"Good God, Devona is a beast."
"Heals! I need heals!" "But you're the Monk...ahh, you're dead!"
"Bucklers? What is a bear doing carrying a buckler?"
The conversations during last Thursday's Massively Night in Guild Wars were as much fun as the actual gameplay, thanks in large part to a 40-man Ventrilo server donated by one of our participants. We'd had an enthusiastic response from the Massively IRC crowd when the idea of a Guild Wars night came up, but I still wasn't sure what kind of turnout we'd have. My question was answered when I logged into the appointed district an hour and a half ahead of time, only to find two people already there waiting for guild invitations.
It proved to be a sign of how the evening was going to go. Over the next ninety minutes, the crowd in Ascalon City grew. We had a nice mix of new and veteran players, which gave the new players showing up early an opportunity to ask their questions and chat a bit. I've always felt that the Guild Wars community is one of the best there is, and the time spent waiting reinforced that belief as the veterans eagerly offered advice and answered questions, helping those new to the game find their bearings.
So how was the rest of the evening? Follow along after the jump to find out!
I was outwardly a bit antisocial for the first two hours or so. Behind the scenes was pretty hectic, though. Guild invitation requests were coming into my whisper channel every couple of minutes -- by the time the event started [MVOP] had nearly 40 members -- and in between requests were a multitude of questions on every topic from "My old guild is dead, how do I leave it to join this one?" to "What are we doing tonight?" In between I was speaking to one member about Ventrilo and another about allying with another guild, as well as trying to answer questions in local chat. It was a bit confusing, but in the best way -- it was so exciting to see that many people there and engaged, with more joining in all the time.
We got the Ventrilo information up in the guild announcement and shared it in local chat several times for the benefit of those dozen or so people who had opted to stay in their current guilds. Guild Wars has an account-based guild system, so people were more than welcome to participate on alts while remaining in their current guild. As the Vent login information made its way around, the server became very active with around 30 people sharing a channel. For those new players it turned out to be extremely helpful having so many experienced people on hand to offer advice. For those familiar with the game it was fun to be able to yell at Devona for charging across the bridge without waiting for you and have so many people laugh and understand exactly how irritating that was.
We began the event by pairing up according to profession and tackling the profession-specific quests. With well over 50 people in the district (and a single Japanese player whom we assume was terribly confused by us) just pairing up was an epic quest in itself. There was a fair amount of confusion that comes with the first night of an in-game event like this, and I was doing the verbal equivalent of pushing people together two by two and tossing them out of the portal. Seraphina jumped in too and began pairing people up -- thank you again, Sera, I heart you -- and eventually we were underway.
As we moved from running in circles to actual gameplay, things settled down a bit. Pre-searing quests are fairly quick, and the addition of voice chat helped facilitate more fluid play among the group at large. While some player pairs proceeded through everything together, other groups formed and reformed as people had to log out for the evening or moved on to different quests -- it wasn't unusual at all to hear someone say on Vent that they needed to do "x" quest and get a quick response from someone else who needed it as well.
The event, while as chaotic as you would expect when 50-ish people come together and try to all pair off at once, was a resounding success. It served as a great introduction to Guild Wars for many people, as any game is better when you have a group all ready to play with you and experienced people to help guide you. Even for those who have been playing for years, most of us haven't hung out in Pre for a very long time and have forgotten how much fun it can be starting with a brand-new character. Community truly is key in most MMOs, even if you are a solo player. A good gaming community is your best resource for advice, assistance, and simply filling out the world you're in.
As the group settled in, everyone began moving at their own pace, but the general agreement was that we want to stay in Pre for about two more weeks, enjoying the scenery. Pre-searing is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas of Guild Wars, with much more to explore and accomplish than meets the eye at first. We'll continue questing, picking up our collector armor, and bribing Nicholas the Traveler. Speaking of armor and good old Nick, this is probably a good time for some tips on that. If you're a newer player, you may not know that there is upgraded armor available in pre-searing from collectors. The items are pretty easy to acquire in your normal travels, so check out the Wiki's list of armor collectors for your profession for a list of what you need to hang on to. Nicholas Sandford is a useful NPC as well, hidden back in a remote -- and gorgeous -- corner near Fort Ranik. He offers up all sorts of goodies, and as we work our way toward Fort Ranik I'll be sure that everyone who wants to pay him a visit knows how to find him.
If you missed out last week and want to join us, please do -- it's absolutely not too late to catch up. We'll meet again in Pre-Searing Ascalon City, Japanese district 1. Send a tell to Rubi Djinn for a guild invite, but if you want to participate on an alt and remain in your current guild we would still be thrilled to have you.
Oh, one last thing. If you're wondering how on earth you are going to store all that stuff for armor collectors and Nicholas, I may have a solution for you. I have a little prize for one lucky member of our Guild Wars Massively group in the form of a Charr Bag. Just drop a comment here indicating your interest, and I'll draw a name at random Thursday. You can pick up your prize in-game during the event Thursday evening. Good luck, and I'll see you all then!