An anonymous reader writes: The idea of using virtual reality and gaming technologies to create training exercises and business simulations has been around for years. But recent advances in computer graphics, interfaces, and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have made it commercially viable to pursue simulations in the business world. Novel, a venture-backed startup company, is about to launch a new MMO role-playing game, called Empire & State, with an unusual goal: to use the technology and the lessons it learns from the game to create simulations for big companies that want to improve their human resources and hiring efficiencies. Imagine assessing employees’ leadership and teamwork skills by jacking them into a virtual, multiplayer business scenario. That’s the goal, but Novel will face challenges of all sorts---business, social, and technical---in its efforts to sell MMO technologies to the corporate world.