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GameMaster Responsibilities & Requirements
Please read this in its entirety before submitting an application.

Thank you for considering being part of the DragonRealms team. Our most valuable assets are our people and we attempt to pick our team members with the utmost care. This application contains a description of what being a GM (GameMaster) is and is not, followed by a detailed questionnaire to help us in our selection process.

DragonRealms is a massive project several years in the making. Simutronics was the first to introduce the concept of human GMs to major network games. To this day we are the only game that fully utilizes this resource by giving the GMs incredible tools for creation/modification and creative interaction with the world. As important as the human element of GMs is, it is still the software which the GMs must interface with and it has been our goal to provide the GM staff with the best there is.

But being a GM is not for everyone. The description of GMing given here should be read carefully and taken to heart (For the purposes of this application, GM means both full GameMaster and Assistant GameMaster). There are no exaggerations in this text. The warnings are real. Make certain you are sure in your mind that being a GameMaster for DragonRealms is what you really want to do. This application is designed not only to help us evaluate you, but for you to evaluate yourself regarding if GMing may be in your future. Be honest, because the realities of this job have shown themselves to be rather inflexible.

Customer Service

DragonRealms is both a game AND a service. This situation frequently put Simutronics and GameMasters in tough spots. In a normal customer service operation the CS representative is responsible for doing what he/she can to appease a customer's complaints. In DragonRealms, the GameMaster also has a responsibility to the game itself (in essence, all the players as a whole) and more times than not, you cannot always appease a player.

In short, the customer service aspects of GMing are very difficult to handle. A GM must have super-human patience to deal with players who don't care about your restrictions. A GM must be able to absorb a great deal of flak and still smile understandingly.

Lastly a GM must be able to adhere to policy closely. This is more difficult than it may sound, and more important than one paragraph can emphasize. Policy is what keeps our positions consistent and the game from degrading into total chaos. We supply a great deal of policy to keep things on-track, but it's up to the GMs to uphold this policy.

The Customer Experience Team handles most customer interaction. This interaction ranges from answering ASSISTs and REFERRALs to running merchant events and major invasions/storylines. The Customer Experience group works with Weddings, monitors the public message boards, performs liaison duties between the players and the Development team, and handles all types of player concerns and feedback.

The Development Team does not work directly with customers unless they, over and above meeting their development deadlines, choose to be trained by the CE staff in policies and procedures. Choosing to learn CE skills and have face-to-face player experiences is not a requirement for any member of the Development team. However, Development GMs must meet their Dev responsibilities and have their supervisor's approval before taking on extra work in the Customer Experience area.

 
Game Designers

Online games are never "finished" but rather exist in a state of constant expansion (or at least the successful ones do). Development GMs are the designers of DragonRealms and participate not only in the implementation of ideas but in the creation of them. This can range from simple additions to sweeping mechanics changes. Development GMs should be able to grasp the complexities of game design as it applies to DragonRealms.

Customer Experience GMs need to understand DragonRealms as it is today. Players will ask very technical questions and you will need to have enough grasp of the mechanics to answer. It's tough because DragonRealms is a monstrous contraption of a program.

All GameMasters need to adhere to the rules and world design as set out by Simutronics and the Producer. Exceptions have to be cleared. Most importantly, a GM has to fit his/her designs to the correct genre of the world we are creating. This is strictly enforced.

 
Implementers
Development GameMasters implement what they design. DragonRealms is a highly complex tool for real-time implementation. Most people are aware that GMs can create rooms/areas to add to the map and populate them with creatures. But GameMasters have much more capability than that.

DragonRealms is a giant script engine built around a custom programming language called GSL (GemStone Scripting Language). A GameMaster can build just about anything imaginable with GSL. Practically every system in DragonRealms is written in GSL: from simple verbs such as CHUCKLE, to the rules which govern the constantly rearranging tunnels in the Vykathi Hive air tunnels, to the rowboats and mine carts in the Volcano Quest. If you can imagine it, it can be done.

