Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oh No He DINNINT (2.0)

I had a post up here last night that I typed after 6 hours of very... mentally draining... work I'm doing on the computer to keep busy and make some side money. It kinda rubbed me the wrong way that the unwashed masses coming crawling out the woodwork to point and make pretty obvious remarks with their brilliant 20/20 hindsight into my situation.

So... maybe a few people don't understand the 'whole story' so I'll just spell it out here as plainly as possible.

I applied to Blizzard in the 'normal, accepted fashion'. Email with CV, resume PDF attached. This was for a design position, and I know very well that 'random design hires' don't happen, but the position was listed on the Hiring Page, so I figured I'd go for it. Art hires require art submissions with their resumes, and coders get asked for a sample of code. The job listing reads:

This position will involve the design and implementation of creature placement, behavior, encounters, and events. The ideal candidate will have experience in game design, a strong aptitude for critical thinking and analysis, boundless creativity, a strong visual aesthetic, and a passion for playing games.

I don't have experience, but I do have boundless creativity. I also have a strong visual aesthetic, and a passion for playing games. What better way to showcase "behavior, encounters, and events" than by writing a full dungeon, full of "behavior, encounters, and events", I figure. I typed it up, attached it to the application, and then sat back and thought about it.

Anyone who has downloaded my PDF knows that scrolling a mousewheel isn't the same as flipping pages. That "RGB 255,0,0" isn't as nice as seeing "red" in your hands in front of you. What I should have realized, is that in a country where someone sues (and collects) for spilling coffee on themselves, that there was some legal ramifications to reading a book I hadn't thought of beforehand.

I figured going down and handing a few of these out could only be 'bonus'. I didn't stand out on the curb unshowered, in sweatpants, wearing flipflops and sweatsocks, and screaming at people as they drove by. I put on a nice shirt, shaved, and then subsequently figured the drive down would be a waste if I just turned around and drove home with the booklets still in my trunk, after being turned away at the gate.

My "/2 LF1M to make wow?" sign was actually only out there for 10 minutes before I changed it to 'please take a copy of my raid dungeon'. It was also a little bit of (ZOMG) HUMOR that people working on WoW could probably appreciate. WoW's kind of got some jokes in there, right? Then I just sat there, smiled, offered my things to anyone that pulled over, and chatted with a few employees walking their dogs around the block or whatever.

It wasn't really a huge deal.

I appreciate people that can think it was some big thing, and that they'd NEVER do anything so 'crazy'. Crazy like driving for a few hours and then 'sitting while smiling'. I don't really appreciate people that insist on telling me how I'm going about it wrong and that my wacky plan is doomed to fail. I went down there knowing that at the very least I'd just be giving a few of these away. I didn't expect a curbside interview and hire on the spot.

Like, DUH.

I figured maybe someone who saw one of these would give it to someone whose job it was to click the PDFs, and that person could then 'flip' instead of 'scroll'. That has impact. That was my 'grand mission'.

So thanks for stopping by, and thanks for reading. But I know how to make a resume, and I understand how to get a job. For 6 years before going to Japan I worked in an office, doing I.T., and received promotions and raises for being a good, hard working employee. Then I moved to Japan, organized an entire district's teaching materials across seven schools, and helped to test drive what is now being implemented as the Japanese National English program for the entire nation's 5th and 6th graders. Our district had the best English program in the country. I was interviewed on the Japanese news. I'm not just some kid trying to get a job at Starbucks.

I figured driving down to LA was something I could do with pretty minimal impact, and perhaps I highlighted some of the ZOMGDRAMA of it to make an interesting post.

I have an email address for those who wish to actually get in touch or talk with me, but it's hard to take anyone serious that has a bag on their head, and then again when they're saying things like 'chew before you swallow'. I don't want to come off like a dick, but this is kinda my online diary. You're free to read it (it's on the internet, after all), but circling paragraphs with red pen and telling me how I should have done things in the margin isn't really necessary.

Millions of people go through their lives every day without really 'doing' anything. Doing stuff doesn't really bother me, and if it makes for an interesting read, then welcome to the site. If you're only stopping by to tell me 'doing things' is a bad idea, or that I'm not doing things the way you would do them, then really... please just don't bother. It's not that I don't appreciate feedback, but much of what people are saying is pretty common knowledge, or is particularly suited to people who don't really... do things. Plus, really, the bag on your head. Who are you? I could say I'm the CEO of EA, but... yeah.

