My name is Emily “Domino” Taylor and I’m a game designer here at SOE. For those who don’t know me, I work on EverQuest II, responsible for all things tradeskill-related, as well as helping out in various other areas here and there as needed. I first met Tracy “Owlchick” Seamster at the SOE Fan Faire in 2005, when she was a game designer on the EQII team and I was one of many excited players feeling a bit star-struck to meet her. Later when SOE hired me in 2007, I enjoyed working with her; and upon her departure from SOE, she recommended I take over the G.I.R.L. blog… so here I am! I wish her all the best in her new endeavor and will try to live up to her high standards in these writings.
I’ve been playing computer games for about as long as personal computers have been accessible to me: I remember loading “Frogger” from a cassette tape, and I remember spending hours standing around watching bigger kids play PacMan in the first arcade in my home town. I first encountered SOE when I started playing EverQuest around 2000, a game which both captured my imagination and brought me many friendships that last to this day. I switched to playing EverQuest II when that was released, and although I’ve dabbled in various other MMOs including City of Villains, World of Warcraft, and Age of Conan, none of them have been as satisfying to me as EverQuest II. So, I was delighted when I finally convinced SOE to hire me as a game designer in 2007 to work on EverQuest II directly.
In some ways I wish I’d entered the industry earlier; back when EverQuest first launched and MMOs were “born”, I was working in I.T. support in Brazil, playing Alpha Centauri, and quite unaware of the fact that Smed was busy creating a game that would soon change my life. That must have been an exciting time to work in game design: treading new ground, inventing entirely new concepts, and influencing the path of all future MMOs to come. On the other hand, if I’d been hired by SOE when EverQuest was first being developed, I would never have worked in England, Brazil or Australia, and never experienced all the events related to those travels nor met all the people related to those jobs. Good and bad, those experiences taught me lots, and some of it has undoubtedly made me a better game designer. As Tracy said in her very first G.I.R.L. blog post, every job gives you something that you can take with you on your way to the next! And I got here eventually, where I feel I belong.
As I look around my little slice of the game design industry, I see some very competent women working in pretty much all areas of gaming. The overall ratio is still disproportionately male-heavy, as in many computer and technical-oriented fields; and I’m sure there are many complex factors that may be contributing to that ratio. SOE created the G.I.R.L. program to help raise general awareness of female gamers and females in the game industry, and to help to influence the industry towards designing content and in-game depictions of women that are appealing to women, as well as men. My goal in this blog will simply be to look at some of the different roles that women can and do play in the game industry; to talk a bit, as Tracy did, about the day-to-day life of a woman gamer; and to help to raise awareness of how many women do work in this industry and the many different ways in which they contribute.
Along those lines, it’s now my privilege to announce the winner of the second annual G.I.R.L. Scholarship, a program designed to further the goals of the G.I.R.L. program by offering a student $10,000 towards tuition and a unique opportunity for an optional paid internship at SOE. Rebecca Gleason has been selected from out of many talented applicants, and we look forward to getting to know her here at SOE. Congratulations, Rebecca!