Guild Wars 2 Community Event – Blaugust Day 9

GW2 Community Event 2015As you may already know, on Thursday, we went to gamescom and then went to the Wildstar Community Event in the evening. I already told you about the Wildstar event. My write-up of our visit to gamescom is taking a bit more time to get finished, though. So I figured I could show you the pictures I took at the Guild Wars 2 community event. Keep in mind that I am not a professional photographer and I only had my mobile phone to take pictures. I actually like the quality of the pictures the phone produces. Hey, I’m a kid of the 80s/90s, I have seen SO much worse quality in pictures. You young ones out there have no idea what a luxury it is to produce this amount of pictures with such a good quality at no cost! Ahem, I digress, don’t I? And I made myself feel old. Well done… What I want to say is that the restaurant we were at was apparently too dark for my camera. But the light wasn’t an issue for me throughout the event. What was really bad was that the whole room was packed (although, apparently, we were not as many people as we were at the Wildstar event) and it felt crowded and there was only one fan at the ceiling and no air conditioning. But outside, it had been really hot, too, so there was no cool wind coming in.

We had not been back at gamescom on Friday. Thursday was enough for us. Cologne is about a 1,5 hours drive from where we live, so we drove there again on Friday afternoon for the Guild Wars 2 community event. For the last three years, it has now taken place at the same location. Thankfully, this year we had a bit more variety with food. I certainly don’t want to complain about free food! However, the food they serve there is that typical German kind of food. Lots of meat, actually, meat everywhere even in your baked potatoes and your sauerkraut (yes, there has to be sauerkraut – typical German food, remember?) and greasy fatty meat. But this year, we also had some salad consisting of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes as well as some vegetarian dish. I am not sure what exactly it was. It looked a bit like pieces of a wrap with a vegetable filling. It was super tasty! After we had all finished our dinner, ArenaNet handed the teams that competed in the World Tournament Series their jerseys and used this opportunity to introduce the players to us. Afterwards, the famous “raffle” began. Everybody present had gotten a raffle ticket and they gave several prizes away. We did not win anything, but that’s not too bad considering everybody who came to the event got a little goodie bag. Let me show you one thing from this bag.

GW2_Rytlock shirt

It’s pretty, isn’t it? It shows a huge Rytlock and the Heart of Thorns logo. The back of the t-shirt is plain black. And yes, I just like bragging that I have something that you cannot have! Or… actually no. You probably know me better by now, right? :) I am only showing you this little gem because we will soon(ish) have another giveaway and this t-shirt (size “L” – the one shown in the picture is size “S”, but that one is actually mine :p) will be one of the prizes you can win! I wish we had many many more of those for you guys. The colours are so fantastic! If you look closely, or not so closely even, you may see the green colours on the left and the right of the picture. That’s our living-room sofa. I am a great fan of light green. :)

The giveaway is still some time away, though. I just thought I would put a little teaser in here.

But even though we got free food, free drinks and a loot bag, we would have also gone there if it had only been to meet everybody. Not even necessarily the guys from ArenaNet and NCsoft. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great! But it’s always a great opportunity to meet others from the community and talk about games – or even about what you’re up to in your offline life. So there is actually not that much I can tell you about. Just as with Wildstar, we were also not told anything exclusive here either. No, still no release date for Heart of Thorns. :p But we could meet the famous Gaile Gray – and she is as awesome and friendly as I thought she was! And with this, I will leave you to have a look at the picture gallery below. Now there is only one more gamescom-related post coming and that one, yes, will actually be about gamescom! ;)

This post is part of Blaugust 2015.

Wildstar Community Event – Blaugust Day 8

Cologne

We had originally planned to go to the Trion party on Thursday evening and I was looking forward to it, especially as they announced the new Primalist calling there. However, then we had received invitations for the Wildstar and Blade & Soul Event. Since we did not know anybody who went to the Trion party, but knew several who were also going to the Wildstar one (Tasha, for example), we decided to head there instead. Also, the food sounded too promising: Korean BBQ – and it lived up to its promise! I definitely need  to find a recipe for that glass noodle salad!

