WoW! “Endgame Content” in Games and Life

I reached level 80 in World of Warcraft this past weekend, an accomplishment that is not without merit when you can only find a few hours a week to play. What’s great about reaching the level cap in this game is that it pretty much opens up an entirely new game to play once you’re there. Basically, instead of completing quests and fighting monsters on my own, I have now joined my collective group of online friends (my “guild”) in running through end-game content and gathering exponentially more powerful gear for my character.

In a way, reaching the level cap in that game is a “graduation” of sorts — where you go from playing by yourself and learning new spells and abilities with your character (training), to joining a group of 10 to 25 people to fight bosses and difficult encounters as a cohesive, synchronized team. It’s like leaving school and going into a professional workplace for the first time.

When I first arrived at DDA, there was a lot of stuff I didn’t know how to do. I had been in training mode for 3 years of college, and that was mainly for 3D animation. But just like a character in WoW can change his specialization to better suit the needs of the team, I found myself in a position to learn new skills and abilities in Flash animation, Flash ActionScript 2 and AS3 coding, HTML, web design, image manipulation, Shockwave 3D, illustration, design, video editing, compositing, sound design, and even a teeny bit of writing (like my blog!).

The thing is, I wasn’t alone. Everyone at DDA learns little bits of each of the skills needed for the various medical marketing, medical training, and corporate advertising projects we take on. The writers, in addition to writing, can also coordinate projects, proof websites for content and design, and one writer even does a bit of video and photography work on the side. The graphic designers write copy all the time for their website designs, and they’re also experts at making sure my Flash animations look the best that they possibly can. And as for our dedicated video department — well, let’s just say that besides video, they also know enough about 3d, flash, and web design to put other dedicated Philadelphia-area production companies to shame.

I may have just hit  level 80 in WoW, but at DDA I feel like I’m a well-geared member of a top-tier raiding guild. Now I just can’t help but wonder what each DDAer’s World of Warcraft name would be!