Why I Chose to Pursue Game Design

So I came across this report on PAR today (for those interested, my handle over there is Pantherra).

It’s worth a read for the gender/transgender issues alone, but the thing that caught my eye was the story of how her experience with games positively influenced her personal story.

In my previous post I said that the reason I wanted to get into game design is because I wanted to create something that I’m passionate about – that I wanted to tell stories. In reality, that’s really only half of the story. The other half is that I’ve personally experienced the positive influence that interactive games and media can have on people’s lives.

I want to create that experience for others.

My story isn’t anything terribly special. While working at my last job, I joined a progression guild in World of Warcraft. It was a great community and competitive in progression, while not demanding too much from it’s members. Really a perfect fit for me.

When the Mists of Pandaria expansion came out, we did exceedingly well, and I really threw myself into it. Between studying the fights, theory and sim crafting my character, and plotting out optimal DPS+ cooldown usage, I must have been putting in almost 10 hours a week into the game – and that’s not including time I was actually logged in.

And my work was paying off.

On most of our raid nights, I’d get at least a few top 200 World of Log rankings for my class (Retribution Paladin). And several times, I got into the top 10. Granted, we were pushing content (and therefore my parses had fewer to compete with), and with WoW’s dwindling player-base, I’m sure a top 200 world parse isn’t what it used to be.

All the same – these experiences gave me a measure of confidence and affirmation that allowed me to move on from my cushier job (and ironically my WoW guild – I cancelled my WoW subscription after enrolling in classes) to pursue something better – something I was actually passionate about. It gave me the confidence to tell myself “if I work at something as hard and as passionately as I worked at Ret Pally DPS, I can push myself into the upper echelon of whatever that is.” So, cheers to you Blizzard. If this whole ‘game design’ thing works out for me, you’ll be towards the top of my thank-you list.

And even if it doesn’t work out, I might as well say right now: Thank you for giving me the confidence to go after a dream like this. Seriously. Thank you.

My goal in all this is that one day I can create or be part of a game that influences a gamer the way my little WoW experience influenced me.

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About Pantherra

Computer Science student with a desire for a career in Game Development or Software Engineering.
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