10 years: Guild Wars nostalgia

Guild Wars turned 10 years old this week. The original Guild Wars, of course, not Guild Wars 2 (which will be 3 years old this August, by the way). Back then I had just started to get into PC gaming and most of all, into MMOs. World of Warcraft had been my first MMO which I started playing December 2005 (it wasn’t released in Europe until February 2005, by the way).

In 2006, Guild Wars got its first additional campaign, Factions. In March 2006, they had their Factions preview weekend event where, when you had gotten a key for it, you could play part of the campaign for free. I got two invitation keys for myself and bookahnerk for that preview weekend from a friend who is a huge fan of console games and does not like PC games at all with the sole exception of Guild Wars. She was very excited and I had heard a few things about Guild Wars from her, so I figured I may actually like it.

In hindsight, a lot of things were not ideal for me as a newcomer to Guild Wars as well as MMOs in general. You got thrown into the endgame – well, high level region – of Factions. Your character was max level and if I remember correctly, she had a premade build. Either way, there was no tutorial and it was simply overwhelming. At the same time, having only 8 skills equipped when I knew that in theory, my character had so many more skills unlocked, seemed outrageous. For me back then, skill came from knowing your repertoire and being able choose which ability would be useful in any given moment. It took a while until I saw and appreciated the resemblance with card games like Magic the Gathering, where you essentially pick certain cards to make a good build.

But while that part was already overwhelming, it wasn’t the only thing I disliked. The game is heavily instanced. As soon as you leave a town or an outpost, you are alone with only those players or NPCs that were in your party when you entered the map. That was certainly not an MMO like I had gotten to know them! And it did not help with my first impression of the game. So there I was, completely overwhelmed with the builds and skills in a world that felt very narrow and small with character movement that seemed to be very clunky. Your character cannot even jump! And it seemed to be “lagging” behind my mouse movement. It certainly is not as direct as in WoW, for example. The characters’ animations when standing still were weird: Everybody looked the same, caught in an unnaturally stiff posture somehow.

So, I left and did not look back… well, almost. Not everything had been bad about the game. I sensed that while I had not liked it and had decided against buying it, I knew that part of me had just not really “gotten” it. The 8 skills, for example. This had to be good for something, right?

At some point, I had grown tired of the sometimes toxic environment in WoW and I had wanted to play some other game. But I did not want to play offline games instead. Even when you don’t want to deal with people, it’s still nice to see them around your character. Offline games sometimes seem to miss life. So, I looked around and I remembered Guild Wars: I remembered the music, I remembered the world, the Jade Sea. The colours! Oh, how I had loved the look of the world.

And while it was “buy to play”, there were no subscription fees. One game with a monthly fee was enough, I did not want another one. I finally got into Guild Wars in December 2006, two months after Nightfall was released. This, of course, means that my own 10 year anniversary with Guild Wars will not happen until either March or December 2006, depending on what you count as “started to play”. :p

Thanks to not throwing away emails, I could read up on my first steps in Guild Wars when I’d talked about it with my GW-playing friend. I had actually wanted to get Prophecies at first, but Nightfall which had just been released two months earlier was just as expensive. I figured that getting the newer one was a better deal somehow. :p I also really liked the dervish and she was the first character I created. Guess which profession I still don’t have at level 20? ;) In fact, this very character doesn’t even exist anymore. I deleted her and created another dervish later on that looks just like her except for the hair colour.

I also remember how I had then created a necromancer and had chosen ranger as second profession for the pet (I assumed having a pet to “tank” for me would be a good choice…) and how long it took me to figure out and get to the point where I could switch my second profession.

And then I remember how with every campaign I bought, I sat here swearing trying to figure out how to switch to the other campaigns with my new characters. A character from the Nightfall campaign could not just switch over to the Factions one. You had to play through your own campaign until a specific step first. If you wanted to play together with a friend with new characters, you had to start in the same campaign. Makes sense story-wise, of course, but gaming-wise, it was a hinderance.

Still, I have spent many hours in Guild Wars and looking back, I mostly have fond memories! Yes, I did have trouble at times with certain aspects, but at the same time, I loved the lack of the gear treadmill, I really enjoyed picking outfits only because of their look and putting builds together was a lot of fun, too.

Up until this day, the Jade Sea (well, actually that one outpost I had been at most of the time during the preview weekend) and Nightfall feel like “home” when I think of Guild Wars. I am one of the very few who would not mind seeing Cantha in Guild Wars 2, but given the choice I would choose Elona without thinking twice. Back home, you know?

Guild Wars 1 on Steam’s sale

Guild Wars background imageI haven’t seen Guild Wars on sale for quite a long time. Today, however, it is on sale on Steam. All versions are 50 % off for the next 48 hours: Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall, the expansion Eye of the North and the trilogy (containing the campaigns Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall).

A little information in case you don’t know much about Guild Wars 1: The campaigns are standalone, meaning you can buy either of those and play the game. Each campaign takes place in a different part of the world (called Tyria). The expansion “Eye of the North” requires any of the three campaigns. So, you do not have to buy all three campaigns. You can just buy one or two if you want. However, if you do want to get two, you may as well just buy the trilogy as the price is the same. ;)

GW2 Hall of Monuments TitlesIf you are also a Guild Wars 2 player, link your Guild Wars 1 account to your Guild Wars 2 account or you will not receive those Hall of Monuments points.  I wrote about it before and linked to several guides (I can recommend the one done by Dragon Season! :p) on how to get the points in Guild Wars 1 that are required for the various rewards, namely armor skins, ranger pets and miniatures. You can see the list of rewards with the demo mode of the Hall of Monuments rewards calculator showing 3 points already – read on to know why: What you do need in order to get those Hall of Monuments points is the expansion “Eye of the North” + one of the campaigns. However, you will automatically receive 1 point for each of the three campaigns. So, if you buy all three campaigns and the expansion (and play a character to level 10, so they can enter the Hall of Monuments), you will receive your first three Hall of Monuments points.

