Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lessons to learn from Warcraft III

Recently I started re-playing war craft III. I had played that game since I was in university, so it had been around for quite a long time already. For those who had been living underground for the past 10 years, war craft III is a real time strategy game (RTS for short), meaning that you get your minions to gather resources, while building up a force to deal with the mission objectives. There are several mission to form a campaign and the campaign will follow certain story lines.



I found that I'm actually better at playing this game than in the past. Perhaps maturity and years of multi-tasking in the routines of life itself had trained me well. As such, I think this game is quite educational because beyond the sheer fun of the game itself, the skills needed to excel in the game can also be applied to life in general.



This is what I learnt from the game:


1. Multi-task. Can't really get through life without multi-tasking these days. It'll be quite a luxury if you can work through things sequentially, but unfortunately, there's just too much things that need your attention simultaneously. As such, you have to handle them in parallel, rather than in series (I'm using jargons found in electrical circuit arrangement). What the game really forces you to do is to learn how to handle multiple tasks all at the same time, which is truly educational.



2. Prioritize. Multi-tasking can only take up so far because there's a physical limit to how much a human can do things all at the same time. Hence, when there's just too many things to handle, you must be able to prioritize and do the things that are most urgent and most important first. Urgent tasks imply that there is a time constraint to complete the task, beyond which there is no point in doing it anymore or is simply too late. Important tasks are those that help you accomplish your goals or your mission. Therefore, important AND urgent task are to be the top priority. Personally, I'll do urgent tasks first before doing the important tasks, so I tend to classify things to do according to this system. In the game, while advancing towards your mission objectives (important), you should also focus on immediate (urgent) things that can seriously impact your well being.



My favorite faction: The Scourge. I like them because they are extremely efficient and are not 'wasteful'


3. Leverage. In the game, there are scenarios where you are up against a bigger enemy force and before you can build up a sizable force to counter attack, they would have trampled you several times. In such cases, the trick is to look for the correct terrain, the chokepoints where the enemy forces are coming. With a few guard towers and a much smaller defensive force, the right terrain can force the enemy into such a position that their bigger size is of no use to them at all. Thus, a smaller force can repel a bigger force. It's like the legendary last stand by the 300 odd Spartans against the much bigger Persian forces at the Battle of Thermopylae. With the right leverage, a smaller amount of force can also be multiplied to accomplish a bigger amount of work.



4. Use the right solution for the right problem. In the game, there are several types of enemy forces - some are aerial, some are land, some are building destroyers, some are spellcasters etc. To build a fighting force that can repel/attack all the different kinds of possible enemy forces, you need to build an army that can cater to aerial attacks, good at fighting land enemy forces and good at destroying buildings etc. The key is to prepare yourself for the different possibilities that life throws at you from time to time. The interesting thing is that with a very large force, any person can defeat any army. However, there are always time and resource constrains to make it very difficult to get a very large force. As such, the right kind of force can do wonders if you do not have a huge force. The lesson here is to apply the right solution for the right problem instead of using just brute force all the time. This way, you'll maximize the results while minimizing the effort.


There are often more than one way to do the same thing.


 So there you go. Playing games isn't as bad as people think it is - wasting money and wasting time, anti-social, ah beng ah seng hideout etc. Of course, too much of any thing is bad, so moderation is the key. I've seen students who are so addicted to world of warcraft (WOW) that they spend almost the entire night playing it, thus becoming listless and sleepy during the day in class. These kind of students will require cold turkey treatment to get rid of their gaming addiction. But to blame computer games for this is to treat anyone with a gun as a murderer.

2 comments :

Drizzt said...

ah chey, i tot i found another dota buddy lol.

la papillion said...

Haha, drizzt, I'm starting to play dota :)