U.S. Army supports us Nerds and looks to create an MMRPG
U.S. Army Looks to Harness World of Warcraft Technology
Charles Simmins – February 27, 2012
The military used to recruit with the slogan “Uncle Sam wants you!” They may be adding to that phrase shortly with “if you’re a level 70 or higher with at least 50 raids or dungeons”.
The Army is looking for ways to maximize its training capabilities at the lowest possible cost, and Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Games (MMRPGs) may be one way to do it. Recently I interviewed Col. Robert White, the Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center-Training and he made a point of discussing the MMRPG. It has been noted that the skills in planning, strategy and tactics used in games like World of Warcraft for raids and dungeons are remarkably similar to those used by small unit commanders on the battlefield in the real world.
White described current Army training as a combination of simulators, live, and constructive environments. Adding a well-written MMRPG to the mix is a goal and a simple version will be combined into the training mix this summer at Fort Hood for testing. The final cost of the MMRPG may be the primary limiting factor.
Col. White talked about individual soldiers world-wide being able to log in to the Army MMRPG and play as individuals or as units. The situations in the game would be as realistic as possible. No orcs, dragons or blood elves. Simulators and constructive environments have a part to play in the training mix but the role playing game is an innovative new strategy.
What does this mean for job hunters? White described a training environment that will be relying upon technology and distance learning more and more. The tech has matured and the cost of moving units thousands of miles for live training has increased significantly.
The Army and its civilian contractors will need people familiar with MMRPG servers and networks, scenario writers with real world combat experience, game coders and many other technical experts. A well-written and coded Army MMRPG offers real benefits for training and the soldier never needs to leave home.
Who would have believed the U.S. Army would support our Nerdy habits? It is a viable option! I know when I studied battlefield drills, my years of paintball and video-games helped me immensely! I was light years ahead of my partners.
I think it’s a wise move, but the military needs to hire people from the successful companies such as Blizzard or Lucas Arts to make sure that the game is fun as well as informative and educational. Other military inspired games such as America’s Army and First to Fight were flops!
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