Friday, 15 December 2017

Guild Wars - A Memory Revisited

It was April 25th, 2005 when the original (and to my mind, the best) Guild Wars game opened its doors to the virtual world of Tyria to the real world. For me, it couldn't have happened quick enough.

Up until then, my only multi-player gaming experiences had been Unreal Tournament played with my gaming buddy and great friend, Cat - he of 'Tarl & Grudge' fame from past posts relating to the pencil & paper rpg, 'Dragon Warriors'. We would have a blast playing on maps I'd create with the Unreal Editor, then emailed to him, to be installed and played that very same evening. That was back in the day of 56k dial-up. I digress.

I had played on several beta weekends for Guild Wars, each beta was run on the first weekend of each consecutive month before final release.

Beta Weekend, Guild Wars 2005 - Happy times. Copyright 2005-2017 M. Kelly.
Along with World of Warcraft, Guild Wars was a genre busting game, the first to introduce streaming technology so game play was never interrupted or slowed down. It was in a league of its own, and as such, won the hearts and minds of thousands of players world wide. Myself included.

Such was the love for the game, forums erupted into a war of words between those who played WoW and those who played GWs - both sides flaming the others forums on a daily basis. The true rise of the MMORPG 'fanboi' had arrived.

The main thrust of Guild Wars, as you might expect going by its name, was guild versus guild. Like most games, at one end of the spectrum you had your hardcore guilds who took everything seriously, studied the databases, the skill sets and did the maths. Then at the other end of the spectrum you had my guild - we participated for the fun of it with the budding hope we might actually win a GvG or two. It was brilliant. If my memory serves me correctly, the best we ever did in GvG was a 5 straight win streak, never to be repeated alas.

My particular guild initially began life known as 'Hellspawn Legion [HsL]' and was attracting a decent crowd of fellow gamers; by decent, I mean they were people who were genuinely nice to be around, had a great sense of humour and didn't freak if things didn't go our way.

My Guild under its first incarnation:  Hellspawn Legion. Copyright 2005-2017 M. Kelly.

I did, however, decide it was best to rename the guild after a funny incident when an American boyfriend-girlfriend combo had joined, but left the following day. Upon speaking with them in game it transpired that the couple were practicing Christians and couldn't be part of a guild who "worshiped Satan". Oh, how I laughed. But it did make me reconsider, and after careful consideration I changed the guild name to one that has stayed with me ever since: 'Midnight Legion [MiLE]'.

Fun times in GvG with my guildies. Copyright 2005-2017 M. Kelly.

The game was all I played and I dedicated myself to the smooth running of its members. It was quite possibly the best guild I have had the honour of setting up from scratch and running. I was blessed with meeting some wonderful players during that time, with the odd few crazies thrown in along the way. The guild had great officers, who supported me and helped to keep things ticking over if I was ever away. But, like everything in life, all good things do come to an end, and so it was with Guild Wars and my guild.

Guild Wars is still played today, but with a massively reduced number of active players. European servers are more or less wastelands and anyone who plays now does so on the US servers.
I find it extremely difficult returning to the game as it haunts me with bitter-sweet memories of all those great folks who once were part of Midnight Legion.

For all those guildies and friends with whom I have lost all contact, I hope life is treating them well and they are happy and healthy.

A guild banner I started for our forums - sadly, this was never to be. Copyright 2005-2017 M. Kelly.

Brief as this may be, one thing I will say before closing: ANet, who brought Guild Wars to the gaming world, did a rather shitty thing to the game and its player base by leaving it to its demise in order to focus on developing the game they branded as 'Guild Wars 2' - which I have played, but quite honestly, I detest.

At least one thing that can be said about the World of Warcraft developers, they've maintained their game, continually updating it and improving it (although vanilla players will disagree, and to some extent I can understand why), allowing the player base to stay steady, though not as huge as it used to be. I'm currently one of those playing it and enjoying the experience.

And if, by the slimmest of slimmest chances one of my former guildies (Adam, LaC, Fiona, Clubbo, Eric - to name but a few) read this, get in touch, it'd be fantastic to hear from you.

I leave you with one of my favourite songs from Woodkid: 'Iron'. This particularly excellent CGI animated film for Assassin's Creed still sends shivers down my spine during the fight sequence. Enjoy.


Eric Fonseca said...

Hey Mark!!!!! Dryden Heavysoul reporting for duty!

Mark K said...

ERIC! Dude! Man, what a blast from the past! So cool to hear from you again :) Thought we'd lost you to the void. I'm on Steam under 'Nexus13' if you want to reconnect and get a chat going. So happy you stopped by, buddy. Sorry for the slow reply, but working a lot of shift work. I'll bring you up to speed should you read this and connect.
Hope you're well, healthy and happy. Dryden Heavysoul... geez, what a blast we had, eh, in both GWs and WoW :)