Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Effectiveness VS Efficency


Effectiveness is doing the right things. Efficiency is doing things right.

What I am often skeptical about is what `doing' means. Merely 'doing' or actually achieving what you initially set out to do? Cause, if your goals are not achieved... you are definitively not effective, no matter how efficient you tried to be. But if you were effective, where you as efficient as you could be?. So for the sake of argument...

Effectiveness is achieving your goal doing the right things. Efficiency is achieving your goal by doing things right.

With my definition, being rather close to the Greek translation of the word, efficiency implies effectiveness. Nonetheless, effectiveness does not necessarily imply efficiency.

I have started writing a post, a few minutes ago, on guild policies and ethics. Somewhere in the middle of my rumbling I got stuck, re-thinking of what exactly I am trying to put across. You see, I am a fan of efficiency. I like things done in a clear, defined and well documented way. The latter part in particular is essential. Guild ethics and rules do not only have to be clearly defined, they need to be conveyed, particularly by the guild members actions. The obsession with efficiency is probably due to my academic and engineering background, as I do not merely want to make things work, I want to make them work with minimal cost, effort and time.And yes, I know everybody wants that but... bear with me :p

I often see that this efficiency is not desired by those around me. People have different needs and the extend one goes to achieve his or her goals varies. People like to go from A to B in circles, or zig-zag, others in a straight line. People walk, fly, crawl. That variety is definitely part of what makes us human. But it is also the reason we rely on deterministic machines to do a great many things in life. Or the reason anything advanced is often based on standards. Because merely being effective is ok. But being efficient in modern time saves money, time and... keeps the blood pressure down.

World of Warcraft is essentially the same. Its a large shared virtual environment, even larger bearing in mind the community of players as a whole and not specifically that of a class/server/guild or any sub-grouping available. People bring their personalities in-game and although the set of actions that one can perform is far less than that of real life, many observations from our real world apply in Azeroth as well. People in WoW are every bit as ineffective, or far more frequently inefficient as in real life.

Take a guild for example. Whats its purpose? Mainly collaboration. People come together, just as real life associations, to achieve efficiency. Nowadays, more than ever in WoW, one can be merely effective in-game by joining a pug, doing the same instances that everybody else does, albeit in normal modes or a tad later than others. There is of course a group of players that come together to do more things faster, with less resources spent (time is the key here) and with greater ease (that blood pressure mentioned above). Therefore do things with efficiency. And there is a group of players ignorant to the above but we leave those for the wolves to eat...

However, people often confuse those terms and start bending guild rules, become less vigilant in performing their best or completely disregard anything that augments collaboration. They initially are happy with merely being effective and gradually become self-absorbed, self-seeking and self-serving. Shattering any notion of effectiveness, let alone efficiency.

I can not help wondering, why these people stay in a guild. Or even worse, why a guild puts up with them. I appreciate they may have a social value. However, in terms of the guilds' purpose not only they do not add any value but they also affect negatively their peers. Being put aside as reserves is the polite way of dealing with them. I bet you know the non-polite (high)way.

The solution of course to this issue is efficiency. Yes, the very same notion one tries to achieve, is the basis of achieving them. Efficiency in defining and applying guild rules and ethics. Excruciatingly militaristic efficiency, even for the casual-est of casual guilds. Because above all, a guild must preserve its self. It must cater even for the smallest things with great effort, or it will become something else entirely. A collection of inefficient individuals, branded together with no apparent goal. And there is no Escape from that...

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Raiding, Marriage and tales from the crypt

I'll tell you one thing's for sure. Preparing for a wedding is like preparing for a raid. One, you need the proper gear. Two, you need consumables. Three, you got to do some reading beforehand. Four, you assemble a group and assign roles. Five, you wear rings...epic ones...and halos. And you videotape it and take screenshots for you to remember it. And people whisper...and behind your back. And you send invites! And people kinda sign-up and come over and eat consumables. And there are beasts and formidable creatures!! You know, ugly aunts and good looking females. And at the end of the day you are - hopefully - left with some extra gold and some loot. God dammit, getting married is like going into a fucking raid!!

I am sure you can appreciate that preparations are taking quite a bit of time and especialy hinder my blogging. But I have never been a very frequent blogger. Nonetheless... There is often something to write about. The wedding is one part. The waiting is the other...

Escape, has proven numerous times its very resilient. We had ups and downs, ins and outs. And we are kinda down these days. Many of our raiders are away for real life reasons. Some got tired of - what I consider the worst instance I have ever seen - ToC. Same place, no variety. Granted, the challenge is there but as far as I am concerned the scenery goes a long way. So we ended up loosing quite a few raid nights due to that. And we are not alone it seems...

Many guilds suffer from what I like to call a 'pre-patch trauma'. People for all sorts of reasons find excuses to stay out of the game. Contrary to after-patch times when people make time to be in-game and use excuses `out there', in the real world. I appreciate many people have ultra-valid real life reasons to stay out. But you can not change my view, we do make time to be in-game when we want. And at this time people do not want to be in-game. Simple as that.

Inevitably that leads people of no emotional attachment - or a weak one for that matter - to their guild to move to the... `upper echelons' of the guild hierarchy within a server. Its not the guilds that attract those raiders, that continue to raid no matter what. Its the raiders themselves that keep gathering up and forming such guilds.

The rest of us, those that have some attachments to the guild they are into await patiently for others to return. Hoping that when the time comes we will grab our axes and yell our battlecries.

I just hope this will take place before my wedding, otherwise I will miss a couple of weeks of the fun!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Quick 'n' Dirty - V

Its been a while since I updated my blog, once again being swamped with work and preparations for my wedding. Particularly the latter needs a bit of work :p. We are also planning slowly our Honeymoon on New York City! Exciting times! I think we are both much more thrilled for the trip than the wedding itself. But hey, we are in this together :p

Nonetheless, I did spent some time in WoW the last couple of weeks. Escape managed to slay Northrend Beasts in heroic mode and now we set our sites on the next hard-mode. Otherwise I spent some time to set up an inscription busyness to complement my herbalist/alchemist DK, manly created to supply Lance with consumables. The scribe is on my GFs account and his sole purpose is to put in the AH the leftovers of the DK. And its been doing well, I have more or less managed to level up inscription to 330 with minimal expenses, funding myself from AH sales.

I've got myself a copy of Windows 7. Ok, either Win7 are a massive improvement to Vista or my Vista install was pretty knackered. I am seeing an increase in FPS of over 300% in areas like Icecrown with full settings. I am pretty sure Win7 are NOT supposed to be that good (or better) and the never-underestimated power of a clean install worked like a dream. But hey, can't complain :p.

My dear friend Thoryel called me one day and informed me about Torchlight. Sounds and looks very promising and I am sure I will put my hands to it when time allows. I am also excited about patch 3.3 lore-wise but I wont even begin to comment on the Tier10 robes and the recent LoH Forbearance `band-aid'. I will be patient to comment on the 'final' version of things.


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