I don’t know how good the Trion party was. I assume it went very well, because they had this great announcement, after all, and what seemed to look like a great location for the party as well (and vintage shuttle busses!). But what I do know is that we had a great time with the guys from NCsoft. The event location was also closer to the gamescom convention center. So, on Thursday morning we drove to a parking deck close to where the community event took place and walked to the gamescom convention center. In my gamescom-post I will show you a picture of the amazing view from the huge bridge that leads to the area where the koelnmesse is located which is where gamescom takes place every year. For now, enjoy the image on the left which shows a church and old colourful tiny houses. As you can probably guess, there are lots of pubs and restaurants in that area. It is also right at the Rhine which makes it even more beautiful!

So, let me show you some more pictures of the view as well as the community event and tell you what happened there. Just a heads-up: No, we were not told when Wildstar will go free to play and we did not receive any other insider information. ;)

Wildstar Community Event

People came in slowly. The event had started at 7.30 pm, but gamescom was open until 8 and I know that at least the guys from Guildnews came a bit later because they still had some appointments late afternoon at gamescom. While the pubs and restaurants aren’t that far away, when you walk, it’s about a 30 minutes walk – which bookahnerk and I had made, because the weather was so good and we just love walking through that part of Cologne. As I said above, the view is amazing! Anyway, on the right you can see a tiny part of the roof terrace of the event. You can also see the barbecue being prepared on the left of that picture, right inside the pavilion.

What we both really liked was seeing how the guys from NCsoft interacted with their guests and that they actually approached us and started conversations. We had quite a nice conversation with Omeed Dariani, the Director of Community and Social at NCsoft West. Of course, one of the topics was Wildstar, but the conversation soon switched to a more general “what is important to make people seriously try out a game and not leave within the first minute”. It was quite interesting to hear about his insights and experiences.

On the pictures, it actually looks like there weren’t that many people present, but the location was so big with the space inside and then the roof terrace, that this is misleading apparently. I had actually thought we had been fewer people than at the GW2 community event on the following day, but was told that there were more at the Wildstar one. I always find it difficult to judge numbers. I am more the “crowded / not-crowded” kind of person. :p So, it was not-crowded at the Wildstar event, but we were quite a lot of people there.

Wildstar Community EventThey had also set up PCs to try out Wildstar and Blade & Soul. We did not try Wildstar because we both own the game anyway. However, we tried out Blade & Soul. For those who don’t know: Blade & Soul is an MMORPG developed by NCsoft which originally released in South Korea in 2012 already. Other Asian countries followed, but no Western version had been released so far. Now they are working on the localization and we will get to play it at some point in Q4 2015. My main problem with the game was that we were thrown into it with premade characters that had a certain level already. I had no idea what to do. The combat seemed fast and action-oriented. The controls were easy and “fluid”, for lack of a better word. I am not sure Blade & Soul is my kind of game, but at least, I wasn’t terribly bored either. :p We both only played for a few minutes, because after all, we don’t go to such an event to play games. It is much more interesting to talk to others, especially those that you usually cannot talk to (like developers) or people who you know from online, but don’t have the chance to meet often.

A quite funny moment was when we realized that we knew Jan, the German community manager for Wildstar, from waaaay back when Warhammer Online was still up and running. He had been writing news about the game at that point and had generally been a very active part of the German Warhammer Online community. The (gaming) world is such a small one sometimes. Too bad we didn’t have the time to get all nostalgic about WAR with him – although at the same time, we did meet another guy who had been actively playing the game a few years ago and we talked to him for a bit.

I actually thought I had taken more pictures of the people there, but it turns out, I didn’t. I do have a few pictures of the view, though, so let me show you those first.

As I said, the food was also really great. We had a buffet and there were lots of really good things on there. My favourite was the Korean glass noodle salad. As I said above, I really wish I had that recipe! We will try to make it ourselves. Bookahnerk is actually quite amazing when it comes to figuring out which spices were used in preparing a dish. I can’t do that, so I just rely on his senses here. I did not think of taking a picture of the food. I was too focused on consuming it instead. ;) But I saw that Guildnews released a short video from that event. It’s in German, but the scenes you can see don’t really need words.

The video starts showing the masses arrive at gamescom on Thursday. Then Alex (the guy you can hear) introduces some people from Guildnews and shows the GW2 Twitch booth. At 3:15, they are on their way to the community event. At 3:50, you can finally see the location. Well, both the food and the location. It is probably much better to imagine what it was like with the video than with my few lousy pictures above.