Anyway. Thanks for coming by. Feel free to post little comments below. If you have some huge piece of advice that could help, then by all means, email me. I'd love to have a discussion with you, but if it concerns how to take the Word 2008 Resume Template and select and replace text on it, I'm probably doing okay.


30 comments:

Geoffrey said...

The girl in the image really looks more like she is striking the pose from The Scream. Maybe a finger wag is needed.

Angelworks said...

Getting hired at Blizzard is probably a huge challenge. I have a friend who works there, found me a job in IT (note - he works in developement - not on WoW) that I could do - [my friend] took this guy out for lunch, handed him my resume and said I was worth hiring - but alas never got a callback.

What more can you do? Having an inside reference is probably 90% of getting hired at any high profile company - its how I got all my experience at one of the largest software developers on the planet (not MS, but you've all heard of them).

Jeremy said...

I'm sorry you got so much flak for your Blizzard voyage and for putting your work out there. I for one truly enjoyed your voyage and work and thought it was novel, exciting, and inspiring.

The armchair commenting nobodies are heckling you, as if they know better. This really angers me. What have they done? Have they made detailed, forty page works that truly shows their passion to try to get a job? No. Have they done ANYTHING? No.

Unbelievable.

FWIW, I am an armchair nobody, just some random guy with an interest in MMOs (and your writings), but I'll be damned if I don't respect the hell out of you for being a DOER and not just a talker.

You have my respect, and I would gladly shake your hand if I were ever to meet you. I know you just said this, but: Ignore the downers and stick with it. Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Anonymous said...

Bravo!

I don't play WoW myself (gave up on MMOs back about the time they canned the counselor program in UO) but I can completely understand why you did what you did.

I did something similar back in the early nineties that concluded in what we call now as an "epic fail". I drove from Albuquerque, NM to Austin, TX for the succinctly defined purpose of "going to Origin's office". No resume, no application, and an unfortunately outdated address. I pulled into the parking lot at the address I had at about 4:55PM on a Friday afternoon to find a great big "for lease" sign strung up above the doors. By the time I found a someplace with a phone book it was after 5pm. I tried calling their receptionist (or anybody, really) to get directions, but nobody home.

So anyway, I totally get the passion and can only say good job! And good luck! I hope someone there paid enough attention to remember you.

Bojan said...

I do not live in USA and i dont work in IT company.
But, man, i wish i had you in my company...
Keep up the good work, friend.
Dont let the bustards get you down.

Anonymous said...

Expecting to be hired in a career you have no experience and no credentials for is beyond presumptuous. You could have a PhD in biochemistry and it would mean nothing if you suddenly switched gears and tried breaking into video games.

Do your homework, ask questions, put in your time. But going off the deep end is exactly that. Crazy.

Ixobelle said...

...and so it goes on ;)

noileum said...

Ignore all the haters, live your life how you want

Kudos to actually getting off your arse unlike 99% of the other people want blizzepixjobsplskthxbye

Hone Melgren said...

Ixobelle ,

Just ignore all those idiots making all those misguided comments.

You know I don't post that often so when I do it's a special occassion :)

I think those people who flamed you don't have the BALLS to do something themselves. When was the last time they stepped out of their comfort zones to do something crazy like this ?

Great things happen when guys like you hang their balls to the wind to speak proverbially. You see tons of examples of this in history - Steve Jobs did it (Apple, 1984 Macintosh). Nolan Bushnell (Atari , PONG) did it. Paul Revere did it (American History).

Doing something like you did is a gamble at best but when it pays off it REALLY pays off.

PS Sorry about the examples but it's all I could come up with 5-10 minutes

KT said...

Urgh, I hate to do this when it looks like you've taken such crap, but I can't help it because this is a pet peeve.

"What I should have realized, is that in a country where someone sues (and collects) for spilling coffee on themselves, that there was some legal ramifications to reading a book I hadn't thought of beforehand."

Do yourself a favor and look up the actual facts of that coffee case. That case was far from frivolous, although tort reformers love to make up alternate facts to fit their own ideas.

And if there weren't legal ramifications to reading your book, then one of those employees could have just taken it and used your work in their job and there would be nothing you could do about it.

