Wow. What a weekend.
As you may or may not know, Pete Hoefling and I went to the Wizards of the Coast Tournament Organizers’ meeting, in Renton, Washington. While I’m not at liberty to discuss specifics from the conference, let me just say that it was a wonderfully run event – I’d like to thank Scott Larabee, Chris Galvin, Jeff Donais and the several other WotC employees who were amazingly accommodating and friendly.
AND they [Seattle, not WotC] blew up the Kingdome. That was amazing. I’m telling you mayor-types out there, you’ve gotta blow up your stadiums. How cool is that?
One thing that was proven to me, over the weekend, is that WotC is actually on top of things – they’ve got good ideas for the future. I’m especially happy to announce the Amateur Championships (which are Type II).
Of course, even though I can’t tell you what was discussed at the meeting, I sure can tell you all the random things that made the weekend fun. So, here they are, in no particular order.
Apparently, on the Wizards agenda: THE SUBJUGATION OF CANADA
It was fishy from the beginning. There was a Canadians Only section of the meeting (for which the Canadians had to show up early, early in the morning– evidently to start accustoming them "servant hours.") Fishy, fishy.
I was taking a judge’s test, at the time, so I didn’t hear the entire conversation. But, at one point, frustrated over some crazy question, I looked up, eyes dilated. One of the TO’s raised his hand and asked
"What about Canada?"
The speaker, a WotC employee, responded
"We have not yet resolved the Canada situation."
Woah I’m glad I don’t live there! Word to the wise, Canada – next time the DCI starts patrolling up your way
JEFF DONAIS SEZ: TIES MAKE BETTER JUDGES.
While on the topic of the DCI Penalty Guidelines, Jeff made the comment: "I want you to follow the rules and I know you will – you’re wearing a tie."
Pete and I bought ties that night. Also, I got a DCI baseball cap, which I plan to wear every time I judge, from now on. When things get really serious, I’ll slowly, methodically turn the hat backwards, so that the person who’s receiving a shower of my sweet, sweet rulings will know
"We keep it fair."
I got the idea from Sylvester Stallone, in Over the Top. You know, he’s the drunken, truck-driving arm wrester who teaches us what love is all about. He says
"Uh, when I durn de cap backward, it’s like a light swditch goin’ on, yu no?"
I also passed the Level II Judge’s exam, while there. I’m very pleased – it was rough. I’d say the test is on college level, so far as exams go. My only grouse on it is the names. While I understand the need for variety and flavor, at times I found it hard to follow, because of the ever-changing names involved. There’s so much information inherent in each question, I often found myself having to start the entire answering process over again because I’d forget whether Tori or Charles was the attacking or defending player, or which of the two played Spell X. A simple compromise (on this total non-issue 🙂 would be to change the names after five questions or so, using a consistent "Tori" as an attacking player and a consistent "Charles" as the defender. Also, if possible, all the names should be easily applicable to monkeys. THAT would be entertaining.
Also very entertaining was our meal at the restaurant Winner’s (which I actually got kicked out of, twice. You know, for not being a winner. Finally, I convinced them that I was Jon Lovitz, of The Critic fame – and they let me in. I still have no explanation there). While on random topics, someone brought up the name Colin Jackson, Seattle-based level III judge extraordinaire, who is a little young, so far as level III’s go. But, sticking up for him, the WotC employees were quick to cite that he has a good head on his shoulders, for a youngin’ and all. Which, of course, let to a great anecdote.
Jeff D: "He’s a great kid. Did you hear that, during the WTO riots [in Seattle], Colin got tear-gassed?"
Steve Ferral (a TO, forgive me if the name is misspelled): "You ever been tear-gassed?"
I know more was said, but my face was buried in my hands.
Pete, Steve and I got a midnight tour of the WotC offices, conducted by Jeff. It was amazing. Highlights from the tour:
WotC Security. Jeff has to slide access cards and put keys into doors. There are cameras everywhere. You get the idea that tight security is very important to these guys. However, the first thing we do, as we go in, is listen to Jeff tell us about the security guard, whom we’re standing directly behind. The guard does not notice us – even though we are very loud. I wave my hands at the unattending back of his head.
A couple of articles back, I made a flit remark about the DCI’s Magic Eight Ball, which, hypothetically, tells them which cards to ban. It was good for a laugh and all– I totally wasn’t serious. Jeff opens the door to the main DCI meeting room and, what’s on the conference table? IT’S REAL. A bona fide Magic Eight Ball. I picked it up, shook it and asked the question "was it your idea to ban Dark Ritual and Mana Vault?" I turned it over. Slowly, surely the little answer die rolled up, out of the murky waters.
Jeff just shrugged. "It was like that when we bought it," he says.
Cool things around the office (names removed, to protect innocent):
An employee keeps a bed set under his/her desk.
An employee has the CDs Cosmic Thing (B-52’s), the fragile (nine inch nails) and Right Said Fred Up on the same shelf (I’m not finding fault – I own two thirds of these CDs, myself).
One bottle of Sobe Wisdom, in the fridge.
One Sobe cap collecting employee (eh? Where’s Lizards of the Coast?).
A club centered around naming monkeys – and getting monkey-related merchandise.
Nerf Weapons. Lots of ’em.
A Dojo. The fightin’ kind.
An employee has a Fight Club poster. Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.
An employee has a big red DENIED stamp.
Twenty-five cent sodas.
Sadly, I have to report one thing, which shook my faith in R&D to no extent. They asked me – no, begged me – not to include this. But hey, I’m a journalist! A story like this has to get out!
THERE IS NO ORGG.
That’s right. WotC is deliberately deceiving us, with their television ads. They don’t fight it, they don’t ask its opinions – they don’t even HAVE one.
I mean, where is my money going?
They do, however, have a guy named Bob in Accounting.
Anyway, the tour was great – I’d like to thank Jeff for it, once again. It was amazing and fun and all that.
But, of course, the main reason I wanted to go to Seattle was to talk to Jeff about the possibility of a Type II Pro Tour. I printed out a copy of the petition and took it with me – just so he wouldn’t forget that I’m not the only person gunning for this idea. When things finally quieted down, we had a nice discussion about it. Jeff listened to each of my points, as I did to his, and we discussed some of the logistics involved. I applauded the new Amateur Championships, which are a nice (if small) step in promoting Standard. While Jeff would not give me a definite yes or no on the Pro Tour, I feel very good about the way our talk went. I’m confident that, whatever they choose, the DCI will give the idea its full attention. That’s what’s most important to me.
THE DCI LISTENS.
You just have to talk to them.
There’s a lot more cool stuff but, there’s also this crazy concept called "jet lag." I’ll touch on it a little, in my next article.
Until then, here’s another random quote from the meeting:
"I was born lazy and had a relapse."
I’m too tired to type what I do. I do something. Find out next week. 🙂
"I have nothing to declare but my genius.
-Should have been the flavor text on Customs Depot