Meeting Paul

Paul was extremely gracious and charming when we met him at Games Day. He was sitting at a little podium in front of the spooling Warhammer Online trailer that people were staring at, ignoring most of what was going on nearby.

A little later, we got the chance to go stand with Paul in the GOA area and chat to him. First of all, we asked him what it was like to be at Games Day where he didn’t need to whip the crowds into a frenzy. He said it was quite relaxing to be a small fish in a big pond for once, and that of course he was used to Games Days since he’d been at Games Workshop for 12 years and attended 8 Games Days. He mentioned how it was interesting to see the game demoed for people who knew the lore extremely well and judged it against that, and how he didn’t need to explain what an Orc was to them at least. And then we chatted a bit about some of our favourite quests in the game and the things we thought people were being impressed by.

In an I-Spy point-scoring moment he likened it to trying to show people around your Church while the Pope was visiting the town. A fair estimation of the levels of interest in all things Warhammer vs all things computer game at Games Day.

About this time Paul dashed off to teach someone playing a Dwarf how to fire a cannon and we commented that the person probably had no idea who was standing there teaching him! Can you imagine?

We got back onto the subject of the quests we enjoyed and the humour in the game. Paul agreed that it had a certain humour element all the way through it, but one which veered very deliberately away from pop culture references, as opposed to World of Warcraft’s way of humourous quests, NPCs and rewards.

And we talked also about who the game was aimed at, the fact it was aiming more at the adult audience not because it was an adult game per se, but because 12-year-olds wanted to be treated like adults. Another design choice we think is really appreciated.

At this point we were joined by others and the chat just grew more, we did some introductions all round and Paul was very open to chatting to everyone that came over, and signed plenty of stuff.

He did keep getting whisked away to speak to people, but each time he’d come back and touch base. Spinks asked about his trousers and he gave us a guided tour of the various patches, some of which he’d done himself, some others had.

There was very little jumping about, only a couple of ‘waaagh’s and just a pleasant chat with someone obviously committed and in love with the game we’ve all grown to love.

What we did at Games Day

First of all, let me say I haven’t counted up our I-Spy totals yet, though I plan on doing that tonight, so feel free to add your scores here. Who knows, there may be a prize involved (unless we win!). And you can read Games Day as it happened on the bookofgrudges twitter.  If you read the Games Day entries, you’ll get a feel for our coach journeys etc, ie. the boring stuff!

So once we got to Games Day we met up with Ardua from Echoes of Nonsense. He was easy to spot, luckily and he was already chatting to Paul. We exchanged Cherry Coke for chocolate (the blogger’s contract), and I said hi to Paul too just briefly while he was sitting at a little desk in front of a monitor continuously playing the trailer. He had to go to an interview with Eurogamer, and we wanted to check out some of the Warhammer stuff, so we went for coffee in the main room of the event. (Spinks: I demanded coffee at this point because I was a wreck from the early morning and coach. They propped me up in front of the Rhino noted below for pictures and then … coffee!!)

After coffee we had a look at some of the tables in Hall One, where the Black Library, Forgeworld and Author signings were. Ardua wanted to get some books signed, and I wanted to go look at the new books, so we parted briefly for that. They didn’t have enough cool Games Workshop related T-shirts or jewellery and I realised I’ve ordered them for my work library, so we didn’t buy anything. Then we went to check out the sale area (mostly sold out by the time we got there) and then Spinks checked Forgeworld. We decided to head back to GOA quickly.

GOA and THQ were situated in what we referred to as ‘a corridor’, because it was a corridor. The promised Rhino tank was next to the Dawn of War II stand and their trailer was getting a lot of attention. Because GOA had 24 PCs set up where everyone could see them and an orderly queue, it looked like a few less people – but I’d hazard a guess they had just as many if not more. Me and Spinks joined the queue and watched some of the gameplay. The game looked fantastic on the computers and monitors they brought with them.  We quickly worked out which computers were linked to the two bigger screens that the queuing people were watching and I nabbed one. Ardua caught with us when we got to play and I made a Squig Herder and did the initial Greenskin quests until the flying bit. I wanted people to see how much fun it was, and a lot of people just picked up whatever char the previous person left.