While these kinds of things seem frustrating, the alternative is worse.

In any case, I wish you good luck, and hopefully something good will come out of this in some form!

Jong said...

I'm really impressed. For me, the outcome of your efforts are irrelevant. Keep on trucking.

Cap'n John said...

Most people get jobs by mailing in their resume, waiting for a phone call, then impressing the interviewers, while some people get jobs in more creative ways. But just because most people mail in their resume then wait patiently by the phone does not mean there's something wrong with the slightly more creative methods employed by a handful of others. And just because YOU would never do what Ixo did (neither would I, for that matter, and Blizzard are only just down the road from me) still doesn't mean he did anything wrong. People hand-deliver resumes all the time to companies which are not necessarily hiring simply because the applicant wants their resume on file. That's all Ixo really did.

Jumping on KT's bandwagon - and for those not familiar with the case - 79-year old Stella Liebeck was a passenger in her grandson's car, which was parked at the time, when she spilled the cup of McDonald's coffee in her lap. The sweatpants she was wearing acted like a sponge and quickly soaked up the almost boiling-hot coffee. Stella suffered third-degree burns to her thighs, groin and buttocks and spent a week in hospital, followed by two years of treatment, skin graft surgery, etc.

The 79-year old grandmother originally asked for just $20,000 (barely enough to cover her medical expenses here in the U.S. of A.) which McDonald's countered with an offer of $800 (enough for a free meal each week for a year for her & her grandson). The case was eventually settled for an undisclosed sum rumored to be less than $600,000.

Geoffrey said...

Cap'n John,

As a former lawyer, I also love the coffee case story. The fact about the sweatpants is certainly true and exacerbated the burns, but there is one other key fact here.

For reasons still not entirely clear, McDonalds served their coffee at about 180 degrees, which was far from restaurant standard. (They argued that they intended customers to take the coffee home before drinking, but that seems difficult to believe.) By all testimony, including that of McDonalds witnesses, coffee served at such temperatures is simply undrinkable, as it would immediately burn the mouth, and McDonalds knew this. Most other establishments at the time served coffee at about 150 degrees, as is common still today.

Notably, after the settlement, McDonalds also began serving coffee at the normal 150 degree temperature.

Ulfblud said...

I've been meaning to post a comment in response to these mysterious Anonymous "Blizzard Employees", but every time I sit down to do so, something distracts me.
I was going to say exactly what this post says, so glad you're able to see things clearly and still have your head held high.
As far as a "fanboi" not getting a job, since more than likely they have no experience - Blizzard "urban legend" implies fact differently, and to the un-addled brain of someone who might actually play / work Blizzard, makes perfect sense.
Ixo has "real life" experience with the product he wants to work on, which in 90% of all jobs I've held counts for more than some stupid degree. He knows the ins and outs of many races/classes and encounters, which is the experience that should be sought.
He has passion, determination and drive, more desirable attributes for any company. He's also creative - as his signage, journey to "mecca" proves.
There was nothing wrong with his resume - read up on the latest trends for making yourself stand out using a less than standard resume format. And, that handout was boss. Nuff said.
So, all these anonymous mofos who feel so high and mighty claiming to be the President of Bullpuckey will have to eat their words when Blizzard wises up and snatches Ixo up for a position.

So suck it, self centered, unimportant, window licking anonymous windbags.

Hatch said...

STOP BEING SPECIAL! UR REFUSAL 2 B EXACTLY LIKE EVERY1 ELSE IS MAKING ME FEEL INN ADEQUATE!

GO THRU THE PROPER CHANNELS, GODDAMMIT! DONT STAND OUT OR SHINE IN ANY WAY OR YOU WILL BE PULLED BACK DOWN WITH THE REST OF US


NOW LET ME CRITICIZE UR RESUME WITHOUT ACTUALLY READING IT AND TELL YOU HOW UNPROFESSIONAL U R

Ulfblud said...

lol @ Hatch...
Seriously, if the anon posters had read anything related to Ixo's attempts to gain employment to Bliz, they'd realize 99% of their comments are moot.

Silkworm said...