But hey, even though I always intend to take more pictures, if, at the end of the day, I don’t have that many, it means that I had a great time and enjoyed myself or else I wouldn’t have forgotten to take all those pictures. :p I have said it before, but I will say it once again: Thank you, NCsoft and most of all, Jan, for inviting us! We had an amazing time at the community event and hope to see you again soon!

This post is part of Blaugust 2015.

Liebster Award x2

Liebster AwardAbout a month ago, I was already nominated for The Mystical Mesmer and almost forgot about it. However, I now received another nomination from Rakuno of Shards of Imagination. That’s 22 questions in total. Of course, I feel honored that they thought of me in their blog posts and I’m happy to participate now. :)

First, an introduction of the Liebster award: As the icon suggests, it’s a way to discover new blogs for the readers of your own blog, but this isn’t simply done by saying: Go read their stuff! If they accept the award, they agree to give 11 random facts about themselves, answer 11 questions that you give them and they will give out 11 questions to 5 people they nominate themselves. In other words, you can get to know them a little bit better this way.

11 random facts about me

  1. I’m a psychologist, and work in the field of special education needs.
  2. My first computer was a Commodore 64 and the seonc one had Windows 2000.
  3. I cannot choose a favourite colour, because there are so many great ones (though orange and green hues are on top right now. Red is great, too, but a rather boring colour at the same time, if you ask me).
  4. I used to be obsessed with rabbits when I was a kid. I had about 30 or 40 rabbit plushies – and yes, two real rabbits as well at some point.
  5. My favourite ice-cream flavour is “Straciatella”.
  6. I have one brother who is 5 years older than me.
  7. My brain tends to give me really bad nightmares whenever it finds something it can use to scare me which is why I tend to avoid watching horror movies.
  8. I find seafood disgusting (except for some kinds of fish).
  9. I’m afraid of heights, but bought two annual tickets for myself and bookahnerk for a ropes course in a forest nearby.
  10. I used to draw comic snails when I was a kid.
  11. If I’d been a boy, my parents would have named me “Matthias”. One of my younger cousins got that name then.

The 11 questions I got from The Mystical Mesmer

1. What are the three major elements of your ideal video game?

I’m not sure what exactly “elements” refers to. So, I’m just going to say what comes to my mind here. :p It definitely has to have open world PvP areas (without PvP being 100 % optional and not required for the game at all if you don’t want to PvP). Then it has to have housing. And it has to have interesting classes that are more than the standard ones warrior, mage, ranger etc.

2. Big city, suburb, or countryside?

Neither. Near the city centre in a medium-sized town (around 100k inhabitants). Basically, exactly where we are living now. :) Or Hamburg which is a city with 1.7 million inhabitants but it doesn’t feel this huge or even crowded with lots of green areas, a lake and more than 2400 bridges. :p

3. What’s the origin of your blogging name?

I chose “Paeroka” when I started writing about games. It just fit. Back when I’d written a story for Nanowrimo, one of the characters in that story was named “Paeroka”. I liked the sound of it, so I used it for my first character on Horde side in World of Warcraft. When I started blogging about games, I did not know which name I could use, so I chose my character’s name. So, I basically named myself after a character that is named after a character I created back in 2005.

4. Aeris lives and you’re hired to retell Final Fantasy 7. What role does she play?

I’m sorry. My knowledge of Final Fantasy ends right with that name “Final Fantasy”. No idea who Aeris is. I did try out the MMO once for an hour or two, but that’s really all I know about this IP. Oh, and chocobos.

5. What’s your favorite biome?

I can give you examples from games, because I always love the same kind of area.

6. Write a haiku love poem to this morning’s breakfast.

Three mugs of coffee
With a hot bagel to go
Not much time for food.

So this isn’t exactly a love poem. But my breakfast, even though it was yummy, was more a necessity, because I’d needed to take a painkiller and that thing also kills my stomach if I don’t eat something first. :p Still, coffee is a must. I should have maybe written a haiku on coffee.

7. What’s your preferred device for reading blogs?

My PC most of the time. It used to be my mobile phone on my way to work when I had a commute of 1.5 to 2 hours every day. But now that I don’t have that anymore, I prefer my PC with its large monitor and fast internet connection.

