How did you come to work on EverQuest II?
It was a long, arduous (not really) journey as a game master on EverQuest, then Star Wars Galaxies while also helping out on PlanetSide and Matrix Online, before I finally landed in the world of Norrath of the future in good, old 2012.
How long have you been working on EQII?
Since time immemorial. That's not true because I just described when I started working on EQII. It's really hard to get away with anything on the internet.
What was the first project you worked on for EQII?
Skyshrine Contested! Specifically, the Capitol district. It's where I learned how to populate zones with the children of Veeshan. Since then, I've been working my way backwards, alphabetically, through the deities. I think I'm on Rodcet Nife, so I will soon learn how to place aliens in space or something.
What is the favorite project that you’ve worked on for EQII?
This is like asking who's your favorite child. What's wrong with you?
(It's High Keep Contested.)
How did you break into the game industry?
There were 2 or 3 apprentice game design positions that opened up which I didn't intend to apply for, and the rest is history.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into the game industry?
If there are 2 or 3 apprentice game design positions available where you work, apply. In all seriousness, going back to the previous question – I doubted my ability to be any sort of game developer at the time, but was encouraged to apply. So, I went for it, and have been happily designing content for EverQuest II ever since. If it wasn't for the encouragement of my friends and family, I wouldn't be where I am today. So, if there's any advice I can give, it's to never doubt yourself, and it doesn't hurt to apply. (Unless you apply too soon for a credit card that you were denied, but what do I know, I'm just a game designer.)
Who is your favorite NPC in EQII?
Every cow in Shard of Hate: Udder Contempt [Herd Mode]. Wait, now that I wrote cows… Every cowboy and cowgirl in Diaku Corral, specifically Vleecan Fele <Bossman> in Wracklands: Showdown at High Noon [Challenge]!!
What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on?
Recency bias would have me say Solusek's Eye: The Calling [Raid] was the most challenging project, as that's the first raid I worked on from start to finish. As a raid, it’s an entirely different beast than solo or heroic content, which is my focus. However, thinking back over the years of implementing boss encounters, I'd have to give the most challenging crown to the first two I worked on: Pyre and Frost, fire and ice golems, respectively, in Sleeper's Tomb: The Forgotten Catacombs [Heroic]. They weren't overly complicated, but being my first scripted encounter, I remember it being a daunting task that resulted in one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. I thought to myself, "Yes! I can do this!" And, to this day, I'm having the time of my life.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you got started?
How to implement raids! Solusek's Eye was a pain! (In a good way.) My mind was wrapped around 6-person encounters in 6-person max zones. You’re telling me I have to deal with 24 people?! What do you mean I can't spawn 100 adds?!
What’s the first thing that got you interested in working in the game industry?
French 101. In college I took French as my foreign language requirement because it's so heavily used in San Diego... A friend I met in that class told me about a game called EverQuest and said I should check it out, so I did. Of course, I was hooked from the start and played non-stop whenever I could. Another month into the semester, this same friend, who was a guide coordinator for SOE, told me about a Ruins of Kunark launch event at a GameStop (I think it was, anyway!) at UTC (local mall here in University City/La Jolla). He said I should go meet some of the team and apply for a game master position. I didn't think I was game master material, but I applied anyway and… wait, this is starting to sound eerily familiar…
If there's another piece of advice I can give to someone who wants to break into the game industry, it's to learn from your mistakes.