Azeroth, and the Third Drive – part 1

Dan Pink is an author. An author that has written many books on behavioural studies. One in particular is called Drive. Or to give it it’s full title Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. In this book he cites decades of research that states that humans in traditional workplaces aren’t driven in a carrot and stick fashion in the way everyone thinks they are. For example, traditionally people think if I pay you more money to perform better you will perform better, or even if i punish you for performing badly you will perform better. I’m paraphrasing here massively, but he states that rather humans are driven and motivated to be better by intrinsic urges to be better, be learn how to be better on our own, and that doing so gives us purpose. He calls these urges Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose.

He argues that this is only true when the work needed to be done requires some rudimentary cognitive skill. Or rather, the thing you’re being measured on performance-wise isn’t repetitive, mechanical processes.

Carrot on a StickSo, the performance of something that requires us to think, e.g. getting better at a particular skill cannot be increased infinitely by offering fundamental rewards. It will work for a little time, but then performance improvement will go back to normal levels, or sometimes actually get worse.

Yeah yeah, but how does this relate to the World of Warcraft?

In this short series of blog posts I’m going to break down everything I see and understand about Dan Pink’s Third Drive and how it relates to the steady, but sure decline that’s happened to WoW. I’ll try my best to not look at the game with rose tinted specs – either in it’s current, or old guise.

focus generation

So, if you follow this blog, or me on youtube you may have noticed a distinct lack of updates lately. There’s a couple of very good reasons for that. So, let’s be quick about it..

“It’s not me. It’s you”

1) World of Warcraft was, despite the initial highs of Pandaria, not really holding my interest in the same way previous expansions have. I can’t quite put my finger on it – the reliance on daily quest grinding, the terrible performance of hunters in the initial tier, or even the fact that after grinding every possible way of getting gear I was still unable to get some fundamental upgrades. Hitting your head against the same brick wall repeatedly isn’t fun.

2) Okay, that’s all QQ’ing. Really, the game just wasn’t holding my attention. I was thinking of quitting, or focusing on other games to fuel the youtube channel, but ultimately my single heart went a wandering, and it found something wonderous – a girlfriend.

Now, my story of WoW vs love life probably isn’t that different from yours. It’s been a chequered history, with highs and lows. For the most part holding down a full time job, a packed social life, and a full raiding schedule does not compute. For me it was easy to pick which one to drop.

Sorry Azeroth, but I /quit

I still have all my characters, all my mounts, achievements, gold.. but I may give it all away and delete it all to remove the temptation to come back. I’m not sure what this means for the youtube channel at the moment, perhaps just focusing on some let’s plays and random video game footage as I can find time to make it.

I may, however do what I normally do. YouTube was always a challenge for me. Could I do it, rather than doing it for any other reason. In the past I have challenged myself in many ways that I’ve never taken any further..

  • could I make music without having any instruments, or musical knowledge. I went on to found and run some early software / tracking trance groups releasing free music in the mid-90s, and very nearly got a recording contract before moving on..
  • could I go in to the games industry, despite not being a coder? I went on to produce commercial maps for Duke Nukem expansions, and pushed the engine to it’s utmost breaking limits, before moving on..
  • Could I DJ, despite having no vinyl, hardware, or expertese? I went on to being offered a resident DJ position in a UK nightclub, before giving it up and moving on..
  • Could I make gaming videos, despite literally having no experience of doing video work? I went on to not only make gaming movies, but winning numerous international awards, including best gaming movie released in it’s release year, and being sponsored by Intel… before moving on..
  • Could I climb a mountain and raise money for charity, despite never having done any trekking, and being massively overweight? I not only climbed the mountain, but I helped raise over £5,000 for a children’s charity, and even appeared on Venezuelan radio in the process. Pretty awesome!
  • Could I make a name for myself on YouTube? This one has proved the biggest challenge, and despite clocking up 1.6million views on the site I wouldn’t say I’ve made a name for myself. I do have YouTube partnership, I am earning money from the site, but I’m not Yogscast.
    Do i stick this one out to see where I can take it, or do I move on to a new challenge?

Time will tell… in the mean time, I’m enjoying life… seeya later!