Lately, I have been busy. Apart from running my trading business, I have downloaded a mobile game called Brave Conquest into my smartphone. Before long, I have developed a kind of passion for the game.
I don’t think I am an addicted gamer per se because I still run my company as normal. At least not yet. Furthermore, I am also busy developing a new range of product portfolio for my trading business. Therefore, the game acts as a channel for my mental release.
In case you didn’t already know, I am a solopreneur. Check the link because I still brag about it to anyone who showed a sign of interest. This lifestyle no doubts suits my personality but, loneliness can sometimes bites.
Back to Brave Conquest. There are a few things I love about this game as compared to others:
- I can hold my smartphone horizontally instead of the usual vertical position
- Bigger characters as compared to many others whereby the characters are too small for a presbyopic middle-aged man like myself
MULTI-TASKING JUST LIKE IN REAL BUSINESS
In order to be good in Brave Conquest, you have to learn how to multi-task.
Similar to many strategy games, the gamer needs to embark on a quest to manage a piece of territory. Your task as a ruler includes building a population, creating jobs, produce resources, build infrastructures to support a myriad of industries and of course, building the military.
As the administrator, I have to build houses to contain the population of new immigrants coming into my town.
Initially, only a small working capital of gold was given. With this limited resources, the administrator set the pace for farming, and factories whilst at the same time making sure that these infrastructures could sustain the growing expenses at the soonest possible time.
Synonymous with running a business, I cannot just keep my mind to myself. A CEO has to ensure that the HR, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Manufacturing, and Logistic are synchronizing towards a common goal.
For instance, my vision as a GM might gravitate towards cash flow sustenance. Another guy may have his eyes on growth with manageable debt.
On a similar note, a gamer has to set a vision for his charges too. I wanted a territory with a balanced military on every aspect. Nope, I don’t intend to buy resources from the gaming company and therefore, everything comes via a slow and steady flow of hard-fought gold and medals.
I remember a pc game called Rise Of The Middle Kingdom that killed the gamer off once your territory fell into negative cash flow for three-game years. But thank goodness not this one on the smartphone.
KNOWING THE NEW ORGANIZATION CULTURE
There is one lone aspect that I miss while working as an employed GM as compared to my own business. The power to coach and to lead different teams within a company. Boy, I do miss that kind of high occasionally.
I was on a roll when I started the game. I think I hit Level 30 within a week into Brave Conquest. A gamer’s character will join a clan or an alliance so as to immerse more into different gameplay that involves teamwork.
As a result of my intensity, different alliances wooed me quite often and I hopped around. Just like a job, not every alliance suits your personality though. The same type of job appealed differently under different sets of corporate culture.
About a fortnight into the game, I chanced upon an alliance called Esam (translated as “We Are” from the Latvian language). I can tell that the leader by the name of Zoobhead liked me in an instant because he promoted me to the rank of Captain within 2 days. My intensity into the game had probably impressed him.
I took part in every aspect of the alliance gameplay; wargames, coffer challenge, Vampire Labyrinth, you name it. As a token of my involvement, my level skyrocketed. From Level 30s, I moved up quickly into the 50s. Mind you, I am impressed by my humble achievement too.
This alliance is weird. The members seldom chat in the chatroom. Everybody was quiet, including the ’emperor’. The members were quiet after winning a war and they were quiet after losing. The only thing we see happening in the chatroom is our leader banishing and demoting after losing a war.
Then came that fateful day. When I logged into the game, I found myself becoming a new Co-leader together with three others. Our old king left without leaving a goodbye note and just handed his throne to another high-level member of the alliance. The new guy has a pseudonym called Ballizord.
The funny thing was, nobody squealed or said anything. Life just went on as before. Mine-o-mine, these people are cold to the core. After a few hours, I lost patience. I started taking some drastic actions.
In case you wonder, a co-leader is a powerful position in many mobile games, including the world-renowned game called Clash of Clans. The only few things a co-leader CANNOT do are
- sacking our fellow co-leaders,
- sacking the leader of course
- promote other co-leaders
I started cheering the team. Without consulting the new leader, I promoted at least five normal members to Captains based on their donations and activities to date. Again, it was quiet.
