By Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske
We only have 28 days in February but that’s still enough time to meet another SOE Employee in the SOE Employee Spotlight! We’ve gotten to know folks in Customer Service, Marketing, Platform, Development, Facilities and more!
Please meet Shawn Murphy; he is an Associate Software Engineer in our QA Automation Team here at SOE! Take a moment to find out about what a typical day in the office is like for him, what his favorite SOE game is, and other fun tidbits. As a special bonus, we included a screenshot from his favorite SOE game!
Tell us about yourself! What’s your name and what do you do here at SOE? How long have you been working at SOE?
Hello everyone, my name is Shawn Murphy and I am an Associate Software Engineer for the QA Automation team. I began working at Sony Online Entertainment in May of 2004 as a Customer Support Representative (a.k.a. GM) for EverQuest. After a little under a year in that position, I moved over to Quality Assurance where I spent the majority of my years here at SOE. Over the past nine years I have worked on at least six different teams across three departments. Some of the titles on which I have collaborated include Gripshift (PSP), High Stakes on the Vegas Strip: Poker Edition (PS3), Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (PS3), and multiple EverQuest (PC) expansions. In addition to the game titles, I have also been responsible for testing numerous account and e-commerce systems as part of the Platform QA team. At the present time, my responsibilities include building internal tools and APIs, and managing the defect tracking software used by the SOE QA teams.
How did you get into the industry?
As luck, the fates, or the law of large numbers might have it, I sort of fell into the industry as a matter of happenstance. In fact, starting at SOE was my inception into both the IT and gaming industries as a profession. Sparing the details of a much longer story, in May of 2004 I had recently come off a construction-oriented career path and was in the market for something more akin to a desk job. I was out to lunch with a friend of mine when he received a phone call regarding an available position at a local gaming company. Because he was not a gamer or even a techie, he had absolutely no interest in the position. Knowing that, I promptly asked him to hand over the contact information that he was given. Later that day I called to check on the details of the job and discovered that the company hiring was Sony Online Entertainment and the position they were hiring for was a GM for EverQuest. Thanks in large part to another friend of mine, it just so happened that I had been playing EverQuest for a little over four years at the time. So after two short interviews and just within the span of a few days I was hired and working as an EverQuest GM.
Tell us what a typical workday is like for you.
I wish I could say that my typical workday is full of excitement, intrigue, and mystery; but I’m a software engineer, not a spy. For the majority of my workday I am sitting at my desk with my eyes glued to my computer screen as I attempt to come up with creative algorithms to provide the functionality for an application to be used by our QA teams. Start to finish, my typical workday usually consists of waking up, showering, getting dressed, eating breakfast, running dailies in EQ2, packing lunches, driving to work, programming, eating lunch, programming some more, driving home, cooking dinner, eating dinner, watching television, and going to bed. Occasionally there are a few meetings or events that get thrown into the mix to spice things up a bit, but for the most part there is a very low level of excitement in my current role. Don’t get me wrong though, I love problem solving and being a programmer gives me the opportunity to do that for a living.
Let’s talk favorites… What is your favorite SOE game title? What is your favorite thing about that game?
There will always be a special place in my heart for the original EverQuest. In fact, the only non-console game that has stolen my attention as much as EQ is EverQuest 2. EverQuest is still the best interactive role-playing game I have experienced. There is a level of immersion combined with a balance of difficulty and reward that I don’t believe has ever been matched by any other title. There are elements of other games that I do appreciate more, such as the crafting system in EQ2; but as far as the overall SOE gaming experience is considered, I still hold EverQuest in the highest regard.
There have been so many fun experiences and events that I am sure I have forgotten a few of my favorites even. Thanks to my initial character creation though, I always think fondly of Kelethin whenever I stop by or hear its theme music.
If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Wait, seriously? I think to fully and truthfully answer this question would require much more thought than I really have time to put into it right now. If I were asked this question 23 years ago, without a second thought I would have said Captain N (kudos to anyone who gets that reference). Of course what else would be expected from a twelve year-old Nintendo fan in 1990. As it stands now, I like to think that my 35 years of experience have given me the wisdom (and yes, I realize that anyone over fifty reading this is laughing right now) to understand that being someone else does not resolve the responsibilities or conditions of living or add additional purpose to one’s… wait… Iron Man… yeah, definitely Iron Man.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Okay, who comes up with these questions? This one is probably more difficult to answer than the last. Honestly, my ideal superpower would be wholly conditional to the state of the world. If I were the only one in the world with a superpower, then I think telekinesis would be the most useful for everyday situations. If there were lots of people with superpowers, I would want the empathic mimicry ability. Then I could be like a Poke-master for superpowers.
Let’s get real! Hobbies? What’s last book you read? Last movie you saw? What do you do to unwind after a busy day?
What’s a book? Those are those things that come with games so that you can learn how to play the boring way, right? Okay, seriously, I can’t remember the last book I read for pleasure. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading; it’s just that there are so many other things that I enjoy doing more. Most of the books that I engage myself with are for utility purposes only and usually contain “teach yourself” in the title, such as programming guides.
The last movie I saw was “Warm Bodies.” It’s actually a sappy Shakespearian love story disguised as a zombie flick. Extremely entertaining though, I highly recommend it.
My busy day (or even lazy day unwinding for that matter) typically consists of a glass with some type of alcoholic beverage (whisky or wine, no beer) and/or my PS3 or computer. If I’m not crafting new gear in EQ2, completing an epic journey to save a fictional world, or blowing the limbs off alien scum, then I’m probably chilling out on the couch with my wife watching our favorite television shows or taking in the scenery at one of the local wineries.
Enjoy this screenshot from EverQuest, Shawn’s favorite SOE Game!
We hope you enjoyed meeting Shawn and will join us next month for more SOE Employee Spotlights!
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