My Return to Foostival UK 2016

Foo2016

I had the pleasure of attending Foostival UK 2016, and I had a wonderful time. I attended the inaugural event last year, and you can read all about my experience of Foostival UK 2015 here. What follows below is my account of Foostival UK this year. The tl;dr of it is: awesome event, great people, and lots of loot – you should definitely go next year! In case you are unaware, Foostival is “an EU wide Guild Wars 2 fan event, which brings players together, face to face, in a quaggan friendly zone.  It is run by fans for fans and focus on the fantastic Guild Wars 2 community, with round tables, competitions, guides and swag.

(Before I begin, I have to mention that I was running on two hours of sleep, and had been up since half past midnight that day, due to my noisy upstairs neighbours partying all night. My tiredness prevented me from interacting as much as I would have liked to with the other people there, but despite that, I still had a great time. It’s also the reason I only have one photo of the event, unfortunately. However, check out @Foostival for many more pictures and videos from the day.)

My return to Foostival UK began with me making my way to the Loading Bar’s Secret Weapon venue in Stratford. I’d not heard of this place before, but it was well chosen, as it allowed people to buy drinks, and there were also several computers available to actually play Guild Wars 2 on. It was large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, but small enough that we could all have a chance to meet and greet other people.

Just like last year, I went along by myself, but this year I had the advantage of actually knowing some of the people I had met last year. Waiting outside the bar for his guild mates was Vetch, one such player I had met last year, and Gin (@GinTheirin) arrived a couple of minutes later. It was comforting knowing familiar faces, and doubly so for me in my sleep-deprived state! We entered the bar together, and met up with the organisers, Sam (@tasha_darke), Ed (@screenag3r), and Dan (aka Jebro, @JebDan). We were immediately handed a bag of swag containing a Charr Plushie, a GW2 t-shirt, and a little egg container with minipet codes in. A good start to the day! Those people who had ordered the official Foostival quaggan t-shirt (like me!) also received it at the start.

Gin, Vetch, and I chatted as we waited for others to arrive. I’ve always found it odd talking about Guild Wars 2 (or gaming in general) with most people, but Foostival is a great time to let yourself be free and excited about the game, knowing that everyone there is a player as well, and knows what you’re talking about.

Once everyone had arrived, the ice breaker event started, where we split up into groups based on the symbol on our name badges, and got to know the other players there. As well as just talking to them, there was a small mini game of “Have you ever…”, with questions such as “have you ever… experienced a tornado? … organised a wedding? … been to another country? … taken a screenshot of the original Lion’s Arch lion statue?” and so forth. The team that could tick the most questions was the winner, and each member won a t-shirt and mini egg codes. That team happened to be ours! Out of the 25 or so questions, as a team we had only failed to do two of them: been a car salesperson, and been part of a sorority / fraternity. Not bad going!

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After the ice breaker, we had the roundtable group discussion, where everyone discussed the past, present, and future of the game. We talked about what initially drew us to Guild Wars 2, why we keep playing it, what our current goals are in the game, what we want a new expansion to contain, where we want the Living Story to take us, and how we want to receive future updates. All this feedback will go straight to Anet, so it was a great opportunity to let the developers know what we think of their game.

We then broke for lunch, and during this time, some players tried their hands at speedrunning CoF path 2. Sounds easy, right? There were a few restrictions: you could only have four players on your team (as despite there being 5 computers available, one of them was broken), one of which had to be a mesmer (the other choices were thief, guardian, warrior, and elementalist), and as these were play-for-free accounts, only the core professions were allowed (no elite specs). The first group to try it out wiped on the first set of devourers, which probably gives you an indication of how successful these runs went! I think only two groups got a chance to run the dungeon, as it took both over 25 minutes to complete it. I would have liked a chance to try, but in my sleep-deprived state, I doubt I would have been much use to the team. As well as “speed”running CoF2, players could also try their hand at building a golem out of random bits and bobs. The creativity on display was amazing, and I was very impressed by what was made.

After lunch, Jebro organised a PvP event. One player had luckily brought along his laptop, so five of the players there could all team up and play some unranked PvP, with Jebro behind  them giving them advice and tactics. Players logged onto their own accounts for this, and it was encouraging to see that every one who did used an authenticator. People were still building golems at this stage, and others were spectating the PvP matches. A couple of people tried their hand at shoutcasting, but I think watching players actually play live PvP matches drew the bigger crowd.

Whilst the PvP matches were going on, an informal session was set up whereby people could ask Corvus (@CorvusPlays, youtube.com/c/Corvus), Alex (@RPGShack, youtube.com/c/TheRPGShack), and Mikei (@MikeiTheMighty, YouTube) about how they got into creating content for YouTube. I listened in for a bit, but at this stage of the afternoon, I was severely flagging from lack of sleep, so didn’t get as much out of the conversation as I would have liked.

After the PvP session was over, a very special edition of GuildGab was recorded live from Foostival, with Alex and Corvus talking with AuroraPeachy (www.youtube.com/user/AuroraPeachy) and MMOInks (www.youtube.com/user/MMOINKS) about everything Foostival related. You can see that video here, and it’s well worth checking out, if only to catch a glimpse of the amazing golem creations people had made.

Whilst GuildGab was being recorded, players tried their hand at speeding through Goemm’s Lab jumping puzzle in Metrica Province. The fastest time was recorded by Vetch, at 6 minutes and 48 seconds, on his own daredevil. Again, I would have liked a chance to participate in this, but my reflexes would have been nowhere near good enough in the state I was in. It’s a great idea for a guild competition though, organising speed runs through jumping puzzles.

Before the day drew to a close, there was one final event to take part in: the quiz! We split up again into our original teams (our team name was Mysterious E-nvelope), and tried to answer 25 questions based on general knowledge and Guild Wars 2. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but we had fun participating, which is the main point.

After this, it was just a matter of giving out some more prizes in the raffle. We all had one raffle ticket, and prizes on offer included t-shirts, books, cards, mouse mats, a Wintersday quaggan plushie, and several in game items (one lucky winner won 600g!). I won an in game item and an extra charr plushie, which made me happy. Everyone won something in the raffle, and of course, we were all given a charr plushie and a GW2 t-shirt at the start of the event, which is incredibly cool. My final haul of swag: two charr plushies, 3 GW2 t-shirts, 2 mini eggs containing minipet codes, and an in game item. Hurrah!

And with that, Foostival UK 2016 came to an end! As I was literally collapsing on my feet at this stage, I said my goodbyes and headed home, but many players stayed on for the after party, which is great. I want to thank the organisers Sam, Ed, and Jebro once again for organising this fantastic event, and if you missed out this year, I highly recommend going next year. I know that I will be there!

Some more links for you to look at:
The RPG Shack –  GW2: Foostival 2016 Vlog
Mikei the Mighty – Foostival 2016
Foostival.co.uk

You can find me @TyrianTweets

As a treat for those of you who have reached the end of this essay: I have two charr plushies, two GW2 t-shirts, and two mini eggs containing mini pet codes to give away in a future competition. Watch this space!

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