Or a Dev, or a Tester or a member of the Help Team.
I've posted about this a lot and there are a lot of answers in the AQW design notes and in here but I've decided to make the DEFINITIVE FAQ about becoming a member of AE. Everything you ever wanted to know about how to become a Mod (or tester or Dev) but were afraid to ask.
What Does A Gold Name Mean?
Appearance varies from game to game, so I will be using AQW for all of my examples as it is our most popular game right now. If you see a gold name in AQW then you are seeing one of these people.
- Dev (Developer): These are paid AE staff who write, code, do art for and animate the game content. They are the game builders
- Asst. Devs (Assistant Developers): These volunteers help the Dev team with new art for items, backgrounds, animation, monsters, item descriptions, quest text etc.
- Mod (Moderator): These are volunteers who read reports, helping to keep the game safe and fun and free of trolls, scammers and flamers.
- Tester (Q/A Team): These are volunteers who test the releases, classes and other game content to try to make them as bug free as possible before you play them.
- Help Team: These are the paid staff members who respond to all account and payment issues for all AE games. If you need help with your account or have a payment issue go to AQ.COM/HELP.
- Exceptions: There are a few people who have gold names that don't fall into the above categories such as visiting guest stars, game journalists, other invited professionals and a few members of the volunteer AQWWiki staff.
How Do I Become A Mod or Tester?
When we are looking for new Mods, we will put out a call for Mods or Testers on the Design Notes of the game that needs them. An e-mail address will be provided at that time in that Design Notes post. Read the application instructions carefully and follow them to the letter ten send your application to the provided e-mail.
Please note: THIS POST is NOT asking for applications. We are NOT looking for new Mods, Testers or Devs at the time of this post. Please watch the AQW DESIGN NOTES for Mod/Tester/Dev searches.
Follow the directions and apply there.
What Are The Requirements For Being A Mod or Tester?
- You must be at least 18 years of age. No exceptions.
- You must have a clean account history (No bans, mutes, botting etc) for the past several years of continuous gameplay (no taking a break for 3 years then coming back and trying to become a Mod. For more details about our muting policy, read on.)
- If you have a public social media account related to your game account (same name, links to your character page etc) it must also be clean and free of harassment, racial slurs, sexism, drug abuse or any other behaviour that might reflect poorly once you are a representative of Artix Entertainment.
- You must be polite, patient and friendly (Being a Mod is a hard job and required a good attitude and a lot of patience).
- You must have a command of the English language, which means you need to be able to communicate your thoughts clearly the first time in English. Additional languages are a bonus but excellent English is required.
- You must be able to follow directions.
- (Tester Only) You must have the ability to complete an in-depth bug report to the Lead Tester's satisfaction.
How Do I Become A Dev?
When we are looking for a new Assistant Developer (usually artist or animator, rarely writer, almost never musician and never programmer) we will put up a post in the Design Notes of the specific game looking for help. If you are selected to help, you will be brought on to the team in a trial basis. Once you pass your probationary period (usually 90 days) then you will be asked to come on as an official Assistant Developer. After a certain period, if you prove yourself and there is room in our budget, you may be asked to come on as a full Developer. We never look for Assistant Programmers because of the sensitive nature of some of the code that you would need to work with. We can only trust trained, experienced professionals with that.
What Are The Requirements For Being A Dev?
- You must be at least 16 years of age. In nearly every case you will need to be 18+ years old but in very rare cases of exceptional skill we will make an exception with parent's permission.
- You must meet a base level of skill to be considered. Our standards are pretty high and we move very fast so we don't have time to teach you how to make art when that is what we're counting on you to provide. Professional experience or a university degree in your field are STRONGLY preferred.
- You must take criticism well. The project lead will require changes to your art from time to time and if you are unable to take direction or accept criticism with relative grace then you will be thanked for your time and removed from the position.
- You must have a command of the English language, which means you need to be able to communicate your thoughts clearly the first time in English. We are an American based game, and most of the Devs speak English as their first language. If we can't understand you and you can't understand us, then you're a bad fit for this team.
- You must be easy to work with. We're a friendly bunch and nobody likes to work with someone harsh or constantly negative.
How Do I Become A Member Of The Help Team?
You don't. When we can afford to bring on additional Help Team Members we hire from the outside the community. We cannot trust volunteers with the sensitive information that the Help Team has to deal with (they have access to every character in every game and all the payment information ever provided).
What Are The Requirements For Being A Help Team Member?
Doesn't really matter since it is irrelevant to you but general customer service rules apply here. You must be fast, calm, polite in the face of overwhelming rage both in text and over the phone and it helps to have good eyes because they Help Team reads THOUSANDS of help mails per week.
What If I'm A Very Mature And Responsible Player Under 18?
Then you understand and gracefully accept that we will only consider applicants who are 18 or older. This is a fixed rule. No debate is allowed. If we discover that you lied about your age, your staff privileges and access will be revoked among other consequences.
Why Do I Have To Be 18?
First, all of our Mods, Testers and Devs have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement which is a legally binding contract. Here in the United States, an 18 year old is a legal adult and it's much simpler working with our volunteer directly rather than trying to get their parents to understand and sign an NDA for their child. Second, as mentioned above, we need mature, responsible people. There are plenty of mature people under 18 and plenty of 18 year old children, but generally we have to draw the line somewhere and 18 is a decent rule of thumb starting point for maturity.
What Do Mods And Testers Get In Return For Their Time?
Mods and Testers are unpaid volunteers and we are amazingly grateful for their time spent working hard for you guys so we do what we can to compensate them within reason. Here's what Mods and Testers Get.
- Gold names in AQW (or whatever other signifier is used in the game you are asked to Moderate).