Hi Ixo. The job application was hilarious to read. I always liked your humor. As far as I'm concerned I always believe in "where there is a will there is a way".
Anyway just an idea: do not limit yourself to Bliz. There are other MMO companies around and as you have outside experience why not? i.e. the Eve people are from Iceland. (http://www.ccpgames.com) Don't know the game but they have quite a niche and loyal player base. (ZOMG as of writing I checked their website. They are looking for Technical Artist in US Atlanta and many other jobs which can be interesting to you in US/Shanghai or Reykjavik. Why the hell not?http://www.ccpgames.com/jobs.aspx)
Or the Aeon company. Aeon got some good reviews but they are Asian only at the moment and I'm sure they are looking ways or already in US market and they need talent.
Japanese is an advantage and try to use it.I know you returned to US very recently and the idea of working in a foreign country is kinda repelling at the moment but do not limit yourself. (Forget this sentence I always think myself in my own sector. In software, location can be flexible and many of these companies have branches/offices in US)

So end of story check other MMO companies. Even Lolhammer.

P.S. I have an email at drafts in Outlook which I need to attach some photos from our Japan trip to send you. Sorry for the delay but it has been a busy summer.

Goshon said...

I sure hope it pans out for you soon Ixo, I sent you a link some time last week which contained a Q&A from Kaplan that contained some information in regards to the designer team and such, I hope you had a chance to read it.

Lemme know if you need me to email it again.

Jaime Skelton said...

Even applying through the proper channels, driving 400 miles to hand out a copy of your raid dungeon is, in my mind, "crazy." I'm not saying "crazy" is a bad thing, mind you; in fact, I think "crazy" is a relatively good thing. It means that you're not doing something in the norm, not conforming to the status quo.

That's how we all should live.

Breaking onto the other side of the MMO industry wall is not as hard as other gaming industries. It is small, customer oriented, and many players have found themselves offered a job because of their feedback, even because they're some "crazy blogger" that rants about X game all the time. Some work in the industry and are still "crazy bloggers." It's all good. Ixo has a chance. And yes, I've seen his resume. It's far better than mine, and probably far better than many who read this blog.

People will point, laugh, call you names, and think you're some kid in dirty sweat pants playing the Numa Numa song while dancing in front of Blizzard's HQ with raid dungeons pamplets in your hands, swearing that the end is nigh. It's the internet; people will point and laugh no matter what you do.

Chin up, Ixo; you've got good ideas and can punch through. Blizzard may be a lofty start, but you never know.

Kaozz said...

I wanted to say I thought it was great that you shared your experience with those who read your blog.

I've seen some random blogs use your experience as what not to do and thought it was very poor taste to use you as an example. Many assumed a lot of things also which just ends up making them look bad.

Hats off to you for going out there and trying to make your dream happen.

HokieJayBee said...

LOL at all the law-heads taking this comments page WAY OFF topic.

Ixo tried to DO something cool, in a way he thought would work (and hasn't proven that it totally didn't work,...yet) and he should be applauded for it. After all, you wouldn't know of his story if he didn't type it to you. Your argument would then be, he opened himself up for criticism by typing it to you here.

Well, irony is ironic sometimes.

In relation to McDonald's selling 180 degree coffee (instead of 150 degree?), zomg I have to wait a second to drink it, and wait, you're suggesting that I don't pour it on my crotch, regardless of what type or fabric of pants I'm wearing? That's crazy talk. I mean, I should be awarded large amounts of money probably larger than I've made over the past 20 years of my life, since I'm getting my coffee at McDonald's - for SPILLING on myself......

In accordance with all the law-head's angles given on here regarding spilled coffee (who cares the situation, age, in a car, whatever) -- you could sue Home Depot because they sell saws and saw blades. And if you used it improperly (not Home Depot's fault) or dropped it on your legs/feet (not Home Depot's fault) - you could sue Home Depot???

Please. Lawyers (personal injury focus) and the jurors that are awarding these insane awards are some of the roots of evil in this country.

Geoffrey said...

Hokie,

The more correct analogy would be if you bought a saw blade that had a latent defect, an aspect not to industry standard, and while perhaps you made a mistake while using it, due to the defect, you suffered a much more grievous injury than you would have if the defect was not there. An example, would be some kind of safety latch or something like that which would compensate for user error.

So it's easy to say "LOL at lawheads", but really, you are just showing your ignorance of the law and lack of thoughtfulness in what you post.

HokieJayBee said...

