Here we are, finally at the last day of Gamescom. This entry may be way shorter than the others, partially because I’ve found a video of the Guild Wars 2 Lore Q&A, which is way more succinct than the notes I took, and partially because the day ended earlier than the others because it was the last day. A lot of it was spent standing in a crowd trying to catch swag (man, people are vicious), and while it was fun to get the swag, it doesn’t make for super interesting writing.
10:25 After waking around 9am or so, we went down to eat breakfast in the hotel lobby. Scrambled eggs and bacon, yay! We were the only ones there, so I assume everyone just woke up earlier than we did and left. We had to checkout by 11am, which was fine, seeing as we wanted to get to Gamescom by then anyway. After scouring the hotel room to make sure we didn’t accidentally leave anything behind, we hopped into the car and said goodbye to Troisdorf. All in all, I could definitely recommend that hotel, as the service was good, the room was very big, air-conditioned, and clean, and price was also doable, though we purchased it through a Dutch site that offers cheaper deals, so I’m not sure how much it would be for normal booking.
The parking situation was thankfully back to normal, so we were able to park in the same area we did on Friday, close to the East gate. It had stormed the night before, so we had to dodge a bunch of puddles on the way in, and it was terribly humid. The worst part was that everybody’s shoes were squeaking on the convention floor. It was enough to drive you crazy. So, attempting to block them out, we headed towards the NCSoft booth for the Lore Q&A for Guild Wars 2.
11:00 We arrived just in time, and luckily there wasn’t a huge crowd yet. This was the second session of the Q&A, the first being on Friday, but we missed that one due to sleeping in. I was determined to be there for this one. Rather than summarizing the Q&A with notes, I was able to find a video online that someone made of the Q&A! So here you go. I was able to ask a question here too, and if you click here, you can hear me ask about the Dwarves in Guild Wars 2. Warning: Spoilers for the end of Guild Wars: Eye of the North!
11:15 As you can tell by the video length, the Q&A was fairly short, so afterwards, I decided to try to play WildStar Online again. I had tried on Thursday, but there was an electronics problem with the computer I was on, and it had to be shut down, and on Saturday, there was the network card issue. So I was hoping the third time would be the charm.
About 20 minutes in, the demo froze. Agh. The heat was actually worse on Sunday than Saturday because on Saturday, I’m pretty sure they turned on whatever air conditioning they have in the Koelnmesse on. That definitely was not present on Sunday, and given the humidity, we were sweating way more than the day before. Unfortunately, the heat caused more problems with the computers too. Luckily, NCSoft was really pushing WildStar, so a full half of the demo stations at the NCSoft booth were WildStar. So someone came over and found me another station, which I played for another 10 minutes before it randomly rebooted!
Sigh. I really wanted to play the full demo though, so I pressed on. At least I ended up becoming decently efficient at the first 10 minutes of play. The WildStar demo, like the GW2 one, was also 40 minutes, and again, I shall defer greater detail to my WildStar post, which will hopefully be going up this week. I know I said this last week, but we wanted to space out posts back to Mon-Wed-Fri again.
12:40 I finally was able to fully finish the WildStar demo, hurrah! Next on the schedule was heading to Blizzard’s autograph session with designers. On our way, we passed the Warhammer 40: Space Marine setup, and there was a Space Marine and Orc in amazing outfits! The Space Marine’s eyes even glowed. After stopping to take a brief picture, we hurried to Blizzard’s setup. Surprisingly, the line wasn’t very long at all when we got there, so we moved in before it could get out of hand.
13:00 So something that I was keeping as a surprise, but I’ll let you guys know here, is that I was able to get 2 Gaming.SE t-shirts signed! I’ll be sending these back to SE headquarters this week, and we’ll be arranging something special for you guys! They were also handing out autograph cards for them to sign as well, but I’m going to keep that seeing as we are sending back the shirts. I <3 swag too!
13:10 One of our members on Gaming asked if I could check out Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, but I couldn’t find the stand! I went to the information desk and asked, and they couldn’t find it, and when I saw someone wearing a shirt later on with the logo on it, I asked them as well. They said they won the shirt in a contest and didn’t know where the actual setup was. Argh. I’m sorry, yx_, I tried! We spent 20 minutes trying to hunt down this game. I scoured the EA section in Hall 6 to no avail. We also checked out the Playstation Vita line again, but the line was much longer, so we decided to skip it. Alas, Sound Shapes, you elude me once more.
13:41 We passed by the line for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which was also insanely long, though not as long as the line for The Old Republic. After more searching, we found the Deus Ex: Human Revolution setup, but there weren’t any employees or designers around the area that I could interview or ask about the game. Given that I haven’t played the Deus Ex games yet, I didn’t want to play the game because I don’t really know anything about the world, and there was still more we wanted to see.
13:45 We took a break to sit down and grab some ice cream. It didn’t matter what you were doing that day, walking, standing, breathing, you would sweat. It was terrible. Hauling around our backpacks made it worse, but we brought a bunch of water with us. I’d already gone through 1.5 liters at this point.
14:06 Minecraft! Sony had a large setup demoing the Experia, so we moseyed in to snap a picture of someone playing the Minecraft demo. We’d seen people in the con wearing Steve hats, but unfortunately, they were all out by the time we got there. I was very sad. :(
14:17 Another hydration break. I know this is kind of boring, but seriously, ugh. I hate humidity. It made it hard to even be inside the Koelnmesse. Given that it was the last day of a very long weekend, we were pretty exhausted already, and the heat just kept sapping our energy. I wonder how much they made on selling ice cream that day.
