CooOOooo! I had the pleasure of attending Foostival UK this year in London, and had a wonderful time. Organised by Sam (@tasha_darke), Ed (@screenag3r), Jebro (@JebDan), and Chris (@blacklionchest), with the support of NCSoft and ArenaNet, Foostival is a “celebration of everything Guild Wars 2 related in a real world meetup”, created by fans, for fans.
I went to the Foostival by myself knowing no one there. I arrived early, got my name badge from Ed, dumped my bag and coat in a corner, and went to greet people. This was the first time I would meet other players of GW2 face-to-face. I initially spoke to several members of the Beyond The Wall [CROW] guild, based on Gandara. Foostival is a great excuse for guild members to meet up, and several guilds were present. I also spoke to a student from Singapore studying in London, who had come by herself as well. Initial conversations were a bit awkward, as they always are in meeting new people, but everyone was friendly. What immediately struck me with these first contacts was the variation in playstyles of everyone. Some were mainly WvW, others PvP only, and more just PvE. Some played every day, others just logged on briefly for the daily, and a few had not played in a while but were looking to get back into GW2 with the release of the expansion, Heart of Thorns.
Once the majority of people had arrived, the four organisers introduced themselves, as did David Ortiz (@kroniksan), a representative from Guild Wars 2. They attempted to use a microphone, but the echo from it was unbearable. Thankfully, after this introduction, the microphone was relegated to the junk pile, and people just projected their voices to be heard. A special video from ArenaNet staff wishing everyone a happy Foostival was then played, and the event officially kicked off.
First up was the icebreaker session. To get people to mingle, our name badges had a little symbol on it (mine was a gear cog, others had scrolls or buckets on them, for example), and we were encouraged to sit together in groups. I ended up with several members from the Rock Paper Signet guild (@RPS_GW2), along with Gareth (@Gazimoff). During the icebreaker, each person in the group had to say two truths and one lie about themselves, and the other members had to guess which was which. Mine were: I’m currently ranked 46 on the GW2 achievement points leaderboard; I have a DPhil in Immunology; and I have maxed all the PvP champion titles. Can you guess which is a lie? This was a fun little game, and did what was required – getting people to chat to each other.
Lunch followed, and being gluten intolerant, I had bought along my own food, but everyone else had a bevy of sandwiches and cake to choose from. During lunch, an exclusive video of Ed, Jebro, and Chris interviewing Isaiah Cartwright at EGX Rezzed was played (Oink legendary stance for Revenant, anyone?). Whilst eating, I did a quick count of the people there: 38 in total, with a split of ~1/3 female and ~2/3 male – a solid number of players.
Next up was a part I found very interesting – the Town Hall meeting. We all discussed the current state of GW2 in PvE, WvW, and PvP. Topics included: how has the announcement of Heart of Thorns affected us as players, and do you think there are more new or returning players; how can we improve and evolve WvW; and what effect will Stronghold have in PvP, and how can PvP player experience be improved upon. Lots of interesting ideas came to light, which I might well write up in a different post. I found it fascinating to hear other people’s points of view on the game, and how it compared to mine. This is one of the strengths of a fan-organised event like Foostival, where true fans get to politely discuss their honest opinions on the game. I would have liked more time dedicated to this discussion, but there was yet more to see and do!
After the Town Hall meeting, it was time for some activities: shoutcasting and arts and crafts! Whilst others built catapults out of lollipop sticks and elastic bands, I thought it would be fun to humiliate myself at shoutcasting. It was… tough. Four of us volunteered to try, so, in groups of two, we each casted one WTS Finals match, between The Abjured and Orange Logo. I like the idea of shoutcasting, but I found it difficult in this situation for several reasons. One, we all already knew the outcomes of the matches (go go EU oRNG!). Two, we had no control over the camera and where to point it. Three, it was incredibly difficult to see player names on the small laptop screen we were using. I feel I would have got more out of it if we could cast a match we hadn’t seen before, as knowing what was going to happen (boss kill for oRNG win and four-man wipe for The Abjured) took away any suspense or hype for me. Still, it was fun, and I wouldn’t mind giving it another go.
After re-joining our groups, it was time for the quiz! There were three rounds: general knowledge (our team got 12/14 correct), GW2 knowledge (14/15, though if I hadn’t second-guessed myself I would have got all correct! The question: how many pets does the ranger have in total?), and GW2 skill descriptions (9/10 – I need to brush up on my Guardian skill knowledge!), as well as a tough anagrams and missing letters sheet (9/30). We came second overall, which was rather awesome.
As we were running out of time at this point, we forewent the scavenger hunt in favour of some riddles. Everyone was given six riddles to solve, with the first four people completing them correctly getting a precursor, and the next four a black lion weapon skin. I managed to get a skin!
Finally, the prize draw! Throughout the day, people earned Black Lion Key raffle tickets, with some people getting more for doing well in the quiz or participating in events. I ended up with 4 tickets, and was lucky enough to win a swag bag full of loot! GW2 mouse mat, sketch book, lanyard, wristband, Heart of Thorns pin, badges, a stick of rock, and a mini llama code. That wasn’t all though, as the main prize, which everyone got, was a GW2 t-shirt and a Rytlock plushie! So exciting! I’ve wanted Charrlie for a while, and he is finally mine!
I had a wonderful time overall, met some cool people, won some swag, and came away very content from my first Foostival event. After thanking all the organisers and saying goodbye to new friends, I headed home a happy quaggan. CooOOooo!
I can be found @TyrianTweets
A selection of photographs from the event can be found over at Gazimoff’s Flickr.