Gamification of Life - Teamwork

June 26, 2022 6 min read

I play video games since I remember myself. It’s a huge part of my life and I’m sure it will always be. It helps me to fight anxiety, to unwind, as well as to sync with friends that are far away, and sometimes learn something new. When something becomes such a big part of your daily life, you start applying and mapping related concepts from it to other life aspects and daily routines.

Gamification is claimed to be extremely helpful when it comes to work, study, and coping with life overall. Animals, cats, for instance, keep playing their whole life and this helps them to release stress and keep in contact with relatives. It’s also how they learn. This applies to almost all animals. But for some reason, human beings decided that at a certain age this should be dismissed in favor of “being an adult” - sticking to your routine of brewing coffee, discussing the weather with colleagues near the office cooler, walking around with a serious face and being drunk and depressed in the evenings.

Gamification of your life, even if you don’t play games yourself anymore, can help a lot. That’s something I try to use and that’s something I would like to share with others. This will be a set of small posts that try to map some parts of our daily life to gaming concepts. Maybe it will help you to look at these things from a different perspective, maybe it will allow you to make them more interesting and approachable.

Life is a social game. We can say that it’s an endless MMORPG of some sort and almost everything we do can be mapped to this wonderful and deep game genre. While it’s somewhat possible to have a single-player experience for all your lifespan, it’s almost unavoidable that you will have to talk and cooperate with other players and NPCs sooner or later. This game is not designed for lone wolves, so the best tactic is to join the server and enjoy all the possibilities that you get while being connected to others.

Our life, especially work, consists of various projects (or dungeons, or quests) of different scales. Going to school is a long-term quest with different subquests, work-life usually consists of smaller dungeons (projects) with unpredictable difficulty settings, and so on.

Tackling larger projects at work is rarely a solo experience. In most cases, we have a team (game party for a specific dungeon or dungeon series). And that’s the topic I would like to zoom into.

Every dungeon requires a specific set of skills from party members, and good and balanced composition is a sure way to increase the chance of success - finish the dungeon, deal with the final challenge (or a boss) and gain some experience and loot.

Let’s look at the standard composition model that is used in most party-based games. Let’s say we have a team of 4. The classic scheme, in this case, is to have one tank, one healer, and two damage dealers. They work together to achieve the final goal and only a balanced team where everyone knows their role can succeed.

Tanks are usually very tough and resilient. They make sure that the dungeon monsters and focused on them, while the rest of the party can focus on dealing with them most effectively. Usually, tanks are pretty challenging to play since they are in charge of controlling battle flow - it’s possible to proceed only when they did their part of the job or the whole party will be wiped in a breeze. They also should know the dungeon flow relatively well or at least the concepts that are used there. In short, tanks serve as a bridge between their party and the rest of the dungeon. They can’t deal a lot of damage, but they contribute in another way and everyone else depends on them.

Healers, on the other side, stay behind the party and ensure that everyone is alive and buffed enough to deal with the difficulties ahead. They pay close attention to the party-state and react as soon as needed. When not, they contribute to the total party power however they can. Sometimes they have a preventive playstyle instead of reactive and ensure that upcoming damage won’t hit as hard as it should. But they do their best somewhere in the middle. It’s a crucial class since, without their long-term support, the party won’t be able to finish the dungeon, especially with large bosses (I.e. Difficulties and roadblocks).

Damage Dealers are the ones who do the heavy-lifting of dealing as much damage as possible as fast as possible (reaching the end goal of a dungeon/project). Ensured that the tank is taking hits for them and the healer keeps everyone alive and in sync, they focus on melting the problems around them in an as efficient way as possible. To ensure that they can do it, they should have a well-thought build (aka skillset and set of tools) - make a team of imbalanced characters without any synergies and you fail in the long term.

Party is ready!

Select your class and join the team!

Now, let’s try to map this to our real world. We have a team of 4 people and a project that has to be executed. You can’t keep things moving without someone pushing forward and serving as a “shield”. Someone has to step up to lead the way, lead others and be responsible so that the whole team stays alive. It’s a tank!

Then, someone has to ensure that the team is functioning as expected. That they have all they need to execute, that all questions are answered timely, that information is flowing, and that everyone feels good. The tank can’t handle it all since they are focused on a larger scale and are facing the OUTSIDE of the team. So we need a healer who is facing INSIDE and provides support out there!

And there are team members who focus on execution and implementation parts - Damage Dealers. It’s the most important part since this is what will provide the final result - is a project (dungeon) finished or not. If they are supported properly, they should have no roadblocks and can focus on delivering the desired outcome. When needed and if duties allow, they are joined by tank and healer.

And that’s it, that’s our party. When it’s balanced this way, when members know their roles and expectations, any dungeon can be cracked easily!

But why I should care about this and why I spent this time reading this, you might ask. Well, knowing how effective this setup works in virtual worlds, it’s possible to look at your team from a different perspective. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have all the roles covered?
  • What is your role right now and do you fit it? Maybe you are meant to be in another role and be more helpful there?
  • Do you know what is expected from you by others? Are you sure that others are aware of what you are expecting from them?
  • Are there people who try to take over multiple roles and can’t succeed in both?

Just zooming out and thinking about this can give you really useful insights on why a specific project isn’t moving as expected or why there are conflicts in the team. Just take a few minutes to map out the roles and see if you have everything covered. Is everyone handling their role as expected? Are you missing something? Is the skillset right for the project? Thinking about this, even if you are just assigned to the project and being told what to do, will allow you to understand better what’s going on and provide an opportunity to contribute better and improve the workflow.

Now, change your perspective, put on your armor, equip your skills, and it’s time to join another fun ride with your team!

P.S. Just be mindful about your playtime and don’t visit dungeons when you are out of mana. Don’t forget to recharge!



© 2023, Artjoms Haleckis