Apologies to my guildmates. I've been quite tardy in posting this, but work has been busy. Apologies for many of these pictures looking so dark. Darn flash wasn't working.
|Here's Arenanet's home. Some of you may have been lucky enough to party with the GW2 team around the time of PAX Prime when Arenanet opened their doors to the public for one night. If you partied too hard, this was where you had too much fun.|
On January 3rd, I was lucky enough to visit Arenanet to deliver "holiday cheer" in the form of holiday treats such as Cranberry muffins (my own recipe), Gingerbread boscotti (recipe courtesy Astrail aka Maggie), King's cake (courtesy of Laochan aka Melissa), Mint Brownies (courtesy of Zivah aka Kelli), and Chocalate chip cookies (courtesy of Redneck aka Aaron). I did the baking for all but the King's cake which was ordered from La Panier at Pike's Place market. Everything turned out great and was eaten with great gusto minus the Chocalate chip cookies. They died a horrible and sad death. They were still edible (yes I ate them), but due to lack of flour or too much butter, they didn't rise and were not Arenanet worthy. Surprisingly enough I had never baked chocalate chip cookies before so I take the blame.
Apparently all goodies large and small were eaten within 36 hours. And there was a lot. This sending of treats is something Gaiscioch is trying out for the first time. Along with what I delivered, our members also sent en masse more cookies and treats directly to Arenanet as well as Trion. We did this to introduce ourselves to Arenanet, but also to say a big thank you to the folks at Trion for all the work they've done on Rift which a great many of our player base enjoys.
Now onto the fun stuff. You probably don't care too much about what I cooked and what they liked. You want to know what their studio was like. I was curious myself. Heck it's so ridicously close to where I work, I could probably walk there and I've never visited before. Let me say this. They probably have the same number of workers as my place of work does, but maybe as three times of work space. The place was huge. There was concept art EVERYWHERE. I recognized quite a few of their concept arts from their website though I'm not sure if all of them are posted. I wasn't allowed to take pictures of those so there's no way for me to tell.
I gave the treats initially to their QA staff who then contacted their other departments to spread the "cheer." A few of their employees gave me a quick tour of the joint and I got to meet a few other employees from marketing and design.
|Their Bellevue sound studio and all its glory. Can you believe many of their armor clanking sounds came from hitting a car hood?|
I was allowed to see their sound studio where they make all their sound effects. Their voice overs are actually done in Los Angeles, probably because of proximity to Hollywood, but they make all the sound effects in their Bellevue location. I took pictures, but they didn't turn out very well. There were various sound "devices" from a car hood, to a various weapons, to a odd looking rope ball. Apparently they lit this on fire and swung it around to make the fireball sounds. When my tour guide told me this, I couldn't help but think of the fire hazards. :P
|You never would have guessed it, but this is the source of the Elementalists' fire ball sounds.|
My tour guide took me out to a balcony right next to their lounge room. Definitely one of the best views around. You could see both downtown Seattle and Bellevue as well as most of Lake Washington from here. If you've never visited the Northwest or the Seattle area, Seattle sits on Puget Sound and, like most cities, has expanded over the years. Unlike most cities, Seattle could only expand north and south because of Puget Sound on its west side and Lake Washington on its east. Bellevue grew on the opposite banks of Lake Washington to Seattle's east. In my opinion, the two cities would be one if it weren't for the lake. Heck of a view though.
Their lounge room or play room was pretty impressive. I believe they had a Wii, Xbox 360, tons of books, plenty of board games, and lots of couches and lounging chairs. They even had the required Ping Pong table. The floor space of their lounge room is probably as big as someone's appartment.
|Board game table is on the left. Bookshelf with all their books is in the background and the console couch is on the right with the TV just off the picture to the couch's right.|
Their kitchen was no slouch either. Some of you may have seen the vertical cereal dispensers in previous blogs on other sites, but if you haven't, I'll display them here. That part hasn't changed. Decent sized kitchen. My tour guide told me you could cook entire meals here if you so chose.
|We Northwesterners like to take care of our garbage. May I also point out the cereal dispensers? I might have to get these at home.|
So they have lots of couch space, a full kitchen, xbox 360, wii, lots of books, arguably the best view in all of Seattle and Bellevue, and are working on possibly best mmo ever? So you're saying I should move in? Eh?
Let me just pack my bags.