This has been the most difficult post for me to write, because it’s my last. I keep starting it, then stopping, then starting it over.
SOE has been such a wonderful part of my life for the past five years. Some of my favorite memories are of little things that have happened because I work here. Deciding to leave was definitely a difficult choice, but you know, everything happens for a reason.
Things I’ve learned at SOE…
Lesson 1. Your co-workers can be your friends, even if you want to kill them!
I was testing my rewrite of trainer dialog for EQII’s newbie revamp when my friend Matt Higby decided to test something else…how long would it take to annoy me this time? He and I shared a cubicle space when I first came to work at SOE. We often ate lunch together, occasionally carpooled and very often I wanted to strangle him. He’s like the little brother I never had, even making me go on my very first (and last!) rollercoaster ride by obscuring how fast/high/scary it would be. But on this day while I was testing, he was jumping all over the place (in the game and in real life), making it difficult for me to focus…so I targetted him and killed him (in game only). It was very satisfying. Later on, though, I forgave him for everything when he came to see me while I was in the hospital after my appendix exploded; he brought a blow dryer and dried my hair for me since I couldn’t lift my arms.
Lesson 2. You sometimes travel a lot as a game developer!
As a dev on EQII, I had many opportunities to travel, for Fan Faire, CES, E3…and in 2006, to the Tokyo Game Show. The PR and Marketing folks were awesome travel companions who took care of me. I didn’t really know any of them before the trip, but came to love them over that week. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity not just to talk about EQII and Kelethin with the Japanese journalists, but also to spend time with the people who get the word out about our products.
Lesson 3. Seize the moment and smile while doing so!
The final leg of that trip was Moscow, as EQII was just being released in Russia. So surreal, eating breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant that looked toward Red Square and the Kremlin while listening to Elton John’s “Nikita” playing in the background. See Chris Kramer, Laura Naviaux Sturr and myself crammed into a very small elevator in an old building? We didn’t want to walk up four flights of stairs to the office we were visiting and so leapt into the only elevator. It was so tiny only the three of us from our group could get into it. We later learned that elevator had been broken for weeks. Aiee!
Lesson 4. Your game’s fans are cool!
Fan Faire. Hanging out with our community and partying with cool co-workers like my buddy Luke, meeting so many wonderful people…great memories and good times Some devs are skeered of the fans, but everyone I’ve ever met, even when they disagree with how you’ve done something in “their” game, is so nice when you talk with them directly.
Lesson 5. Spread the knowledge!
G.I.R.L. is something that I’m very proud to be associated with. I’ve always liked helping folks, answering questions about how’d I get so lucky to do what I do…and G.I.R.L. is an extension of that. Through this initiative, we’re reaching out to women who might not think of themselves as “real” gamers or developers…giving them hope and help.
I can’t wait to see the impact G.I.R.L. will have on our industry in the long-term. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this from the start.