8. If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it?

Erm… sorry, I’m totally unimaginative when it comes to naming things. I’d probably ask bookahnerk to think of something.

9. Which of the Seven Dwarves would you be and why?

I had to look them up now, I admit. ;) Probably “Grumpy” from that list. I do get grumpy fast when things don’t go my way.

10. What form of exercise do you find to be the most effective?

Jogging. I can’t do it at the moment because I’m still having issues with my skin and it starts itching like crazy when I start to sweat. So, for the time being, it’s my elliptical trainer. Probably not the most effective, but I can watch a TV series while exercising and that’s really motivating (and entertaining) for me… and everything that gets you to exercise and is fun is effective, right?

11. How long is a piece of string?

Huh? I don’t get that question. ;)

The 11 questions from Rakuno

1. Why did you decide to blog about your chosen topic (for instance, why MMOs or why your chosen game)?

I started blogging a long time ago. On Deadjournal, actually, and then Livejournal when I’d gotten an invite code from an acquaintance. Over there on Livejournal, somebody started a German community journal for World of Warcraft. I joined it, because I knew the person who had started the community and because bookahnerk had just started playing that game. I’d wanted to know more about his hobby and I also liked the world that the game is set in (from what bookahnerk had told me about it, at least). So, it wasn’t that I woke up one day knowing I want to blog about gaming. I kind of slowly shifted into it. I had written posts on that German WoW community after I had started playing myself and then wanted to have a blog on my own because it gives me more freedom. It took a bit longer until I decided to start a blog, though. I also like WordPress and Blogspot more than Livejournal as a platform to write about games which is why I came here, to WordPress. As for why gaming? Because I like gaming and I like writing. Additionally, I wanted to practice my English more and I needed something to write about.

2. What do you feel is the hardest part about blogging?

The constant self-doubt and inner critic. That voice inside of me saying: “Nobody wants to read that.” or “You should really rewrite this paragraph… no, better that whole post! It sounds like a little kid wrote that.”

3. What is your favorite part about blogging?

Having people approach me and start a conversation because of something that I wrote (either here in the blog or somewhere else). I also admit, it was awesome to have people approach us in real life to tell me and bookahnerk that they like our blog. That’s not our “favourite” part, but it’s at least a nice bonus.

4. How did you get into MMOs?

Bookahnerk. ;) Well, kind of. I’ve always loved fantasy worlds (in books mostly), enjoyed science fiction (Star Trek more than anything else) and I already played a text-based dungeon-crawling game that you play online with others. Then bookahnerk started playing World of Warcraft and he sometimes, slowly told me about that game (that was at the beginning of our relationship). It took a while until I asked him if I could try WoW. I was a bit anxious because I was just about to start preparing for an important exam and did not want to get sucked into this game. Two days after trying WoW, I got a call from him telling me the serial code of my own WoW copy. :D I also used it as an incentive after a full day of studying (same as with Rift and my final exams later).

5. Sandbox or Themepark? Why?

Sandbox with a bit of themepark. If the game is only sandbox with no direction, I can easily feel lost. But if it’s only themepark without giving me any freedom, it’s not good either. For example, Rift is a very themepark game in that it has quests, dungeons, raids, set classes which doesn’t give you much freedom in choosing which weapons to use, for example. But it does, at least, have housing which lets you freely build structures and so on. It’s definitely more than just placing a table here and a bed there. It’s still a themepark game, so some more freedom would be nice.

6. When you are starting on a new game what makes you choose a certain race/class?

Race is rather easy: The one I like the most visually. I usually do not create a human. For me, it’s the boring choice. Here we are, in a fantasy world where everything is possible – hey, let’s make a human because that’s what I am, too. ;) I tend to go with smaller races because they’re usually quirkier and funnier to watch. Also, dwarves. When a game has dwarves, I’m really happy. As for class, it used to be spellcasters as my first choice, usually one with a few tricks up their sleeve (frost mage or warlock in WoW, mesmer in GW2). But depending on the combat system, I actually prefer heavy-armored melee classes, mostly with a sword and a shield or dual-wielding weapons. I don’t like two-handed weapons unless it’s a staff. So this limits my choices down pretty well most of the time.

7. If you had unlimited resources and time what game would you make? This can be an original idea of yours or based on an existing IP.

