Gaile's Trip Report – GWFC Day #3
25 August 2006
The third day of the GWFC event in Leipzig dawned on a brighter note than was struck during Day 2, when technical issues postponed competitive play. At the morning breakfast buffet, we learned that all computers had been swapped out for entirely new systems, and those systems had then been run through extensive testing. Everyone felt that the event, and the championship, was "good to go."
The first event began at 09:00 GMT, the second at 13:00 GMT, and the final match of the day began at 17:00 GMT. I’ll leave the actual gameplay reporting to others. Suffice to say that the matches played on Friday were some of the most memorable and exciting in Guild Wars history. There is no doubt that the teams participating in Leipzig are "the best of the best," and those teams each stepped up to the plate to present games with intense and masterful gameplay. It was a privilege to view such exceptional gaming.
In between the matches, Carson, the MC, and I handed out skill pins, t-shirts, mouse pads, lanyards, mini-standees, Guild Wars calendars, and many other goodies. We also helped with the giveaway of a complete computer system, courtesy of ShoutedFM, an Internet radio station. There were literally hundreds of eager fans in the booth at all times; in fact, trying to venture outside of the booth posed quite a bit of a challenge, as no one was really interested in leaving the area between the matches, and it was packed tightly with Guild Wars fans at all times. I learned not to wade into the crowd with items to hand out, as when I did I was soon overwhelmed with fans hoping for that last collectible skill pin or a Guild Wars t-shirt.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of the show, consider that E3—the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California—usually boasts about 50,000 to 60,000 attendees. Leipzig’s famous GC will draw about 150,000 during the 5-day event. It gets a bit congested, and the line for the food vendor is a half-hour long. And sometimes it feels as if all of those 150,000 attendees are directly in front of me as I try to make it from the exhibitor center to our booth.
The final game of Semi-Final Round One was played in silence—no big screen, no sound—and with only the guilds and NCsoft in attendance. This is because the match went to three games, which prompted us to request special permission from the security staff to stay in the booth and run the third game of the series after the 6:00 p.m. closure of the hall. They graciously allowed us to play out the third game of the series, but naturally the event attendees had to leave the center. This game—iQ versus EvIL Game 3—was probably my favorite of the series. It was an unbelievable game that, after the point when Victory or Death kicks in, became a match featuring increasingly wild and rapid swings of the pendulum of control. I encourage you to view it on Observer Mode, but if you choose to view any of the GWFC matches, you will not be disappointed!
After congratulating iQ on their victory, we all piled into the bus for the ride back to the hotel. Later in the evening, the guilds and staff members attended a party that was co-hosted by NCsoft and ShoutedFM and which took place in a tavern in the marketplace section of Leipzig. When I left to head back to the hotel to answer email and write a trip report, the party seemed to be kicking into high gear. My last vision of the tavern was of an unnamed NCsoft staff member doing a solo head-banging dance routine in the center of the dance floor. It might have been worth hanging around for a while to see if he ended up giving himself whiplash. :)
Tomorrow we will see the semi-finals and finals of the GWFC. Until later: Auf Wiedersehen!