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Ben Brode is a senior game designer at Team 5 and Blizzard Entertainment. He’s one of the few people, who developed the mechanics and the gameplay for Hearthstone – one of the most successful card games in the world. Brode became a part of Blizzard in 2003. he worked in numerous positions: tester on Warcraft III, quality assurance on World of Warcraft. He also worked in Blizzard’s creative development department, working with licensed products. This is the guy with incredibly vast and interesting experience, so we were obviously interested in what he has to say for the young crowd, who wants to work in the game industry.
In 2002, when I was working at a software company, I became friends with a dude who ended up leaving after being the only person to write any actual code. He got a job on the Night Crew in QA at Blizzard, working on Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. He knew I was also working at a pizza joint, so he convinced the Night Crew to order from us and I would come deliver the pizza. I got to know some of the people on the crew and eventually convinced them I wasn’t crazy (ha!), and I got a temp job as a Game Tester. (I had to take a pay cut from the pizza place.) Check out how lucky I was: I just happened to live a few minutes from Blizzard, happened to have met someone who showed me a path to the job, happened to be at a time in my life where I could afford a pay-cut, etc. It was all luck, except for the moments I had to convince people I was capable. Use your moments when you get them, and you’ll end up with more and more great opportunities.
Ben Brode, Blizzard Entertainment
Here’s seven rules of job seeking in game industry from Ben Brode:
1) Play video games
Ben believes that it’s important to be up to date and play a lot of modern and classical games: Plants vs Zombies. Chrono Trigger. Frog Fractions. You need to keep playing games made by your company or the company you want to work for. When you are being hired, you will definitely be asked about what games you’re working right now and what are your all-time-faivorites. These questions help to realize if you’ll fit into the current corporate culture and if you’re digging the whole atmosphere of the company.
2) Don’t be a fan-boy
Knowing games and being incredibly nerdy are two different things. It’s ok to admire someone’s work, but don’t get drooling after seeing your favorite character being redone. Nobody really likes that.
3) Be reasonable
” Somehow ‘reasonable’ people are WAY more rare than you would expect. Hyper-reasonable people have no ceiling. You can be anything you want. There are so few of you that you can just come up to me and tell me you’re interested in a job and I’ll be like, “oh shit THIS PERSON IS REASONABLE – HERE, HAVE A JOB AND A MEDAL,” and there would be literally no sarcasm”.
4) Apply for any job you can get
Don’t be picky, especially if you haven’t worked in games industry before. Ben suggests applying for a entry-level position in QA or Customer Service. These jobs are challenging but really fun. It’s a great place to learn the culture and make a name for yourself.
5) Find a way to stand out
It’s always a nice idea to find a new creative way to present yourself to the future employer. A video, a nice looking website / landing page, some infographics. Whatever helps you to get an interview works. Just don’t get overly creative. It’s a job after all.
6) Be technical or artistic
Head’s up – you are not the only one who wants these jobs. Find a way to be better than the rest. Learn to paint or 3D-model. Get some programming skills. Programming skills are awesome and if you have them you are awesome.
7) Get Lucky
Luck is probably the most important factor here. Nothing is possible without luck. However, to be lucky, you need to work really hard. The more you know, the higher are your chances!
Ben Brode, Blizzard Entertainment