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[Message] Thankfulness


Rivlet.9174

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Before I start unravelling the content of this long-ish story, I would like to warn you about its purpose and intended audience. As you may have guessed by the title given to it, its goal is to share and justify the feeling of gratitude that I treasure towards everyone who made and makes the Guild Wars franchise possible (developers, players… you name it). Do not get me wrong, however. This is not the result of a too young and enthusiastic fanboy eagerly sharing his thoughts on something he loves. This is about a thirty-year-old reflecting and being grateful for the moments and consequences brought upon his life by a specific series, with its strengths and weaknesses.

My story with Guild Wars is somewhat ‘complex’ and starts with Prophecies. Somewhere around 2006 and 2007 I got tired of playing Ragnarok Online on a private server and started checking other options. Of course, for a high school student with absolutely no income, paying a monthly fee was unthinkable. A friend of mine told me about Guild Wars and, surprised by the scale of it, its design and by the fact that it did not require a fee, I decided to give it a go. After earning it, my mother bought me the standalone Prophecies version and I tried it out. I went for a warrior-monk and had fun for a while, but I eventually dropped it and went back to Ragnarok Online.

We fast forward a year and a half and we find ourselves in February 2008, when I was diagnosed with bone marrow failure (a complex and very rare autoimmune disease). After some months fighting the illness while carrying on with my studies, I was finally discharged from the hospital and continued my treatment from home. To celebrate the occasion, my mother asked me whether there was something I was looking forward to. Guild Wars came back to my mind. By then, all of its expansions had come out and there was a comprehensive bundle called Guild Wars: The Complete Collection that caught my eye. She bought it for me (thank you again, mom), and, after donating my old Prophecies account to a friend, I delved into it.

I do not know what made it work this time. Maybe it was the different starting class (elementalist), maybe it was the people I met in game, maybe the game had improved or perhaps I was the one who changed. Probably all of it at once. In any case, I was completely captivated by it and, as I began my university degree, Guild Wars became my unwinding tool. Setting after setting, I became both a hero and a cartographer across Tyria, Elona and Cantha and I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the story, with its marvellous soundtrack, with the different settings, with many of the quests I completed, the characters… In a situation in which what I could do was limited by the treatment I was following, Guild Wars provided me with that extra degree of physical and psychological freedom that was much needed.

In August 2009, right after my first school year at university, I, like many others, felt a massive hype wave as I watched the Guild Wars 2 teaser over and over and over again. The time of the Hall of Monuments rush had come. Together with a good-hearted player that acted as my mentor, I had a blast trying to collect minipets, armor pieces and the like. It felt like I was achieving something, truly building up a legacy that would act as an insanely deep background for the characters to come. Little did I know that I was as unready as I could be.

You see, I was not the kind of gamer that thoroughly informed himself about the new title he wanted to play. Back then, I relied mostly on emotions: excitement, trust, subjective expectations and so on. In regards to Guild Wars 2, I only knew that it was set two hundred and fifty years after the events of the first game; that it looked awesome; that it sounded even better; that you could jump; that you could select a race; and that it was fully persistent this time. Basically, the information included on the aforementioned teaser trailer. So, when the game launched and I got my day-one copy, I was not expecting to feel so disappointed.

Entirely my fault.

After the announcement of Guild Wars 2, I had just envisioned a game of my own: the first Guild Wars with more and improved mechanics and graphics. I tried it, of course (I had bought it already and I had to look after my pennies), but I was unable to feel engaged with the dynamic quest system, parts of the story, some of the characters, the absence of cutscenes and so on. I missed Guild Wars’ questing, built upon walls of text that usually provided rich backgrounds full of separate and sometimes compelling stories. I missed Guild Wars’ cutscenes, as clumsy as they were. I missed the race-based geopolitical tribulations and the subsequential dramatic situation that framed the world (Ascalon’s destruction and refugee crisis at the hands of the Charr; Kryta’s issues with the White Mantle; Cantha’s insane situation; Elona’s downfall…). Back then (at launch, 2012), I could not feel that with Guild Wars 2. Probably because it was less linear than Guild Wars. It felt like the world had changed too much, even having many of its landmarks almost completely wiped out. Anyway, the thing is that I stopped playing after a month and a half, give or take, so my human guardian sat there for years.

