As part of building and running online communities, I eventually reached the point where web sites became an integral aspect of community construction. Thus, spurred on by the needs of my hobby in online gaming, I began to dabble in web site creation. At that time HTML was as rudimentary as it gets, with cross-browser incompatibility being a very nasty issue, but as technology moved on I grew fascinated by the intriguing mixture of tech geek and artist that personifies a web designer. Eventually, I developed a confident host of web programming skills, and even dabbled in web site design as full time job. Today, I use my design skills to compliment my expertise with business programs, developing customized solutions.
As a web designer, I am a huge fan of Content Management applications. I prefer to spend my time doing development, not changing emails on someone's bio, so I build my sites to allow the users to manage their own content. In the development world, this mentality could be just as useful, with the use of wiki's, internal intranets, code repositories, and other such programs that I am sure you are familiar with. As a manager who believes that clear lines of communication lead to a significant drop in problems and missed expectations, I would push to develop tool sets that clearly map my department's needs, requirements, and deadlines.
As a community activist, I also participated in hundreds of online forums. My graphic design skills were frequently used to create signature images for users on these forums.
I have run hundreds of quests over the years, so here is a sample of a few to give you an idea of how I think and plot them out:
Short Term Quests
These quests generally take only a day. Since I ran most of these as a player, I had to develop all sorts of interesting work arounds to pull them together. Take a look at the Riddle Quest for more details.
Long Term Quests
Scenarios like this generally take months to finish off, and some have taken as long as two years! Read over the design document for a quest currently being run in the world of Sosaria (Ultima Online) for Upheaval in Delucia.
Dev & Player Coordinated Quests
This is an article with a few examples and suggestions on how Dev run programs and players could work together to create a more viable dynamic quest solution. Go ahead and give Developer and Player Coordination: A Better Questing World a read.
Events and Festivals
Over the past decade, I have run literally hundreds of events for players in various Gaming worlds. Here are some samples of those events I have organized:
As you can see, I have organized and implemented a large variety of activities in the Gaming world. With a position at your studio, I believe I could utilize these experiences to help refine your vision from my own experiences, as well from information gathered from the public player base.
As an Event Moderator for Electronic Art's Ultima Online, I had the opportunity to run events for a player population of approximately 150,000. I was assigned as the Lead EM for the Origin shard/server, and wrote up dozens of quests and events specifically built to compliment the existing communities. Here are a few samples to review:
Most Role-players love to write about their characters, and I am not immune to that bug. Here are few stories from the RP life of Talanithus, one of my "online avatars":
I have hundreds of pages of other tales, but I doubt these will really sway you one way or the other in the hiring process. *chuckles
Here are a few of my fantasy based poems and songs:
I've written and adapted a few plays over the years, some for MMOG use and others for RL theater. Here is one to give you an idea of my style:
An Elvish version of the children's Fairy Tale, Rumplestiltskin. A very tongue in cheek production, but feel free to read the script.
If you would like to download this page, including all samples and associated materials, I have also provided them in a printed format.
I believe in a "sitcom" styled development phase for events. By this, I mean that each individual event within a greater story arc should be an independent entity, including all of the necessary elements to enjoy the event on it's own while concurrently improving on the depth and meta-resolution of the greater story line. An "episode" should include the following elements.
When developing a story arc, I prefer to use morally ambiguous story lines that allow players on either side of a conflict to feel that they are "right" in defending their views. Good versus Evil plot lines can work for mass events, but anything that encourage involvement of the players should allow them the opportunity to feel justified in their choices and actions. In my experience, this sort of foundation allows the development of a viral form of player fanaticism, and stimulates a secondary cultivation of player communities that arise to defend the ideologies the player's have chosen to identify with. I am a firm believer in the power of player communities to evolve a story line's path, and adapt my plot lines to the player's developments.
I generally develop several RPCs (Role Playing Characters) to handle different elements of plot development. In a conflict oriented story line, there will of course be the protagonist and antagonist, though as I stated earlier I prefer conflicts of a more "grey" nature. I also create a character that exist primarily as a source of information, be they an Oracle, Librarian, Scholar, or so on. I am a huge fan of history, and will frequently hold book readings or symposiums in game with this character to elucidate on game history, many times with an emphasis on how it applies to the current story arc. I also develop a sort of wandering minstrel character for more casual encounters with players out adventuring, using his songs and stories as a platform to encourage players to seek out alternative story branches, or just to notify them "in character" of story arcs they might not have discovered on their own.
All events and quests should be witnessed and transcribed to the larger player audience. The means of this information dispersion is not as important as the fact that the information gets out. It could be from a player reporter for a fan site, or from the event writer on the official web site, but the player's need to have a record of exactly what happened and how it fits into the greater scheme of things. Failure to properly chronicle and event story arc will leave most players feeling like they have been excluded from the "in crowd", which should be avoided at all costs. To compliment this, players also need to have a definitive meeting area or notification system to alert them of new events. Again, the form is not as important as the fact that it exists, so that players that wish to participate have a clear path to do so.
My experience in QA and Beta TESTING follows.