No Geoffrey, my "LOL at law-heads" was clearly stated to be for taking this comment forum WAY OFF topic. I have to request you learn to read before spouting at me or anyone else for ignorance. It's only fair.

It's an insult to Ixo that you read his page and all you want to talk about is his one analogy to the coffee debacle that is our "justice" system. But since you opened the door.....

As for things you buy that can hurt you, you can't sue for them if they're inherently dangerous in some manner. Rephrase, you can sue. You shouldn't be able to win.

Newsflash. Coffee is hot. Saw blades are sharp. Acid is acidic. Fire is burny.

The defect in your re-example to me would be that one saw blade is sharper than the others normally sold? (i.e. coffee, which is supposed to be hot, was hotter at one place than the others?) So if I dropped a purchased saw blade on myself and injury was inflicted, I could try and prove that Home Depot's saw blades are sharper than Lowe's saw blades are normally sold and that's why I got hurt? NO. I got hurt because I dropped a sharp thing on myself.

Every situation in life is not a chance to find a "latent defect" and sue somebody. That's the joke in society here. You also stated you're a former lawyer. I'll show my ignorance again and ask how one becomes a "former" lawyer?

Apologies to Ixo that this is where this has gone. Someone else comment something back on topic so the feedreaders with comment trackers aren't me or Geoffrey arguing the fallacy that is our court system (or again, the jurors awarding these ridiculous sums of money to undeserving people).

oshin said...

Just to put it into perspective, employers do keep an eye for people who do have alternative ideas. I know of somebody who got a job with a large industrial automation company (emerson) by submitting his cv in the block diagram programming language they use in there software (it looks a bit like a flowchart). Of course he also had alot of experience, but dems the breaks i guess

Geoffrey said...

Hokie,

I just don't practice anymore. Technically, I suppose I am still a lawyer.

Your argument does not work. Blades are actually supposed to be as sharp as they can be, as they do their work best when sharp. Coffee is not supposed to be as hot as you can make it, because there is an optimum temperature for consumption, and of course there is the temperature at which you get second degree burns after 2 seconds.

You talk about society, but you should be aware that one of the purposes of the legal system is to efficiently place burdens to maximize benefits to all. This is not a caselaw argument, but rather the natural way that our system has evolved. In this example, what is more efficient, to place the burden on the restaurant to set their temperature gauge on coffee to 150 degrees or to pay for the burn injuries for the fraction of the population that might clumsily spill coffee in their laps?

There are going to be clumsy people in life, but why not enforce a simple policy that will protect this segment of the population. Surely we are not that heartless. I know its fun to make fun of old ladies spilling coffee in their crotches, but we will all be old some day and will not have the dexterity we have now, and it's nice to live in a world that forgives some mistakes without punishing you for going over a speed bump too swiftly with two years of skin graft surgery.

Rawrasaur said...

Hey ixo.

You've got drive and passion. That's good. But you're really going about it the wrong way. Boundless creativity is cool. You've got to show them that you can do it.

This position will involve the design and implementation of creature placement, behavior, encounters, and events. The ideal candidate will have experience in game design, a strong aptitude for critical thinking and analysis, boundless creativity, a strong visual aesthetic, and a passion for playing games.

It's a lot of words, but the real trick a lot of folks don't seem to get is that they have the chicken and egg problem: "How do I get experience if nobody will hire me?". The answer is "make it yourself".

Writing documents is fine and easy. Actually making stuff happen (which is what the job entails) is much more difficult, because you aren't going to just be writing documents, you'll be using tools that programmers provide in order to make the encounters happen. You'll be taking art assets modelers, animators and other artists provide and making them appear at the right times under the right circumstances. You'll actually have to *do* all of this, and it will require skill, creativity and experience... because at the base level, when a player spends their 5 minutes with your work, they have to walk away thinking 'wow, I want to keep doing this'. Any little thing could set them off, so it is completely up to you to sand away all of the rough edges, fix any and all possible bugs that you can find, and make it better, better always better.

That's what it means to be a game designer... writing the document is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to get a feel for what the sort of tools you'd have to work with would be, I would suggest exactly what they did - make something using Warcraft 3's map editor. Not only does Warcraft 3's map editor entail exactly the kind of tools that Blizzard programmers will provide (since that's exactly what they did), it will also give you an example of what it takes to script an encounter in a MMOG.