And yet, unknowingly, such a discouraging beginning would have the sweetest of ‘endings’. But before that, we would have to fail yet again. In 2017, I was sitting in front of my PC on a hot summer break morning and I was trying to make up my mind about what to play. In a digital era, my eyes laid upon my humble collection of physically cased videogames. I sighted my beloved Guild Wars: The Complete Collection copy and, next to it, the infamous Guild Wars 2 one. I went online and I started gathering information on the latter, finding out about Hearts of Thorns and Path of Fire. Still unwilling to invest more on a game that I had not liked, I just went on with what I had and proceeded to download and install Guild Wars 2.

I was determined to test it thoroughly, attempting to get the best experience that it could offer, so I read some posts which recommended to sign up into a guild as soon as possible and try to play the game with people (it is an MMO after all). So, I did: I carefully chose one, got admitted and I set off on my adventure as a Norn ranger. The guild’s atmosphere was lovely, but people were logically not too interested in walking around the first maps, completing hearts, getting vistas and all that not-so-fun part. Especially with a guy they did not know yet and who did not own the much-needed expansions. I did not mind at the beginning. On my own, I did every quest I could find, read every text I came across, thoroughly and systematically explored and completed every map… I was doing quite well. I was having fun in a chilled way… until I got to Lornar’s Pass.

After playing the game for hours, I happily completed Snowden Drifts and proceeded to get into Lornar’s Pass. I found the first waypoint, quit there and went to bed. The following morning, I launched the game, saw myself standing at that waypoint, briefly thought of what I had to do (run around, get hearts done, get vistas…) and I got discouraged. It was 2012 all over again. Had I had mounts, the story could have been completely different, but I am glad it went down like this: the best was yet to come.

Fate or chance —however you prefer to call it— is a factor that can turn our lives into something shockingly surprising, for good or bad. The fact that I had logged out in that location in 2017 is also the event that made me log in on that same region in early 2019 when I was yet again willing to try the game. Ten minutes in, I read a guild advertisement message on the map chat. At first, I had no intention of joining, but I also felt a little bit more careless about my third attempt at Guild Wars 2 so I thought ‘I have nothing to lose: let’s take a look’.

A portal to a different world. That is what it was.

I could have overlooked that message or simply ignored it, but I decided to pay attention and let it change my life. In that guild I found the right ingredients that made me enjoy the game fully. It carried me through the surface of the early-to-mid-game phase of the base game and beyond: into the overwhelming depths of the end-game and the incredible and endless riches of its expansions. But I found something way more important than that: the wonderful woman that became my life companion. It happened in the most casual of ways and now, fast forwarding to 2021, we find ourselves living together —we resided in different countries within the European Union—, about to build our future home and sharing lots of great moments every day.

Needless to say, all of this would not have happened without Guild Wars. Just reflect on my story and you will easily understand. Things would have been different, yes, but not how they were (and I am damn happy with how things were and, subsequently, with how things are). Isn’t life random? I am well aware that this is nothing new. People have referred to it as the ripple effect or the butterfly effect. Lots of movies, shows and games have explored this aspect of life, but that fact does not make it less magical. An incredible feeling strikes me when I ponder how two extremely distant events are irremediably related: the moment of ArenaNet’s formation and the first drafts for what would end up being Guild Wars are directly connected to some of the most important milestones of my life so far. If there is a lesson to be learnt from this, I think it is the following one: never underestimate the power of the ordinary. Never underestimate the grains of sand. You never know what these things entail. That is what life is truly about, I believe.

Thankfulness, then. Infinite gratitude to the minds and hearts that configured the Guild Wars experience. From the creators of the universe to its inhabitants. And I know there is not one without the other, but if you allow me to, I would like to give a special shout out to the people behind the curtains of this big stage: all of the developers and staff members who made and make this possible. And yes: I know that the road has not been easy. It never is. A human life in itself is incredibly complex, let alone a whole company of them. There were ups and downs at a micro and macro level and they will continue to come in cycles. But do not give up. Keep on pushing. Keep on pouring passion into what you do. As one of the characters says in a musical I am infatuated with ‘Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder.’ You have my full support and affection. You earned it. Count me in for End of Dragons.

PS: I am also extremely thankful for what you did with Auric Basin. What a map, what a story and what a soundtrack. Unbelievable.

PS 2: Happy Valentine’s Day.

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I thought about writing this in the thread about the cooking recipes, but this seems a better place for it. Thank you, Rivelt, for opening this thread and sharing. I hope it's all right with you if I follow in your footsteps.

