Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend
The end of Guild Wars as we know it is upon us. On launch day and the weekend before, many of us left our beloved game behind and started a brand new journey. But for one last day, the Gaming World Entertainment Network brought us all together to laugh, dance in our underwear, and think back on the past seven years spent with this game. The End of an Era party on Saturday, August 18th was a rousing success. We gathered in Ascalon City, where most players began their journey into the world of Tyria. There was trivia, entertaining music (the DJ rickrolled us at one point), and a rather impressive cross-campaign conga line. And in the middle of all the chaos, we never forgot exactly what it was we were celebrating – a wonderful game that has brought memories we’ll never forget.
As streams of “I love you ArenaNet!” poured into chat while “Bye Bye Guild Wars 1” was playing, it became abundantly clear just how much appreciation the players had for the people who had put so much of their time and effort into giving the people what they wanted. ArenaNet isn’t just another big corporation game company. They’re an extraordinary bunch of people who truly care about their community. And while some of their choice may not be widely received (Shadow Form nerf, I’m looking at you), they try their hardest anyway. They take their time and listen to what the players are saying, because they know the game almost as well as the company does.
When it was time to reminisce, the partygoers were more than happy to share. All Chat turned into a virtual scrapbook as seven years of memories spilled forth from the players’ fingers. One of them remembered finally making it through the Foundry of Failed Creations after six hours with no death penalty removal. Another fondly remembers helping his girlfriend get obsidian armor. Yet another said they used the game as an escape from the bullying in their life. I even saw Lady Gallo say she met the love of her life because of Guild Wars. There were countless stories like this, but one in particular really stood out.
Tilion of Dragon Season and his wife Candi were two of the revelers on that day, and they were kind enough to share the story of how Guild Wars saved Candi’s life. She had a nerve condition that kept her in constant pain, and she rarely got out of the house. Tilion said she was sometimes suicidal from the pain. But then they found Guild Wars, and Candi told me it fully engaged her, to the point that it was the only way suppress the pain. She had brain surgery two years ago, and they both still play. Watching them both celebrate, it was clear how much joy the game had brought to their lives.
For Tilion and Candi, it was more than just a game. It was a savior, a connection to the outside world. For many people (including myself) it was a gateway to the world of gaming. And for others, it was simply an escape from the real world.
From memories of sweet victory, to what they would miss most (gaki thongs were a wildly popular answer), the love and nostalgia in the air was overwhelming. However, players really didn’t feel like they were completely leaving the game behind. Most had friends that were carrying over, and some people were either staying behind or playing both games simultaneously. And even though some of us are split throughout the two games, we are a family, a community. We share a bond that has and will withstand the test of time. And our old, fond memories will never truly be forgotten. They are etched in our minds and hearts, ready to be recollected at a moment’s notice. As one player brilliantly put it, “I’m not leaving. I’m just going 250 years into the future and starting again.”
And now, I leave you with an adorable, tear-inducing homage to the wonderful game we’ve called home for the last seven years (credit to MonkeyZav):
(Thanks to Kooki and Lacie for the screenshots, and a big thank you to Tilion and Candi for sharing their story.)