We took a moment to go look at the Games Workshop stands, check out the art competition and also look at the Golden Demon entries. Our favourite was in the diorama category and included some colourful multi-coloured squigs with spots on. (Spinks: I liked the purple one with yellow spots. And the one jumping out of a bush to bite a slayer on the bum. It wasn’t a prize winning entry but it made us laugh. We think they should have a section for comedy dioramas.) But seriously, there are some scarily talented people out there and it was great to see their work. We also went to the Arena and checked out the gaming tables and some of the amazing models and landscapes that were on show.

As we returned to GOA, Paul returned and asked if we were ready for an ‘interview’.  Ardua, realising we’re complete wimps, had organised this for us! And we went through to the GOA area and stood chatting with Paul in-between him having to dash off and talk to other people. More on what we talked about in a separate post. But he was charming, polite and adorable with his daughter. He also rushed off to help someone in the dwarf starting area who ‘wanted to fire that cannon’ (Paul’s words, but the guy was trying to work out what to do).

In one of the in-between times a couple of the people we know from Freddyshouse spotted us and asked the GOA staff if it was us! Incredible! So they came through to stand and chat with us and we got to meet Dervish from Covenant of Zak and Flimgoblin from Humberton Blackguard. Paul came back and there was another round of chat, videoing (if my vidskills are weak, the guys got much better footage I think), signings and hilarity.

The GOA staff told us we’d been spotted by a couple more people so we all moved over to chat to them and they were really nice too. Gave them guild details and had a bit of a warm-glow moment in the realisation that real people read the blog. So thanks to everyone who waved or spoke to us, seriously, it was humbling and awesome and you were all so nice!

Paul was nabbed for more interviews at some point and we were getting knackered so we went to the Arena to go watch the Golden Demon awards and then find our coach home.

Took quite a few photos and I’ll set up a Games Day flickr and just add them all to it, with little editing! Also, my brother-in-law is going to attempt to help me with the video footage I took yesterday and see if he can get it off the camera and show me how to edit it into clips. When that’s done, I’ll put it in our Youtube account. Yes, we have one, but we’ve never had any clips to show until now. I won’t tell you what kinds of things I videoed in case it all went horribly wrong – except to say that there’s some fun stuff in there!

No skaven skin cloaks, no T-shirts – but you know what? The GOA staff were incredible, and helpful and friendly and a little nervous about wearing big shirts with GOA on their backs. But I think we all managed to express our thanks for the game and that we really really want the European community to be as good as it can be. The guys manning the stall were actual GMs, and I think I prefer that to booth babes.  Oh, and we all got texts to say the headstart servers were delayed a little and then up and running just fine – so well done on a pretty damn smooth start to everyone! Especially GOA and Mythic, of course. (Spinks: The GOA guys were also cute and Irish, just saying … My husband texted to say ‘servers fine. am almost RR3 already!’ so we passed that on.)

Back from Games Day

Just a quick thank you to everyone we met at Games Day, it was really fun to meet you all and we had a great time. Special thanks to Ardua from Echoes of Nonsense who drummed up our bravery which allowed us to have a great chat with Paul Barnett.

And the GOA team – they were awesome, sweet and very helpful. And will be glad to have them as our GMs in-game.

ps. for Games Day

Have decided to twitter our trip to Games Day and have just set it all up to take twitters from my mobile, so hopefully there will be good reception there! Not sure what kind of stuff I’ll have to say except ‘whee, big tank battle’, but if you want to follow it, the twitter is bookofgrudges. Who knows, we might be able to persuade random people there to steal my phone and send messages! (seriously, do not steal my phone!)

If there are no updates after 10am UK time, you know the NEC is somehow getting in the way of my mobile phone. We might pay for some wifi access – but since it’s something like £5/hr we’re more likely to make you wait till we’re home that evening (I’m staying with Spinks for the Games Day experience!).

