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Dev Profile: Walt Yarbrough

Dana Massey Posted:
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The Producer of Dark Age of Camelot lets us see behind the curtain

Over the last year, we've been running a series of developer profile Q&As. These articles are meant to let fans see what it takes to work on a game, how people got there and how they can join them. In the past we've talked to a range of people, including quality assurance people, designers, producers and artists. Today we go back to production and talk to Wal Yarbrough, the Producer of Dark Age of Camelot.

MMORPG.com: Let us begin with an introduction to who you are, what you do and what you’re working on.
Walt Yarbrough:

I am Walt Yarbrough, the Producer of Camelot. I am working (with my team) on the design for our fall expansion, working on our next class balance patch, and trying to get through all the feedback for a possible crafting revamp.

MMORPG.com: The gaming industry draws from all quarters. Can you run us through how you came to your current company?
Walt Yarbrough:

I was a volunteer GM for one of Mythic's earliest games - the Darkness Falls text MUD. When they had the funding to pay people with actual money, they called me, and I joined the company as an entry level content developer.

MMORPG.com: Once you had your foot in the door at Mythic, can you run us through the various positions you’ve filled on route to your current role?
Walt Yarbrough:

Well, you have to keep in mind that Mythic's early days were very informal. There was no organization chart or any kind of job ladder. You could do nearly anything if you volunteered, and/or pushed a good concept or design idea.

I started as a World Builder, and became a World Lead before launch. The original guild system was my baby. After launch, I became the Live Team World Lead. Then Content Producer.

Now I'm the Producer of Dark Age of Camelot.

MMORPG.com: You have one of those rare jobs where people make a living telling people how to get it. What to you is the best part?
Walt Yarbrough:

The best part is that I enjoy coming to work every day. It's not a struggle getting up and coming in; I really want to be here. We as a company are building something that people love. That's pretty rewarding.

MMORPG.com: What to you is the most challenging part of your current job?
Walt Yarbrough:

I have to choose what to focus the team on at a given time. There are many great things that we could do. But while hindsight is easy, foresight is not. Setting priorities, when fifty different things are equally good for the game, is definitely a challenge.

MMORPG.com: For those who wish to follow and join the industry, what is your advice?
Walt Yarbrough:

You've got two choices these days. One - take any job you can get with a game company, especially in Product Quality/Testing and Customer Service. Once you've proven yourself as a smart, creative, enthusiastic employee, you have a great advantage to get to the next step as an entry level game developer. Two - create your own games. Sit down, write something, and put it on the internet for people to play. We're past the "one man shop putting up the next big thing" level as an industry, but anyone can make something small and work their way up. You won't make a Camelot, but you can make a Battlefairies.com or a module with your three best friends.

MMORPG.com: Finally, can we get a brief update on Dark Age of Camelot’s progress and future?
Walt Yarbrough:

We are always working on the world of Camelot. We're going to celebrate five years of Camelot this fall, and by then we'll have finished a year long class balance process, finished our seventh expansion pack, and updated most of the original graphics to keep the game competitive. Every patch we try to respond to community needs and concerns, and make good changes and additions. A massively multiplayer game is never "done," which tends to be reassuring in terms of job security.

Thank you to Walt.

You can comment on Walt's words here.


Dana Massey