Some Blizz Advice on Getting Into the Gaming Industry

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Many of you have aspirations on getting into the gaming industry in some form or another. And, in a response to a forum post from an eight year old, Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street wrote up a rather lengthy response on how to accomplish just that. You can read the post in it’s entirety here. Definitely worth the read, and it definitely speaks to what Blizzard looks for in their staff. One excerpt I’d like to note regarding qualities that Blizzard values:

  • A good design sense. Analyze systems as a game designer, not just a player. A player might look for the most efficient way to progress through a game or search for the most powerful choices for their character. A designer understands why a certain way is more powerful or efficient and if that’s even a good thing for the game (and again, how to fix it).

  • Creativity. This is less important than a lot of folks outside the industry think, but it’s still important. Creative problem solving is often more important than creativity in naming creatures or coming up with good stories.

  • Implementation. We spend 5% of our time brainstorming and 95% of the time sitting at a keyboard trying to get things to work. (We use our own proprietary tools, but also a lot of Photoshop, Excel and Visio.) We want people who can handle bugs, manage their time, solve roadblocks, survive pressure, handle critical feedback, know when to quit and when to soldier on, and overall just not get distracted. This is one reason why seeing finished work in a resume is so valuable.

  • Communication. As I said, we talk to each other, other members on the team, other people at Blizzard, and the community of players. Constantly. Designers need to be able to think on their feet, criticize ideas without causing hurt feelings, accept feedback, and understand what other people are saying. The best designers make you feel like you are being heard. We do have introverts on our staff, but it’s probably more challenging for them.

  • Passion. This is probably the easiest one. It’s important though. You need to love games to do this job. I’m not sure what the most surefire career is for making millions, but this isn’t it. You’ll be asked to work long hours. You’ll be asked to playtest a game long after you’re sick of it. You’ll be expected to play new games as they come out to see what you can learn from them. You’ll be asked to cut your favorite feature. Passion for games is the reason most people want to get into the industry in the first place though, so you’re probably fine here.

 

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About Paul

All around podcaster, gamer, and Frogpants intern. Writer on The Instance, AppSlappy, & Final Score. Co-hosting for the Time-Traveling Robots in Space podcast.

2 thoughts on “Some Blizz Advice on Getting Into the Gaming Industry

  1. Re: Passion. I think they actually undersold that part a bit, because you really have to have it in spades. So much moreso than what the supposed ‘passionate’ gamer thinks they have. Why? They mention getting ‘sick’ of the game you have been working on. That’s great and all if it’s World of Warcraft, or Assassin’s Creed, or GW2, etc. The thing is, you typically don’t get the privilege of getting sick of one of those coveted properties until you have proven yourself over years. You get to start with Barbie’s Unicorn Adventure for the 3DS, or some $1 snoozer on itunes. That’s where you get your break in the industry, and be glad for it. (and who is to say, My Little Pony isn’t next, and then Bieber’s magical wardrobe, and that’s your career– making licensed IP games for little girls’ handhelds…) So now, you think you’re sick of designing landscape in Azshara?! Ha! You will want to vomit pink before you are finally done with Barbie’s holiday castle. So, you really REALLY have to have a passion for the products code can create to make a serious go of it.

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