I would make a game around the fantasy world I had started to create around the Nanowrimo stories I have written, with dwarves, boring humans who are always at war with each other and the nimari – a race that explaining would take too long here since I’d have to go into the whole background of how that world was created. :p It would definitely be a mix of themepark and sandbox MMO with housing, crafting (best items in the game would come from crafting only), PvE as well as PvP with the latter being optional (a bit like the RvR areas in Warhammer Online, I think). Sadly, I don’t think I ever will have unlimited resources, so I will just stick with writing the stories instead. ;)

8. What is your favorite book?

The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie. During a particularly boring vacation with my parents, I had finished reading the three books I had brought with me within less than two days. It had been raining constantly, so we had basically been stuck in the house. We went shopping and I was looking for a book with lots of pages that would last longer than the ones I had brought, with a maybe interesting plot. I went for this one because it is about people from a Germanic tribe and Romans and it seemed like an interesting combination to read about. I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. I had to, my parents forced me to, but I really didn’t want to! I also got the original version (I had only read the German translation at first) from bookahnerk back when we had been “just friends”, but this very present first showed me that he is a very special person that I want and need in my life. So, this book isn’t only my favourite, it’s also connected with quite a bit of nostalgia by now.

9. What, in your opinion, is the best game of all time?

Hmm… A lot come to my mind for very different reasons. For example, Tetris, for being the game that connected me and my family back when we bought two gameboys. One just wasn’t enough for 4 people. ;) So we had two gameboys, two of us were playing Tetris, the other two were watching and cheering. World of Warcraft for getting MMORPGs out of their niche and into a broader market, maybe. For me personally, Cultures 1, because it brought me so many hours of entertainment. But best game of all time… probably not one of them. It always depends on what you interpret as “best” – best for what? :)

10. Someone challenged you to a duel at dawn. Since you are the one being challenged you are given the choice of weapons. What would be your choice? Keep in mind the challenger will be able to use the same weapons.

We’re talking about a gaming environment, right? Then a staff to go with my frost mage’s abilities. :p In reality: Nothing. I doubt there’s anything I could use as a weapon which would make me come out the winner.

11. The robot uprising happened at the same time of the zombie apocalypse. The robots see the zombies as a threat and the zombies react to the robots hostile actions instinctively. Who would win, the robots or the zombies and which one would be worse for the last surviving humans?

Another tough question. I find zombies annoying and overdone lately. So, I would vote for robots. On the other hand are robots scarier because they can probably hurt you more, seeing how they’re made of metal and with the latest technology, I assume. ;)

My 11 questions for the people I am going to nominate:

  1. What was your first gaming rig?
  2. Do you prefer games based on existing IPs (e.g., Star Wars, or that infamous probably never-to-be Harry Potter MMO) or new IPs?
  3. If you could resurrect any online game that is no longer (officially) available, which one would it be?
  4. Let’s imagine you’re put into a higher-up developer position of your favourite MMO with enough power to decide: Which one thing would you want to change about the game immediately?
  5. Is there a blog post you really would have wished you had written but haven’t (yet)?
  6. If you feel a writer’s block approaching, what do you do to overcome it?
  7. Blogging and gaming – how do you balance those two?
  8. What one advice would you give a new blogger?
  9. Other than gaming and blogging, what is your favourite pastime?
  10. How much time do you spend in the character creation screen for one character?
  11. If you could actually live in your favourite MMO, which place / town / area would you choose?

And now it’s probably time to actually nominate some people, right? I’m actually supposed to name 5, but eh, I was already nominated by two people. Jaedia, whom I would have liked to nominate as well, has just done this, too. All of this kind of narrows down my own choices. :p So, I will just say that I nominate a) the guys from Dragon Season (mostly TheValliant and Tilion, but all the other writers on there are welcome to join as well!) and bookahnerk – yes, from my own blog. So what? ;)

Bloggy XMAS 12: Connecting with friends through games

Blogg XMasThis post is part of “Bloggy Xmas” – an event where bloggers who signed up were assigned one day to provide a blog post about “Gaming and Community” and write about it.

At first, I didn’t know what I would want to write about, but then it hit me: I actually already had a draft sitting in my endless pile of unfinished drafts that fits the topic. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I simply forgot it was there.