14:37 Back to the NCSoft booth again. We wanted to check out the WildStar live drawing event, where the audience participated in designing a boss that they’re going to include in the game, as well as mingle more with the ArenaNet staff. Jochem went to check out the drawing while I ended up in a lengthy discussion about Guild Wars 1 and 2 with two of the designers, Ben and Kim Kirsch. I told them about my experience demoing GW2, both the PvE and PvP aspects, and my thoughts, as well as did some fangirling about the game. Again, they were incredibly nice and approachable, and it was just great to talk with people who are so obviously fans of the game and gaming in general. Kim ended up asking for the name of my main character from Guild Wars 1 and said that she was going to put it on a tombstone in Guild Wars 2.
I nearly died from geekout happiness. I’ve spend many, many hours in GW1, so seeing my character’s name in the sequel will be so awesome. Yes, I’m a nerd. I don’t care.
I also explained the Gaming.SE site to her, and she said she was going to tell her team about it when she got back to ArenaNet. She thought the idea of a website where you can get Q&A that’s actually legible and is catered to your needs was a great idea, and even called over another ArenaNet team member, Mike Zadorojny (ANet’s QA manager) to introduce me and tell him about the site. She seemed very excited about the site, and I hope they end up finding it useful!
15:09 After finishing my conversation and trying to wrap my head around the fact that my main’s name is going to be in GW2, I joined Jochem in watching the rest of the live drawing session for WildStar, which was just about to wrap up. They took name suggestions from people who were following the live feed from Twitter, as well as suggestions from the audience. The name “Metal Maw” ended up winning, a name that was tweeted in. I thought it was very cool to see that kind of community interaction from the designers. WildStar has said they’ll keep people updated on their official website as Metal Maw nears completion.
15:30 The Guild Wars 2 costume contest started! We tried taking photos off the overhead screen, but they looked terrible, and we weren’t in a position to get decent pictures. You can check out NCSoft’s Summary of Day 5 if you want to see all the contestants.
16:03 I wanted to ask a question about some Guild Wars lore, so I hunted down John Ryan, one of the speakers from the Lore Q&A that took place earlier in the day. For some background, I enjoy playing Necromancers in games. I just think it’s fun. I’ve always found it interesting that necromancy is a fairly accepted thing in Guild Wars society, so I wanted to ask a little more about its role in society. I was also wondering what kinds of things were considered “taboo” in the game world, and what antagonists such as Galrath had done in order to be so reviled.
John was happy to expand upon the necromancy question, explaining how and why the various races in Guild Wars look at necromancy. He explained that they have a sort of racial chart mocked up to outline how the different races react to necromancy. For example, humans worship Grenth, the god of death, so necromancy to them is a natural part of that god’s will, and though Charr are inherently more suspicious of the arcane in GW2, they see the advantage of having undead minions on the battlefield. He pointed me to Ree Soesbee for the Galrath question, explaining that she would be able to explain better.
I was very, very impressed with my brief discussion with her. You could tell that she was incredibly knowledgeable about the lore of the game and was very passionate about it. She elaborated on John’s points with some more details, and though I asked her about Galrath, she said she couldn’t explain that more because she had given some more information to the Guild Wars 1 Live Team recently, and she wasn’t sure whether or not it would be used in future content. Ah well! Hopefully, we’ll see more at some point ingame.
16:15 Though it was getting more and more crowded, we lingered at the booth because we had entered the random drawing for an Alienware laptop which wasn’t slated to be announced until 16:30 or so, so we braved the burgeoning crowd once more to see if we won.
16:45 Aaaand we didn’t. Damn. It was worth a shot though! After the announcement was over, they commenced the huge swag giveaway. People in large groups clamoring for shirts and hats thrown into the crowd can get… kind of scary. Pretty much all of the closing announcements were done in German, though we understood enough to chant along with the crowd. They tossed out WildStar shirts, hats, and lanyards, as well as Guild Wars 2 bandanas, and even Colin Johanson’s (the lead designer) shirt! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to score a GW2 t-shirt throughout Gamescom, though we tried. We did get a a couple bandanas though, and they also released some never-before-seen posters! I was able to shimmy into the line to grab one, and I ended up getting it signed by around a dozen or so ArenaNet staff members! I’m keeping that one though, sorry guys!
17:35 After getting the poster signed by as many people as I could snag, we decided to head on home because we still had a 3 hour drive ahead of us. We were tired, sweaty, thirsty, and pretty dead on our feet, but it was so, so worth it. I slept in the car on the way home, then chilled out the rest of the evening before crashing early. Sleep felt so good.
The aftermath and some extra photos
We didn’t even get around to sorting out the swag until this weekend because we both ended up with Con Crud, the details of which I shall spare you, so we’ve both been pretty dead all week. All in all though, Gamescom was amazing, and I hope I can make it again next year! Thanks again to SE for sponsoring me, and I hope you guys have enjoyed the diaries! I’ve got one more gallery I’d like to share with you, the cosplay photos. We saw some really great costumes throughout the entire weekend, from both fans and professional booth mascots, and I’ve picked the better photos out to share on the blog! Remember, we’ve still got the WildStar and Guild Wars 2 posts to go, so stay tuned to the blog for the summaries of those 2 games! Meanwhile, enjoy the cosplayers!