This tool requires that a Development GM be a good computer programmer. One whose aptitude is enough that they be called "language independent." By this we mean a programmer who is so good that s/he doesn't care very much what language it is, s/he just needs a reference manual to get started. Most self-taught programmers are like this and we often prefer self-taught to college-trained programmers (no offense).

What can be done in GSL depends entirely on the GM's mastery of the tool. This is no easy task unless you are a good programmer. A top-gun GSL programmer is not only able to implement almost anything in the language, s/he has the global state-of-mind to build concepts which fit the nature of GSL closely, thus creating excellent illusions within the world of DragonRealms.

Of course, if you are not a programmer, keep in mind that we also need people with strong creative talents, excellent writing abilities, and/or customer service skills.

 
Self-Starters
The importance of having initiative cannot be understated. It's easy to become complacent when working in DragonRealms and let a week or two slip by without much getting done. But remember, to a player a couple weeks of doing nothing is a major sin and a sign of utter incompetence on the part of the GM staff. You must be able to accept assignments (through proper channels) and then carry them out in a timely fashion. And you must be prepared to move on to your next project right away.

While being dedicated and a self-starter is crucial, it is just as vital to approach being a GM with an attitude of team-playing.

 
Integrity & Honesty
A GameMaster has power and with it a lot of responsibility. There are many rules and regulations you must follow to the letter to maintain the integrity of the system. We don't stand over our GMs watching their every move and in the past some GMs have decided to bend a few rules for the sake of their own entertainment (or that of friends). This type of behavior will never be tolerated under any circumstances or reasons.

Secondly, all GMs are exposed to trade-secrets which we consider vital to
our success. All GMs will have to sign a non-disclosure, assignment and non-competition agreement prior to working in DragonRealms. In special circumstances we do negotiate the terms of the agreement but strongly prefer to keep it consistent and intact. However, we're always willing to listen.

IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE

In ALL cases, we WILL legally enforce our GM Agreements if there are ANY violations. Do not sign these agreements if you do not fully intend to abide by them. We reserve the option of having any such disputes resolved by the American Arbitration Association or in litigation in a court of law. Either way, the prevailing party of said litigation or arbitration shall be entitled to all costs thereof to include reasonable attorney's fees. The Simutronics Corp. Agreement will be the only final legal/binding document(s) on this issue.

Note: You must be at least 18 years of age in order to be a GM due to the legal ramifications of a minor signing a contract. The agreements you sign will be construed according to the laws of the State of Virginia and will also agree to arbitration pursuant to the American Arbitration Association.

 
Time
A GameMaster has to be online A LOT. What "a lot" means depends on the circumstances. Generally we need GMs to cover high-usage periods each night when players may need assistance. In addition, GMs must be online to implement new areas and designs, run events and quests and maintain existing areas. An individual GM is usually online every night for several hours (similar to a player). A GM will be expected to spend even more time online when special events are going on with which they are involved.

Building new areas and such can be a very time-intensive process and GMs must be prepared to devote the effort and hours necessary. It is difficult to say how much time a given activity may take because a very proficient GM can do in hours what another GM might take weeks to do. This may sound unlikely but we really have that kind of range in skill levels. We are attempting to acquire the more highly adept GMs, and thus make the time constraints less of a factor whenever possible.

Now if you need time off for any reason we are very flexible. We do require that we be informed in advance, and if your vacation will impact your ability to meet your development deadlines, we should be notified well in advance. Be prepared to help out on a holiday or two because DR does not shut down for them. In fact our usage on holidays is always higher. This can be a pain, but we are willing to work with you in this area.

 

So Why Should Anyone Do This?
Enjoyment

Yes, some people like to do this sort of thing. DragonRealms is a great tool for expressing creativity. For the true designer, real-time game design is the ultimate experience -- and the only place you can find that is in a Simutronics game like DragonRealms.

The Future

You will be involved in a major online multiplayer product. If you ever wanted to get your foot into the door as far as game design is concerned, this might be the place to start. "Interactive" is on everyone's lips now, and DragonRealms is recognized as one of the premier products in the online interactive industry.

