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Dev Profile: April 'CuppaJo' Burba

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The Community Manager for Tabula Rasa submits to our latest developer profile

April "CuppaJo" Burba currently serves as the Community Manager for Tabula Rasa at NCSoft Austin. You may, however, be more familiar with her in the same role for City of Heroes/Villains. She is the subject as our profiles switch over to an NCSoft focus for a few weeks.

MMORPG.com: Give us some insight into your life. Where did you grow up? Did you go to school? What led you to start playing games?
April Burba:

I grew up here in Austin, TX and have lived here most of my life. I have visited and lived other places for short periods of time but I keep coming back. I have been a gamer since I was tall enough to put the quarters in the machine.

MMORPG.com: Did you play any sports? What were your favorite games as a child?
April Burba:

I did some skateboarding and rock climbing when I was a kid, but I am actually more active now than I was then. I loved Breakout, PacMan, Adventure and even the early sim games where you would run a lemonade stand or negotiate business deals. My dad used to get these shareware discs with 100 random games on them for random pre-Microsoft OS's and DOS and I would just play through all of them right down the DIR list. I am queen of the 15 minute play evaluation.

MMORPG.com: Various influences can have a major part in games. What influences outside of game-play bring life to your work?
April Burba:

Well, I am a community manager, so the influences I bring to work are mostly from general social and online trends. I spend a lot of time just talking to people about games and what they are interested in and looking for in a game and then I try to communicate that to the people that make the games.

MMORPG.com: Let's talk a little old school. Can you tell us what your first video game experience was?
April Burba:

I think the first game I played was Asteroids. It's a bit fuzzy.

MMORPG.com: What is your job at NCSoft? How did you get your foot in the door?
April Burba:

I am the Community Manager for Tabula Rasa, Richard Garriott's upcoming Sci-Fi MMO. I started in the game industry as a Technical Support rep and then worked my way into community through an entry level community coordinator position with City of Heroes. I have worked my way up from there, learning as much as I can as I go.

MMORPG.com: Take us through a typical day of work at NCSoft, what is it like when you show up at the office?
April Burba:

The thing I like most about my job is that there is no 'typical day' as a community manager. Depending on where your game is at in its life cycle (My games are MMOs) you could be coordinating a beta if the game hasn't launched, or you could be throwing a large in-game event for a holiday.

Community is part networking, part party planning, part emergency response team. It's also about anticipating consumers demands and feedback, one of the most notoriously frustrating and difficult things to do reliably. Community at its core is sifting through a million data points and pulling out what is most important and communicating that to developers and publishers.

MMORPG.com: Which one of your friends or family had a major impact on your career? Who convinced you to realize your dreams in making video games?
April Burba:

My whole family has always been very supportive of whatever I have wanted to do. They just want me to be happy. They are awesome like that.

MMORPG.com: What are your hopes for the video games of the future, any thoughts on where the industry may be going?
April Burba:

I believe multi-player gaming will continue to grow exponentially touching the majority of computer gamers regardless of platform. The industry seems to want to bring those people together and to help them play together - the future of gaming is all about community.