Gaile's Trip Report – GWFC Day #4
26 August 2006
The penultimate day of the Games Convention began with preparations for the semi-finals of the GWFC. Most of the members of Treacherous Empire and War Machine took the stage early to set up personal keyboards or to practice again on the two keyboards offered in the booth itself: standard or a special Razor gamer's keyboard. I curiously watched gamers select keyboards, because I recalled that European keyboards have a slightly different setup, and I knew from experience that this proves challenging for hotkey placement. For instance, the @ key is really hard to find! In fact, this different configuration is why Jeff Strain and I took along an American keyboard when we attended a press event in London. Anyway, it appeared to me that in Leipzig, a handful of players brought their own and the rest split between the two provided keyboards, although a few more may have selected the Razor board.
At 11:00, we began the second round of the semi-finals, as Treacherous Empire and War Machine took to the field. Check the match report for all the skinny on those games. I found a couple of the character and team builds interesting and a bit gutsy; they added spice to some already entertaining games.
There were a few hours between the semi-finals and the finals, so I had a chance to visit with players. Sometimes we’d take a picture together, other times we’d chat about the game, their characters, what missions they enjoyed, and so forth. And of course there were questions, suggestions, comments, and lots of shared stories about game experiences.
At 4:00, the finals began. War Machine and Idiots Savant played excellently, and the crowd watched every moment with intense excitement. Spectators packed into the booth, spilled over into the aisles, and in fact completely filled the large concession space behind the booth and extended into a third area behind even that. There has been huge interest in the GWFC at Leipzig, which mirrors the fascination extended to Guild Wars as a whole.
In the end, WM fulfilled the destiny that some feel was writ more than a year ago, and they claimed the prize as gold medalists of the Guild Wars Factions Championship. However, iQ did extraordinarily well and showed that they deserved their role as one of the crowd favorites. Given iQ’s 6th seed in this tournament, some doubters had predicted that the team would not be able to progress to the finals. But iQ’s creative builds and cohesive gameplay served them well. Both War Machine and Idiots Savant are exceptional representatives of high-end GW play, and they, like all who came to the championship, should feel great pride in their accomplishments here at Leipzig.
After the finals came the awards ceremony. Medals were ceremoniously presented to each participant by ArenaNet Co-founders Mike O’Brien and Jeff Strain. Giant checks were also given to the guilds as a whole, and a huge goodie bag with a bunch of great gaming gear was given to each guild member. It may not be well known, but in addition to the all-expenses-paid trip to Leipzig, the GWFC also assured that every winning team would receive a cash prize: $50,000 for the winning team, $25,000 for Second Place, $10,000 for 3rd and 4th Place, and $2,500 for 5th and 6th Place. So everyone who played at Leipzig will go home not just with the memories of a wonderful trip, but with geek goods and cash in his or her pocket.
And to wrap up Saturday, NCsoft Europe threw a great party to celebrate the championship. They brought in a bathtub filled with beer bottles—quickly depleted, quickly replenished—and served wine, sodas and juices, and all sorts of tasty snacks. A DJ spun tunes, Michael organized another of his competitive games—this one involving plastic nets, elephants and butterflies (I believe Te took the prize for this one)—and of course we all took a few more photos of the teams sporting their new medals, and truly a good time was had by all.
Tomorrow is the final day of the show. It is Guild Wars Community Day at Leipzig GC. So until then, Auf Wiedersehen!