I keep wanting to talk about memories of development and standing in lines at PAX and meeting devs and other fans as a way of describing my involvement with this game up 'til this point. I sometimes feel that that's odd, saying that the most exciting part of following Guild Wars 2's development has been the people I've met rather than the game that we're all congregating around. ArenaNet seems to agree with my take on things, though, if global brand manager Chris Lye can be trusted. He says of ArenaNet, "We're not a video game company; we're a community building company. We just happen to have one of the coolest ways to build a community, which is through a video game."
Be it trite or not, I find that that kind of statement aligns nicely with the reason I, someone who plays MMOs largely for the sense of shared experience, have enjoyed Guild Wars 2 and its community so much.
Last week saw the end of GuildMag's blog carnival focusing on memories of the development of Guild Wars 2. I was a little preoccupied with the history of Tyria at the time, but it's a subject that I'd like to talk about. You should take a spin through GuildMag's collection of entries; there are scads of awesome memories and reflections. One of the coolest and most significant things about the entries, though, is that pretty much all of them talk about a communal experience. Many of them are incredibly distinct and divergent, but almost none of them describes a solo journey.
That's really beautiful, and it matches up with my own experiences rather nicely.
My most precious memories from PAX 2010 aren't of demo time. They're of meeting Izzie of TalkTyria and of standing in line with Rhonda of GW-EN to answer trivia questions and getting a spare ticket for ArenaNet's PAX party, which I eventually gave to Evan Teicheira. TalkTyria became a home to me not long after, and I ran into Rhonda and GW-EN a month or so later when I started involving myself with Pink Day in LA and other player-run events.
Fan Day was another key experience in my wait for Guild Was 2. Aside from meeting amazing members of the community like Ravious and Poke and Rubi and so many others and finding out that Evan Teicheira had become a part of ArenaNet conglomerate, I think the fact that we had a chance to interact with ArenaNet developers was really the selling point of the trip for me. Playing the game was lovely, but it was so very secondary to everything else that went on that day. Ravious wrote a lovely entry for the blog carnival that says a lot of what I'd most like to say about Fan Day, so you should read it and imagine my shouting "ditto" at the end.
Everyone [at ArenaNet's PAX party], fan and dev alike, was super approachable, and the whole thing felt more like a reunion of friends than the first-time meeting that, in many cases, it was. I'll note that there was fan-on-fan PvP available to play, but I was so caught up in enjoying the people that it didn't even really cross my mind to go up to the usability lab to take a shot at it. There was plenty of talking and questions back and forth about Guild Wars 2 itself, but I know that conversations strayed very far away from that, as people went from being Guild Wars 2 devs and Guild Wars 2 fans and were, instead, fellow gamers and genuinely cool peeps.Don't get me wrong; I'm obviously a fan of Guild Wars 2 as a game and I fully appreciated every opportunity I had to play it, but a great deal of what makes it so neat is the people with whom I've shared the experience. You all and all of the game's twitter fans and all the people on Guild Wars 2 Guru and everyone in any of the communities I've interacted with have been a part of that.
For that reason, I'm really looking forward to seeing people again at PAX this year. For me, it'll be the summation of the long wait through the game's announcement and development and the start to enjoying the post-launch life of Guild Wars 2.
What have been some of your favorite moments? Whom have you shared them with?
And other stuff
You might've noticed that the images for this post look like they'd fit right at home in an appreciation post of the Asura area. I just can't get enough of it! Where have you been hanging out for the stress tests? I've heard a bit of whining about the stress tests (which is a whole 'nother bucket of fish), but the window for stress testing is rapidly diminishing, so I can't help but feel gleeful about the whole thing.
Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.