Monday, April 3, 2017

Currently Residing In The "Where Are They Now?" File...

As MassivelyOP's annual trawl and Wilhelm's drill-down on Blizzard suggested, 2017 was hardly a vintage year for April Fools' jokes. Maybe in a world soaked with fake news, where every day something real happens that we only wish was someone's crazy fantasy, we're all happier humming along with Morrissey. (And you can find that video clip in the dictionary under "Irony").

I've never liked April Fool's Day - well, not since I was seven years old - so I'm more than happy to see it fade away. Even in MMOs it's never been a holiday I look forward to with any enthusiasm. At best it's a lackluster celebration and at worst it can be intensely irritating.

I do like free stuff, though, and I do like short, easy quests that reward house pets and mounts and tokens to spend at vendors who stock things I actually want to buy. All of which is pretty much the house style in EQ2 these days.

As I was pottering through this year's new quest for Bristlebane Day (a holiday that actually lasts almost two weeks, although there are even more high jinks on the High Silly Day itself) I started thinking about how well SOE, and now DBG, does these kind of events. That, naturally, put me in mind of Emily "Domino" Taylor, who did so much to foster that reputation.

It occurred to me that, after all the commentary about her decision to return to Canada for what turned out to be as much political reasons as anything else, we didn't seem to have heard much about what she might have ended up doing there. The last I'd seen was a post on her own seldom-updated blog.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to fly down here?

So I set about stalking her doing a little research, which pretty much consisted of checking her Twitter feed and LinkedIn. Anyone can be Bob Woodward nowadays.

It turns out that Domino is now a Producer at Smoking Gun Interactive. No, me neither. They seem to have a close relationship with Microsoft, for whom they currently provide Age of Empires: Castle Siege, the "#1 grossing game on Windows Store" as well as some titles for XBox and Kinect. They also worked with NASA on a Mars Rover game.

I'd tell you more about the company itself but the "About" page plays music you can't turn off and I literally couldn't concentrate to read. It was like a time-trip to the late '90s and not at all in a good way. Give it a go - it's like an April Fool experience you can have all year round!

Anyway, that's where Domino is now. The focus of SGI appears to be mobile and small-scale. Also retro - their last project was a revamp of the "classic" Microsoft Solitaire Collection for Android and iOS. Whether there's anything MMO in the works I would somewhat doubt.

If there's not then that would be a shame.  I'm sure Domino's an excellent hire to produce any genre of video game but she's an MMORPG creator par excellence and MMOs need people who think the way she does about content and immersion and inclusion.

All of which makes a little something I noticed about her LinkedIn profile particularly intriguing. Now, I'm not on LinkedIn, not being self-employed and anyway already having this platform right here to promote my all-round magnificence, so I am not entirely up to speed on how it works.

Looking positively palatial. Who'd believe these tiles only cost one gold a pop?

I may be reading something into this that isn't there. It may simply be a function of how LinkedIn entries are structured or a reflection of contract expiration dates or just a plain oversight. With those caveats, Domino's current entry does say this:

Smoking Gun Interactive Inc.
March 2017 – Present (2 months)Vancouver, Canada Area

Lead Game Designer
Daybreak Game Company LLC
March 2016 – Present (1 year 2 months)

She was "contributing to prototyping of an unannounced title" at DBG so maybe she's still doing consultancy on it. Of course, these days, even MMO developers aren't interested in making MMOs anymore, so maybe it doesn't matter much anyway.

Good luck in Vancouver, Domino. I hope your cat settles in soon. Put some butter on her paws, that's what my Grandma would have done. Then again, she told me if I swallowed chewing gum it would wind around my heart and I'd die so maybe not...


  1. I don't know if you use Chrome for bowsing or not, but it has this lovely feature when you right click on a tab: "Mute Tab." I use that all the time to take care of web pages that like to play sound for my enjoyment. Whether I wanted it or not!

    1. Thanks! I didn't know that. I was using Firefox at the time but I do use Chrome as well so I'll know where to go if it happens again. Honestly, though, I haven't run across a website that force-plays music in years.

    2. I haven't run into the music thing in a long time either, I mostly use it for obnoxious advertisements or news sites that auto play videos.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide