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How to become a GM? What is it like?

FinaaFinaa Philadelphia, PAPosts: 6Member

I've been curious lately on how to become a Game Master for an MMORPG.

How does someone do this? Are there necessary qualifications? Would you usually apply through the companies website in job listings?

 

Can an existing player be made into a game master after showing dedication to the community, or can one be made a Game Master long before a game is released to the public?

 

Can a Game Master work from home? Or do they need to work from a company's HQ?

 

Has anyone here ever tried to become a Game Master, or ever was one? What was the application process like and what was it like to be a Game Master?

Comments

  • CzzarreCzzarre Cleveland, OHPosts: 3,742Member

    Cannot say for sure. Last time I was a GM was waaaaaaaaaaaay back in the days of MUD dominance.

    I wager that being a GM in today's billion dollar industry is not simply working from home and playing the game but more organized and on site. Also, I doubt it pays well...but I'm only guessing.

  • DewmDewm Soldotna, AKPosts: 1,341Member

     

    Hmm wonder how you would do that. I doubt it would pay well...but it'd be kinda fun.

    Please check out my channel. I do gaming reviews, gaming related reviews & lets plays. Thanks!

  • RallycartRallycart Austin, TXPosts: 717Member

    With Age of Conan, it was a volounteer program, where you worked at home, and basically spent all day getting yelled at by the players. Low budget MMOs also usually use volounteers, which they deem worthy through community participation, similar to how forum mods are picked. Some companies do pay their employees, and use on site help, but not all. If you do find one that pays, you will more than likely need quite a bit of prior experience, have a strong working knowledge of the game and it's systems, and still expect low pay.

    What is it like to be a GM? Pretty crap, unless you are one of the higher ups, which actually run the game. If you are just some random peon GM, it is a thankless, boring job. Even if you are one of the higher ups, which has commands that actually do something fun... It is still a thankless, boring job.

  • RecantRecant Some placePosts: 1,586Member Uncommon

    Companies nowadays consider GMs to be a customer support role.  Not a fancy dungeon master.  Therefore you need excellent written and verbal communication skills, experience in a customer support environment, and of course experience with online games - which is the easy bit - I guess having lead a guild might help a bit but probably won't make the difference.  Knowing other languages is a plus, and well, you need to present yourself well as you would for any other job application.

    Still waiting for your Holy Grail MMORPG? Interesting...

  • bill9912bill9912 dallas, TXPosts: 23Member

    If you think working a help desk for any product is fun you are all set.  These are very entry level jobs and have pay levels that go with them.  Since there are few requirements (ie no college degree etc) they generally do not need to allow people to work from home to attract them.  If they though it could be done remotely they would just outsource the jobs to india.

     

    To find them search for customer service since they are seldom listed as GM.   This one in from blizzard

    http://www.blizzard.com/us/jobopp/csr.html

    A x-coworker who got laid off took a job for a smaller games company and hated it.  Although he had lots of experience in customer service the dealing with the drama that comes from players made him quit.   He said the 18months he lasted was much more than many other people.  A lot of guys quit soon after discovering that they were updating tickets more than logged into the game.

     

     

     

     

  • KhaunsharKhaunshar ViennaPosts: 350Member Uncommon

    Its a stepping stone towards a designer job, basically. There are some decent blog entries about the life in the CSR pit on this site, by our resident industry insider girl :p

    From my own experience, it CAN be fun, but most days its a major pain. You have to differentiate though, between games that are just released (worst kind, because most of the time you are not only fighting player demands, you are fighting the game and its still-existing bugs as well) or are older and matured well (this makes one HELL of a difference, but it also is a job rarely up for the taking), and whether its a mainstream or a niche game. Trust me, and this is from personal 12 months at the Blizzard CSR center in France, you really, REALLY dont want to work for the current mainstream audience as low-rank GM. 

    I strongly suggest trying to get a job at a company somewhat close to your home in case you leave after a short while, and dont want to deal with the hassle of a long-distance move. Yeah, sounds pathetic, but you really cant imagine the pain in the rear that job can be before you tried it.

    Of course, if you wish to break into the game business itself, with GM as a stepping stone, pick the company you would love to work for most. BioWare, Funcom and Blizzard all have good reputations in regards to how they treat their workers, whereas others, among them Mythic and various NCSoft teams, are less than stellar in that regard.

    If you got a goal, say, Live Team for SW:ToR, that will help a lot get through those months as a GM.

  • UmbroodUmbrood gbgPosts: 1,847Member Uncommon

    I did the volunteer GM thing in my early MMO years, for Anarchy Online.

    I was in early beta and they started the ARK program before release, I asked to enter the program and got accepted.

    So I were a "GM" when the game released.

    Anyone who played AO at release can imagine how that was like.

    To top it of, Funcom was a fairly new company then, they had little to no knowledge how to run an adequate customer service program for something like an MMO, obviously neither did I.

    They did have a fairly well thought out training program for us volunteers though, I will give them that.

    But as in most things theory and reality are two very different things.

    I quit after about three months, the "politics" killed the fun for me.

    As in most things where volunteers are involved suck-ups and brown noses were rewarded and those of us who quietly went about the tasks that where handed to us left one after another.

    It did however give me some good experience on how it is to be on the other side of the fence so to speak.

    I am much more humble to CSR's then often the situation calls for.

    I do not regret my time there, but I would never do it again.

    As an employed GM, I imagine the pay is horrid and the working conditions even worse.

    Picture if you will some of the worst people you have met in MMO's and then give them an entitlement as a paying customer?

