Lagwar Presents! Show #7 is here for your listening pleasure. This week Brilen and Ziss present Lagwar’s Guild Spotlight on The Amazon Basin, from Guild Wars. Simply use our built in player, Lagwar on iTunes, or you can simply right click on the download link above and select “Save Target As.” Then when prompted, choose a location on your computer you would like the file to be saved to. Then listen and enjoy! Please be sure to leave iTunes reviews and/or comments. We love feedback!!
You can also visit The Amazon Basin for a great community of people involved in everything from Guild Wars to World of Warcraft to Warhammer Age of Reckoning. See some screenshots of The Amazon Basin in action below!
Here’s an overview of Show #7:
*Brilen and Ziss discuss their beginnings in Warhammer Age of Reckoning
*Ziss talks Crysis Warhead and answer the question, “Is it fun?”
*Lagwar’s Guild Spotlight on The Amazon Basin, from Guild Wars
*A great full length interview with The Amazon Basin guild leaders
[Interview Transcript - Brilen & Ziss from Lagwar with Ceolstan & Texson of The Amazon Basin]
[Brilen]: So, first off, what is the Amazon Basin and how many memebers do you currently have?
[Texson]: We’re a long time Guild Wars guild, Chelstan and I are the co-guild leaders of the guild. We don’t track statitstics terribly carefully, but we went back and did some counting and at the moment, we have 265 active members in our in-game guild.
[Ziss]: Wow. How did you guys get started?
[Ceolstan]: That, actually was a very intersting story. The Amazon Basin has it’s roots as a D2 guild and as players started to leave D2, they went into other games, Guild Wars is one of those games, but the actual history of the Guild Wars guild is when we started watching what the former Blizzard employees were doing, we noticed that they were doing Arena Net and then they had the E3 for everyone, which is very popular among the Basin crowd. So we really started talking about having a formal guild before the game started, and the we ended up getting involved in the Alpha testing of the game as well and now we’re at where we are right now.
[Ziss]: What caught your attention in the game, even playing in Alpha, that made you curious about it?
[Ceolstan]: The cooperative game play; that it really was a team game made it very attractive. We had players who were interested in team based PvP, and also, it’s visually stunning. I think all of those things came togther, plus a real sense of developer presence in the game and listening to what the players are doing. I think all of those things really caught the guild’s attention and got people behind the game.
[Brilen]: How many of your current members are your original members?
[Texson]: That’s a multi-layer answer. We also counted up how many members we had, and in addition to the 265 that are active, since release of the game, we’ve had about 1,100 others pass through as friends, new and old. We’ve had a lot of that. There’s actually quite a few in the guild that have been there since the beginning. Our parent organization, The Amazon Basin, which supports a number of games, has a tradition that many people come and they stay for a long time.
[Ziss]: That brings up a good question. How long has The Amazon Basin community been around?
[Texson] Actually, we celebrated our eight year anniversary in August. The orginal game was D2 and the Amazon Basin made it’s mark then. It is, to this day, probably one of the best known Diablo guilds in the world. Then they took on other games like Star Wars Galaxy, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Hellgate and now Warhammer.
[Ziss]: For people who are on the outside looking in at the Amazon Basin, can you name a few games they’re involved in.
[Ceolstan] I think very many of the core group who came to guild wars were involved in Diablo 2, and that was the first experience in online gaming, because as Texan said, people come and stay and they will stay for really a long time. We’ve had people coming in from other games like Guild Wars, which has brought people in from the team shooter games (Counterstrike, Battlefield Series) and they sort of mix around with people who were involved with Diablo 2. We don’t support team shooters [with a guild] but we do support the MMOs like Warhammer, we’ve had a presence in Hellgate, and our World of Warcraft guild is quite large. The PvP guild is centered in Tacondrias and they’re doing well. They have a reputation as a raiding guild.
[Brilen] What’s your biggest part you like to participate in?
[Texson]: We’re a full service guild. Our point of view may be a little unusual. As we mentioned, The Amzon Basin organization’s been in extistence for eight years and it’s desgined to be a durable organization that will continue. We take the long view. We hope to be here as long as there is a Guild Wars and that kind of changes the point of view. So we participate in every aspect of Guild Wars, all the PvP and PvE activities and go to some length to support them the best we can and is one of the explanations for our longevity.
We’re very much PvX. We do have some very strong PvP roots and you have a lot of activities that are very PvP centric and there are a lot of people coming in when there’s some ……………. coming around. We’ve started a group with hero’s ………going around too. So there is that support for all aspects of the game and we really encourgage it because it is really important for players to find their own happiness in the game.
[Brilen]: It kind of seems like a lot of guilds have a story behind them. Is there any kind backstory drama with the Amazon Basin?
[Texson]: Well, we might disapoint you there, that’s again because of our orientation. The motto of the parent oragnization which we fully subscribe to is friends playing games and the other is play nice and show class. We try very hard to be good citizens in the Guild Wars universe. We don’t actively recuit that would intrude on other guilds space but we welcome people who want to visit us and if they like us, they can stay. We have a huge demographics. Our oldest player, who’s been at it since conception and is still very active is a 73 year old grandmother who’s three children play the game and who’s grandchildren play the game. We also, of course, have many college students and high school students and families are comfortable here. We keep it pretty clean and interesting. As I say, we, from conception have tried to be as supportive as possible being good citizens in the Guild Wars universe.
