Making games is arguably one of the coolest jobs around. Not only do
you get to do what you love and get paid for it, but sometimes it can
make you a rock star... or even a legend. So how does one get into
their dream job? Ten Ton Hammer's Dalmarus spoke to Game Designer M.
Krohn, aka Luper, of Sony Online Entertainment to find out how she was
able to work her way into the industry. Luper started off as a gamer
and through her passions eventually become a designer on SOE's
free-to-play hit, Free Realms
Here's her story.
Ten Ton Hammer: Hi Luper! First off,
let me say congratulations! Going from being a fan of an SOE game to
becoming a designer on Free Realms
had to be an exciting journey. Thanks for taking the time to tell us
about it today.
: No problem. It's truly a
pleasure. I've always thought that designers should be more personable.
It makes people realize that we are real human beings...And often, I
think players forget that.
Ten Ton Hammer: Before we really get
started, can you tell everyone your position at SOE, and who you are?
Currently, I'm on the
world design team for Sony Online Entertainment's Free Realms
. This means I'm a Game
Designer who creates content. My real life name is M. Margaret A.
Krohn, but virtually, I'm usually known as Luper. Honestly, I don't
think my name really tells you who I am, but at the same time, I am
many things, so it would take a long time to give you all the details.
I'll just simplify it for now- I'm a gamer.
Ten Ton Hammer: For those that may not know it, you
were the player community's Blood Mage class lead for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes while that
program was still active. How did you find out about the program and
how did you go about becoming the class lead? Do you think that
volunteer community position helped you get where you are today?
Correct, I was. I found
out about the program via an in game friend, who said I should apply
for the position. Of course, I wasn't the only person who applied for
the position. There were quite a few other players who thought they
should be the class lead. The hardest feat for me was that I read a lot
of blogs and forums, but I didn't always post on them. It made it easy
for people to shrug me off because they hadn't seen my name on many
posts, but if they were on my server, they knew me well. I guess word
travels fast and people really stood up for me, which was nice. The
community in Vanguard
always been awesome. Sometimes, I log in just to chit chat.
Ah, but back to the point. I started posting more often and really
expressing what I thought were the issues with our class, explaining
that I would try my best to listen to everyone's opinions and make sure
the developers had an understanding of what the community as a whole
wanted, and not just what I wanted. I had played every class to fifty,
so I could easily deduce the game play of the other classes. It made it
easier for me to explain things to the community, especially for
players who hadn't tried all the classes. I guess it worked.
Even though the program is no longer active, I still run and pay for
the web site for the Blood Mage community- www.vgbloodmages.com
actually looking for some active moderators, so if you're interested,
you'll have to email or PM me!
Genuinely, taking the class lead position made me realize how much I
really wanted to get involved in the community. It was the beginning of
a new me. I became way more sociable, which I think has truly helped me
in real life. So, I really do feel that volunteering for community
positions will help one in the long run. Not only do people remember
you, but you grow as a person, especially if you are or were a shy
person like me.
Ten Ton Hammer: During your time as
class lead, you were definitely known as one of the more vocal and
intense class leads the community had representing them. At the same
time though, you were always very focused in your feedback to the
developers. Obviously, this went a long way in being taken seriously,
while never taking away the drive for your request. Can you share any
tips for some of the more rambunctious community members as far as
helping them get their message across in a
Most developers are or
were gamers. They understand where you're coming from, but it's not
always their decision whether your ability gets nerfed, or your pet is
purple. So, don't hang them for it. The best advice I can give anyone
is to just be calm, collective, and constructive. "C" cubed? Haha. No
one wants to listen to a ranting buffoon. Although you may be amusing,
any sane person will not take you seriously.
Here's an outline that is easy to follow and really helped me get my
- State the problem. Be as detailed as you can about the issue. The
more information supplied, the easier it is to understand. Preferably,
disclose how something works and then how you would like it to work.
- Give a step by step explanation of how to reproduce the issue.
- Provide suggestions for the contention.
I hope it helps!
Ton Hammer: I remember talking with you at FanFaire 2008 and coming
away with a sense of how passionate you were about the game then. At
that point in time, had you thought about one day working for SOE? If
so, did you have any particular position in mind?
In 2008, I was dying to
get my foot in the door, so I was definitely thinking about working for
SOE or any game company to be honest. It's always been a goal of mine
to become a Lead Designer or Creative Director, but I know you can't
always start at the top.
Ten Ton Hammer: Did you go to school
with the intent of landing a job within the gaming industry? If so,
what were you studying? While you were in school, did you ever intern
No, I didn't. It's
funny because both of my majors have nothing to do with gaming. School
was pretty much my back up plan. If my dream of becoming a rock star
(which I'm stilly working on) or game designer didn't happen, I was
prepared to enter the real world with the basic skills for a job that
would at least help people and make me money. I majored in Health Care
Administration and Music Theory. I was never an intern for SOE during
college, although that would've been rad.
Ten Ton Hammer: Without a doubt, it's
virtually ever gamer's dream to one day help create a game themselves.
What (or who) inspired you the most to pursue this career? Had it been
a lifelong dream?
You've got that right!
I think it's every gamer's life long dream to make a video game, so of
course, it was one of mine! I'd have to say that I was really inspired
by MMO Games, not necessarily one in particular, but all of them as a
whole. It's amazing how people from all over the world can log into a
virtual universe and play together! Meeting new people from all over
the world in your own home? Seriously, how can it get any cooler than