orking at Wizards of the Coast is one of those rare experiences that can actually live up to the dreams of a Magic fan. Creating fun is our business, and it's certainly serious business—employees on Magic Online work hard, and there are always challenges to tackle that help you grow professionally. But when the fun you're creating involves magic spells, inspires such exceptional and dedicated fans, and makes you want to stay late to push your contribution just that much closer to perfect, well, you're one of the extremely fortunate.
What's it like to work at Wizards of the Coast on Magic? Senior Creative Art Director Matt Cavotta describes it well: "It's all unicorns and rainbows, except the unicorns are undead, and the rainbows shoot liquid doom arrows."
Seriously, what's not to love about that kind of work environment?
It's all unicorns and rainbows, except the unicorns are undead, and the rainbows shoot liquid doom arrows.
Magic Online Game Support Team
While there's a lot of work happening on Magic Online's technical front (check out Chris Kiritz's Wide Beta Update article next week for those details), there's a lot of effort going on behind the scenes on the support front as well.
Sara Riehl manages the Systems & Operations team, as well as the Retail & Game Support team. She is expanding both of her teams and is excited to get new people into two positions: a digital events coordinator and a junior operations technician.
Hiring Manager: Sara Riehl
I asked Sara what she is looking for in a strong candidate for the digital events coordinator. "I would have to say the number one thing I look for in someone joining our team is a passion for helping our customers," she says. "We have amazing customers, and we want to make sure they are supported at all points in their experience."
Passion here translates into more than just a passion for Magic. "Our team thrives on communication," says Sara, "so we look for a candidate who is always listening, absorbing information, and strategically thinking about how this information might be useful in the future, or beneficial to other team members."
What does a digital events coordinator do? "That's the fun part, the part everyone wants to know," says Sara. "What's this job all about?
"Our digital events coordinators will be in-game for all premier Magic Online events, PTQs and MOCS Finals. They will be active, able, and ready to provide support if any issues arise."
A question applicants always have for a job on a Magic team is, "Do I need experience with Magic?" That's not always a necessity, but in the digital events coordinator, it's experience that's essential.
"Having Magic tournament experience is a must," says Sara. "The digital events coordinator will be our team's go-to person for Premier Event information, so when you apply, don't forget to mention the level of your Magic experience and knowledge."
We have amazing customers, and we want to make sure they are supported at all points in their experience.
—Sara Riehl, Manager, Systems & Operations | Retail & Game Support
Hiring Manager: Sara Riehl
A junior operations technician is key to supporting Magic Online's operations, which function 24/7. Providing critical premium customer service as well as immediate response to internal and external issues that may arise, the junior operations technician is the bridge between a problem and its solution.
Great candidates for this position are doers, self-motivated, and engaged when presented with challenges—including some that may not have clear technical solutions. Having a deep knowledge of Wizards of the Coast brands, especially Magic Online, is important because of the cross-functional nature of the role. This position interacts with service leads and managers, operations technicians, organized play, live operations, as well as the digital studio team.
This is a great place to expand technical skills, as well as customer support and communications skills.
Magic Online Art Production Team
There's no doubt that Magic has some of the highest-quality art around. Art for Magic Online is not simply a cut-and-paste from the face-to-face game. Magic Online has art requirements of its own. An art director is responsible for guiding the aesthetic quality of the game, from preproduction through final production, ensuring all elements are consistent with brand objectives. He or she identifies critical milestones and deliverables, and manages workflows and processes of the art team.
We're looking for one of the rare but awesome souls who has a mind for sophisticated design but a heart for swords and sorcery.
—Matt Cavotta, Senior Creative Art Director
Hiring Manager: Matt Cavotta
Matt Cavotta is a Magic art veteran who has helped shape and evolve the visual and aesthetic quality of Magic products, so he is the person who knows what makes a great candidate for the digital art director role.
"We're looking for one of the rare but awesome souls who has a mind for sophisticated design but a heart for swords and sorcery," says Matt. "As Magic creatives, our passion is for geek-cool entertainment that drives us to continually ply our skills and experience to a successful end. The Magic Online art director needs to have that same blend of passion and skill."
