Written more than 2 years ago when I first got into the game Nioh, here is a revised edition of my article on the lessons I learnt from it. Improved with actual examples the game to illustrate my point.

I love gaming and always appreciated the medium for telling a fine story. Games have always been an extension of books and movies. A step beyond where you get to step into the shoes of the protagonist and live the story. One of the first games I played on my PS4 was Nioh.

Nioh is set in medieval Japan in the early 1600s, when the country was in midst of a civil war. You play as a Western samurai William Adams, who has come to Japan to find an enemy and has been enlisted to help fight off the Yokai (supernatural demons). With an interesting combat and a wide array of weapons and tools at your perusal, you will have to fight your way through enemies managing your health and stamina.

Nioh does provide you with a few hints in the start of the game, but puts you in middle of the combat very soon and makes you learn about the mechanics of game by yourself. Interestingly, every lesson in Nioh comes with a price of time and failure. Each time you die you learn something new, whether it is a different weapon that you should use or a weakness that you can exploit. Here are few of the lessons I learnt that could apply to real life:

1. Manage your stamina

William has a stamina bar along with his health bar which is very important to manage. Defending, dodging and attack takes away stamina. It is very important for you to keep an eye on your stamina bar and manage it. Heavy attacks take more stamina than light attacks but take more damage. If you are out of stamina, you will find yourself grasping for breath unable to attack or defend, open to any attacks. You may end up in a situation where you will have to deliver the final blow but you do not have the stamina for it and are killed instead.

Just as in the game, we too have our stamina to manage and maintain. We can make use of it in useful ways or waste our time and stamina on tasks that drain us like browsing social media, gossiping, etc. We are basically reducing our own productivity and the limited time we have on this God given earth. In managing our energy, we get to spend more time on enhancing our life and will find ourselves more satisfied.

2. Take one enemy at a time

When traversing through the island, you face soldiers and yokai patrolling whom you have to take out. Sometimes, when attacking them in groups, with your limited stamina, it  gets harder to defend. So, it is better to take an enemy out one at a time. You can get them away from the group by throwing stones at them and getting them to come to you. Then, it becomes a 1 on 1 battle, which you can easily handle over a 1 on many.

We may find ourselves facing a number of tasks that require our attention. Trying to solve it all at one time becomes too much for us. I find at times, the mind just short circuits and just give ups. It is, then, that handling each and every task individually helps. If we plan a schedule for completion, it is even better. As you list down these tasks in your to-do list and mark them off upon completion, there is a certain satisfaction you feel and trust me that makes it all manageable.

As you solve and overcome each smaller hurdle, you get the push you need to solve the next part, take on the next enemy and move forward. You get charged and the momentum to move forward to the next task at hand. You enter a sort of flow with your work and it is almost blissful.

3. Take a step back and assess the situation

Nioh has wide variety of human and yokai enemies. Each enemy has a method of attack, that gives you an opening if you look for it. You can recognize the pattern and then place your well timed blow to knock your enemy off balance and finish him off. It is not by rushing into battle but by defending by studying the enemy that you can learn. Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back to move 2 steps forward.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” — Aristotle

Patience helps us learn and improve. We are better prepared with time and ready to face challenges. Rushing into any situation may do us more harm than good. When stepping back and assessing the situation, we can prepare ourselves and be better equipped to face any challenge. Truly great things come out of patience.

4. Make best use of the resources at your disposal

Nioh provides you with a wide array of weapons: swords, axes, dual swords, spears and kusarigamas. Each weapon comes with its strengths, some of it with elemental powers. Choosing the right weapon will give you an edge in battle. The same weapon cannot be used against all enemies. Making the right choice can make a daunting enemy easy to defeat.

We have a number of tools in our arsenal, our mind being the best resource at our disposal. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses will always help us be prepared for every situation. We can play to our strengths and use the help of others where we are weaker. Make the best use of ourselves and the resources that are at our disposal. This also includes the right use of tools and technology that can help speed up the process. The internet itself is one of the greatest resources that we have, from which we can leverage others’ experiences and make more informed decisions. It is in our hands to make best use of it.

5. Be aware

Whether being prepared for an enemy around the corner or finding secret shortcuts, awareness of surroundings is crucial. You may not have been managing our health very well and with one shot, by an enemy popping out of the corner, you are dead. Always being aware and conscious of your surroundings helps you get a drop on your enemies providing you with an advantage.

Each level in Nioh ends with a boss battle. Wind, Water, Earth, Fire and Lightning are the elemental powers and each boss has an elemental power that is his greatest strength. With great power comes great weakness. If an enemy is strong with fire, you can use a water elemental weapon to defeat him easily.

It is up to you to figure out the elemental strength as going into the boss battle you will not know it and paying attention to your surroundings is the clue to figuring out the boss's weakness. The entire level is designed to hint at the elemental power of the boss and a little awareness goes a long way.

“Awareness means you live moment-to-moment, alert, conscious of yourself and conscious of all that is happening around you in a moment-to-moment response. You are like a mirror.” — Osho

When you know pay attention to your surroundings, you get a number of inputs which you can tune in to help resolve any complex situation. Maybe your boss is angry at you at work or your significant other is not in a fight with you. You can circumnavigate these issues and find out the root of the problem by paying attention. Sometimes, what is on the surface is not exactly an actual reflection of the issue at hand and all we need to do is look closer.

6. Failures are pillars to success

Back in school, I came across this quote "Failures are pillars to success", and at the time, I never understood the statement. How can failure ever contribute to success?! This point can never be illustrated better than in Nioh, where the price of failure is knowledge. Knowledge of the enemy, the challenges you are to face and weaknesses you can exploit. Every time you fail in Nioh, you learn.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

You may get annihilated in the first try or maybe even the 10th but once you figure out the enemies’ weaknesses and their attack patterns you can go in well prepared.

Failure is not the end. It is just part of the path.

Failure is very important to success. With each failure, we can learn to be better and improve. We can come back stronger and try harder as now we have learnt from our fall. Every failure is a lesson and is a step closer to success. You may have thought you have an idea about the challenges you are to face but when you fail, you actually have seen them upfront. Now you know, you have experience and with this knowledge, you can plan better the next time around.

7. Call for help when in need

Some levels in Nioh may overwhelm you if you are not prepared. You can summon a visitor in the game and together you can face the challenge. With some assistance, your options open up. You can delegate a part of your fighting to your companion, use diversion tactics or split the enemy base up.

“Having someone help you doesn’t mean you have failed. It just means you are not alone.”

There are some challenges that we set ourselves that consume too much of our time and are sometimes beyond our skill level. It is always good to know our limitation and ask for help. Delegating tasks and splitting the work load can go a long way in resolving a major issue. You may not be ready for the task today but when taking help, you can learn through the process.

So, what do you think of these lessons. Did you find any of it useful? Please share your comments below.