SGDQ 2022 Reflection from Ravlin
Summer Games Done Quick 2022 was the first GDQ event that I have attended, I have been watching for years ever since seeing Brossentia's FFIV run in 2013. I have seen at least part if not most of every GDQ event since then. For those who do not know me, I am the Executive Moogle, or Head Admin for the World’s Collide community and have been a part of WC for almost as long as it has been around. I have participated in many of the tournaments, either as a player or as someone helping to organize and produce the event. While I have not had much opportunity to play WC in the past few months due to real life taking over, the WC community has remained a daily part of my life. An important, and consistent part of my life.
The admin team had a goal of trying to grow the WC community, and one of the initiatives that I started, that many of the other admins really took up the flag on, was submissions to marathons, with the eventual goal of getting into a GDQ. Jones built a bot that scrapes Onegus to tell us about *all* of the marathons that are organized through that service. We encouraged all community members to submit to any marathon they were interested in, with the admins helping to coordinate any GDQ submissions. We did not expect to get into the first in-person GDQ event since the start of the pandemic. I made it a point to all of the folks working on the GDQ submission that we will likely not get in, that there is a very low acceptance rate and as a randomizer, that makes it less likely. I prepared them for rejection.
Then we got in.
We were floored. At that moment we all started making travel arrangements. We had a team of folks rolling and vetting seeds. (Our seed vetters, Elastoid and Edgeworth, told me that they rejected many seeds for being too powerful too quickly, either free checks gave out too much power for free, or early access to items such Illuminas or powerful magic such as Merton with protection. They thought a seed that had the potential to end 30 minutes under estimate could be a problem, though in retrospect gaining back that time might have been good for the event!) We had folks working on the flagset and the runners worked hard on their practice. I worked with SeelingKat and Andrew to get ready for commentary. You probably saw that I had a notebook with me; there were two pages of things that I wanted to make 100% certain that we covered during the run. Without writing that down, it would have never happened!
One of the biggest challenges we were facing was how to make a 4-way race make sense to folks who had no idea what Worlds Collide is. We decided to use the first 10-15 mins of the run where we knew the racers would be looting and shopping to try to cover what Worlds Collide is,in an attempt to fill in the gaps in audience knowledge rather than focus on the minutiae of what the racers were doing. My plan was to be the informative straight man, while Andrew was there to bounce off of that and bring in the humor and the memes. Due to technical limitations SeelingKatt was not able to track from the big stage, but had her own setup and was not able to be miked. Once the run started and we started talking, and we hit the points we wanted to hit, we started improvising based on what was going on. From there it was smooth sailing and just like any other time I had done commentary.
The ending was epic, with moments of epic skill and tragic RNG. The entire run was a fantastic showcase of the strengths of Worlds Collide. More than that, the run brought together people who have been working together for months and years and brought us together in person. The run required the entire community to come together and work towards its success. The community really came together and helped raise something on the order of $20k. My favorite donation story was Seto's mom who donated a large chunk to pick Gogo as the starting character, with zero understanding of what that meant, but she was still the deciding vote on the seed start. This is nearly ten times what I have been able to track in terms of raised funds for all of the other marathons we have been a part of combined. This is an absolute success for our community. The stream had something like 50k viewers live, and I am sure the VOD will have many many more than that. We hope that this will bring another influx of players to join us, and we are preparing a Moogle's First Tournament for all the new players we hope to see soon.
GDQ as a whole
One thing that struck me was the incredible amount of logistics and behind the scenes work that happens to make a GDQ work. There were easily 20 computer screens backstage (okay, maybe a dozen… but it was a lot!), at least 6 individuals who are never seen on camera or heard on stream that work to make it happen. I saw sound folks, stream management, runner/commentator wranglers, camera folks, lighting folks, and more that I have no idea what they were doing. They were incredible and very skillful at helping to shepherd a bunch of folks who had not done anything like this before. The staff were all kind and incredibly competent. They are the biggest unsung heroes of the event. It does not matter how good a runner may be, it is these folks who make them look good, sound good, and make sure their run reaches the viewers. They also help make sure that comments that are read aloud are appropriate and encouraging. They help hype up the Twitch chat into donations and joining in on the memes (LaCroix flavors anyone?).
GDQ as a whole is the best of what the internet has to offer, in my opinion. So often we hear about the dangers of misinformation, of radicalization, of toxic behavior on the internet. But GDQ represents the best of humanity. It is a group of communities around each individual game/group of games that come together twice a year for a shared purpose. A shared purpose to help others and raise incredible amounts of money for charity. These spaces are intentionally moderated and the focus is kept on the ultimate goal. Everyone is there to showcase their skill, to support their community, and to help raise money for charity.
I went to lunch on my own on Wednesday afternoon after sleeping off the high from the WC run. I went to the TGI Fridays around the corner from the hotel and sat at the bar. I brought my phone and headphones fully expecting to just sit at the bar and have a burger. There was what I would call a normie at the bar who was curious about the badges he saw on several folks around the restaurant. So we started talking, and he had no idea that a bunch of gamers were able to hold a convention like GDQ and raise millions of dollars for charity. I really blew his mind with what we are able to accomplish. I would like to think that I helped change his mind as to what gamers are capable of. How can we message this incredible work that we are doing outside of the gaming community? How can we really show the entire world this is what the internet is capable of?
Overall I want to let the WC community and the GDQ community as a whole know that it was a true honor to be a part of the event. Thank you to GDQ for bringing in another randomizer to showcase what we do. Thank you to the runners Seto Kiaba, Jexvrox, DoctorDT, and Drewlith for putting in an incredible amount of work and practice and putting on an amazing show for us. Thank you to Andrew and SeelingKatt for commentating and tracking for the race (and to be clear that tracking was incredibly vital to show how close the races were the entire game). Thank you to Boo and Jones for helping to craft the flagset, and all of the admins for their support. Thank you to Elastoid and Edgeworth for their help in vetting seeds. Thank you to AtmaTek, our main developer, for putting together such an awesome experience. Thank you to all of the server moderators, restreamers, commentators, and trackers who make our weekly races and events happen. Thank you to everyone who plays the game, who watches our streams, the people at home who support all of the folks I called out specifically and everyone in the community as a whole. This event was a whole community effort and the whole community should be recognized for that.