If we hit one misspelled word, you're done. In an age when spell check comes embedded in your default browser, there are very few reasons why you should be misspelling words. Add to that the fact that a journalist should proof her own articles before sending them to the editor, and you'll understand why we're so hard on something so small.
Do we make mistakes in our articles? Sure we do. I make mistakes all the time. I'm not saying that writers don't make mistakes -- I'm saying that writers should proofread their material before sending it in. I proof my own articles, and what I miss in my proofs will inevitably be caught by Brianna Royce and her Editorial Stick of Justice +3.
But if you want a job here, you have to prove to us that you're willing not only to write solid material, but to go back to check and double-check that same material.
Also, they are not MMO's. They are MMOs. If they were MMO's, then that would mean that the Massively Multiplayer Game owned something. Like a spaceship full of Sweet Tarts. If MMOs owned that, then I certainly wouldn't be here on Earth, eating this stale licorice.
Tip #4: Write it well, make it fun, make it relate
Surprisingly enough, games are boring. Well, at least, writing about games is boring. For some reason, telling people that the 0.02% increase to mage DPS will offset the delicate balance between the mage class and the cowherder class in acting as a tactical-kite during the Battle of the Meadow just isn't very interesting. (Unless, of course, you're the mage or cowherder. And if you're the cowherder, then WTF. You're OP and nobody likes you.)
When we look for writers, we look for people who can take the information they're given and make it fun. These are the people who can take high-level concepts and speak about them in a relatively understandable manner while still making the piece enjoyable to read. These are the people who are able to take their gaming passion and infuse it into every sentence they write down on the paper.
When you're writing about a raid, I don't want to just hear about the raid. I want to know about the raid. I want you to bring it all together and tell me about all those boring little details (here's where that research comes in) while simultaneously maintaining my interest in your article. Write how you would speak to your friend when you're trying to tell him about that great game you bought yesterday.
Those are just a few tips to get you started on your way to gaming journalism, if you really want to try your hand at it. While Massively.com isn't currently hiring, drop by your favorite gaming sites and see if they have a help wanted sign in the door. That, or you can try writing for the freelance opportunities of MMORPG.com. Or you could participate in WoW Insider's SEED program, if World of Warcraft is your thing. Or, if you want to try your hand at more magazine-styled articles, check out the open call area of The Escapist. Many writers have gotten their starts there, and every editor will keep a close eye on your application once he's seen you have experience with The Escapist.
Whatever you do though, good luck and enjoy the crazy journey that will inevitably accompany this job.
Seraphina Brennan, the destroyer of applicants' hopes and dreams, serves up her opinions in Anti-Aliased every week. When she's not rambling here, she's rambling on her personal blog, The Experience Curve. If you want to message her, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter through Massively and her personal feed.