Savings

GameMasters will receive free play.net accounts.

Money

A percentage of the revenue earned by DragonRealms each month is set aside in a "GM share pool." This revenue is then divided among qualified GMs. Now this won't make anyone rich, but it is some good spending money each month. Best of all, how much you earn is tied directly to how well you do. If you create some great events that get lots of people online and pull in a good month you earn more. (Note: GMs are independent contractors and therefore are responsible for witholding their own taxes.)

 

Technical Requirements

Account

You need to have a play.net account in good standing and a current subscription to DragonRealms.

Computer

You need a good computer setup; the preferred equipment is a PC-compatible. Macintosh setups are also acceptable. We do insist you have reasonably up-to-date equipment (no C64's or Osbornes).

Internet Connection

A reliable, reasonably fast internet connection. Working at less than 14.4Kbps is just not realistic.

You are responsible for your own connection fees. If you have to dial a long-distance number or pay any sort of by-the-minute or by-the-hour charges, do not apply.

You will need separate voice and data lines. If you don't have them you can get an extra line installed (or a cell phone) once you've been hired.

Software

You will need an up-to-date version of Internet Explorer (5 or higher) or Netscape Navigator (4.7 or higher).

Text editing software (not a word processor) that you are comfortable with is a must -- we recommend UltraEdit or TextPad. You may also find it useful to have a good telnet client.

Privacy & Security

You need to make sure that no one else can access proprietary email, files, information or materials you will be using as a GameMaster.
 
What to Expect

Application

Once you send in your application it will be put into a database and you will receive email notification that we have received it. We do not look over the applications until such time as we have an opening for a new GameMaster. Until and unless you are selected for an online intervew, we will not contact you further about your application.

We pick GM applications depending on our needs. For example, if we need a GM who is a great programmer more than a designer we assign more weight to the programming score than the design score. Therefore there are no "correct" answers to the questions in the application. Be very honest when rating yourself. Even if in some areas you cannot rate yourself highly, that will not always matter. If we contact you and ask you questions, it will soon become obvious whether or not you've been honest in your application.

We then interview those who still want to be a GM from the selected applications. We also get opinions from other players and existing GMs as to what they think of your online presence thus far. During this process we attempt to find out more details and verify some of the evaluations in the application.

If there is a change in any of the information on your application, you should submit an updated application.

Becoming a GM

If you are selected as a GM, you will be sent our NDA/NCA contracts to be signed. Read them carefully and do not sign anything unless you clearly understand and agree to its terms. If there is any problem, contact us and we will work with you.

Once the NDA/NCA contracts are returned, we will begin orientation. This involves sending you the set of documentation and a briefing. You will begin work as an Assistant GM on probationary status. Probation lasts at least 90 days, during which time you will be expected to learn the basics of GMing (but not GSL) and master the commands. At the end of this time you will be given a real-time test which is designed to let you demonstrate your proficiency.

Being a GM

As stated before, being a GM means being online a lot. Plan on it! We have weekly GM meetings where we discuss the current agenda and work on new design issues. You need to attend.

Being a GM almost has more things you CAN'T do than those you can. This is because DragonRealms is a game. As you become a GM you find yourself in control of a lot of tools and powers. You will be in a position to be as destructive as you can be constructive. Be prepared to have your hands tied by policy (and common sense). The bureaucracy doesn't exist to limit you but rather to preserve the integrity of the game and the consistency of the concept. Furthermore, as a representative of Simutronics, users see you as a "Sysop" as well as a GameMaster.

Be prepared to work. GMing is a lot of work. A lot of the work is fun, but it is almost always exhausting. Pace yourself, but be prepared to get projects done quickly. This means pushing yourself at times. Learning all the commands and nuances can be difficult, so be prepared to study and practice.

Finally, be prepared to enjoy yourself. This is a game after all, and despite the grind, being a GM can be an experience unlike any other. The gratification which comes from watching the players enjoy the new area you just opened is very unique. If you are a creative person who seeks to build and create, this is the place for you.

 
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