About Me

My name is John Staats and welcome to my website

I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and pursued a career early in visual arts with an honors art scholarship to Kent State where I earned an B.F.A. with a major in graphic design. I moved to New York City on finals week (after my last final) having secured a job in a small (but swanky) design firm. After a decade I was a department director in a big-time Madison Avenue advertising agency. I specialized in fashion editorials, and both financial and pharmaceutical ad campaigns. After my roommate discovered a 3D level editor for the world’s first 3D game called called Quake, I purchased my first PC the very next day (I was exclusively a Macintosh user) and began my new hobby–3D level design. I couldn’t believe I could actually build and “walk around in” some of the old Dungeons & Dragons adventures I authored when I was in school.

Four years and about ten thousand hours of level design later, I had a portfolio worthy enough to earn me a place in the computer games industry. I moved to California to work for Blizzard Entertainment’s secret new project, called World of Warcraft (see my book for details). After a decade on WoW, I spent a year on a doomed project, called Titan, whereupon Blizzard gave me the heave-ho. I’d outlived my uselessness.

A few years later I developed an undiagnosed medical condition in my hands that prevented me from sustained computer use. I have been unable to make or play computer games since. In tandem with traditional mouse-keyboard inputs, I use voice activation for the bulk of my writing (I’m still waiting for the time when talking to my computer doesn’t feel silly). With California and the computer games industry in my rear-view mirror, I’m moving on to personal projects. After publishing The WoW Diary, I’m going to develop a new type of dungeon-crawl board game; one that I would also like to crowd-fund on Kickstarter. If you enjoy board games and want to know when it’s ready (you saw what I did there!) add your email in my spam-free mailing list. I expect to send emails once a year at most, only for previews and early-releases.

My company is called whenitsready, and yes, I know there’s supposed to be an apostrophe, but sometimes we graphic designers take our liberties. whenitsready is a one-man operation. The goal of my company is to publish the best books and board games possible, iterating and polishing until they can be improved no further: I picked up this little formula from a certain computer game company we all know. To contact me, use my form below.