[GDS] Great Designer Search 3

[GDS] Great Designer Search 3

For those wondering:

You are responsible for all relocation expenses, and:

The wages for the Internship are expected to be $7,979.30 per month (estimated based on the Internship Winner's full-time work of 40 hours per week), subject to adjustment in Wizards' sole discretion.

That's some pretty serious pay for an internship.

Trial One: Contestants will have one week to answer ten essay questions. Answers must be no less than 250 words and no more than 300 words in length.

Trial Two: Contestants will have 24 hours to take a multiple-choice exam that tests contestants' Magic: The Gathering knowledge as well as their familiarity with numerous elements of Magic: The Gathering important to game design.

If we pass the trials do we receive Cartouches?

Considering many internships in the states are unpaid, this is insane amounts of money for an internship.

Hell, that's more than I make per month in the corporate world with a degree.

Oh my god a new great designer search oh wow I'm so excited better start right aw - "You reside in and are legally eligible for long-term work in the United States, and can provide proof of such eligibility upon request"

Well. Didn't want to be in your stupid competition anyway :(

Considering many internships in the states are unpaid, this is insane amounts of money for an internship.

As far as I can gather, everyone enters R&D as an intern, presumably so they can have a chance to not hire you at the end of the internship without having to fire you and incur the resulting paperwork and such. So it's not really the same as a typical internship and more just a probationary period.

Sadly American employment laws plus the fact that it's an internship get in the way of them expanding the scope.

Hey, nobody apply okay

It's called the Pro Tour.

I have literally been preparing for this moment for years. Carefully tuning sets, analyzing trends and data in existing sets, planning, designing, everything.

...I bet I don't even make it past the first round.

Calling it now: RoboRosewater wins by a landslide.

Brush up and read every past submission and every designing article by Maro.

Remember, they call it a contest - but it's a job interview, not a game.

Man this is really Maro's year! I'm looking forward to this, I wasn't playing when the last two were done but they were really interesting to read through when I got back to the game and have proven a rich resource for R&D.

That moment when a six-month internship pays more than my full-time job does.

It's not really an internship, it's more like being a contractor for 6 months with the company having the option to hire you or not at the end of it.

$96,000 per year seems real, real high for any entry level job, let alone an internship. If that's what it is, awesome, but it's difficult to fathom.

Yeah, I can understand it as a rational decision they don't have control over and still be sad about it though :P

iirc the main reason for that is they want to make sure you're actually a good fit. They won't just hire anyone without knowing if they actually work well. It makes sense.

There have only been 2, so this isn't a guarantee or anything, but both of the winners of the previous searches (and I think a couple more competitors) have been given jobs immediately at the end of the internship.

It's only 6 months, not the full year, but I agree that is a lot for an intern.

They should do a Great Developer Search

can there be a Great Worldbuilder Search?

I know I'm not good or original at card designs, but goddamn do I want to help Magic make their multiverse a great place.

It would be a great salary in Georgia or Michigan, but honestly it's just above the median in Seattle.


People in this thread don't seem to be aware of how horribly expensive Seattle is to live in.

Designer Search 1 Finalists: Alexis Janson, Ken Nagle and Graeme Hopkins - all of who work at Wizards and have since the finals, though only Ken is still a designer. (And Mark Globus was a finalist and got a job too).

2nd search, the finalists were Shawn Main, Ethan Fleischer and Scott Van Essen. Shawn and Ethan got jobs in Magic, while Scott Van Essen works on Duel Masters.

Historically, if you make it to the final 3, you are probably getting hired somewhere in the company.

I sincerely doubt it is paid as a 1099. This would be a gross abuse of labeling someone as an independent contractor. While wizards is often described as paying below market rate, I have not heard of them breaking labor laws.

I imagine it is a 6 month contract with no promise of future employment at the end of the term. All parties involved hope that everything works out and there is a permanent offer but it is expressly not guaranteed.

I hate with a passion the rise of people being paid as contractors when they should be employees according to the law. Unfortunately, these unscrupulous companies hold all the power because they will just fire someone who tries to fight it. And even though that person could seek legal remedies, it will be too expensive and take too long so it will never happen.

Wait, $7979 a month? That's like half a years pay for me (I work at an education non-profit as an Americorps member). That's ridiculous. I mean, I know Seattle is more expensive than Baltimore, but not by that much...

No, but you can become a mighty pirate.

It puts you in the 87th income percentile, and while it's a 6-month internship that's still more money than a fell 2/3s that the American workforce makes in a full year.

I'm not complaining, I'm just gob-smacked honestly.

I believe a Batchelors is required anyway to be hired full time

Office is in Renton, a suburb. It's much cheaper to live there than Seattle proper.


If Maro doesn't see fit to Deem me Worthy, I hope at least I have a Glorious End.

Designers work on WOTC's most important product. It's a really important position for them. Think about how much a bad set costs them in lost revenue. You pay a lot for the people that make your business work.

that is also a lot of work being done by people during the contest

I mean, some people willingly do this kind of stuff for free. Just look at /sub/custommagic. Obviously they're doing it as a hobby and not as a 40 hour a week job, but I don't think that Wizards will have too much trouble getting people to enter.

I'm probably going to enter for fun, for example. I don't really expect to win and am completely happy with my current job, but I like thinking about game design as a hobby and it would be cool to see how far I could go.

