Yesterday, hailing from from various parts of the US and Europe, 15 excited individuals shared a single destination: Seattle, WA - home of the the ArenaNet offices.
What do they all have in common? An inexorable passion for Guild Wars 2, the community around it, and the developer. Oh, and an invite to ArenaNet's 'Community Open House' event.
No effort or expense has been spared: Having been flown in to Sea-Tac airport by ArenaNet, guests were picked up personally by staff, dropped off at a hotel to ditch their bags, and then enjoyed dinner and an evening of socializing with ArenaNet staff. All of that, and the actual event hasn't even begun yet.
It's important to note that while all of these guests are involved in a fansites, podcasts, or blogs one way or another (except for the 2 video contest winners and their guests), none were invited for the purpose of promoting Guild Wars 2. There was an entirely separate 'Press Open House' for that purpose. The lucky 15, currently doing their best to get a good night's sleep, are there as nothing more than devoted fans.
Today they will be getting a tour of the ArenaNet office, talking to the developers, and actually sitting down to play the game - and no doubt ArenaNet have a number of awesome surprises in store. Most importantly, to those of us not there: The event is not bound by NDA, and attendees will be allowed to report on everything they see. The only caveat is a restriction on filming gameplay, which is understandable.
After gleaning everything they can, absorbing information like sponges, I like to think that many of them will immediately all rush back to their hotels and share the experience with the rest of us. More likely, and certainly what I would do in their shoes, they will be hitting the town with ArenaNet again. Still, there are a number of places you will be able to follow developments as and when they come:
- TalkTyria - Guild Wars blog, with both Izari and Elixabeth in attendance.
- GuildWars2Guru - Thread discussing events as they unfold.
- Twitter List - Accounts of the attendees.
I'm always impressed when a developer organizes 'community summit' style events like these, and ArenaNet went big. If they just wanted exposure, there were far easier ways to get it. If they wanted to score some good karma with the community, it could have been achieved without the incredible expense.
It's beyond the scope of pretty analysis or weighing up ROI. It's just an awesome developer doing awesome things for awesome fans. Color me envious.
(Top image from @Izari.)
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