Ever thought of applying for one of the positions that Blizzard has listed on their jobs page? You're probably far from alone. I'd actually go as far as saying that most people playing World of Warcraft have at one point given it a thought. “Working for the company that created our favorite game World of Warcraft? Sign me up!” Or, “I can give customer support myself, instead of having to deal with these GMs that refuse to help me out, I would definitely help out right away.”
Having talked to a friend that works at Blizzard Entertainment in Europe and using a thread from 2007 by another Blizzard employee as a reference, there are many things that have to be understood and taken into consideration if you want to work for Blizzard. In this article I will cover working at Blizzard's European offices in France.
For example, one of the biggest “issues” to work for Blizzard would be to relocate to France – unless you already live there. This is a huge step for most people: leaving everyone behind, a new country, a different culture and the French language. There's also the fact of not knowing anyone and getting used to your new job which is in France, rather than your home country. Let's say you make up your mind and decide to apply for a position; which position do you want? Do you have an education or previous experience in the field you want to work within, or do you want to start out with an entry position, most likely working as a Game Master or Customer Support? Well, many apply for GM and CS jobs and assume they can quickly get internal positions that open up, but according to what I hear, this is harder than it seems…
…Harder because the competition is fierce, due to the amount of people working as Game Masters and Customer Support Representatives. Since said jobs are entry-level positions, they are easiest to get and thus there will be the most occupied positions. You should preferably be a unique snowflake and stick out from the crowd to get the internal position you've applied for; this can be easier said than done, but never give up – after all, raising among internal positions is a great thing when you finally can pull it off.
Now, going back to what it takes when you actually decide to apply for a position… well, let's say you decide to apply for a Game Master position – it's probably not too difficult to get the job in question, but due to it being an entry position, it won't pay super well – however, it should be sufficient to have spare money and carry on a social life in France. I've been to France many times; it's a nice country to socialize in. This is almost overkill to go into, but with the culture shock, the different language and the fact that French people are proud and prefer to speak French, it will be challenging.
About a year ago Tharfor of Blizzard Europe made a couple of posts where he outlined what it's like to work for Blizzard in France and how it was to relocate and the general experience he’s had from it. Overall he enjoys it quite a bit and never expected to stay so long – so it does indeed sound promising. However, if it's a GM position you seek, you will have to work shifts and be flexible; it's not always a walk in the park, but the experience you get from working at Blizzard and actually giving true support live within the product itself (quite the feat if compared to normal phone support) is a great thing. Picture yourself working like that in another country. Is it something for you? For me personally, I've had thoughts on applying for jobs in different countries like that. One of them was Blizzard Entertainment in France, but the relocation part and barely knowing anyone would make it hard and challenging.
Basically, you need to go for it 100% or it will be noticed that you don't and you probably wouldn't do well enough even IF you ended up somehow convincing them via the phone interview and later the live interview that you're the person for the job. Remember that. Working within the game industry is certainly different and all in all the chances are endless, it just depends what you make out of it. In the end, though, it's all about what you want. While Blizzard is a great company and there are many great people working there, it's still your own choice.
See it as a lifetime experience; we all have different goals and views in life, so what's yours? Would you relocate to another country if you got the chance to work for Blizzard Entertainment? You can make new friends and get used to the new country – it will just take time.