I was priviledged to give a talk at GDC 2013 in San Francisco.
The talk was "Guild Wars 2: Scaling from one to millions" and it focused on two things: (1) our general approach to development at ArenaNet, and (2) user stories of some interesting problems I had a chance to work on during the project. Part (1) is important to understanding why part (2) is interesting. I think it is only by understanding the scale of effort that goes into Guild Wars 2 that a person would have any appreciation for some of the server scaling issues we had to solve.
I also gave a GDC talk 20 years ago. Wow, what a difference 20 years makes! 20 years ago there was almost no support; you showed up, found the room your talk was in, and hoped the PC would read your CD with your talk on it. This year, the AV people were super professional, ensured everything was set up and would work, and GDC provided a speaker's lounge and rehearsal rooms.
I ran into Louis Castle, who I know from the Westwood/Virgin days. He has been on the board of advisors for GDC and he told me it has been a process of steady improvement on the AV front. "We are a technical conference - we can't have technical issues,", he said. The AV people are all individually interviewed to ensure they meet the quality standards of the conference.
All-in-all, it was a terrific experience. I had about 10 minutes of questions at the end, and then about 15 people came up to me to talk individually, which I'm told indicates some level of engagement by the audience.
Hopefully you can find some take-aways in my slides. Feel free to write me at stephen @ above-the-garage.com if you have questions.