Monday, June 17, 2013

Ingress: Open Source Organization And Organic Leadership

Team building is part of gameplay.

But leadership can not be first come, first serve. And it can not be elected. And it can not be based on AP. Some of the agents with the highest AP seem to have little interest in leadership roles. Some armchair agents seem to be the most enthusiastic about leadership functions, or at least the way they define it.

This game is designed for solo action. You just can't go wrong. Proof is that over 90% of the agents are not active members of this or that organized group in the city. Less than 10% that are also mostly engage in solo action.

The only team building seems to be that there are Google Plus groups. Those groups give you access to events. Any member can create events. If you are a L8 agent the venue and time of future L8 farm events are prized information. But for months now the Intel map has been sufficient for me to find me L7 and L8 farms. You learn where to look, what times to look. And you learn L8 ammunition is so overrated. And it is much less headache. You find, you show up, you hack to burnout, you leave. Also, I have learned the great importance of non L8 ammo. L4 resonators are just the most amazing thing. The ammo I most look for right now are (1) local portal keys and (2) very rare shields. I have not lacked for L8 ammo. I have close to 400 L8 bursters right now.

This game is not designed for a hierarchical organization. And it is not designed for hierarchical or even elected leadership. Open Source Organization is one where there is no real seniority. Organic Leadership is anyone who can put in the effort to build the knowledge base and can earn respect will get to engage in leadership functions. And anyone who has time.

Time is the most precious ammo in the game. Time and the willingness to show up. This game is all about showing up. If you can show up you win. If you can get your team members to show up, you win.

Organic leadership is that you aspire to perform leadership functions, and you put in the effort to accumulate the knowledge (this is not a complex game, there is not a ton you need to know), and you have the time to perform leadership functions. And you have to earn the respect of your team members. And, most important,  you have to know and make peace with the fact that you can not tell anyone what to do. Their following your suggestions and advice and hints is strictly on a voluntary basis. This is a game, it is supposed to be fun. Nobody signed up so you could tell them what to do.

But eager agents will listen. L1 to L7 agents might appreciate getting help leveling up. Other L8 agents might appreciate your tips and tricks. There are techniques involved.

But the bottomline is this is a game designed for solo action. You are not crippled without a team. Actually a team can get in the way of gameplay. The last time I was part of an organized team, it felt to me like all the guys did was drink beer, attend L8 farm events, and claim and reclaim their local vanity portals. At some point it starts feeling mindless. And of course Huze feels like he has patented the whole idea of L8 farms, something that is being done better everywhere else in the world. That guy's contribution to the game in the city is the whole patented secrecy paradigm, which is the reason NYC is nowhere on the global Ingress map.

Parting ways for me has meant reclaiming the fun in the game. This game helps you get to know a neighborhood like a local. I am still not done with the Financial District. I think I might need to make at least 10 more visits to undo that maze. And there are many, many neighborhoods across the city. And also team building is the ultimate challenge in the game.

You build portals. Then you build farms. Then you graduate to home territory building. That is my primary focus right now. Then I hope to move on to team building. There are only two global teams possible, but you can build as many local teams as you want.

NYC Enlightened, fear the arrival of The Squad.

The beauty of the way the game has been designed is there is no real need for The Squad to coordinate with timtomhuze, the old team that is losing territory like there were no tomorrow.

Mahatma Gandhi - "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."

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