29 May 2014

Reflection on the Past and the Unknown

As you may or may not know, Mythic Entertainment closed its doors today. This is especially meaningful for me, as Mythic was my first industry job. It's also meaningful to a lot of other folks who worked at Mythic, from the CS reps to the QA testers to the engineers, designers, artists, and everyone else who made the studio what it was.

Before joining the Mythic family, I worked as a buyer for an orthodontic manufacturer. I did a good bit of freelance writing and design for tabletop games prior to that, including work on the 2nd edition of the Warhammer Fantasy RPG. Mythic was developing Warhammer Online at the time, and when an opportunity to apply for a Content position opened up, I somehow managed to make it onto their radar. After a phone interview, they flew me in for an on-site. I must have done something right, because they hired me.

I left my job at the orthodontic manufacturer, and my family and I moved to Fairfax, VA. Making a cross-country trek in a Scion xB with my wife, son (then 2 years old), daughter (4 months old), and three cats was quite an experience. We celebrated July 4th in a cheap motel on the Virginia/North Carolina border. By the end of the next day, we were in our new and very empty apartment. Not long after that, I was at the office learning the ropes from a number of very talented people.

I was pretty green back then, and it was all very exciting. There I was, working on a triple-A MMORPG for the company that had made Dark Age of Camelot. I was thousands of miles from home supporting my family and doing a job that I was actually happy to get up for every single morning. That's not to say it wasn't work, but for the first time in my life--with the possible exception of a 13 month-long stint in a hobby game store--I loved my job.

Warhammer Online eventually launched, but it wasn't the success that the powers that be hoped it would be. Things got scary for a while, and I survived two rounds of layoffs before I found myself out of a job in November of 2009. In all, I spent two and a half years on the Mythic payroll. I worked with and met wonderful people, made many friends, and learned a lot about what to do (and not to do) when developing an online game.

"Play WildStar, or I vaporize game designer!"
I don't regret my time at Mythic, not one bit. Being laid off was scary, especially so far from home and without any manner of safety net, but I bounced back. By January of 2010, I was employed by 38 Studios and living in Maynard, Massachusetts. Once again I had a job I loved. Once again I was working with a lot of very talented, passionate people. I'm sure we all know how that story ended, but I'm not here to talk about Amalur. I'm here to talk about Warhammer... and WildStar.

The studio that gave me a shot back in 2007 closed its doors today. Tomorrow at midnight, the studio that gave me a shot in 2012 will launch its first title. It's bittersweet in some ways, but it's also exciting. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm going to meet it with my head held high.

I'm proud of my co-workers, I'm proud of myself, and I'm proud of WildStar.

26 May 2014

Things Are About to Get Real

In less than a week, WildStar will drop. That would be 6/1/14 at 00:00:00 am. Three days after that, it goes live for everyone (the first three days are a head start for those who pre-ordered the game). I've worked on the game for just under two years now, and I'm proud of what the team at Carbine has accomplished. We've all been waiting for this day to come for a long time.

I still need to get a computer that can run the game. We've got two old desktops in the house that, sadly, date back to 2007. My wife and I both have newer laptops, but they were cheap and I'm not sure if they'll be capable to doing WildStar justice. The game is beautiful, and while I see it in all its splendor at work, day in and day out, I'd hate for my wife to experience it in less detail.

In other news, I continue to do some freelance in my off time. It's looking like my first published work in almost four years will see the light of day when Fantasy Flight releases the Age of Rebellion core book. I don't know when that will be, but I'm nearly as excited about it as I am about WildStar dropping.

We still continue to play games here at home. Outside of the Edge of the Empire game I've been running since December, I've recently started up a D&D game for my son and a couple of the grown-ups from the Star Wars game. It got a little emotional last time when Stephen's character was dominated by a vampire. He's still new to these games, relatively speaking, and he felt somewhat cheated when his Will save of 18 wasn't quite good enough to resist the vampire's gaze.

Amy and I managed to talk him down from a /ragequit over the next few days, and the boy seems to be feeling better about the ordeal now. The next game is this coming Saturday, so we'll see how it plays out.

I took Stephen to see the new Godzilla movie today. He loved it. I enjoyed myself, overall, but I had some reservations about the movie and how often the G-Monster shows up on screen. I've given it a more detailed treatment at my new blog, "Popcorn, or Popcorny?" which is where I'll be reviewing horror films that I've seen. If you guys can't get enough of my blog entries (and we all know you can't!), please check out the newest blog if you have a spare moment.

That's about all for now. Keep an eye out here for more WildStar and Age of Rebellion news!