[Ziss]: Could you all give just a brief rant of your favorite things in Guild Wars as compared to other games?
[Ceolstan] On a personal level, I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about loot because my hero’s have got to be the most poorly clad hero’s in the entire game. They’re like instant mules for odd stuff that gets thrown on them. So I’m not the kind of player who micro-manages the entire build of my hero’s. I love the fact when I go to play PvP, I can go to my screen, I can pull all of my unlocks, I can jump in and I can play any character and not worry about equipment or grinding. I love that part about the game. The other thing is that there’s always something to improve on. I can focus on game play and not worry about anything else.
[Texson] Guild Wars is easy-on easy-off. So if you have 20 minutes free, you can jump in and have fun. In our organization, it’s both a guild and a family really. In my case, I haven’t played in a PUG in at least three years because there’s always players in the guild who are going to do something that interest me and that’s one of the main attractions in being here. Guild Wars makes that possible. I would also like to through in about the developers. The developers are amazing in our opinion. Since we were a very heavy presence in testing, many many people in our guild tested the game and so we were fortunate enough to get to know many of the developers and their incredibly hard work and their commitment to the game and their commitment to trying their best to make the game comfortable for the players. Always trying to add new features that make things work a little better. I guess that’s the opposite of a rant, but it’s something that makes us want to come back.
[Ceolstan] One of the things I really liked about the developer community is, first off, the launch I thought was extremely smooth of the games I’ve played at launch, it [Guild Wars] was great. There was no game break or anything, which I found out is much more rare than you would expect. The other thing is the way the developers responded to certain things. It became apparent the community thought there was too much grind to unlock for PvP, so the next thing that happened was the immediate increase in the kind of faction that you can do to unlock the PvP a lot faster. I think that overall was an excellent decision and since then it’s only become faster, and I think again, it’s just very very good.
[Ziss]: As far as game progression in expansions, from the orginial Guild Wars up to Eye of the North, do you think it’s been a good step every step?
[Texson] That’s a matter of personal preference, but I’ve enjoyed each expansion. Prophecies was a wonder because there had never been anything like it that I had played. And that was just remarkable. But going through Factions and Nightfall I’ve enjoyed every one of them. And one of the things you see if you play Guild Wars, you see there’s a lot of humor in the game and jokes. Again, that’s a reflection on the developers and their attitude. They really want us to have fun because it’s to their advantage. People will buy the games of course if theyre fun. Long story short, I’ve played the game since release and own all the chapters and I still enjoy playing them all.
[Ceolstan] I as well and for very similar reasons. I think Prophecies itself was a very expansive game and of course theres a lot of room on the map for more things and we found out that the developers will be putting in more quests, missions, and content to keep players engaged in the game until Guild Wars 2 comes out. But Factions has a different aim in kind of game play and I think that was really interesting too. I know initially players were a little bit taken back by the composition of the mobs in the game. There were a lot of mobs and they were really very well formulated as groups for maybe more of a PVP experience within a PVE context. And I think Nightfall ended up looking more at how players were playing and saying well you can’t always get your guild group. Most guilds don’t have 200+ active members in the game so what theyre doing is if you have 2 people in the guild how can you do some of these areas. So they came up with the concept of the Heroes that were smarter than the average Henchman in the Outposts. That was a deliberate design decision to make it possible for 2 people to play together and succeed in the higher end areas if they exercise a little bit of skill. So I thought that was also another kind of neat thing that the game kinda did. And another great response to the community. I’ve enjoyed that aspect of the game as well. I usually find theres something to keep me busy in the game no matter when I log on.
[Ziss] I think Nightfall was a very great addition to the Guild Wars series. The AI for the heroes is amazing. In which the henchman were always pretty good to have in a group, I was really surprised when I first started playing. And when I got a hold of Nightfall I just couldn’t believe how smart the Heroes were. It’s really impressive.
[Texson] Your perspective is probably much wider than mine, but I thought the development of Heroes was miraculous. I had never seen anything like that and how well they play with the human character. It was certainly revolutionary from my point of view.
[Ziss] I agree, and ya know if someone that doesn’t play Guild Wars was standing behind you watching you play and it was just you and three Heroes in a group, they probably wouldn’t even know that it’s not three other human players grouped with you. That’s something that no other mainstream MMO is doing. It makes it a lot more accessible to the casual player especially. Because no longer do you have to search for that PUG, or if you’re just wanting to knock some quests out or take on a battle in Heroes Ascent you’ve got your group.
[Texson] They also did a very clever thing when they introduced Hard Mode. The Heroes and Hard Mode weren’t done simultaneously but they do compliment each other. You said for the casual player the Heroes give a big advantage, and that’s correct, but for the hardcore player the game can be pretty difficult and the Heroes can get you through those Hard Mode missions too. So this is consistent with Arena Nets general philosophy of really trying to meet the general needs of the player audience the best they can.
