Business lessons from World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft: not exactly thought of as the pursuit of the successful, is it? But while MMPORGs (that's massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games to you) are usually thought of as an extra-curricular activity for people with questionable social skills, entrepreneurs could actually do a lot worse than give it a try.

Five lessons from World of Warcraft:

1. Manage your gold well
As in business, when you start out in the game, you only have access to a small 'start-up' fund. The best way to increase this fund? Making money with a product or service customers want. In World of Warcraft, you have to make gold to spend gold - which is done by finding, or even making something someone wants to buy.

2. Customer Research
To be able to make and sell something in World of Warcraft, you need to understand the market: look at what's currently selling, and try to predict what's going to be needed in the future.  In World of Warcraft, of course, making those predictions is a bit easier than the hours of painstaking market research businesses go through: just wander along to the Auction House and find out what's popular.

3. Product Pricing

In World of Warcraft, as in business, you need to know how your competitors price their goods and services, to help you remain competitive. And as in business, you also need to factor in how much it will cost you to make that product or deliver your service.

Of course, in the game you can either check open trade channels or the auction house to compare similar items. If there's a lot of something, it will bring the price down. Entrepreneurial players then think of other, less common items to craft that can be sold for a higher profit.

4. Relationships Matter
In World of Warcraft, relationships matter. Making a positive impact during in-game events will generally see you being invited back - which means personal (in-game character) impact and performance is vital. Players who put a lot of attention to detail into playing their character well and are approachable during in-game chat are likely to be more successful.

Like business, making the right connections and ensuring you portray a positive image enhances your own relationships, as well as how your company is portrayed.

5. Everything in moderation
Like many other things, World of Warcraft is about moderation: if you spend too much time on non-essential activities, you'll lose out. Make sure you spend most of your time on the important elements of your business (or game), and you'll find you're far more successful.

  • Greg Guilford divides his time between World of Warcraft and the HR industry, where he has more than 10 years' experience in a variety of industries and sectors including FTSE 100 companies, civil service and local government, and he is now director at HR Solutions. You can follow Greg at @hrsolutionsuk or @GregGuilford


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