It is written by Excl and is dated 13 November 2009.
I've just come back from a fantastic trip to England to meet with the Jagex crew and get a nice little tour of what they do and what goes on behind the scenes. Here's a little day by day breakdown of how my week went:
On Wednesday, my brother and I arrived at the London airport in the afternoon and met up with our driver. We took a relaxing 2 hour drive to Cambridge and checked into our hotel. That night we wandered around Cambridge a bit trying to get accustomed to cars driving on the left side of the road. We also spent some time back in our hotel room trying to figure out how to convert English power outlets to American plugs, and ended up blowing out my power converter. After airing the room of smoke, we headed to bed for a big day at Jagex the next morning.
On Thursday, I met TehNoobShow for the first time in our hotel lobby, and we both rode over to the Jagex studio. There we met up with Mod Hohbein and Mod SJ, who explained what was planned for us that day. They also had us sign some non-disclosure agreements which would give Jagex full ownership of our souls if we told anybody about any of the company's closely guarded secrets.
We then met with the Community Management, Player Support, and Core teams and learned about all the people and effort that goes into keeping players like us happy... We let them grab a photo of us, and then headed down to the break-area to meet with them again and let them get some feedback on how we and other players felt about how they could improve community relations.
After that we took a quick tour through the Game Labs department and got to see a bit of the fun that goes into creating some of the FunOrb games. We did get to see a few of the new games which are in the works for the future, and at least one of them I am really looking forward to playing.
Next we broke for lunch, where we were greeted by both Mark Gerhard and Andrew Gower! Both of which are very interesting and down to earth guys. We talked endlessly about all kinds of things: the visions they had for Jagex in general, our opinions of how the RS community feels about RuneScape, what the hard-knock life of a RuneScape video maker is like, and we even talked about the pros and cons of other video games.
After a great lunch, we headed back to Jagex to meet the RuneScape team. We first met with the Content team, who seemed just as eager to meet with us. They showed us what goes into developing new content for the game, a sneak peak at some future in-game content, as well as the tools they use to create the content. Some really exciting stuff! Especially when they issued the admin command to instantly kill everything in sight! They then tried to pick our brains as to what kind of content we would like to see for the future. Being video makers, we probably didn't give them the suggestions they might have been looking for (sorry guys!), but they did seem genuinely interested in what we had to say.
We then got to meet with the Graphics team, who gave us some signed copies of some great concept art! Check your favorite e-auction sites in the next few days! :) (Just kidding guys!) Next we headed over to the Quality Assurance team, where they showed us what goes into verifying the new content that goes into the game, and then over to the Audio team who showed us how they build all the sounds that go into the game.
Afterwards we were brought back down to the break-area to conduct an exclusive on-camera interview with Mark Gerhard himself! We only had a few hours' notice, and since we were so busy learning about all the goes into the game, we didn't really have time to prepare a great script full of questions. We did do our best to "wing-it" for an hour or so, and hopefully came away with a decent video-interview, which will hopefully be hosted by Jagex in the near future.
We then headed back to our hotel for a quick break, and shortly after, met up with Mark Gerhard, Mod Paul M and Mod Poppy (plus a few appearances by other Jmods) for some drinks at a local pub, followed by a great fireworks display for Guy Fawkes night, and then a wonderful dinner with the group. After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to pass-out for the night.
Friday, we were greeted at our hotel by Mod Paul M, who took us on an awesome punting tour of the River Cam. The river winds through most of the Cambridge colleges, and we got to see plenty of beautiful architecture and buildings older than my country.
After the punt-ride, we walked a bit through downtown Cambridge and took in the many sights. We had some lunch at the historic Eagle pub, the place where American Air Force pilots hung out during WWII and also where the discovery of DNA was announced.
We then headed back to Jagex for some gaming fun. Noobshow and I both logged into RuneScape for a community event, met with players and Mods Crow and ChrisH(?) hanging out in Falador and tried to chat as best we could. We had a quick Clan Wars battle (Team Excl beat Team Noobshow!) and then had to log-out because our eyes were hurting from all the chat scroll. Next had some epic Fussball battles and video-game soccer battles. There's nothing like trying to watch two Canadians and two Americans negotiate the rules of "football" with Mod Poppy laughing profusely at us in the background.
Afterwards we headed out for some dinner with Mods Paul M and Poppy and spent hours just chatting it up with them about anything in general. We thanked everyone for their great hospitality and headed back to our hotel for our last night in Cambridge.
Saturday, we went our separate ways. After several car, bus, tube and train rides later (always catching my ride with only minutes to spare) I wound up in Birmingham to catch my first European football match ever, and then headed back down to London to catch as many of the tourist sites that I could in a couple of hours. By midnight, I was finally back in my hotel (caught all the last trains/shuttles for the night by minutes) and had one last night in England.
I flew out of London Sunday morning, and wished I had time to spend several more weeks in England. What a fun trip! A big, big special thanks to Mods MMG, Paul M and Poppy who had to put up with my antics for way longer than any human should be subjected to. And also to all the other Jmods and Jagex employees that I met (I'm horrible with names!) and made my stay a wonderful experience!
My brother isn't a RuneScape player, and even he came away extremely impressed!
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