I'm also well into my 30s. Very long ago, now, my then-new husband got into Guild Wars at the release of Nightfall, for much the same reasons as Rivelt; I was still in college, my husband had a new job, and there was no monthly fee; getting the game for both of us was a celebration of his first paycheck. He had friends who played, and he and Guild Wars turned me into a gamer... though not a very good one. Guild Wars and Diablo were about the only games we could agree on, though; he was a StarCraft kind of guy, while I got into modding for Morrowind and followed the Elder Scrolls game. But we always played Guild Wars together.

Back when it was the Canthan New Year festival in Shing Jea, we had a tradition: we'd go out for Asian food on the day the festival opened (we lived in a city where there were amazing, authentic Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese places all within a mile of our apartment), play all night, and set our characters up for AFK gambling all day. One year, things were tight, though; the Great Recession had just started, and we were both out of work. Instead of going out, I got creative and made Red Bean Buns and my own version of one of the dishes from the Celestial Feast... I don't even remember which one, now. My husband teased me about it, so I wrote a little vinaigrette, describing how one of his characters invented the recipe. We were playing World of Warcraft as well, with it's more robust cooking system than GW1 had at the time, and that became our new tradition; every new game festival, I'd make a dish from it. Wintersday Cookies and Egg Nog, Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving, Birthday Cake on GW's anniversary... And all came with stories about his characters, mine, and the game, just because it made him laugh.

Fast forward to the release of GW2; it was also the year our first child was born. I was thrilled with the new crafting system, particularly cooking; especially as I could craft one-handed while nursing, rocking, or holding a sleeping infant. We timed our second daughter better; she was a year old when Heart of Thorns came out.

And then, between the testing of Heart of Thorns and it's release, my 38 year old husband had a stroke, and was dead a week later.

We'd pre-purchased Heart of Thrones, but I didn't play it. For a long time, I couldn't even log in to do dailies. His friends had moved on, from the game and from our lives, and I was never great at the game. But a couple of years later, after yet another move, I found the notebook where I'd collected all the recipes I'd been developing from the new crafting system. Path of Fire had come out; he would have enjoyed the mounts. For the first time since he had passed away, logging back into the game, I felt close to him again. I began to play again, slowly; and I began to cook the recipes during the festivals for my two girls, without saying anything about it. But one day, I was leveling my cooking when my then-6 year old eldest daughter wandered by. She figured she'd "help" me, and was hooked. Although terrified of actually fighting any creatures, she LOVED exploring the safer parts of the world, dressing up my characters, and crafting. (And, weirdly, PVP. Other players were just playing like her, she explained to me once, but the poor monsters weren't doing anything wrong, and it wasn't nice to wander around killing them.) After she spent a couple hundred of my gold buying mostly blueberries on the trading post, I dug up my husband's account information and let her create her first character of her own. I had no idea, then, what I was doing.

Two years later, my oldest daughter is now very much the gamer her father was. She completed the main story of Guild Wars 2, is more or less carrying me along Path of Fire, and has her own account, while using the festivals to teach her little sister the basics ("dont' run over the townspeople when you are racing; they don't like it!"), and coding Minecraft. Her younger sister just received her own account for Christmas; she's ready to move on from dressing up characters to getting her first mount, but she wants to be a baker or a chef when she grows up, and has taken over the Big Book of Game Recipes; we're working on rice balls this week. When we've had a bad week, when it's hard to be without husband and father, when we just need to spend time together, when we can't take another moment in Covid quarantine... we come back to Guild Wars. Gaming was my husband's passion; but the Guild Wars series, with all it's little flaws and hiccups and problems, was the reason I became a gamer, and became one of the biggest things that still connects me and our daughters to him, even with him gone. Every time I finish an achievement or a story mission I was sure I'd never be able to do without him to help me, every time my daughter and I earn a new piece of armor together, every time we make another pot of Cold Wurm Stew or Moa Poultry Noodle Soup, I am so grateful for the Guild Wars franchise. Yes, I know for hardcore gamers, it has it's problems. But every time Lander or Violina Masma walks Tyria, my husband is still alive, just a little, and remembered; and I so grateful to all the people who worked so hard to make this game fun for that. As Rivlet said, count us in for End of Dragons; I can't wait to show my girls Cantha! Thank you so much for all you've done with this game! And Happy Valentines Day, all.

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@Lyssia.4637 said:I thought about writing this in the thread about the cooking recipes, but this seems a better place for it. Thank you, Rivelt, for opening this thread and sharing. I hope it's all right with you if I follow in your footsteps.

