If you are looking for my resume, you can view it on LinkedIn:
My name is Sean Dahlberg, although some of you may know me by my online moniker “Ashen Temper”. I live in Austin, Texas. I’ve been officialy in the game development industry for almost 11 years now but I’ve been playing computer games since I was in elementary school on my next door neighbors computer (back when computers weren’t very common… Hey, I’m in my 30s!). For over the last decade, I’ve worked in various fields in the game industry but mainly in Community Management and Game Systems Design. Currently I’m working as a Community Manager at Spiceworks, so while not in the gaming industry, I am still furthering my career at an amazing company with some fantastic people.
I’m originally from Illinois but I’ve lived in quite a few places; various cities in Texas, Hawaii, California, American Samoa, and even Raiatea (one of the French Polynesia islands). I graduated from Fredericksburg High School in 1992 and shortly joined the U.S. Marine Corps where I served with Combat Service Support Group-1 until I was honorably discharged in 1998 (yes, I was one of those weird people who signed up for 6 years instead of four). I stayed in California for a few more years after being discharged where I worked for a company called Catalyst Development.
During that time, I was playing an online game called Ultima Online on the Pacific Shard. I played it for a little over three years where I did a short stint in a guild called The Knights of Glory and Beer and then led my own guild called the Spirits of Vengeance (SOV) and even ran my own shard “newspaper” called the Pacific Shard Times. About the last year of playing UO, I also was Ldy Death and created a “nation” called the Town of the Endless Graveyard (TEG) and played as ImaBumpkin from Tryon’s ImaNewbie Does Britannia (I wanted to be ImaPK but… *shrugs*).
I then started to play Everquest when it first came out on the Rallos Zek server and joined the roleplaying community there called Rallos Zek Chronicles. I began as Anduril Valar and created the original Elven Guard guild but later also created Kallystra who was the “Daughter of Hate” in the Straylight Saga series.
About six months into Everquest, I heard about a game called Carnage.net which later changed to Shadowbane. The game wasn’t out (and wouldn’t be for some time) but what we did know about it made us want it. I was working at the Vault Network at the time and became a Site Manager for the Shadowbane Vault. Then during E3 2000, I was asked a weird question by Todd “Warden” Coleman who was the VP of Marketing at Wolfpack Studios (the team making Shadowbane): Would I be interested in applying for their Internet Relations Manager position?
Truth be told, up until that question, I really never thought of working in the game development industry. What I did with all the different communities in UO, EQ, and SB was my hobby. But the idea definitely piqued my interest when the question was raised and come June 1st, 2000, I was the first Internet Relations Manager for Wolfpack Studios. I moved from Yucca Valley, CA to Austin, TX and on my first day there, I got to buy myself a computer (an E-Machine of all systems, haha!) and had a pool table and couch as my working area.
While at Wolfpack, I went from the IRM to the Live Event Team Lead and then to the Community Manager when Ubisoft aquired the company in March 2004. Later on, I also became a Game System Designer. Most of those years were spent on Shadowbane; I saw it through its development process, launch, two expansion packs (Rise of Chaos and Throne of Oblivion), and when it changed from a subscription-based to a free-to-play business model. I also worked on a few other projects that never made it to official announcements until the day Ubisoft announced it was closing down Wolfpack Studios in May 2006.
In June 2006, I helped form a new company from the ashes of Wolfpack called Stray Bullet Games. I still worked on Shadowbane and an untitled MMO but this time I was as the Lead Designer. I made a lot of changes to Shadowbane, some that people loved… some that they hated. Then in February 2008, I announced that I would be leaving Stray Bullet Games. I loved the company, had a lot of great friends there, believed in the project we were working on (as well as Shadowbane), but I got an offer I just couldn’t turn down. I was offered the position of Community Manager for BioWare’s upcoming MMO (at the time, the title wasn’t officially announced.).
I mean, it’s BioWare. The makers of a some of my favorite games: Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Knights of the Old Republic. And, on top of that, its the Star Wars IP. And while I love game design, I have to admit that I missed doing community management. Furthermore, the company was in my backyard… here in Austin (and I have to admit, I love this city); I wouldn’t have to move for it. So, yeah, I would of been a fool had I let the opportunity pass me up.
And that is where I stayed for about the next two and a half years. Star Wars: The Old Republic was (and I am sure still is) an amazing project, made some good friends, and learned a lot while working on it. I had the priviledge to hand pick my team and had a large role in building the pre-launch community. And I got to work alongside some of the most talented people in the industry… there wasn’t a single section that didn’t do an amazing job; artists, writers, designers, qa, IS/IT, Audio, web, marketing, and while I am very biased, the community department. But as we all experience in life, it was time for a change.
Recently, I started as a Senior Game Systems Designer at UTV True Games on a project called Faxion Online (currently still in development). It is a free-to-play MMO that takes the focus off of leveling and puts it on fast-paced skirmish (PvP) gameplay. The game takes place in a fantasy war-torn world called Limbo where the forces of Heaven and Hell are engaged in a battle for dominance. Players join the war by battling over control of the realms and denizens of the Seven Deadly Sins. While Faxion Online is a traditional MMO, it puts emphasis on customizable (multi-)class advancement, tactical and strategic combat, territorial control, having fun, and getting to know the community youâ€™re participating in.
Unfortunately, my time at UTV Ignition (which was True Games) came to and end. The studio was closed down and the downtime gave me a chance to really re-evaluate what it is I wanted to do with not just my career but my life. For personal reasons, I really wanted to stay in Austin (although there was one company that could of seriously made me reconsider that) and, while I loved my time in design, I really wanted to get back into the community field. I lucked out and found exactly what I was looking for when I was offered the position of Community Manager at Spiceworks, Inc. While I was no longer in the gaming industry, I get to further my career in the profession I want. On top of that, Spiceworks is an amazing company and was recently touted by Forbes as the “Future of Media“. This gives me a chance to learn community management from another view and also lets me be just a regular gamer for a while!