Before Guild Wars 2 got released, we had wondered whether we wanted to create our own guild or join another one. We had also considered whether to make a German guild (seeing how we are Germans and us German-speaking folks often get their own set of servers to play on) or an international one. We ended up joining Dragon Season instead. With the exception of Lord of the Rings Online, we had previously always been in German guilds in MMOs. My game clients had usually been set to “English” (if that was the original language the game was made in), but within the game, I had played on German servers with German people. It’s not just because it’s easier to communicate if you’re all native speakers. It’s also because you do share a common culture and Germany itself isn’t such a big country. If you get to know people that you like, meeting them in real life isn’t usually too difficult to do.

So, being in the international (with mostly EU folks, as GW2 does separate their player base like that) guild that Dragon Season is, meeting people from the guild is much more difficult to do. We were lucky to meet a few fellow guildies at gamescom last year, but that’s about it. Still, you want to do more than “just” playing the game as you’re doing that every day anyway. Talking on voice chat is one thing and always fun. But what we do in the guild is to have a guild party at least once a year.

A few weeks ago, we had our summer party in Guild Wars 2… yes, it was just a few weeks ago, as we actually did it when it was autumn already or close to autumn. :p As is always the case with such things, a few people could not be there, but all in all, I would say it was a success as usual. I did not have as much time preparing as I would have liked, though.

We always celebrate by doing a few games and handing out prizes to the winners. Unfortunately, games always restrict you in what you can or can’t do compared to the real world. For example, I would love to put the prizes in wrapping paper to have a few extra seconds of the winner wondering what it is. But the games themselves are quite limited as well, as everybody who has ever tried to organize some or participated can probably imagine.

Costume Brawl

GW2 Guild Party 2014After having done three of those parties, I have found that costume brawl is actually a fun way to battle for a prize. There may not be much skill involved, but it’s fun to watch, at least. Some costume brawl items come with extra skills, though, especially the ones bought on the gem store. Also, some people may not have costume brawl items to participate (if that is the case, here is our only slightly old guide to get them without spending gems). So, I put down the cauldron that I can summon with the broom from the witch’s outfit (bought in the gem store). I love the cauldron, because everybody who just passes by can click on it, gets transformed and can participate in costume brawl. There are five possible transformations and this makes it a little more even.

Our rules for costume brawl: You become a costume brawl champion if you have scored 25 points. That champion then has to run to a predetermined spot to be declared the winner in our game. I chose to do it that way, because with the POWs and BAMs, it’s sometimes hard to spot who became a champion first. That way, they not only need to become a champion, they also need to realize they did and get their character over to the spot. Much easier for us to judge who is the winner. It may be a problem in larger groups or if you put the predetermined spot far away from the group, because some characters walk faster than others with special skills or items. So far, this hasn’t been an issue for us.

Find the NPC

This year, we did not play “Find bookahnerk” as we usually do. Bookahnerk could not actively participate in the guild party due to some exams he had had to study for. In the past, he went to a certain spot or a certain NPC in the town we were having our party in (Lion’s Arch and Hoelbrak were used for this). I gave out one hint (e.g., when we had our party in Lion’s Arch: “The sour loser…“) and the participants had to find the NPC and /bow at it. This is done, so we know for sure they aren’t just passing the NPC without knowing it’s the one they are looking for. Bookahnerk standing near the NPC also helps the participants because they know they are in the right spot – and it helps me to see who is there first without having to go there myself. Of course, nobody is allowed to party with bookahnerk or they can see his position on the map. It is also advised to turn off your commander’s tag if you’ve got it. ;) The downside of this game is that as long as the participants are looking for the NPC, communication is limited. You can use map chat or guild chat – but the latter only works if every participant is also in your guild and the first one means taking over communication space with people who may not be interested in what you are doing.

