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I know I opened the last post with a nice little history lesson on the FPS genre, and while I originally wanted to do the same this time for RPGs, I decided that if anyone is having a problem understanding what I am talking about that Google and Wikipedia would gladly answer any questions related to the aesthetics of the genre.
However, I say that to say this: the almost universally-used first step in any RPG is to create a character, in a way. In some instances there is no real up front choice to be made, but invariably there will come a time during the game where you will be a part of a group (or party) with varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses. Usually this involves having team members that are physically strong but may have little to no magic training while also courting a high powered wizard that is built like a trash bag stuffed with twigs and covered in glittery stars. Not only does this help to provide balance, it allows the player to create each character as they see fit to best complete the game’s objectives.
In the world of business, both company and employee alike are by design carrying out a role. The employee fills a role for the company, which in turn tries to fill a role in the market. Just like in the game, both parties are constantly evaluating their role based on experience and potential future battles. If one knows they are going up against someone with no weakness to magic, it would be a highly unwise decision to throw your tiny but omnipotent mage in there. His skills are better served elsewhere.
I know it is also not always possible to fit into only one role. They team you are on may be looking for balance more than sheer power or genius. In fact, even if they are looking for those lopsided attributes it is always good to have at least one person around that can be slotted into as many situations as is necessary. Some might think that by saying that I am suggesting that everyone should be balanced, but that is absolutely not the case. Too much balance can eventually created drastically unbalanced challenges. The key is in harnessing the proper strengths and putting all resources into those first, ignoring the weaknesses for what they are.
No one person is good (or even average) at everything. Flaws will always exist because without them there is no real way to judge what a strength is. But flaws themselves are not all bad, as they can help steer someone into a more focused path. By acknowledging what it is we do unwell it is easier to notice the things we do well. That sort of focus can give a person the best rewards from nothing more than experience.
In RPG terms, Experience is incredibly important. It is the building block on which great heroes are forged. The amount of experience one accrues is usually closely tied to how much time has been spent playing the game. The longer time spent yields much higher experience and skill, just as in about any work done in real life (though most people do not have the ability to affix a numerical value to it).
If one could give their everyday tasks that kind of value it would not take long to see how a workflow builds certain skills. Learning what your work produces on a metaphysical level can help streamline old (and construct new) workflows to expand or hone your skillset and set future goals. If you can understand your own competency builders it makes it much easier to adapt once new environments and situations arise. Of course, this is much more difficult in reality that in a game world, as there are not always visual cues available to point you in the direction. The game has a story already built inside of it, while your existence is being created as you live it.
Sometimes, though, that game story can throw curveballs in the form of lost, missing, or momentarily distracted team members. This can leave you tackling large chunks of gameplay without a character you have built up to compliment the rest of your team. Reality can similarly get in the way of teamwork – by vacation, illness, injury, or anything else can leave your team shorthanded and potentially much weaker than it should be.
What can be done about this? Balance is the key. As stated above, there is always a good reason to have some percentage of a team be balanced. It may be one or two characters in a game or any number of people in reality. Should a stronger team member in one position be away, the balanced person can fill the spot maybe not to the same level but more so than an employee in another department (or even a new employee) could do because of the lack of experience. It should not even be a worry if a balanced team member is off fighting their own personal battles, as long as all of the brutes, wizards, healers, etc. are doing their duties all will turn out right in the world, experience will be gained, skills will be put to the test and come out stronger than before, and maybe you will find yourself moving just one more step closer to the victory you may not even know you are looking for, but is just on the other side of the horizon waiting for you, the pesky challenger, to capture it for yourself.