- Free Membership (helps with Moderating Member only servers or testing Member only classes, items and releases) .
- Free ACs for testing purposes (not unlimited).
- Restricted free items including rares. This means that they can get pretty much whatever item they like with a few small exceptions such as Alina's personal armor, my Cysero Class or some unique items created exclusively for contest winners, etc.
Who Does Get Paid and How Much?
The Devs and Help Team work on flat salary (do not get a cut of ACs or any other sales). I cannot go into how much or how little we are paid but it's far less than most of you think. (see: MONEY)
How Often Do You Need Mods?
AQW usually has about two calls for new Mods per year. It's not on a fixed schedule. Mods are volunteers so as their real lives prevent them from being able to help we need to pick up and train new help. The other games call for new Mods less often.
How Often Do You Need Devs?
Far less often than we need Mods. The Asst. Devs are usually very dedicated to their art and even if they don't end up becoming a full Developer, they get vital experience and (hopefully) a good letter of recommendation from us when they are ready to leave which are both as good as gold in the gaming industry.
How Many People Apply When You Send Out A Call For New Mods?
We receive and must read through about 5,000 applications during a call for new Mods for AQW (fewer for other games but still very large numbers), not to mention checking records and social media. It's a lot of work and takes at least a month to get through.
Can I Still Be a Dev/Mod/Tester If I don't Have A Clean Record (Accidental Mutes, etc)?
Generally speaking, no. We usually take into account if your record has been clean for the last four or five years of active playtime but it is still a mark against you. We also consider the nature of your mutes. We can tell when it was just a typo versus intentional harsh language, or it was a word in another language that translates to a black-listed word in English. In general, if you have a number of broken rules on your record then we know that you're not mature enough to be a responsible member of the team.
Will I Get A Reply If My Application Is Denied?
Sorry, but no. We have our hands very full just going through all the applications and doing background checks. We cannot possibly take the time to reply to each rejected applicant.
Can I Find Out Why I Wasn't Selected?
No. Someone may meet all the base requirements but be rejected just based on their negativity on social media or the harsh way that they present themselves to the community. As mentioned above, it's important to get along with the people with and for whom you work. On the other hand, you might be a perfect candidate but all the positions might have been filled before your application was received. There are a number or reasons.
What Can I Do To Increase My Chances?
- Follow the rules.
- Be nice.
- Be helpful to other players.
- Know English (including grammar and punctuation).
- Knowledge of additional languages are helpful.
- (Asst. Dev Only) PRACTICE! Never stop perfecting your art. (visual, audio or written).
If I Am Accepted, How Long Will It Take To Get A Reply?
Depending on the number of applications, acceptable applicants can expect a reply in their inbox anywhere from a week to three months after they have applied.
Who Picks The New Hires?
That depends on what they are going to be brought on for. For example, Alina selects the new Asst. Devs for AQW but she's not an artist so might ask Yergen or me to help judge their skill in animation or Dage to help judge their art. Generally, the Project Lead will assign the task of sorting through the Mod and Tester applications so someone on the team, but any AE staff member can give input if they think a specific candidate should not be hired.
For example, If you have a clean record and you are the right age we might consider asking you to be an AQW Mod... but if I point out that you were rude and insulting to Titan over Twitter then we might drop you as a candidate, even though I now work on the mobile team and no longer work on AQW and Titan has never worked on AQW..
How Many Mods Are There Right Now?
Can I Apply When There Is NOT A Current Call For New Devs/Mods/Testers On The Design Notes?
No. This shows us one of three things about you.
- Either did not read the rules for application (You just don't care about the rules),
- Read them but did not pay attention (which demonstrates a lack of reading comprehension)
- Or did not understand them (which demonstrates a lack of knowledge of English).
Legit copies of whatever you specialize in. If you want to be a Flash artist then you need a legal (not cracked) version of Adobe Flash of your own. If you want to work on the mobile team then you need your own copy of Unity, etc. Most of us use the most current version of these programs but older versions are completely acceptable, within reason.
What Is A Mod or Tester's Work Schedule?
Mods are asked to contribute a few hours a day, a few days a week to Moderating the games. Of course, it is a volunteer position so we can't expect a set time so if you go idle for a while or find yourself able to help less you will be removed and asked to return when you can help out again. Testers are asked primarily to be able to test on release days, prior to the release (obviously). Mobile testers will be asked to test the game heavily before release (again, no set time but a few days a week minimum) but also be available for bug testing once the mobile game goes live to help us duplicate and track down reported bugs.
What's The Difference Between An Volunteer And An Intern?
Interns work for school credit where volunteers do not. Interns are usually expected to work in-house where volunteers can telecommute from anywhere in the world. Due to recent changes in federal guidelines, we are no longer accepting interns.
What Are Interviews Like?
You will be contacted by e-mail and asked to meet your department head (Reens, Stratos, Alina etc) in-game for a quick information run-down. Over the next few days you will be trained in your duties and begin your 90 day probation period. For mobile testers, you will be pulled into a Skype conversation with the Project Lead and introduced to the rest of the testing team and have your duties explained before beginning your 90 day probation period.
Do You Have To Be A Member To Become A Dev/Mod/Tester?
No. It's not required but it helps. It demonstrates that you have chosen to support the game in the past which is a good sign.
Does Your Character Have To Be A Certain Level To Be A Dev/Mod/Tester?
No. You can have only one level 1 character if you like, but still be considered for the position. We have no level restrictions when it comes to helping out the AE community.
Have any other questions? Feel free to ask them below and I will try to answer them as best I can. Special thanks for all of my Twitter followers for helping me answer some of the questions I couldn't come up with myself.