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Gaile's Trip Report – GWFC Day #2

24 August 2006
Factions World Championship:
Leipzig Games Convention:
Seasonal Updates:
Factions Championship:

Day 2 of our stay in Leipzig offered brooding skies overhead. That dour climate was soon mirrored within the convention center itself, as we discovered that the computers on which the championship was intended to be played suffered from puzzling freezes that rendered them untrustworthy for competitive gaming.

During several hours, two ArenaNet founders, three IT folks, and numerous other helpers attempted to get things going. They swapped video cards, installed drivers, removed video cards, uninstalled drivers, and went through the process again with another graphics card. Ultimately the experts diagnosed that the computers were most likely locking up due to excessive heat. While all this was going on, we let the patient and supportive spectators know that we were going to postpone the games, and ultimately we elected to put off the start of the championship for a full day. After all, how could we start the championship series without full confidence in the hardware that was driving the game?


Working on Computers

In the end, the computers tested out satisfactorily, but Mike O'Brien and Jeff Strain were still concerned about the stability and performance of the systems, and wanting to assure absolute solid performance for the players, they opted to purchase 16 brand-new systems for the championship. This meant that many individuals worked through the evening and into the wee hours of the morning replacing the systems, installing the game, and so forth. So with this change, all matches were rescheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday.

In the end, this resulted in Thursday being an unexpected "pre-event day." Some of the guild members took the free hours to see a bit of the Games Convention—which is huge!—or to go back early to the hotel to try to nap away an assault by the Jet Lag Monster. I stayed in the booth to work with our excellent MC in handing out prizes. This afforded me the pleasant opportunity to meet a ton of great Guild Wars players, from fansite staff members to guild members to individual players. It was an incredible opportunity to talk with so many players—to listen to their thoughts about Guild Wars, to hear their suggestions for the game, to answer their questions, and to learn of their excitement about Nightfall.


Answering Fan Questions

In truth, Games Convention is a very satisfactory event from a community team member's perspective. Unlike other shows, such as E3, this event isn't strictly for trade and press—it doesn't lock out the most important person in the game industry: the player. Games Convention is all about players, and that makes it very fun indeed. I can't wait until Sunday's Community Day!

Thursday night, several guild members joined up with ArenaNet and NCsoft staff to take a night tour of Leipzig (which is pronounced by the natives as "LIPE-sish"). The tour was interesting, but given the rain and the darkness, it was also sort of amusing. "On the left is the zoo. You can't see anything, but it's there." We did get off the bus at the Völkerschlachtdenkmal, the monument that commemorates the Battle of the Nations, an 1813 encounter that pretty much finished off Napoleon...the first time, anyway.


Battle of the Nations Monument

We completed the tour with a glass of champagne at the top of the tallest building in Leipzig. The wind and rain discouraged most of the tour guests from going out on the roof, but I can attest that the view was stunning—all of Leipzig stretched out before us in every direction, from Thomaskirche to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal, from the university to the Bundesverwaltungsgericht, or federal administrative building. (And you have to appreciate German when you learn the names of things—one word says it all!)

Tomorrow brings the excitement of the Guild Wars Factions Championship. Until later: Auf Wiedersehen!