Yeah. Making Magic is an extremely long running series with a lot of important insights for designing cards. Reading all of it (and the previous Great Designer searches, and the Nuts and Bolts series, in particular), will give you a huge leg up.

Also, it's a 6-month internship.

I turn 18 ten months after the search starts. I've always wanted to do this );

Glassdoor really isn't the most reliable source of information.

$16k/year is well below the poverty line. Especially in a high COL state like Maryland.

start writing without the job. publish it online. participate in the community. they see that stuff and it counts if a job opens and you apply... rather than saying oh i just never put the effort in earlier but i’m good trust me.

To sign up to participate in the Great Designer Search, you must be a United States resident


It does't matter, any 4 year degree is fine.

I think the story team has much more clear hiring criteria and a more clear one to one comparison with similar jobs at other companies. It gives them less need to do something so off the wall to grow the team.

Well. Didn't want to be in your stupid competition anyway :(

I'll start my own competition! Only mine will have beer! and hookers!

You know what? Forget the competition...

The biggest thing a company can do to make me stop looking at their content is to switch to video over text.

"Pay me more, tho"


That's $95k a year, that is serious pay for anyone.

Basically, cards should be good, but they DEFINITELY shouldn't be too good. That's very bad. Also, they shouldn't do things their color isn't allowed to do, they shouldn't do things that are awful and unfun (unless they're blue or white), and they shouldn't be too complicated for the majority of people to understand. I think that covers everything :P

Cardboard physics

Keep in mind that someone basically has to uproot their life and move. There likely isn't going to be a moving expense payout, so the higher wage is offset by those moving costs.

then if you get the position you take out a loan, the pay is "expected to be $7,979.30 per month" so you'd make that back in no time

From what I gather, MtG R&D is a bit like a company within a company. It sounds like a much better place to work than the rest of WotC.

If I recall, the timeframe is too short for that to be feasible. I'm not even American, though, so I'm certainly no expert.

So I make 20k since I'm in my second year, but most of my coworkers make $16k.

Yeah, it's brutal. We qualify for food stamps and that is often what keeps most of us going. I mean, I can live on what I make and I could last year, but when stuff happens like when my car broke down, it got really rough. Ate a lot of rice and beans that month haha.

Unfortunately no. Especially since getting a work visa in the US usually requires you to already have the job (at least, in my experience). Embassy workers often reject applications if they don't think the job is stable enough, or that you're likely to come back if you lose it. I've seen it happen to people in the queue in front of me when I was applying for a J1.

I would have nailed these tests 3 years ago.

If the tests were today I would be fucked.

I guess Mark will have to accept that this will just be a Good Designer Search.

A good number of people who don't win wind up with jobs in other departments within Wizards, too.

If it's any consolation to you both, the cost of living in WA is pretty high. I've heard it compares to cost of living in San Francisco bay area, where I do live, so if that is the case, the salary looks great until you're paying 3-4k/month on a 1-bedroom apartment...

They are looking for very specific talents and they'll invest a lot of time in those people. It's smart to pay them well, so that if it works out for the company, the employees want to stay for a while instead of immediately searching for better pay.

I don't think this is an internship, at least, not in the way most internships are constructed.

It's the inverse of a sales guy who's title is "voice president". He's vice president of sales for... A specific area. With no direct reports.

Tl, dr: shenanigans with words.

Can you be eligible if you get yourself a work visa?

A bachelor's in what?

Wizards has plenty of different positions. This is a trial run for a designer job: is there any reason to believe the designers are paid less than that?

It hurts, it’s like 6-7 times more than I make now

Not when you love in Seattle.

But what if I hate in Seattle?

The Great Designer Search: 3 Trials

Sword Fighting, Thievery, and Treasure Huntery?


For those wages, would you take a job which asked you to:

clean the windows of Maro's cubicle every day. scrub the second floor's toilets (all of them). use a toothbrush to clean the Pit (not that one, the other one -- mind the Sarlacc, it's been few centuries since it last ate) design a black common we've never done before, you have ten minutes go on a disgusting scavenger hunt with creepy R&D member [REDACTED], whom the pool knows to be a consistent perv


subject to adjustment in Wizards' sole discretion.


Yes, beer and blackjack!

I'd also highly recommend listening to his "Drive to Work" podcast. A lot of the episodes are about game design in general and often Magic design specifically

Oh, yes! That's also a good idea. Here's a site where fans have transcribed a lot of them, if podcasts are impractical for you to listen to.

Blogatog also has some relevant information, but it's a bit harder to extract from all of the repeated questions and such.

This isn't an entry level job to Wizards.

Or not hire anyone if it's a bust.

It's not that bad :)

To be fair, it is extremely hard for a business to sponsor and visa if they are don't have infrastructure to do so.

But the office is in Renton and it's cheaper to live in the suburbs. It's certainly more expensive than Spokane or the Tri Cities on the other side of the mountains but it's not crazy expensive.

RIP the dream.

My company is literally 1/5 Vice Presidents at this point. 30 person company, 6 are Vice President of something.

A toddler probably knows more about magic game design than me but I still signed up. Time to study up I guess.

I can't find the answers anymore, but Billy Moreno (an ex-mtg pro player) made a blog post with his answers and justifications here.

After the tests were graded, he ended up scoring 43/50, so you can assume that most of his answers are correct, especially the ones that seem pretty obvious. Unluckily, the cutoff was 44/50, so he didn't make it to the next round. Luckily, he ended up getting hired by Wizards anyways.