Trivia game

The classic game we always play is the easiest of them all: A trivia quiz. I think of questions I can ask, usually related to Guild Wars 2 in some way. Some are funny, some are lore-related, some belong to the “real life part” of the game – e.g. “When did Guild Wars 2 get released?”. The tricky part here is how to gather the answers. In-game mail gets restricted after sending two mails. So, if you have more than two questions at a time, you need to pause for quite a while in between. If you tell people to just use “say”, it’s less fun for everybody as one person shouts the right answer while the others may still be trying to guess. Another issue is typing speed. Some people can just type faster than others and I don’t really like having to exclude people from winning because they type slower than others. Latency may be an issue as well. So, no replying in “say”. I chose whispers during our last party and for me at least, it worked quite well. I sometimes missed a whisper, but altogether, it did not cause any issues: I have one extra chat tab only for whispers, so scrolling up, I could see all messages. Because of the aforementioned reasons, I also don’t take the first correct reply for the winner. Instead, I say that the first four or five correct replies will get thrown into the pool and the winner will be randomly selected. I know people have not been happy about this in the past, but I like to think it’s more inclusive and gives more players a chance at winning something.

Guess the NPC

GW2 Guild Party 2014This quiz also works quite nicely with NPCs: Instead of having players run to an NPC that I hinted at, they only need to tell me the NPC’s name. This also doesn’t limit you to NPC standing in the same map (so in order to avoid issues with people getting onto the same map again when they return). Last time, I changed that game a bit and gave out hints with decreasing difficulty. I started with some very vague hint: “We do not know that NPC’s hair colour.” – The next hint limited the possible answers a bit more: “The NPC is a human.” – For this game, I let players write in “/say” who they think I’m talking about. One guess per player per hint. So, when a new hint is given, everybody can write one more guess. This makes it a bit easier, as everybody can see the guesses that were already said and they know which NPC is not the correct one.

The problems with games is most of all the awkward limitation Guild Wars 2 poses on its players when it comes to communication. 2 mails only within a short amount of time and then you’re blocked from sending more mail for what seems like an eternity. Another issue I’ve ran into in the past was that I was muted from the public chats, because I had been too spammy, apparently. Of course, organizing and hosting the party and its games means that I write a lot in /say and getting muted quite frankly sucks. The alternative would be using a voice chat, but this would exclude those who cannot use voice chat for whatever reason and the random guests who were just passing by and decided to stop and play with us. Additionally, this is about building a community within a game.

In closing…

Playing games together would be much easier and probably also more fun if we could all just sit together in a room and do so. However, being in an international guild with players from lots of different countries, this is simply not an option. The second best is trying to work with what a game is giving you in order to play together and have fun. Guild Wars 2 could probably have a bit more to help with that, but it does have enough to make it a worthwhile and fun evening.

I think having guild parties like this does help to feel just a little bit closer together, even if we’re actually really far apart from each other. It’s by far not the same as being in the same room and playing a game like spin-the-bottle or whatever, you can still do something fun together. For me, these are always important events as they also remind me of why I have chosen this particular guild and why I’m still in there and help keep it running.

Get ready for Healing Over Time!

In a bit less than two hours (at 10am GMT), Healing Over Time will start. This is a charity event, run by several guilds who will be playing and streaming multiple games for 24 hours! You can see who is participating on their official website.

You may have already heard of such gaming marathons. They are often pretty much the same: A person or a team of people plays for 24 hours, streams it, asks for donations and often hands out prizes should they get to certain donation milestones. HoT is a bit different from most that I’ve watched as they are not just “one group” but rather, Sam, the organizer of the event, managed to get 8 gaming communities to join. Seven of them will be streaming. Our guild, Dragon Season, had been invited, too, but unfortunately, nobody from us is able to stream for such a long time. Either because of technical reasons or as in my case, the inability to stay awake for 24 hours. As much as I would like to do that for charity, I’m just not capable. You will see Tilion, me and bookahnerk in the chats of MYST’s streams, though, and we may also join in for a few of the games. Where HoT does not differ is that they, too, will have some prizes to hand out (just have a look at the list of supporters!).

As is usual with such marathons, the participants do get breaks, of course. ;) You can see the schedule as well as a list of the games that are going to be played here. Relics of Orr, Subterfuge and Viking Nation are going to start 3 hours later (at 10am EST) than the rest since they are US-based. Of course, they will also be playing and streaming for 24 hours once they have started!

Now on to the most important part: Why are they doing that?

For charity! But to be more specific, their goal is to raise $5000 for Child’s Play, an organization that provides children in hospitals and in domestic abuse shelters with gaming equipment, so they can play, have a little bit of fun and forget about their worries at least for a little while. If you want to know more, you can read all about their goals here.

I’m proud to participate and help out in such an event!