Nobody made any comments or gave the slightest objection to what I was doing. Only one guy(or girl) who got promoted asked a question, “what do I need to do as a Captain?”
Boy, was I in for another surprise on the next day! Ballizord, our new king gave up the leadership and made me the new leader of the alliance. Honestly, even though it’s a game, the childish side of me was beaming with ecstasy.
Without wasting time, I set up three simple rules for my team to follow. I even made the announcement in the alliance notice board. Then, out of guilt, I returned the throne to Ballizord. I guessed I was happy to remain as a co-leader since I was still the only one calling the shots without much interference.
You could observe the actual interaction dynamics in a game much faster than a corporate. Everything happens at an accelerated rate. Even an individual’s sinister side can easily play out during a gaming interaction because all of us are hiding behind a facade, a game character.
BUILDING FROM GROUND ZERO VS INHERITANCE
About three days after returning the throne, Ballizord surrendered the leadership to me yet again. This time, one of a fellow Co-leader made a comment in the chatbox “long live the king”.
I guessed, “this is it!” Mind you, have you ever tried to build a new alliance or a clan from ground zero. It wasn’t easy.
During my days in Clash of Clans or COC, I tried to build a new clan of my own. Just pay some gems, and you get yourself a brand new empty clan. That was the easy part.
I recalled going into forums in the global chatroom promoting my empty clan. People came and quit within minutes in an empty chatroom. Like all games, you need a minimum of 10 people in a clan to start a clan war.
I bribed walk-ins with Co-leader positions from the start. I even donated powerful weapons generously but it was fruitless. One new co-leader even went so far as sacking all of my six clan’s members before sending me a FU sign.
INHERITING AN ALLIANCE AIN’T A BED OF ROSES
Many kids, I mean gamers would love to inherit a decent alliance/clan out of nowhere. To be honest, it took me a few days to get over the excitement.
After that, it’s all work. My teammates, frankly, I don’t know what they are thinking. If there is a contest for the quietest alliance competition, I reckon we will win hands down!
For a week, I thought I was the only one talking in the group chat. I wish them “good morning” and when I call it a day, I logged in just to say “good nite”.
When I took over the alliance, we had around 40 members out of a possible 50. Then one fine day, a co-Leader by the name DeKunde went berserk and sacked 10 of my “subjects”.
The first thing that crossed my mind was a co-leader going rogue and on a killing spree to destroy the whole alliance. I had this experience before and if you search Google, you will find out that the phenomenon is rather common.
Turned out that my loyal officer was frustrated with the inactivity of these members with their 10 day offline status. So he took action. Now, after he explained in the chat, I was grateful.
Here, I finally spot my first loyal assistant in the alliance.
My initial intention with this alliance was to learn about the psychology and mechanics of running a gaming group. Bear in mind, they don’t see you and you can’t see them. When I give instruction, I always wonder about their response.
The truth is, you aren’t the only one observing your teammates, they too are looking at the way you do things. Me too did a killing spree by firing around 12 “passengers” in my alliance. Nope, they should not get the treasures that the active members fought hard for without lifting a finger!
There was another time when I sounded my displeasure of higher ranked teammates attacking the lowest level enemy during Alliance War. By doing that, they have inadvertently snatched the opportunities of lower-rung members to earn points for the group.
I have deliberated setting some rules on how our teammates should attack, but I gave up the idea. Firstly, I do not want to take the fun away by imposing my will on a bunch of living human beings.
Secondly, lower-rung members should learn to be competitive. I should not be holding their hands like kids. Who knows, I might be dealing with full-grown adults here having their first gaming experience.
Like I mentioned earlier, you can see the ugly side of humans pretty fast in this kind of game. Deceit, and if you play long enough politics will come into play.
If you think wtf this is just a game, I dare you to take up the challenge. Countless leaders fall and just abandon their beloved clan because the interaction has taken a toll.
There are many aspects of the game that makes it a good training platform for those who wish to run a project team or even a business someday.
By the time you are reading this, I have demoted Ballizord, the guy who turned over the throne to me, just for being inactive.