Guild Wars_Dancing Derwish
Dervishes dancing

Is this game worth buying, especially since it’s several years old already? Yes, yes it is! I have had a lot of fun with it, I enjoyed the storylines, I loved the world and the way it looks. One caveat: You cannot jump in this game. ;)

Necromancer Elite Sunspear Armor
Necromancer Elite Sunspear Armor

And if you are worried about not finding any players to play with: 1) There are no dedicated servers, but districts that you can freely choose. 2) Guild Wars has NPCs that you can take with you. The game is not an open world game, but you enter instanced areas where a premade group of varying size (4 to 8) can enter together. If you can’t find or don’t want to find others to group with, you can just take NPCs. The Nightfall campaign also added heroes which are customizable NPCs. You can choose builds and armor stats for your heroes which makes playing even easier. But even with the NPCs, I did not have any trouble playing the campaigns and I really enjoyed the game.

Guild Wars 1 Nostalgia: Costume Maker

GW2 Synnli asura necromancerI deleted my norn mesmer yesterday. She was my second mesmer and my only norn, but no matter how hard I try, I just do not like playing the norn. I like their lore and everything, but I prefer small races (like dwarves, hobbits, gnomes, asura,…). I also needed that character slot for my new asura necromancer!

Anyway, just before I logged her out, I realized she still had the Mask of the Night Skin in her inventory. Phew. I put it in the bank, then deleted her. Ever since then, I can’t help but wonder: Did she also have a costume equipped? I don’t think I gave her anything, but what if I did?

ArenaNet’s reply to this is:

Right now, having an agent research the matter and somehow replace the item would extend the time we take to respond to players with other issues, like account hacks. So this isn’t a service we currently can offer.

This means that even if you previously spent real money on an item from the gem store and then delete the character without remembering that your character even had that gem store item. It happens easily with town clothes… I am pretty, but not 100% certain that my mesmer didn’t have any town clothes equipped. I’ll have to check if I’m missing something. ;) Anyway, this isn’t about me whining that I was an idiot and forgot to take the item off. This is me being nostalgic and sad…

Guild Wars 1 had such a cool function, the NPC Costume Maker. I had bought two costumes in Guild Wars 1 and also collected some other cosmetic items and I can get them on every character on my account as often as I want. Why did they not implement this function for Guild Wars 2? I can understand them not wanting to devote so many resources in their customer service team for restoring items, but to me it just sounds very reasonable to take care of the problem by helping to avoid that this problem exists in the first place. Oh, also, I would love to be able to have a cosmetic item on more than one character without having to put it in the bank and exchange it between characters that way.

I’m pretty certain that for every new and cool feature we got with Guild Wars 2, there is one thing we’re missing from Guild Wars 1, right? ;)

The winners have been drawn

Fireworks 2nd anniversaryGood morning!

I have just drawn the winners of our recent anniversary-giveaway.

We had 3 in-game t-shirt codes which have been won by tatu meskanen, Blackheart and H. J. de Bruyn. Congratulations! Then we had one Guild Wars party item giveaway which has been won by Gorzagorz. We will need to schedule a time and place to meet for the trade. :) And our last package was one for a few items in Guild Wars 2 which has been won by Arsenette. Congratulations to you all!

I will send emails to the winners shortly.

And if you haven’t won this time, I’m pretty sure we’ll host more giveaways in the future. I’m just afraid that we’re now all out of items for Guild Wars. ;)

Winners of our Christmas giveaway

Postcard Christmas BlogIt’s a bit sad that this was our last giveaway. Should we ever receive more zaishen keys, oppressor or tormented weapons, minis, etc., we’ll definitely do this again. It was fun and we’re glad we could give people more points in their Hall of Monuments.

Anyway, you’re not here to read that we had fun. You’re here to see if you were lucky. One person was indeed very very lucky: Marandor has once again won our GW1 item bundle. I checked twice but the numbers matched. Congratulations to you! Rebecca has won our GW2 item bundle. Last but not least, Keiran has won the GW2 in-game t-shirt code. Congratulations to both of you. :)

But it’s Christmas… and we really wish we had more to give away. Unfortunately, as far as items in GW1 and GW2 are concerned, we don’t have more (before you ask: I’m poor in GW2 and am currently saving to buy some fancy dyes myself ^^). But hey, we actually do have more t-shirt codes. So we decided that everybody who participated in the Christmas giveaway and who wanted a code should have one. So, congratulations to regendo, Katie M, overlow, shadowwolf76, Galerius, Shuk, Wedge7, Akiyama, coolasc/Decomposing Brains and Rebecca.

Then we thought again: What if there are people who participated in most of our giveaways but the Christmas one? We’ve had 5 giveaways where you could win a t-shirt code… so what about those who participated in 3 or 4, but just missed the last one? We had a look at our list again and that concerns Reteq, Houjun, tatu meskanen, Mads Larsen and Nuarda. All of you participated in 3 – 4 giveaways. So, why not? Congratulations to you as well!

We’re really happy about the amount of people who participated and especially about those who came back (almost) every week. And this is our way to say “thank you” for being our readers. :)

We will be sending out emails tomorrow. Please remember that you need to reply before January 5, 2013, in order to claim your won items. If you don’t reply, we will draw another winner instead.

Once again, we hope you’re having a great time and a happy new year! :)