The 5 Esses in World of Warcraft
I happened to be browsing the corporate website at work, looking for the futile hope of a better job, when I saw an article entitled “5S to tidy the mess”.
Well the 5S sounded like some kind of chemical spill to me. Also, rhyming. So double amused, I clicked on the link. Instantly I was slapped across the face with the wet fish of disappointment.
There was no disaster. No chemical spill, or spill of any kind. Instead, there was a picture of a very clean warehouse. The 5S that was referred to was the name of a workplace organization method that used a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. In English, the words are sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining.
Once my eyes glazed over, I began to think about World of Warcraft. Technically I began thinking about stabbing someone in the neck, but I could only do that legally in World of Warcraft. Once my eyes began to refocus, I looked at the picture of that clean warehouse and wished my character’s bank could be that clean and tidy.
That brought me right around. If I could use Howling Blast IRL, how many walls would it destroy? Also, how could I use the 5S system in World of Warcraft?
The answers were six, and just like this.
The 5S Mantra: Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, and instructions. Go through all tools, materials, and so forth in the plant and work area. Keep only essential items and eliminate what is not required, prioritizing things per requirements and keeping them in easily-accessible places. Everything else is stored or discarded.
5S in WoW: Clean your bags. No matter what you’re doing – questing, gathering, raiding, instances – there’s no reason you shouldn’t have your bags almost empty. If you’re out in the world, vendor your gray trash items and eliminate the greens via disenchanting, vendoring, or mailing them to an AH mule. Determine what is absolutely necessary and get rid of the rest. Keep stat foods, potions, flasks, hearth stone, bandages, one to two stacks of each. Most people, especially the ones still in the leveling process, should only be filling their backpack with essentials. All other bags should be empty, unless they have quest items that they need to turn in. Raiders, or people who might need to switch gear, may have to let their essentials overflow into a second bag. That still leaves three bags that should be empty.
Once the bags are clean, do the same to your bank. Buy all the bag slots, fill them with the biggest bags you can, and start sorting items into them. If you have transmog sets, keep only the most recent one and put the rest either in a large bag or, even better, void storage. It can get expensive but it keeps everything from getting cluttered.
Straightening or Setting in Order
The 5S Mantra: Arranging tools, parts, and instructions in such a way that the most frequently used items are the easiest and quickest to locate. The purpose of this step is to eliminate time wasted in obtaining the necessary items for an operation.
5S in WoW: Shortcut important items on your tool bar. Drop stat food, bandages, and potions on your bar so that you have immediate access to them rather than having to dig through bags to find them.
Sweeping or Shine
The 5S Mantra: Clean the workspace and all equipment, and keep it clean, tidy and organized. At the end of each shift, clean the work area and be sure everything is restored to its place. This makes it easy to know what goes where and ensures that everything is where it belongs.
5S in WoW: At the end of each session, regardless of what you’re doing, go through your essentials and top them up before you log off. It’s easier to do at the end of your session because this is the time when you would be vendoring items you don’t need, so you’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket. Everything you just used during your session will be fresh in your mind, so you’ll remember what you need. Stock up on bandages, refresh your supply of potions and stat food. Oh, and repair your gear, even if it doesn’t look like it needs it.
The 5S Mantra: All work stations for a particular job should be identical. All employees doing the same job should be able to work in any station with the same tools that are in the same location in every station. Everyone should know exactly what his or her responsibilities are for adhering to the first 3 esses. Synonym : Systematize
5S in WoW: Do this for all of your alts. It makes things so much easier when all of your characters aren’t suffering from disorganization and cluttering. Short of running an addon like PlentyofAlts, keeping everyone organized is a great way to find something if you need to. Which alt had the heirloom shoulders?
Having alts organized, repaired, and restocked before logging them off also makes it easier to play them again next time. You never know how long an alt is going to sit on the sidelines, so having them prepped to get back in the game will keep you from having to stop halfway through your next session so you can repair or buy healing potions.
Sustaining the Practice
The 5S Mantra: Maintain and review standards. Once the previous 4 esses have been established, they become the new way to operate. Maintain focus on this new way and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways. While thinking about the new way, also be thinking about yet better ways. When an issue arises such as a suggested improvement, a new way of working, a new tool or a new output requirement, review the first 4 esses and make changes as appropriate. It should be made as a habit and be continually improved.
5S in WoW: The previous steps have been more of a purist approach, ignoring the use of any “quality of life” addons. But even the most minimalist of players may come across one addon that makes their playtime a little more enjoyable. For those who use addons, keep them up to date. Scan the various addon sites like Curse and WoWInterface to see if some new addon could replace one or more of your current addons.
Even if you don’t use “quality of life” addons, review your items to make sure everything is up to date. Leveling with heirlooms can have you outlevel non-heirloom gear pretty quick, not to mention healing potions. That level 5 healing pot isn’t going to help much at 45. Endgame players should keep up with patch notes in case new buffs (food, potions, flasks) are introduced, or current ones are changed.
Japanese Organizational Skills, 5S, call it what you want. I’ll call it effective.