Friday, August 19, 2011

Farewell To Ascalon: Let's Play Guild Wars - 1

  • What I remember most about that morning was the warm breeze.
  • Welcome to my first post in my Guild Wars Let's Play article, Farewell To Ascalon. All thanks go to Jayedub for giving me the idea. I just wish I'd thought of it first.

    In this series, we will follow the adventures of Khilesia Lanfier, a young elementalist, as she makes her first journey to Ascalon City. All of my
    Guild Wars characters belong to the same family, which seems strange in retrospect, but I'm not about to change it now. Just you wait until you read the story of how the Lanfier line carries over to Guild Wars 2. You're getting chills already, right?
    Before we get started, I want to take a look at our new character as we exit the creation process. Quite the looker. Well, they are all like that.

    I love ArenaNet unreservedly, but we have to talk about the character models. Complain about other games all you want, but Guild Wars was the reason the word hypersexualized was created. There is some theory that the models are a nod to NCSoft's home, Korea, where the game did meet with some success. Honestly, these characters would not seem odd if you tossed them into Lineage.

    I will vehemently deny that I bought the game based on screenshots of scantily clad women, no matter how true it may be. Enough dawdling. Let's get back to our story.

  • It was an auspicious day. My first day at the Ascalon Academy. The King put out a call for every able bodied woman and man to defend the Wall against the coming Charr onslaught. As an elementalist, I knew it was my duty, no, my privilege to serve. So I dressed myself in something appropriate for the season and made my way to the city.

  • It was there that things became . . . strange.
  • "You there," the man cried. "The woman with the heaving bosoms."

  • "Are you speaking to me?" I asked.

  • He nodded down at me from his platform. "Yes, you. Are you Khilesia?" I said that I was. "Good. Sir Tydus has been asking after you. I was worried that you might have been caught in that snarl of bodies down the road. Who knows what black magic the Charr are up to there?"
  • When you create a character in Prophecies, you start on a path in the northeast corner of Ascalon City. The problem is that so does everyone else. When I started this night, there were four characters all stacked one on top of the other, with various bits of geometry sticking out. It makes the opening camera swing down to your character unintentionally hilarious. They fixed this in Factions and Nightfall by starting you in an instance.

  • I thanked the Town Crier and continued down the road. It ran straight to the gate of the Academy. Just off to the side was my good friend, Sir Tydus. He started to greet me as I jogged up, but then he bit his lower lip and smiled oddly. "Khilesia, it's good to see you. So much of you."

  • "Oh, Tydus, I'm so excited to be here," I said as we embraced. "I'm ready to take on the Charr whenever you are! Just the two of us."

  • "Maybe more than the two of us." He took a couple steps back, looking around as though he expect a warband to pop out from anywhere. "I know what we should do. I have a friend by the name of Howland. He is an elementalist too. Why don't you meet him outside the city in Lakeside County. I can convince him to share some of his magical spells with you. Or something."

  • Nothing could have made me happier. "Tydus, you are the best. I'll go see him now. Make sure he doesn't keep me waiting." I kissed him on the cheek and ran down the path to the city gates. Along the way, I passed Tydus's wife as she walked toward the Academy. She gave me the strangest look.
  • Outside, Howland the Elementalist was waiting for me. "Tydus told me that you were going to train me."

  • His eyes narrowed as he looked me over, judging me. It was like he could see right through me. It was exhilarating and frightening all at once. I wondered what kind of magic this was. "You were up late last night. Having a party before coming to the city, perhaps?"

  • "A little celebration, maybe. But mostly I was too anxious to sleep. You can tell all that just by looking at me?"

  • "I can tell all that because you forgot to dress after you woke up this morning."

  • I laughed at his jest. "Tydus did not tell me you were so funny. No, this is what all the young elementalists are wearing."

  • If it were possible, his eyes narrowed even more. "So, young elementalist, what spells do you know? Can you summon a Meteor Shower? Do you know how to cloak yourself in the Obsidian Flesh? Do you know the secrets to assume the Form of Mist?"

  • "I don't know any of that. I don't know any spells at all."
  • This is true. A starting character has no skills whatsoever. And if you skip this quest, you can go quite a while without them.
  • "Well then," he said, his eyes even narrower. "Let's see if you can kill a River Skale Tad and bring me back its scale."

  • Tad. Scale. It wasn't heroic, but every hero has to start somewhere, right?

  • As I traveled to the river, I ran into a little girl, dancing along by herself.
  • "You dance funny!" she said with a laugh. I explained that I wasn't dancing. "Oh. Are you okay?" When I said that I was, she told me her name was Gwen and that she had lost her flute.
  • If you are coming in from a standard MMO, you're going to get a shock just moving around in Guild Wars. Click-to-move is on by default. Even though I played the game for years, I still have trouble moving around.

    Gwen is, of course, the iconic character who took on a life of her own in the community. I doubt that she would have a place in the bonus missions and
    Eye of the North if people hadn't connected with her so much.
  • It wasn't just a scale. There was the strongbox. There were the bees and the massive honeycomb. Heroism seemed like a lot of busywork. Eventually, Devona took pity on me and sent me to Ashford Abbey to speak with one of her friends. It was a nice place to catch my breath.
    And here ends part one. That implies that there will be a part two. This is where you come in. Farewell To Ascalon is an interactive experience. Whenever I post a new part, I'll add a new poll to ask what we should do next. This week's poll is to determine how much of Pre-Searing that you want to see. So please vote. If you don't vote, you can't complain about how bad the series is.


  1. Dude, very well done! I know you use bullet points for everything, but it really works well for this post.

    I am really impressed and look forward to more, even if I despise Guild Wars with a passion.

  2. I support this completely. You're very good at writing a narrative too. I look forward to the next one!

  3. Nicely done anjin, this could be used as a tutorial in a way.

  4. @ Jayedub - I do love me some bullet points. So, just curious, what do you have against GW?

    @ Straw Fellow - Considering there are three campaigns and an expansion to finish, I have quite a lot ahead of me. We'll see how far I make it.

    @ Hunter - Absolutely. Just six years after anyone would need it. :)

    @ Yeebo - Thank you, sir.

  5. Nice write up, kinda even made me want to jump back into Guild Wars. Too bad I can't for the life of me remember my character names to log in (though I know I have them written down somewhere, I just can't be that bothered to look).

    I loved your comment about the character models because it made me remember what I thought of them when I first saw the game. I guess I never really appreciated that kinda style, partly because I grew up with a lot of it but mostly because why on earth do the women wear heels? As someone who has been subjected to long days walking in horrible shoes, it drives me crazy :P

  6. @ MMOGC - I'm not going to hammer on that joke too often, but the question of feasible armor will come up again.

  7. My thing with heels is sort of separate from the issue of feasible armor. No, the weird thing is I'll not bat an eye at a warrior princess fighting in a bikini, but if she happened to be wearing heels I'd snicker.

  8. @ MMOGC - Ha ha! We all have our breaking points. :)