Strong candidates will be able to demonstrate not just artistic passion and sensibilities, but also an ability to manage projects. "Provide a resume and portfolio in which the details are lovingly minded," advises Matt. "These materials are, in essence, projects that are art-directed by you. Let your work and your presentation speak to your keen designer's eye."
What about Magic experience? Does a candidate have to be an expert with Magic? Not necessarily, says Matt. "Magic experience is preferred for this position, but it's design and digital game experience that's the must-have. For those without Magic experience, we'd like to see that there is experience with games or other entertainment properties that would show an understanding of our audience."
Magic Online Product Management Team
We want to keep our consumers excited about what we're doing when there's a ton of stuff competing for their time. The senior product manager
for Magic Online
will play a key role in doing that.
—Worth Wollpert, Magic Online Executive Producer
Hiring Manager: Worth Wollpert
"The senior product manager will have a significant impact on Magic Online long-term," says Magic Online Executive Producer Worth Wollpert, "so, we are looking for someone who understands the needs of today's digital gamer, and who has the ability to drive the product life cycle, from concept through development and merchandising. The person should be able to effectively put him- or herself in the mindset of our consumers, determine what experiences they are looking for, and then drive a cross-functional team to deliver that."
This role interacts with all parts of Magic, which includes research & development, digital development, sales, organized play, finance, project management, and international Hasbro offices. "This is a leadership role," says Worth. "The person in this position will be leading a diverse group of people, so we want candidates who have experience doing this effectively."
Some familiarity with Magic is required for the role. "Being able to jump in and have an impact is important," Worth says. "Beyond just Magic, a great candidate will have some understanding of the competitive landscape in the digital gaming field. It's a huge and growing part of the entertainment industry, and one in which we are a market leader, but we never want to stop improving our products and delivering better experiences to players."
This focus on players and providing them an exceptional experience is very important to the Magic Online team. "We want to keep our consumers excited about what we're doing when there's a ton of stuff competing for their time. The senior product manager for Magic Online will play a key role in doing that."
Magic Online Software Development Team
Software is at the core of Magic Online. When you play Magic, especially in formats like Modern or Legacy, you know there are a lot of cards, mechanics, and rules these cover. You also know there are seemingly infinite possible card interactions—with more possibilities added every time a new Magic card set is released!
Now imagine, if you can, coding and testing for those seemingly infinite possibilities. When code and "infinite possibilities" meet, woe to the faint-hearted developer. It can be a daunting task wrestling the two together, but this is the task for Magic Online software developers, and they love the challenge.
Be proud of your code and show it off! We love to see code!
—Steve Bargelt, Manager, Software Development
Hiring Manager: Steve Bargelt
These two positions are closely aligned, and so I've put them together in this section. Both the cardset software developer and the game rules engine software developer fall under Software Development Manager Steve Bargelt. The software developers will be members of small development teams on a project-by-project basis.
"Both of these positions require C++ experience," says Steve, "along with the other technical requirements in the job description of each."
Magic Online is a digital game product, obviously, so some experience in that area is valuable. "Candidates with experience in the gaming industry are of interest," Steve says. "Those with MMO experience would definitely be of special interest."
What about Magic experience? "For most software development positions on the Magic Online team, Magic knowledge is nice to have but not required," says Steve, but in these cases there's an exception. "These two positions are a bit different in that in-depth Magic rules knowledge is essential. You can imagine that working on the Game Rules Engine without knowledge of the game rules would be difficult, to say the least."
Steve adds: "We'd love to see rules knowledge equivalent to DCI Level 1 or 2 judges." Check out the Judge Level Requirements to see the kind of Magic knowledge that puts you in the plus column when being considered.
Finally, I asked Steve what advice he has for prospective candidates. "Be proud of your code and show it off! We love to see code!"
What are some examples? "Open source projects, GitHub, even StackOverflow reputation," he says. "Nothing shows that you are qualified better than being able to show us your work. Your resume or cover letter should point us to code examples, and tell us why you are proud of particular projects or contributions."
Clayton Kroh is a veteran of the videogame industry and a fiction writer. He started with Wizards of the Coast in July of 2013 as a digital content specialist for MTGO.com and contributes creative content to Magic whenever he has the opportunity.