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State of the Game—April 22, 2008

2008 RAWR Cup Title Series Spring Tournament

By Billiard

Special note: Each State of the Game presents the opinions and insights of one game observer. These observations are personal in nature and do not reflect the opinions of ArenaNet. While ArenaNet does review each State of the Game article to assure that it offers content that is respectful of all players, we intend to allow our reporters the freedom to inject some personal opinion into descriptions of the current atmosphere of competitive play in Guild Wars, and to express views based on their experience and observation.


2008 RAWR Cup – The Sequel

Last December Rebel Rising [rawr], in conjunction with GuildCafe, kicked off the 2008 RAWR Cup Title Series with the highly successful 2008 RAWR Cup Inaugural Tournament, and promised that there would be more to come. On April 5, [rawr] and GuildCafe kept their promise with the second tournament of the series. Like the previous tournament, this edition of the RAWR Cup adapted ArenaNet's monthly Automatic Tournament (mAT) system, plus added additional sponsorship and prize support from KillerNIC.

The RAWR Cup series has been a great boon to the PvP community, coming along as the monthly Automated Tournaments hosted by ArenaNet will soon transition to offering in-game prizes. ArenaNet has offered to help facilitate third-party sponsored tournaments such as the RAWR Cup, so players can continue winning real world prizes. In fact, ArenaNet is looking forward to such tournaments, and plans to dedicate the needed developer time for each event, as long as the sponsors have enough prize support and infrastructure.

Similar to ArenaNet's own mATs, the RAWR Cup provides real world prizes and reward points to the winners. In this case, the guild winning the elite Dragon Division won KillerTM M1 Gaming Network Cards with an MSRP of $279.99 each. The guild winning the middle Phoenix Division took home Logitech G9 laser gaming mice. The winner of the Tiger Division (formally the Titan Division), received Logitech ClearChat Pro headsets. Finalists for all three divisions were awarded special mini-pet key codes provided by ArenaNet, and many participants earned tournament reward points.

As with the previous RAWR Cup, the qualifying requirements were simple. Team members first had to register on GuildCafe. When six or more signed up, the registration form for the tournament appeared on their GuildCafe guild page. Once registered, guild leaders got an access key via the GuildCafe messaging system. They could then use the key to get the tokens needed for their team to play in the tournament, which used the Guild Wars mAT format. Entering the tournament was free and required no tournament qualifying points. This made it easier for teams to enter the RAWR Cup than the mATs. However, team members were still required to meet time requirements in the guild similar to the mAT system.


Changes

While the previous RAWR Cup was administered primarily by Rebel Rising [rawr] members, [rawr] and Guild Café wanted to turn this edition of the RAWR Cup into more of a community run event, and thus formed a special Guild Café Tournament Committee (GCTC). In addition to Rebel Rising [rawr] members Three Pounds, Awowa, Scotty, and Ekelon, the GCTC included me (Billiard), Sinister Fantasy from Team Love [kiSu], Joe Hostile from The Best Guild In The Game [Best], and ArenaNet's Andrew Patrick from Zealots of Shiverpeak [ZoS].

The RAWR Cup divided the participating guilds into three divisions, and allowed teams to select which division they wished to compete in, with fairly basic guidelines for who should compete in each:

Dragon Division: expert players with high levels of GvG experience.

Phoenix Division: intermediate players with average GvG experience.

Tiger Division: players with little to no GvG experience.

These loose guidelines were a change from the previous tournament, where division lines were drawn between teams ranked in the top 100, those ranked 100 to 500, and those ranked higher than 500. In all, 102 guilds registered online for the RAWR Cup, 30 more than the previous edition. Sixteen teams registered for the Dragon Division (compared to 18 previously), 26 for Phoenix (21 previously), and 60 for Tiger (33 previously).

Several teams accidentally registered for the wrong division, but were able to resign and re-register for the proper one. Teams in the Dragon Division ranged in ranking from number one [uF] to number 5,000+ [Best]. Guilds in the Phoenix Division ranged from number 58 [mAT] to number 927 [XoO]. Teams in the Tiger Division ranged from number 201 [MtM] to the unranked [WoT].

In addition to the GvG competition, this RAWR Cup also included events for non-PvP players. These were weekly screenshot competitions, followed by a Guild Wars character art contest. The weekly contests included:

  • Week 1: Scenic Vistas of Tyria — best Guild Wars landscape screenshots.
  • Week 2: Travels with Koss & Krew: — best Guild Wars PvE action screenshots.
  • Week 3: Roflcopters and Lollerskates — funniest Guild Wars screenshots
  • Week 4: Thrillz of Victory/Agony of Epic Fail — best PvP action screenshots

Winners of the weekly contests were awarded a special mini-pet product key code provided by ArenaNet for the RAWR Cup. The winner of the portrait contest was given the Grand Prize of a Wacomm Tablet for creating an original work of art. Additional mini-pet keys were also given away to players via random drawings.