Of course not! What a beautiful, bittersweet story you shared with us. And I am genuinely glad that it has sort of a happy 'ending'.

I only hope that people won't miss it because of being embedded within the thread I started. It deserves to be read and fully appreciated. I surely did so. Greetings to your daughters as well. You are all 3 great heroines.

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  • 1 year later...

A year later and as I said: count us in for End of Dragons. ❤️ 🙂 

I can't play EoD yet and I'm already thinking: what's next? Super hyped, really. More GW2, GW3... Whatever. Count me in!

I hope Guild Wars 1&2 and ArenaNet's future are both infinite and bright, because I want to share many more adventures with you.

Huge thank you!

Edited by Rivlet.9174
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Beautiful stories that brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing! 🥰    I am going to share mine, if you don't mind. However, mine is more a story of recovery and support.  

 

December 24th, 2016 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour after discovering I was going blind. It was on both my optic nerves and between the main arteries going into my brain. I was given 6 months to live without brain surgery. Having children (adults at this point) I chose surgery.  Normally this type of brain tumour is benign and doesn't leave behind much damage. January 23rd, 2017 I went into surgery 4 hours from my home. I left the surgery room 10 hours later. I had a stroke during the surgery but was alive. My face was so swollen that the medical team missed the fact that the left half of my face was frozen. They did not run tests to see if the stroke had caused damage. I was released from the hospital 5 days later and returned home. 3 months later I was allowed to return to work but started a new job. I had trouble learning anything at all, everything I was taught I couldn't recall. Notes weren't helping. I made mistakes that caused my employers money. I was let go. (Cried my freaking heart out, first and only time I was ever fired.) I had vision issues, learning issues, decision issues. I couldn't fully control the left side of my body and had severe eye-hand coordination issues. I had vision abnormalities and no balance of any kind. Finally seeing a family doctor I was told that this was how they discovered someone had severe repercussions from a stroke, they lost their job. I went on permanent medical leave and received zero treatment for the stroke (to this day.) I started using gaming to recover from the stroke and everything I lost. 

 

My youngest son suggested Guild Wars 2 as a good game to play and fill my time that fall. I created an account and a necro and tried to play. It did not go well. I stopped playing GW2 for a long while I played Diablo3. (Fluff was all my brain could handle.) I made progress with my recovery and come January (2020) I relogged on and made a different character (mesmer) and started playing again. I joined a guild and met a guy. We talked non stop and started dating. The guildies and this guy dragged me all over the place. OW, fractals, achievements, dungeons. It was difficult and I wasn't getting it. The guy I met had me join another guild and played a bit of WvW with them. I was still not getting it. The guy I met turned out to be a controlling meanie and we split. I left both guilds.  I solo'd for a long while. Talked my best freind into playing. Started learning the game. It took forever and I'm still learning. Followed meta builds, explored stories, made numerous new characters and classes. I fought for every inch I learned. My now husband came back into my life and also joined GW2. I learned a second brain tumour had grown on my left optic nerve. At that point, we had no idea of what my treatment would be or where it would land me. Between the two of them, they convinced me to start my own guild as my support system, so I did. I went through deep brain radiaton therapy spring of 2021. The tumour is now shrinking, my eyesight is the best its been in over a decade and my outlook it is looking good. I still have a brain tumour but I'm winning. Somedays my brain, eyes and coordination works, somedays it doesn't. I've now learned fractals, strikes, all the story lines, and am slowly (really slowly) heading towards raids. I have all the mounts, some legendaries, am learning pvp, and help newer members whenever I can. I have much more to learn yet (more strikes, better effective pvp and wvw, my own builds, raids etc.). I'm slowly growing my guild and no longer consider it my support group but a support for my guildmates. I have a few non-family members that really are like family now. Great fun to play with and I appreciate every moment they are there. 

 

Support needs a special shout out, as far as I'm concerned. I have sent in tickets. Sometimes it's a problem on their end and they fix it very quickly. Sometimes it's a PEBCAK issue. I can't see something right in front of my eyes. They, ALWAYS, point out what I'm missing without judgement, without anger, without name calling. They resolve my issue even when it's just my brain refusing to work. This is SOOOO RARE! I get called stupid, accused of drama, told to just quit in every area of my life except close friends and family, my guild, and the support team. I would bake them cookies on a regular basis if I could. 