Don’t forget to bring your Games Day I-Spy along, I’ll be bringing a copy amended for me & Spinks (we get quarter points if we meet someone who’s read the blog!). It’s had some tweaks since I originally made it up, mostly to reflect the fact we know Paul Barnett will be there, but probably not any other Mythic types.. and Iain C and Magnus are unable to attend due to the headstart launch, so have changed it to generic-GOA staff. Also a generic 20 points for grumbling you’re missing the headstart launch!

  • Will we get skaven skin cloak codes like the US Games Days? Hope so!
  • Will we go gawk at the huge tank? Definitely!
  • Will we be happy to chat to anyone despite our nerves? Yes, though forgive us if we seem a little nervous, we’re used to this cloak of anonymity we won.

I’d suggest a big meet-up sometime, but honestly – we’ll be at the GOA booth, am sure you all will be too!

And, here’s the GOA press release about the Games Day presence as an added bonus:

GOA today announced that they will be bringing the highly anticipated MMORPG, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR), to Games Workshop’s annual Games Day on September 14th, 10am-4pm at Birmingham’s NEC Arena.

GOA will present Warhammer Online on 24 PC’s, guaranteeing hours of non-stop Realm vs. Realm action for legions of attending Games Workshop enthusiasts.

WAR’s Creative Director, Paul Barnett, will also be on hand to meet fans and speak with press as GOA publicly presents the game one final time before its global launch on the Day of Reckoning – 18th September.

Good news x 2

[please excuse lack of links, am at work and hurrying to get to my ‘desk’ by 2pm]

From Paul’s blog:

I am off to Europe, to games day on Sunday the 14th of September in Birmingham. I will be there all day to wave and say hello.

Also in Paris around the 26th of September for the Paris computer show.

Also in Birmingham the evening of the 27th for PC Gamers LAN show.

From GOA site:

…those of you who have entered an open beta code need not wait any longer. All valid codes entered will be able to log in and play within a few minutes of successfully submitting your details. All players who have already entered a code should be able to log in immediately. There is no need to wait for the confirmation email

Links, Lola, Links

Games Workshop is posting weekly information drops about Games Day in the run up to the event on September 14th. We’ll be keeping an eye on these for any tasty morsels!

Elite IV is in development! Am I the only person who thinks this is more exciting than Star Trek Online and KOTOR Online put together?

Just when you thought we were done with E3 articles, playboy weighs in with How to Sound Knowledgeable about E3. Now why couldn’t they have written that before E3, so we could have sounded all knowledgeable like?

Stratics has posted the entire Comic-Con presentation that Paul gave – it’s 45 mins, so make sure you block the time to watch it.

Blizzard plans to track achievements across Diablo III, Starcraft II, AND WoW. And as another snippet to people wondering how their achievements will work:

The Achievements planned for the “WoW” are now character-specific, but Kaplan hopes to add account-specific “WoW” Achievements in the first content patch for “Lich King.”

Simon Parkin at Gamasutra summarises Paul Barnett’s talk from Develop Online as 11 lessons he has learned from Warhammer Online.

We’ve been inspirational. No, seriously. Sit down, we have! First Champions of Stuff have provided us with an awesome Dress-Your-Own Paul Barnett (here’s my own effort, helpfully disguising my wi-fi aerial). And one of of comment-writers, cb, has written us a song to show what WAR could have learned from Mamma Mia.

Rush over to The Vault and check out their Basic Tips for Zerglings. Here’s mine: MOVE OUT OF THE FIRE!

JoBIldo is recruiting for a guild made up of bloggers and blogfriends (my word of the day). It’ll be US-based so we won’t be there, but doesn’t mean we can’t pimp it. (From an original idea Boathammer had)

Nothing to do with us, but there is now a White Lion blog! Welcome.

Hasbro had Scrabulous removed from Facebook and users arent’ happy. I would say “Suck it, Facebook users. If you can’t understand what copyright means then you don’t deserve to play games.” And James Wallis agrees. Random Battle on the other hand thinks it was lame of Hasbro to close it down. We have conflicting reports as to whether it is back now, so maybe they cut a deal or found a loophole.


Paul Barnett clarifies his recent speech at Develop, Brighton over at his blog.

Games Day (UK) I-Spy

I-Spy books were around a lot when we were growing up. Basically they were spotter’s guides that included points for everything you saw, in a little book you could helpfully write on (always fun as a child).

