it all should be tested socially, in my opinion. Great post! Made me actually want to install a few games to rekindle the old flame!

 

Awesome post and very creative :)