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PAX Interviews

By Sean Ferguson

Guild Wars Live Event Player Interview

I talked casually with some of the players as they moved from quest to quest. At the Necromancer station, I stopped for a while to chat with Ellen (in-game name Wee Woo).

Q. Which Guild Wars challenge did you like best?

A. The Elementalist. I'm a musician, so I'm good at rhythm and could remember the pattern.

Q. Would you do something like this at another convention?

A. Certainly, it gives you something to do between the main events.

Q. Did you have any heroic moments?

A. Because I picked Necromancer, I started with a disadvantage on the Mesmer tasks. This meant that at the Mesmer station, I helped four other people complete their Suduko puzzles before I could finish mine.

Q. Do you Kurzick or Luxon better?

A. I don't have a strong preference either way, but I'll say that I don't like the Charr! Evil little creatures.

Q. If you did this again, what profession would you choose next time?

A. Assassin, because it has advantages at the physical challenges, and I'm better at the thinking games.

Q. How do you think the Live Event compared to the actual game?

A. I think the Mesmer and Necromancer quests were VERY cool, and compared well to the game. It was also cool to meet some of the developers at the different NPC stations.

Q. Do you have any general comments about the event overall?

A. I'd like to see more quests like the Ranger one, where you have to collect clues.

Necromancer NPC Interview

From the other side, I wanted to get insights about being an NPC during the Live Event. I interviewed Emily, one of our ArenaNet staff who volunteered to run the Necromancer challenge Saturday afternoon.

Q. Have you done anything like this before?

A. Well, it's a good thing I was a manager for a while, because I had to do A LOT of explaining to a bunch of people. I was also a random carnival volunteer, so I know what it's like to lay out the same rules over and over to different players.

Q. Why did you volunteer to be an NPC?

A. I like cons and comi-cons and I thought this would be a fun way to help out.

Q. Did you meet many interesting people?

A. A group of Lemmings stopped by, and I saw some dude dressed like a ninja.

Q. What was the most heroic moment you observed?

A. I had 12 guys trying to solve this one puzzle, and they'd been at it for a LONG time. Then an eleven-year old boy showed up with his dad. The boy got it in about two minutes, and shared the answer with the big group of guys. That was pretty heroic.

Q. How did people react? Did it look like they were having fun?

A. A lot were confused at first, because the Necromancer puzzle isn't immediately obvious. Once they understood, it was fun, because they went from crossbow shooting to thinking. Most people either figured it out right away or just couldn't get it until they got hints.

Q. Did anyone share any memorable events from the GW game itself?

A. No, but I did meet kids who hadn't played the game but were really looking forward to it.

Q. Did you meet any fans who came to PAX specifically because of GW?

A. Yes, I met some people who showed up to compete in the tournament, as well as some who wanted to meet devs and get shirts.

Q. Do you have any general comments about the event overall?

A. It was a lot fun, and I'd definitely do it again. I was surprised at how quickly people adapted to it, and at how much fun they were having. The quieter area I was in was nice for the Necromancer station, as people could come in out of the noise and concentrate on solving a puzzle.

On a side note, Emily did so much talking during her time as an NPC that the next day she lost her voice and had to talk in near-whispers. While we thankfully didn't have any ArenaNet staff injuries during PAX, this came close!


10k Arena Interview with Team 64 Monk Skills

From the 10K Arena, I interviewed a team that had arrived separately and joined together as a pick-up-group to form team 64 Monk Skills. They placed eighth overall, and felt a little disappointed about that, but were happy to have become friends, meet the devs, and go home with a cash prize and Guild Wars merchandise.

When I spoke to the team as a group after the tournament, they had this to say:

"We liked the playoffs more than the qualifiers. It was nice getting the cards handed to the whole team, rather than individuals. It helped us quickly come up with a creative build. We understand that this is a random, lottery-type event, but we think it might be better if each team had a free healing skill to use. Some of the matches we lost in the qualifiers might have been a little more even if we'd had more healing.

But overall we had lots of fun here, on this level playing field. We thought it was great we could come in and still win some prizes as a pick-up-group. This type of play appeals to people who want to show they are more than just playing a common build. The tournament drew us out of our accustomed way of thinking about the game so we tried new stuff, things we'd never think about doing in the actual game."

I talked with many more people at PAX, and the above interviews represent a tiny portion of the attendees. Positive vibes filled the atmosphere all weekend, and I felt completely at home as I strolled around the expo. From chatting with random gamers, it seems we shared an upbeat and optimistic perspective about PAX, gamers, computers, and live Guild Wars questing. Hopefully everybody went home as happy as the people I talked to, and we look forward to seeing you all again next year!