Anyway, in my excitement and nervousness about actually going to Games Day I decided to sit down and create for everyone a little I-Spy sheet to supplement other Games Day activities. Feel free to amend it for US events (you could even use it for Comic-con over the next couple of days). And I’m happy to take suggestions of things I may have missed!

Games Day I-Spy (Google Doc)

ps. the chocolate entry exists to make sure I personally get some points 🙂

Games Day UK – tickets on sale online (or from shops tomorrow)

If you’re in the UK (or elsewhere) and want to go to Games Day UK at the Birmingham NEC on 14th September, don’t forget that tickets go on sale on saturday 28th June from Games Workshop stores around the country.

You can also buy them online here.

The Games Workshop website can help you locate your nearest store. The stores also organise coaches to and from the NEC, but the coach places will sell out faster than Games Day tickets will, so if you want a coach ticket too, you’ll need to be sharp off the mark on saturday morning.

Tickets for the event are £30, coach tickets will cost extra.

Warhammer Online is going to have a presence there. But I think we’re both also hoping to get a sense of the Warhammer tabletop game and lore and just be in the same room as lots of people that love it and to see their reactions to Warhammer Online.

So it’s 7:30 in the evening and I got a call from GW

My local shop phoned to remind me that the tickets for Games Day go on sale on Saturday morning. And it’s 7:30pm … now that’s service.

Getting tickets for UK Games Day 2008

Let’s start with a bit of background. Spinks and I were pretty avid tabletop roleplayers growing up and through to today when we can get a group of like-minded individuals together. But we’ve never played Warhammer. Games Workshop, miniatures and the cost of starting up always seemed a little intimidating and we were happy with the games we played.

Fast forward to yesterday. We’ve been discussing between ourselves checking out Games Day in the UK in September as it’s held between where we both live and it’d help us get a fairly intense insight into the game, how it all works, the varieties it comes in and just how popular it is. Plus, looks like Warhammer Online will be represented there too*, which is an added bonus. We thought we’d write a series of articles for others who might be coming to Warhammer Online without knowing all that much about the mechanics of Warhammer – ie, our personal experiences might inform others out there.

So with that in mind I headed into the Games Workshop, steeled myself and went in to speak to them. Why steel myself? Well, despite meeting a woman around my age who played Warhammer just last week, I still kind of have the feeling that it’s generally aimed at a different demographic and I’ve always felt a little intimidated when I’ve popped into the shops before. This time though, it was totally non-intimidating and the guy I spoke to was lovely and gave me all the info I needed. So here’s the deal for anyone thinking of going:

Games Workshop Games Day 2008 is being held at the NEC in Birmingham on September 14th. It’s 10am-4am, but 10am is when the doors open for non-Golden Demon participants (that’s the miniature painting comp – I have some details about that if people want to hear about them). If you subscribe to White Dwarf you can go buy a ticket now, if you don’t you need to wait till 28th June.

At that point you go to your local Games Workshop (or any actually ;p) and you can grab a ticket for £30. Shops also arrange coaches to and from the event on the day, which costs extra but given sunday trains is worth considering! But coach tickets are more limited than Games Day ones, so if you’ll need that, get to the shop early on 28th (and check opening times, I ended up wasting half an hour in town because I hadn’t!). We both ended up speaking to our local stores and were both really happy to find it such an easy and friendly experience. My only criticism of Games Workshop in relation to Games Day was the difficulty in finding this info out online (something I hope to help rectify!) ;p

Apparently there are a ton of tickets this year because they’ve gone for bigger numbers and taken more space at the NEC. There’s also plenty of parking at the NEC if you want to make your own way there.

It sounds like it’ll be lots of fun and really informative (for us). If anyone wants to meet up while there, we’ll put something up nearer the time and maybe UK-ers into Warhammer Online can have a little meeting – who knows!

*Josh Drescher says as much on the comments to his blog here, plus I spoke to Games Day Manager Brian Aderson and he said as much too (thanks to my local Games Workshop shop for suggesting I ring him and providing name and phone number!). Also Mythic have it listed in their Event Calendar.