IamA Game Designer working on MMORPGs, AMAA!
Hello, all! My name is Jeff Hamilton, and like many of you I've been a fan of video games for as long as I can remember. I started working in the industry as a temp QA Tester at EA about 8 years ago, working on many games there (Spore, Dante's Inferno to name a few). I worked my way into design at Paragon Studios, where I became a Systems Designer on City of Heroes. I now work at Cryptic Studios, where I helped ship Neverwinter and have been working on Star Trek Online in the interim.
Outside of work, I spend my time playing video games and attempting to stay in shape, hitting the gym twice a week. I used to be a musician and actor as well.
Feel free to ask me anything about the process of making games, what it's like to work in the industry, why game developers do things in ways that specifically infuriate you, etc. If you want advice on what to study to break in, or what to read to prepare for a career in game dev, I'm happy to help there as well! I will try to answer anything I can that is legal for me to answer (NDAs are a bitch).
Edit1: Taking a short break to grab some food, will return around 7:30 am pacific. Keep questions coming! I'll answer throughout the day and night.
Edit2: Started answering questions again about 15 minutes ago. Also, I feel compelled to point out that everything I say is just a personal statement as a human who happens to do this job - I do not represent my employer, nor am I here for any sort of promotional purpose. :)
Edit3: Holy moley that's a lot of questions. I am doing my best, I promise!
Edit4: Working on Star Trek now! I will make my way through these over the course of the day - I'm sorting by some combination of everything but Top as I answer. If you have a question that you particularly care about getting an answer to, Tweet me a link directly @jeffahamilton
Edit5: Made headway over lunch. Will answer more questions after work. Gotta go make games, for now! Smell ya later, reddit!
Edit6: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2js28o/iama_game_designer_working_on_mmorpgs_amaa/clejz34 contains my previously promised answer. Gonna answer more questions until I crash asleep sometime within the next hour. This blew up waaaaay beyond what I thought it would - I hope you all had as much fun as I did.