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Carnival Entry: One Year In Guild Wars 2 – This Is My Story

Article written by Xazzi from @TyrianTweets for our fifth blog carnival.

It’s incredible how time flies when you’re having fun. When I’m playing Guild Wars 2, I’m most certainly having fun. Lots and lots and lots of fun. So much, in fact, that I’ve neglected pretty much every other game released this past year, and focused solely on Guild Wars 2.

What is it that keeps me in game? Why do I keep playing? What is my story? These are both easy and difficult questions to answer. In short, it’s because I love the game; I love Tyria, the lore, and combat, the dynamic events, the jumping puzzles, the mysteries, the visuals, the friends… the list goes on. As for the (very) long version, keep reading for my experiences of the past twelve months in Guild Wars 2.

Having achieved God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals in Guild Wars 1 (yes, I played that for too much as well!), I was super excited to play Guild Wars 2. I participated in all betas and stress tests, pre-ordered the collector’s edition as soon as it was announced, and eagerly awaited the head start (25th August 2012). I even decided to start up a new twitter account (@TyrianTweets) to document my travels in game (more on this later).

The betas enabled me to narrow down my profession and race choices, so come the 25th, I jumped in game and created my first character, an asura warrior named Xazzi. I based her on the halfling warrior Mazzy Fentan from Baldur’s Gate 2 (a phenomenal game), so she has fiery orange hair and a ferocious attitude. Plus, the thought of a tiny asura warrior amuses me! I really disliked warriors in Guild Wars 1, but fell in love with them during the betas of Guild Wars 2. Since creation, Xazzi has remained my main (just!), and I still love playing with her. The mobility, strength, and versatility of the warrior profession really appeals to me. Over the next two days, I also created a human necromancer (Zhyulla, who has become my joint favourite character), a huge fat norn thief (Slim Skyggeson, who amuses me as he’s the opposite of what you imagine a thief to look like), a sylvari elementalist (Tiarella Rosa), and a charr ranger (Rythco Hawkrend). All these characters are now level 80, and I’m now trying to decide which character to create next (either a mesmer or engineer; any suggestions?).

Those are my characters, but what of my experiences in game? It started off in Metrica Province, and I was just continuously blown away by the details and love poured into the game and characters by Anet. I remember encountering one of my favourite NPCs, a golem called DEL-X99, whose sole purpose was to deliver messages between various asura. I followed him around for a good 15 minutes, listening to him talk, hearing the responses, and wondering if the rest of the game would contain hidden gems like this. I was not disappointed! Throughout all my adventures across Tyria, from Rata Sum to the Fields of Ruin to the Cursed Shore, I constantly encounter little snippets of dialogue that immerse me in the game, and remind me why I love playing it.

My goal when I started playing Guild Wars 2 was to take it at my own pace, and not rush things. I’m not a power leveller, and I’m not a farmer. I play the game to enjoy it, to escape into a different world. Tyria has allowed me to do this. The beautiful visuals help (Divinity’s Reach is simply astounding), and I wanted to explore all of it. And so I did! I ran everywhere with my little warrior, 100%ing each map as I came across it, and loving every moment. The whole game has this “oh, just one more event then I’ll stop” feel to it, resulting in one hour turning into five. It rewards you for everything (exploring, fighting, ressing, crafting, hearts, dynamic events, jumping puzzles), making it incredibly tough to stop playing!

The first two months, I was in awe of the game. Sure, there were niggles to it, but the pros far outweighed the cons. Then Anet announced The Shadow of the Mad King. I LOVED the Halloween events in Guild Wars 1 (my main necro in GW1 spent most of his career with the pumpkin crown on his head), so was super excited to see what they would do in Guild Wars 2. I was not disappointed in the slightest. The first Living World update (although at the time it wasn’t called the Living World; that came later) remains my favourite. We got a special cutscene (what an entrance by the Mad King!), a new dungeon, new mini games, and a brutal yet brilliant new jumping puzzle, the Mad King’s Clock Tower. I raged so hard at this jumping puzzle, but it provided the single biggest sense of relief that I’ve had in game when I completed it. Once I had mastered it (I swear it’s all muscle memory now), I jumped it for pleasure, relishing the challenge of being the first person to the top. This patch also introduced the use of achievements to direct players in what to do, which Anet have maintained up to now.

I’ve enjoyed all the subsequent patches and quality of life improvements to Guild Wars 2 (Wintersday and SAB were excellent, and thank you currency wallet!), but none came close to the awe of the original Halloween patch. In January, Anet introduced the concept of the Living Story, and over the past eight months, they have used this to evolve Tyria and the game. It started out slowly with the Flame and Frost patch, but over the months, it built up and up into the most recent full blown invasion of watchwork minions, aetherblades and the molten alliance, all headed by the insane Scarlet Briar. I thoroughly enjoyed each new patch, some more than others, and participated fully in each, earning all the achievement points possible.

Ah, achievement points. Those who follow me on Twitter (@TyrianTweets) know that I am an achievement points junkie. Since the introduction of achievement point (AP) rewards, I’ve been amassing as many APs as possible. I currently have over 12k APs, and am ranked in the top 210 players in Europe. I do every daily (PvE and PvP) every day, and work on other APs when I have time (here’s looking at you shield/focus/torch mastery!). This has become what I do in Guild Wars 2. I’ve completed every single achievement from all the Living Story updates, bar one… Light Up The Darkness. It may well be the first one I don’t achieve… and I’m ok with that.

AP hunting has got me playing a lot more WvW and PvP than I did at the start of the game, which I’m actually really thankful for! My terrormancer, well, terrorises in WvW, and some of my best moments in game come from WvW. There have been many times I’ve solo capped a supply camp defended by 2-3 enemies, and won (epidemic FTW). Roaming with my zerk warrior friend is even more fun, and too many times we’ve defeated groups of 4+ players rather easily. As for PvP, I both love it and get annoyed at it. Love it for the franticness, the solo fights, the team play, and get annoyed at it when other players don’t understand how to cap a point. It’s all good fun though.

I should probably wrap this blog up now! It sort of ran away from me; after all, time flies when you’re having fun! Before I do though, I want to talk about the future of Guild Wars 2, and what I hope to achieve. Xazzi got her legendary axe Frostfang about 6-7 months into the game (I was lucky enough to get the precursor drop from the Lost Shores karka event!), and I’m working on a second weapon, though undecided as to what to get, or for whom. I’m looking forward to more permanent content in game, now that the groundwork has been laid. I’ll continue AP hunting, and the return of the Mad King is something I’m super excited about.

Most of all, however, I look forward to exploring an evolving Tyria with new friends and old. After all, isn’t forming friendships one of the main reasons we play MMOs? That, and having lots and lots and lots of fun. So thank you Anet for creating a wonderful world, and here’s hoping the next twelve months are even better.

This is my story. Onwards!

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