Winners and Finalists (ladder ranking)

Dragon Division
1st Place: (#6) Dark Alley
2nd Place: (#2) Rebel Rising
3rd Place: (#36) Seppo Hovi Action Team
4th Place: (#18) Epic Failing Europeans

Phoenix Division
1st Place: (#58) The Last Attempt
2nd Place: (#104) Flowers Of Happiness
3rd Place: (#161) Pff We Are In
4th Place: (#152) Team Chaos Theory

Tiger Division
1st Place: (#390) Easter Eggs
2nd Place: (#370) Reverse Psychology
3rd Place: (#201) Minutes To Midnight
4th Place: (#638) Forgotten Myth


Division Finals

Tiger Division

Easter Eggs [EE] defeated Reverse Psychology [rev] to claim the top prize in the Tiger Division, winning Logitech gaming headsets. [rev] ran a W/E Shock Axe, a W/Rit Coward Sword, an R/Mo with Burning Arrow, an E/Me with Blinding Surge and Hexbreaker, an Me/Rit with Energy Surge, two Mo/E Monks (Word of Healing and Restore Condition), and a Rit/A Runner. [EE] countered with a W/E and W/Rit that were both Axe, an R/Mo with Crippling Shot, an E/Mo with Blinding Surge and Draw Conditions, and a Mesmer, two Monks, and a runner similar to [rev].

The match was played on the Isle of Meditation. [rev] split the Sword Warrior, Ranger, and runner from the start. [EE] responded with a Warrior, Ranger, and runner of their own. Both teams, split 5/3, fought to a stalemate. Eventually [EE] fell out of the upper flagstand box and joined their main team to try and collapse on the smaller enemy team.

In response, [rev] sent their Warrior and runner to the main stand as well, leaving the Ranger to finish off [EE]'s upper NPCs. The pressure of [EE]'s full team was too much for [rev] without their Ranger, however. They started dying until, at the midpoint of the match, [rev] retreated back to their lower gate. They made several flag pushes from that point until VoD, but suffered multiple deaths for their trouble. While [rev] managed to maintain control of the upper fireball stand the entire match, [EE] never gave up a morale boost and eventually [rev]'s accumulated death penalty caught up with them as the Guild Lords engaged and they succumbed.

Phoenix Division

The Last Attempt [mAT] defeated Flowers Of Happiness [hapy] to win the top prize for the Phoenix Division, and take home the Logitech gaming mice. [mAT] had a build with two Axe Warriors, an R/Mo with Crippling Shot, an Me/Rit with Energy Surge, an E/Rit with Blinding Surge, Ancestors' Rage, and Splinter Weapon, an Mo/E with Word of Healing, an Mo/E with Shield of Deflection, and an Mo/E Runner with Word of Healing. [hapy] had a build with two Axe Warriors, an R/Mo with Crippling Shot, an Me/Rit, an E/Me with Blinding Surge and Hexbreaker, two Mo/E that were Restore Condition and Word of Healing, and a Rit/A Runner.

[mAT] started the match by sending a Warrior, Ranger, and runner on a split to the back door of [hapy]. Because the match was played on Hunter's Isle, [hapy] used the map to their advantage and collapsed on the back door with their main team to force an 8v8 fight. Just past four minutes into the match, though, the Mesmer on [hapy] disconnected and did not return. [mAT] continued to split and force the now shorthanded [hapy] to respond. [mAT] achieved several kills on players and NPCs before VoD, forcing [hapy] to attempt a half-hearted gank attempt at VoD. When this was repelled, the teams duked it out at the stand, but [hapy] death penalty couple with [mAT] NPC advantage was too much to overcome.

Dragon Division

Dark Alley [dR] defeated Rebel Rising [rawr] and won the top prize for the Dragon Division: KillerNIC high performance gaming network cards. [rawr] used a build with two Axe Warriors, a P/W with Song of Restoration, an Me/Rit with Power Block, a E/N with Blinding Surge, two Monks with Word of Healing and Restore Condition, and a Rit/A runner. [dR] had a build with two D/A with Avatar of Melandru, Shadow Walk, and Guiding Hands, a P/W similar to that of [rawr], an Me/Rit with Energy Surge, two Monks that had Shield of Deflection and Word of Healing, and a Rit/A runner.

This match was fought on Nomad's Isle. After initially engaging, [rawr] pulled back out of the sand area and fought near their bridge, splitting off a Warrior and their runner through the teleporters to work on NPCs. [dR] responded with their runner to defend.

The battle at the stand was somewhat of a stalemate, although [dR] got a kill early in the match and another one at 15 minutes in. Eventually [rawr] sent their runner back to the main team, while the Warrior continued to threaten at the teleporters to keep the [dR] runner in the base defending. The situation remained virtually unchanged until right before VoD when [rawr]'s Warrior collapsed back to the main team.

At VoD the pressure of [dR]'s dual Dervishes made short work of [rawr]'s NPCs. [rawr] killed all of [dR]'s NPCs except the bodyguard and two archers, but this damage in addition to that of the Dervishes generated repeated kills for [dR] and won them the match after the Guild Lords engaged.


"Live" Coverage

As with the previous RAWR Cup, Uberguilds Radio provided a podcast where commentators and guests discussed the various tournament matches as they came up on Observer Mode. Joe Hostile and Will from [Best] hosted, along with special guest Izzy from ArenaNet. Three Pounds worked the call-in lines for other guests to come in and discuss as well. QforQ at Uberguilds recorded the broadcast.


Promising Future

The RAWR Cup has laid the groundwork for future third-party-sponsored events. Guild Café and Rebel Rising have shown again that player-run tournaments can be successful. Further, ArenaNet has shown a willingness to support such events. Already, discussions have begun for future tournaments, including suggestions for limited play tournaments where only certain professions or skills would be allowed.


Billiard is a Senior Moderator at GuildWarsGuru.com and TeamQuitter.com, and leader of Team Love [kiSu], a PvP mentoring guild. Billiard can be reached in game as Billiard The Bold, or by private message at www.teamlove.us.