If you can make your own encounter compelling, bug-free and fun with the resources provided, that speaks a lot more for your possible skill than just reading a document. That's how I got into the industry, that's how Ghostcrawler got into the industry, and that's how most of my friends got into the industry.

Cheers.

--Rawr

Hatch said...

It turns out the legendary game designer Tim Schafer got his start (despite lack of experience!) in game development because of a creative application. He talks about it here:

http://www.doublefine.com/site/comments/twenty_years_only_a_few_tears/


I can also name a dozen game journalists who got jobs as designers despite no previous experience. Sean Elliot and Jeff Green are some of the better-known examples. In all cases, it was a combination of (1) networking and (2) standing out as interesting/creative thinkers - that got them the jobs.

So though getting a job that way may be rare, it does happen occasionally, so it would be kind of stupid to leave that stone unturned just because it's unlikely. Keep going Ixo! Be the next Tim Schafer!

Copperhead said...

Is it too early to say, "I told you so?"
No Monday morning quarterbacking, I tried to do so before you left Japan.

Kudos on putting together a respectable booklet. It certainly sounds like that part was quite professionally done.

Once again though, I think you were blinded by your dreams of becoming a designer. Would someone thinking clearly have driven all that way and spent all that money without a Plan B?

If you would've got in and hired, I would've cheered as loud as anyone else. Still, in the face of that failure, I can only hope you're finally willing to start smaller. Maybe even consider starting somewhere other than blizzard, and at a job not directly related to design...

Ixobelle said...

leaving Japan had to happen. Teaching there (while fun) wasn't going to lead anywhere. I had the same 1 year contract every year I was there, and they simply don't think of foreigners as anything more than a mule that speaks english. You don't promote mules, or give them raises for working above expectations.

The expectations, sadly, are that the teachers are fresh college jagoffs just there on a '1 year vacation' where drinking and being obnoxious on the subway while piss drunk is the norm. I organized the district's teaching materials, and tried to get the other teachers to give a shit about their jobs and earn respect, but was met with general apathy from some teachers and the board of education. The other teachers were all more interested in more paid vacation time, and the BoE just couldn't understand why this one mule wanted long term stability.

Having a child, I needed to get a job that could go somewhere eventually, so I came back to the states to try and get something long term.

The reason I'm going after game design is because I'm getting ready for the long haul, and want it to be a goal i'm actively interested in... instead of just taking some job, and finding myself 10 years down the road just at 'some job' still.

two or three years at a lower tier isn't really a big deal if it leads somewhere good eventually.

Paul Hewitt said...

Aussie Game Dev Wannabie from earlier.

Still stand by what I said previously. I'm also curious - have you since called to follow up on your crazy adventure? Or did you ever try to organise an appointment? Sorry if this sorry if this sounds demeaning or offensive but I'm currently of the impression that if you had tried to do some research on the company before driving all the way down 'to the promised land' you would've known what their response you've been and thus tried a different approach.

I dunno. It just seems that if you'd called around first you would've come up with a better approach: like say apply for different positions in the company (a lot of designers seem to suggest doing QA to get experience for example). I mean think about it - if design jobs only go to inside employees, would it not be more constructive to first become an inside employee?

Anywho, as I commented before - just my 0.02c. Up to you whether you want to listen to me or those who say you are a genius for what you did, it was funny, great, etc, etc

Main point - people say you did a great thing, yet you still don't have the job... might want to think on that.

(btw this isn't a 'it's useless, stop trying post. It's a 'work smarter, not harder' post ;) - also, currently reading your design doc; have only just scanned and will look more into detail later but already I have the following criticisms: 1. Doesn't include a backstory and how this ties into the game world, 2. Just seems like boss after boss after boss - no real challenge progression, etc, 3. tone is too informal and is not consise enough, 4. too much focus on what the player is supposed to do not enough on how the challenge plays out, 5. doesn't appear to tie together/has no central theme/is disjointed and 6. document is not structured very well/does not contain sufficent contents and headings thus making it hard to discern what info is what at a glance.

I think that about covers it - again, this isn't a 'it's futile, give up' it's a 'you're doing it wrong, try again'.

I'll read closer and come back to you to add/change/remove my inital criticisms if need be.)

Regards,
Paul Hewitt