[Brilen] What would you all consider to be the guild’s biggest accomplishment so far?
[Texson] Well, we’ve been awfully fortunate, that’s hard to say. You may not know but we were the first “Guild of the Week” when Arena Net created that title. We participated in the writing of the Factions Game Guide sponsored by Arena Net. We were featured in Beckett’s Online Gaming magazine. So we’ve been very fortunate. There’s even some NPC’s in the game named after some of The Amazon Basin players. It’s been a very nice relationship with the Guild Wars community.
[Ceolstan] And we have a town named after us in Factions!
[Ziss] That’s awesome! Well, and now you’re on Lagwar, you guys are taking off, you’re rockstars lol.
[Texson] No question about it, keep moving up right?
[Brilen] Wow, that’s a really nice list of accomplishments.
[Brilen] Uhm, how excited are you all about Guild Wars 2?
[Texson] Bring it!
[Ceolstan] Very, very excited.
[Ziss] Have you guys gotten to see, being so close with Arena Net, anything that maybe other people havent seen? Not that you could tell us anyway.
[Texson] No, of couse if we had we couldn’t tell. But no we haven’t. Nothing that any of us couldn’t read publicly.
[Ziss] Once the Alpha or Beta testing comes up are you guys going to try and participate or are you going to savor it and wait for the release?
[Ceolstan] I think we have enough enthusiastic Beta testers in the guild that we would try to do something. And of course if Arena Net wants to have us back we would absolutely love to do so. If offered we would jump at the chance for Alpha testing. When we were doing the closed Alpha testing, I believe we had the largest number of any of the Alpha guilds. We were very tenacious and really enthusiastic throughout the entire process. So yeah, we would absolutely jump at a chance to test Guild Wars 2, if offered. And Arena Net I think will be looking at how they want to run this test versus other tests. We don’t really know what’s on their plate.
[Ziss] Oh cool. Everything I’ve heard about it so far is really intriguing.
[Brilen] Ok, so just a couple simple questions remaining. And mine is, what’s your favorite classes to play?
[Texson] Well at the moment I’m having a heck of a good time with my Ranger. Shes developed to be a very strong character and I’m working her thorugh the very hardest parts of the gamea nd having a ball.
[Ceolstan] And I’m finding myself spendign more time with my Monk. Which was unusual, I always play a Monk in PVP. But I had not played one in PVE. So, I’m playing my Monk. If ever I have a chance to spec him for smiting I do of course in Hard Mode that’s not usually a good thing to do. But I’m enjoying playing with him. I think I also really like playing Paragons too, but my Paragon is sorely neglected. And I also like playing Ele’s too, but my Ele is also neglected.
[Ziss] I play an Assassin, but sometimes I get to craving that Necro/Monk. The mechanics of that just amazes me.
[Texson] I agree with that. Actually I like all the characters. I simply answer as you asked, just to pick my favorite. Assassins are great.
[Ceolstan] Yeah I think you’ve just bout played through the game with every character you have. Both in Normal and Hard Mode and that’s more than what I’ve ended up doing. Of course I play across two accounts too. But yeah, theyre all good characters and they’re all good fun.
[Ziss] We’ve got maybe 2 questions left. My final question is what’s your guys personal favorite festival?
[Ceolstan] I have to admit I like Winter Stakes except I rarely in town to play it. I think that the Halloween is a blast and right now I’m enjoying almost anything that has the AFK games cause I almost have enough gold to sit AFK and collect titles.
[Brilen] So I have to ask, does anyone have a sweet tooth title?
[Ceolstan] I don’t but some of the people in the guild do.
[Brilen] That’s the one I’m striving to get.
[Texson] No I don’t have it, I give all my sweets to Ceolstan.
[Ceolstan] And I’m into actually all the alcoholic stuff cause I’m trying to get all the drunk title on one of my characters but I haven’t been good at that.
[Ziss] Well, what’s your favorite festival or event Texson?
[Texson] I like the Halloween festival quite a lot. The festivals are where the dev’s go crazy and have a lot of fun and I like that one.
[Ziss] I guess this doesn’t classify as a festival but did you guys enjoy April Fool’s Day this year with the stick figures?
[Ceolstan] The stick figures were a stitch. I think we tried to play Heroes Ascent that day and it was just wild it was like there’s stick figures I can’t tell what they’re looking like.
[Ziss] LOL yeah, I think I shot like 2 hours of video of my Assassin just dancing as a stick figure.
[Ceolstan] There’s also been the days where you log into the game, and get on your female character and when you get in the game you’re like, “That’s not what she looks like! She’s got a beard!” The whole sex change thing is really funny.
[Ziss] Well, is there anything else you all would like to add? Web address or any additional info?
[Texson] Well the web address is www.theamazonbasin.com. And you’ll find Guild Wars readily. Another thing I’d like to throw in is thanks to you folks. We’re really honored you chose to interview us and we wish you well.
[Ziss] Oh, well thank you all very much for coming on, anytime.
[Brilen] Yes, thank you all very much.
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