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Guild Wars 2006 World Championship
Gaile's Diary - Day One - Match Play

1:30 p.m. — The phone rings. "Gaile, are you on your way?" asks Tyler Kim, our global brand manager. "Yes, Tyler, I’m just having a shoe moment," I reply, eyeing with uncertainty my choice of black boots or red sandals. I hurriedly put on the boots and head out the door of my room.

(Click here for a larger image!)

Oh, I’ve not mentioned the hotel and the rooms. Let’s just simply note that the Grand Hyatt is truly grand. In everything from the enormous king-sized bed to the excellently appointed work area, with plenty of space to accommodate the desk, chair, and all the necessary plug-in points to make it work, it’s a really exceptional place to stay. Lockable safe to protect my laptop. Amazing lobby. Marble in the room’s entryway, and on the floor and countertops in the bathrooms. Separate walk-in shower and bathtub. Soft and fluffy extra blankets, in which I am bundled even as I write. And a definite 5-of-5 on the Toiletry Scale, a grading system first developed back in 2002 when we went to LA for our first collective E3 and I commented, "The toiletries at this hotel are exceptional," and everyone laughed. There were 10 of us then; I was the only female. But you know, I have to think that when I said, "Hey, they’re from France, for goodness sake! If you’re not going to use them, at least be sure to take the lotion home for your wife or girlfriend," more than one bottle made it into a backpack for the flight back to Seattle.


1:35 p.m. — We arrive at the Taipei Convention Center and start getting set up. The NCsoft booth is really great, and well laid out. NC Taiwan has done a fantastic job from beginning to end. The booth features a stage, and on each side, there are revolving platforms that hold 8 gaming stations each. The backstage area is warm, the stage is stiflingly hot (all those CPUs in a small space, I bet). But we’re given water to keep us cool, and Isaiah works furiously to get things set up. We end up without Ventrilo, but the show floor is so noisy, we decide we’ll just yell at each other if we need to. (Sort of like in one of those heated design meetings. ;) )


2:15-ish p.m. — The music starts on stage and we’re still having a few connection issues, but all is resolved soon. We consider our opponents and ponder if Tank has brought in three game-playing friends or if he’s gotten himself the top three players in Taiwan. Isaiah raises and eyebrow and nods his head slowly. "Won’t be a problem," he says.


2:20 p.m. — The turntable platform starts moving and we’re off! We’re introduced by the gorgeous MC (looking splendid – as all the booth models do – in her NC Taiwan mini-dress). I wave merrily to Tank’s team. They don’t see me; they’re busy intently staring at their screens and doing last-minute setups.


2:24 p.m. — The match begins. Tyler is a Warrior/Elementalist. Mike is his usual Monk/Something-Else-But-I-Only-Play-Pure-Monk. Isaiah is a Spike Ranger. I’m my usual Ranger/Monk, but emphasis on damage and a de-emphasis on Monking, since Mike has us covered. (I usually spend half my time healing.) We head into the match and… well, I’ll leave it to Isaiah to provide more and better details. Suffice to say my most memorable moments come from seeing "Isaiah Cartwright" on the screen, finding myself layering three types of arrow damage onto his poor Pin Downed being, and thinking "When in heck did we put friendly fire back into the game!" (Little known Guild Wars Fact: Back in 2002, we had friendly fire. Spells had AOE, and you could target team members or hit them with misdirected arrows. Those "misses" really cost! I was known for turning everyone on my team green at least once with my Poison Arrow. In fact, it became a running joke, and a long-time employee was heard to say, "You’re not really an employee of ArenaNet until Gaile nails you with her PA.")

My problem with the current game is that Isaiah has neglected to tell me that Tank would be playing on one of his, Isaiah’s, characters. We take down one target, I wheel, start layering the shots and look at who has come up on my next-closest, then whisper in horror, "Izzy, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shoot you again, my computer’s doing weird things!" Isaiah is intent on the battle – man that guy can focus! – and he whispers back "No, it’s ok." I think, "No, it’s not ok, I’ve reduced you to 20% life!"

What Isaiah means to say is "It’s ok, that’s my player character but he’s playing on the other team." But it takes me a few minutes to catch on to that larger meaning. I keep cycling through to other opponents, whispering to myself, "Don’t kill Isaiah Cartwright. Don’t kill Isaiah Cartwright." It all is more difficult than it should be because the chat service isn’t working right now (soon to be installed again) but in the current timeframe we’ve gone without voice communication. In the meantime, no one is using the on-screen call target system and I am too shy to take over. So I have to cycle through to assess damage in order to figure out our current target.


2:30 p.m. — In the end, we emerged victorious. Despite "Isaiah Cartwright" having to pull 17 of my arrows out of his backside. :)



Back to Part Two On to Day Two