In order to build complex gaming software you have to build a talented team of employees dedicated to turning the project goals and ideas into reality. Finding the people that have the highly specialized skills needed for these positions often requires that companies publicly post job openings that describe their ideal candidates and the work that they would be doing on a daily basis. Sometimes it is possible to find information about upcoming products in these job postings that have not been announced by other channels. So let’s take a look at some of the job postings that Wizards of the Coast has on their jobs board and see if we can find any interesting information about where MTG Arena might be heading in the near future.
First we have Digital Product Marketing Manager. Interesting info in this posting include:
Publishing experience of mobile games and/or gaming apps on iOS and Android is essential to be successful in this position.
Expand and optimize the distribution of the mobile games and apps by developing publishing plans with each platform (Apple, Android, etc.)
To me (assuming that this position is targeted to help out with MTG Arena and not some other unannounced mobile app) this strongly indicates that Wizards is getting the ball rolling on getting Arena onto mobile platforms. It is clear to any observer that the mobile gaming platform is a huge target for MTG Arena after seeing how successful Hearthstone has been in the market. It only makes sense that they would want an employee focused on making their inevitable mobile launch a success.
Next up is Senior Content Designer. Interesting info in this posting include:
Generate VO lines for key characters, and work with the appropriate contacts within Wizards to shepherd them through the approval process into the game.
Experience with Unity or similar game development platform.
Work with team members to craft custom events that drive player engagement.
Explore the back catalog of Magic content for key cards that can be used to create engaging puzzles for players to solve and expand their understanding of the deep nuances of Magic card interactions.
Explore and iterate on new play modes that can take advantage of the digital space in ways our table top foundations cannot.
Since the posting mentions that the position needs to to work with VO lines and Unity I am assuming this has to be a position working on Arena. An early focus on custom events in MTG Arena is great to see. It will be important for Arena to have these special events in order to keep the game fresh and players engaged. Special holiday events can be especially exciting for players and can drive a lot of content creation by streamers showcasing the special event. “Engaging puzzles” would be a great way to introduce players that are unfamiliar with Magic to the rules of the game in an entertaining and engaging way. Imagine an interactive version of possibilitystorm.com within the game as a way to explore more complex topics like the stack, trigger resolution and passing priority. “New play modes that can take advantage of the digital space” sounds like a version of the Tavern Brawl play mode in Hearthstone. This would be a fun way to add variety to the game without the manpower that would be required for adding more complex features like new cards or formats.
Finally, there is Sr. Software Developer. This posting is interesting for getting some information on MTG Arena’s server-side technical platform.
3-5 years working with C# and .NET
Experience with CosmosDB or other NoSQL data storage technologies
Experience with Service Fabric is a plus
This means that the server side code is .NET C# running on Microsoft Azure inside of their microservice platform as a service offering, Service Fabric. Wizards has been known to the a Microsoft shop for quite a while now. I am a bit surprised to see that they stuck with the platform based on how much trouble they have had with the implementation of MTGO, but it does make sense to continue to use a language that they already have skills for within the company in case they need to shuffle resources around to meet capacity needs.