A View from Atlas Park: My Job Application Letter for CoV Master Lead Designer

Dear Cryptic Studios,

I would have had this letter done last week, but Positron sucker-punched me with that Q&A he did. While I thought, “What could one more week hurt?”, he was off getting promoted to Lead Designer of City of Villains. Well, I tip my hat to him in outsmarting me this time, but that hasn’t dulled this idea any – I think it is about time that Cryptic created a position with the modest title of Master Lead Designer for City of Villains and hired me for the job. Hiring me will put a huge asset in Cryptic Studio’s corner, provide a strong VisionTM for the future of the game and inspire a new wave of [strike]outrage[/strike] confidence among the current player base.

What qualifies me for this job? Firstly, I’ve been a CoH fan for years. Since early October 2001, to be exact, when I first signed up on the fresh and new City of Heroes forums. Since that day I’ve followed what might and could be in a superhero MMOG, through beta, through release (when it eventually arrived in my mailbox) up to this very moment in time. Heck, I was even around for that long stretch when Cryptic announced that it was going to announce nothing at all – I still kept coming to the boards. As such, I can be seen as either having dedication or as being a glutton for punishment: both attributes that are valuable in a Master Lead Designer.

An important part of any job application is outlining what relevant experience you have. As far as MMOG design experience, I’ve got none. And that’s a good thing for CoV. Let’s face it – it’s hardly like a dev with Everquest experience or Anarchy Online experience or Asheron’s Call 2 experience is really what you are looking for. Hire one of those guys and before you know it you’ll have superhero crafting, spawn camping for loot and a level grind the likes of which would make the current complaints about getting from level 35 to level 40 pale into insignificance. CoH/V isn’t like any other MMOG on the market – and you know that too, which is why you keep hiring pen’n’paper RPG designers over someone from (say) Motor City Online.

However, I’ve played a few MMOGs (of which CoH is the only one I’ve ever felt was worth paying for) so I’m not a total ignoramus about the genre. I’ve played a lot of computer games going back to the Commodore 64, so I’ve got some knowledge about computer games that exceeds the past five years. These things are important – it shows that I will have a different (and better) view than someone who started gaming when Playstations became “cool”. I gamed when it was uncool, dammit – that’s got to be worth something.

I’ve also been a p’n’p RPGer going way back. And it wasn’t like I was playing something simple like Dungeons and Dragons either, where everything comes pre-packaged for easy digestion. Nope, I was a long-time GURPs player, meaning that everything (ie the entire universe for the campaign) was usually developed from scratch. Sound familar?

You may be thinking why, having just pushed Positron up the ladder, why Cryptic needs UnSub. First off – new blood. I can bring a bit of outside thinking and shake things up a bit. That’s always good for the share price and as fansite fodder. Secondly, it’s obvious that being Lead Designer is a big responsibility. I’m sure that Positron would love to be able to share some of the [strike]blame[/strike] constructive criticism around for future decisions that will be made. The fanbase can’t keep blaming Statesman for everything they don’t like and Positron is in prime position to start catching flak. I’d stop that right away by being a more visible target. Besides, lots of MMOGs have Lead Designers, but can you name any games with Master Lead Designers? Didn’t think so. With a title like that, people will just know that COV is guided by someone who knows what they are doing.

Personality-wise, I’m a decent guy – I bathe regularly, and how many people can currently think of that can’t even get THAT right? – and can string a sentence together (usually). Hey, if you are still reading by this point, I must be doing something right.

Now, the important bit – what do I see as the future features of CoV. I’d love to tell you all of my detailed plans, but since someone else might read this, implement it before Issue #8 goes out and before you know it there will be giant monkey battles in some other MMOG. You’ll just have to trust me in that my ideas are both incredibly well thought out and simple to implement. As soon as you hire me on an ironclad contract for a period of five years, I’ll reveal all and amaze you.

We can talk salary and renumeration later on, but know this – I live in Australia. We’ve got wacky ideas like a public healthcare system that means I won’t need the kind of health and dental plan needed in the US. Plus, have you seen the US / Australian exchange rate? Honestly, you could pay me in your pocket change and I’d still have plenty of cash around home.

Be warned however – offers like this come along rarely. If you don’t act quickly, I may be snapped up by your competitors. I mean, you’ve seen that guy in dark trenchcoat and SOE shirt that is continually outside your offices, right? He’s just looking for the right opportunity to pounce and start poaching people for that DC MMOG that Jim Lee one day may start sketching some artwork for. It’s a vicious industry, for sure, but hiring me as Master Lead Designer would be the first step in assuring a golden future for CoV.

I’ve probably said enough now to confirm what you’ve always suspected – Cryptic Studios needs [strike]people like[/strike] UnSub to maintain its place as leader in the superhero MMOG genre. My email address is below – I’ll await your quick response.

Your servant (but soon to be CoV Master Lead Designer),

– UnSub


A week late, but anyway… congratulations to Statesman on the (real life, so as not to confuse people who think they’ve missed a patch) birth of his son. I wish you the best of luck and the occasional full-night’s sleep.

Of course, the fact that Jack Emmert had time to impregnate someone means that he wasn’t spending nearly enough time on CoH/V.

– UnSub [email protected] 3 March 2006

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