Inside the Game Industry: Make Your Dreams Come True – Part Three

Dalmarus continues to share his tale and advice on getting a job in the game industry in part 3 of this exclusive four-part mini-series.

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style="">Eric “Dalmarus”
Campbell has been a deliverer of dentures, a U.S. Marine, a security
guard, an
IT specialist, and a writer. He has also worked for a few game industry
heavyweights you may have heard of – Blizzard, BioWare, and
ArenaNet. Tune in
each week as he tells his tale and provides numerous tips from an
perspective on what it takes to make it in the game industry. 

my time writing for the main site of Ten Ton
Hammer (2008 I think?), I was still living in Denver. Needless to say,
the game
development scene in that area of the country is extremely small. At
the time
though, Sony Online Entertainment had a studio for their online card
games and
they were looking for a Community Representative.
One day while I was running through my regular list of game company job
listings, I saw an opening for the first time at the Denver SOE studio.

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class="MsoNoSpacing"> style="">Rule #7
fail to network with anyone in the
industry that you can. You never know when it will prove useful.

moment I saw the opening listed on SOE’s website, I
immediately applied. The site was acting funky, so I contacted the SOE
rep I had been working with over the last couple years and asked if she
anything about the job. She said submissions had closed and that the
people to
be interviewed had already been chosen, but that she’d go
ahead and forward my
info. Two hours later, I was being rushed through a series of tests and
in less
than 24 hours went from being told not to expect anything to,
“when can you
come in for an interview”. 

to a company-wide restructuring process that started
the following week, the final interview never materialized and the job
went the
way of the dodo. Despite this, I was extremely energized in my pursuit
to get
on the inside of the game industry again. It was just the confidence
that I needed to let me know I was on the right track and being taken
seriously. With a renewed vigor, I attacked my work even harder than I

for the main site of Ten Ton Hammer after having
spent a little over a year focusing on a single title was certainly an
opener. After having spent so much time and effort concentrating on the
Vanguard site, switching my brain to a much wider field of view was a
in itself. It was a welcome one though and over the course of the next
year or
so, was an invaluable experience. 

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class="MsoNoSpacing"> style="">Rule # 8
you have any desire to work in community,
you’d better have a very thick skin.

my time on the main site, one of my
responsibilities was periodically reviewing games. Sounds rough right?
sometimes is, but not for the reasons you’d expect. While
it’s true there were
times I had to review a game I wasn’t fond of (playing 40
hours of a game you
hate is not a pleasant experience), reviews were generally enjoyable to
write. It’s
the hornets’ nest you stir up with those reviews that brings
the pain. 

in point and the “highlight” of my game reviewing
career to date? Star Trek Online. People may forget now, but when the
game was
in development, it was easily one of the most highly anticipated titles
years. Everyone wanted to read everything they could about it. The
impression piece I wrote about the game was taken well enough, but
after having
spent nearly a month helping to build our own STO site, I was in for a

Trek fans have always been a bit fanatical. So are
gamers. Combine the two, and you had a recipe for hysteria and madness
on a
massive scale when the reviews started pouring in for STO.
You’d think that
since I was one of the very few to give the game a good score, people
would be
happy. The exact opposite was true. People flipped out and went on a
about how I had no idea what I was doing. No matter what position you
go for in
the industry be prepared because this is going to be a theme you will
commonly hear.
Repeatedly. It was so bad that at one point, I found a nine page thread
on a
competitor’s forums about href=""> style="">my
It was ridiculous. 

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class="MsoNoSpacing"> style="">Rule #9
one is going to give you something new to do if
you’re not kicking ass in what you’re doing now.

nearly 3 years with Ten Ton Hammer, it was finally
time to move on. Shortly after moving to Austin, Texas, I got a job
Blizzard as a Game Master for World of Warcraft. In the end, it was
little more
than a customer support gig and I already had over a decade of
experience in
that line of work. Even so, I took the job very seriously and quickly
made a
name for myself in the department. 

less than 4 months I was on the only shift with
weekends off and was an advisor for the temporary workers
that had
been brought on. It’s true anywhere, but especially in the
game industry – you
are judged on the job you do, not what you say you can do. If you
can’t show
that you can compete with the best in whatever you’re doing
(like CS), you’re
never going to be given the chance to move on and try something else
within the
company. And why should be given a chance? I routinely overheard people
complaining about others that got the best shifts after having only
been there
for short periods. Listen to me when I say it’s not a fluke
– prove you deserve
to be noticed. Don’t just sit there and bitch about being
stuck wherever you

though I wasn’t thrilled to be back in a customer
support role, I was glad to be at Blizzard and thankful they took a
chance on
me. It may not have been the job of my dreams, but as I’ll
explain next week,
it was the key to getting me a job I’d quite literally been
dreaming about for

in next week for the final piece of this
tale and tips on what it takes to make your way inside the industry.
Can’t wait
that long to hear more? Be sure to href="">follow
me on Twitter – you
never know what I might say.


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