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1-03-2009 @ 3:01PM
I was actually approached by a Blizzard recruiter about four months ago, so I have actually had to face this question. It wasn't for CS (I'm a Software Engineer), but it was still for Blizzard. At the time, I worked for another large SoCal company that makes MMOs (and not very good ones, if you ask me). I said no. At this other company, I got in on the ground floor. I worked first as unpaid help, then as a Systems Engineer handling the late-night rolling restarts and patches, then, finally, as a Software Engineer. When I started, I loved the game and anything made by the company. Within a few months, I stopped playing the game because, well, I was just /saturated/ with it all the time. You lose a lot of the magic when you get to Oz, pull back the curtain and find out that the same corporate maladies apply at your favorite gaming company that do everywhere else. Not to mention learning just how fragile MMOs and the platforms they run on can be. Then, there's the idea of working in the game industry all together. First note... CS and QA get paid HORRIBLY. In order to live in SoCal and work at their jobs, they had to room with one another and eat ramen all the time. Many of my original friends at the company started in CS. What kept them there was their burning desire to move their way into the gaming industry. They all successfully got where they wanted to go many years later, but you have to want to spend your time in the horrible trenches in order to get there.Secondly, even the technical jobs are underpaid. Perhaps not severely, but unless you're a manger you can bet that doing whatever tech job you do, you'll get paid better somewhere OUTSIDE of the gaming industry. I actually brought up that I thought I was underpaid and was pointed to an article in a game magazine pointing to the median income of people in my position. Basically, I was told that EVERYONE is underpaid. Thirdly, you have to pretty much give up your life in order to dedicate your life to getting anywhere in the gaming industry. Despite the suit against EA demanding better working conditions, it's considered a badge of honor to spend more time at work than at home when you work on a game (maybe that's why Blizzard has so many nice amenities that are just like home). I left the gaming industry four months ago, and I'm still tickled pink about it. I'm getting paid more to get back to being a web developer, and I'm working at a company that isn't 'Oz' to me, so when I go home and game, I'm not thinking about the people who made the game or the corporate policies that went into effect to get this to be used over that... I'm just having fun. :)
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