    To be honest these people deserve more credit then what is given to them.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by Jerek_

    I wonder if you honestly even believe what you type, or if you live in a made up world of facts.
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  • CzzarreCzzarre Cleveland, OHPosts: 3,742Member

    I well knnow that those people who work as GMs deserve more than they get.

    We need a 'Be kind to your GM day" ..where all we do is Spam /Stuck Tickets and then flower anyone who responds with kindness.

    Still I wager it is the 'foot in the door' many people seek into the industry for those who do not have a coding/computer science degree. I suppose if you want in, that is one way to do it. My question is...if you want to get into the business this way...is it better to shoot for a big company (Blizzard) where the company is stable with a lot of room to move up or is it better to go with a smaller independent company where the politics likely arn't as bad and you're more likely to jump to a higher paying position if the game takes off (high risk/high reward)

  • templarxtemplarx PretoriaPosts: 181Member

    Well i suggest you read this blog post from an Ex GM at Mythic, nice long story, might give you some insight into what it is really like:

    www.warcry.com/articles/view/issues/issue_213/6341-Casualty-of-Warhammer

    [quote]

    Disclaimer: Jeremy Monken is a former employee of Electronic Arts who was kind enough to share with us his story of working at Mythic Entertainment during the final days leading up to the launch of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. As a former employee of EA, he is not at liberty to discuss any proprietary technology or internal conversations. The information presented in this article is his opinion, or was taken from news sources external to EA, or was made public by Mythic Entertainment or Electronic Arts. It is also one hell of a story. - Ed.

    It all started, as so many things do these days, with an email. I was a game reviewer for a D.C. newspaper, so my inbox was usually filled with press releases, industry announcements and other gaming news. One morning in October 2006 a message caught my eye: "Check out the studio as we celebrate 100 days of EA Mythic."

    [/quote]

  • DeathreatDeathreat Manalapan, NJPosts: 139Member

    I was a gamemaster in Tibia for about two years, it started off fun then become horrible.

  • merruamerrua limerickPosts: 12Member

    A gm is just another customer support job. Its ok as far as customer support goes. Basically if you have done customer support before and have a good knowledge of technology and the game world you can get the job.

     

  • CorruptedCorrupted Lake Worth, FLPosts: 310Member

    Let's just say, you don't want to be a GM if you're not getting paid. Simple, you'll have the children spam you asking you for free items and to show you this and to show you that, that's why most GM's either become invisible or are barely in-game. You'll also get a vast number of really dumb questions and it's rinse and repeat cycle. All they are is customer support with a in-game character.

    image

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Sarasota, FLPosts: 2,601Member

     

    Check the corporate sites of the developers of the various MMOs for Customer Support, CSR or GameMaster positions.

    ex: http://ccpgames.com/jobs.aspx

     

    Some things that often help:

    - active positive contributor on the game forums

    - active game account (they can often see how long you played and what you do in game)

    - previous experience in customer support

     

     

     

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  • HydrobluntHydroblunt NYC, NYPosts: 282Member
    Originally posted by Rallycart


    If you do find one that pays, you will more than likely need quite a bit of prior experience, have a strong working knowledge of the game and it's systems, and still expect low pay.

     

    Then why is it that most GMs are relatively clueless about the game they service?   That has been my experience and my general outlook is that GM/CSR/ARK = moron.  On occasion you get a knowledgeable one.

    I hate to say this, but my first thought when I saw the thread was that to be a GM you needed a low IQ.

    Playing: EvE, Warhammer free unlimited trial, Allods Online
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  • majimaji ColognePosts: 2,002Member Uncommon

    In my personal ranking of "jobs that I would do", GM got a pretty bad place.

    The good:

    - it's a rather comfy and easy job

    The bad:

    - you are replacable. If you get fired, someone else can have your job and noone notices, because noone even knows your face and your personal skills are completly unimportant

    - you don't work creatively

    - you don't contribute to something large

    - you don't do something that is actually useful or helps the humanity in any way

    - you get insulted every now and then

    - you don't improve your skills/knowledge while working there

    The job ain't horrible, but I wouldn't do it.

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  • FinaaFinaa Philadelphia, PAPosts: 6Member
    Originally posted by maji


    In my personal ranking of "jobs that I would do", GM got a pretty bad place.
    The good:

    - it's a rather comfy and easy job
    The bad:

    - you are replacable. If you get fired, someone else can have your job and noone notices, because noone even knows your face and your personal skills are completly unimportant

    - you don't work creatively

    - you don't contribute to something large

    - you don't do something that is actually useful or helps the humanity in any way

    - you get insulted every now and then

    - you don't improve your skills/knowledge while working there
    The job ain't horrible, but I wouldn't do it.

     

    Hey, sounds like my current job!

    Except I work behind a computer so I am free to use the web and Adobe programs we have to always improve my skills.

     

    I've been doing customer support for almost 5 years now, helping people computers and technology as part of the library department at two different colleges.

     

    I've also played a lot of MMORPGs so I think that helps as well.

     

    I also was the leader of a very successful guild in the past, but had to quit so I could find a new job (pretty much same job, new place).

     

    I was brand new at being a guild leader, but I handled 200 members and ran the guild really well. When I quit everyone was pretty upset and said I was the best leader they ever had. I guess I have a knack for working with people.

    I'm generally patient, understanding, and friendly, but I am steadfast when it comes to rules and maintaining order.

     

    Anyway, thanks for everyone's input. I'm definitely going to look into it.

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