 

Long story short: Guild Wars 2 has been a cornerstone of my recovery. I love to play it, love the support system and am still learning everyday. As a completionist, I will not run out of things to do or learn. As a disabled person, it's challenging but with hard work still doable. It's helped my hand-eye coordination, thought process, critical thinking and it just plain fun. I will remain playing GW2 until my brain tumor kills me or GW3 becomes a thing. 

 

P.S. 

For my current and ex-guildies whom might read this. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you of this journey. It's easier to write then tell and I'm still gun shy about telling it. I've been accused of "drama and attention seeking" in game by others when it's just my reality. Please forgive me.

 

To those who've accused me of "drama and attention seeking" or do in the future... may karma greet you!

 

 

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There are no words to describe everything you went through, did and achieved, Mossmere. I admire it greatly. A few hundred written words cannot comprehend the battle you fought and fight.

I cannot help but feel happy and relieved for you. I am very glad you got to discover GW2 on your way to recovery and that the game and its people have filled your life with support and joy.

Here's to many more years of awesome experiences and adventures!

PS: Totally agree with your statement about ANET's support guys. 😄

Edited by Rivlet.9174
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Inspiring stories, thanks to all for sharing.

I'm not suffering from any medical condition but just being old (62) 🙂 

I also started in GW and went to GW2, pretty much the same story. I was already working at the time (age difference X2 😉 ) so I did not have the 'money problems'. To be honest, I was playing WoW 'full time' back then, raiding, Guild leading, you name it ... done it all. But I was getting a bit bored/burned out at the time.


Now, I've always loved video games, have always been completely fascinated so I was always looking out for the next best thing. And - at that time - GW and GW2 did it for me - really good looking games. I was oftenly amazed and just looked around to take in the views. But, in the end, I wasn't caught up in the story, lore, mechanics, .... and so I returned to WoW ... for some time. Then I got really burned out, it started to get like a job ... which I already had and was/is pretty demanding. That was quite some time ago. I bought the WoW expansions, played a character through them till level cap ... and that was it.

 

This was going on till some time ago when I saw a YT-vid about GW2 and I immediately felt I had to try this again. You know what, I'm hooked. This game still looks incredible, has some of the best world designs out there and is - pretty important for me - a very casual friendly environment. 

So yeah, nice job DEV-team and I would say thanks for catering for the people above!

I'm truly enjoying the game and still have a lot(!) to discover 🙂 

EDIT: oh, and I forgot ... a really nice community as well (even more important than a game looking well).

Edited by Keehra.4621
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35 minutes ago, KeoLegend.5132 said:

I dream for an expansion where we will have GUILD WARS like the original one.

Guilds fighting eachother, politics, cuthroats and whatnot.
Im tired of this good vs evil super ultra mega power ranger alliance vs shenlong

Good news alliances is coming to wvw sometime after the expansion launches, so it will be GvG in wvw.

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I love hearing about good stories about the Guild Wars (OG & 2) community and how this franchise helps people, no matter what it is they go through, no matter their ages.  I'd say that I hear/read more about the GW community than any other game...but, the fact is, I'm more plugged into the GW communities than I am other gaming communities because I always come back after trying others.

I got my start with Prophecies around, 2006 (like OP), not long after a visit from the psych ward.  I was diagnosed at the age of 23 (2 years earlier) with Bipolar 2 (Depression), PTSD, & GAD and Social Anxiety Disorder.  Anyway, after they got my meds right and I got stable, I'd been looking for a better way to unwind, rather than just playing crappy FB games back then that were barely holding my interest.

So, on a chance trip with mom, to the local Yellow Tag store that sells tech stuff, she needed a new phone.  Like I always do when she's taking forever shopping (because this woman is allergic to quick trip shopping), I get bored and wander off on my own and end up in the gaming section, daydreaming.  As I'm looking through the selections, there's a couple that catch my eye.  The old Neverwinter Nights, the never dying WoW, and of course, Guild Wars Prophecies.

A clerk noticed me browsing and looking at the back of WoW with a funny face and put it back on the shelf and assisted me.  I explained the situation, that I wasn't interested in paying a subscription (at that time, I had no money to sustain one).  Well, the clerk just extolls the virtues of Guild Wars.  He had good things to say about the old NwN, but...the way he explained GW, I was more sold on that, and picked it up instead, took it to my mom and convinced her to get it for me.  Besides, I was doing her a favor by driving her every where, she said she owed me anyway, so she didn't complain.

I was a little annoyed by the length of time it took to load, but...my computer back then was really crappy.  Afterwards, no one could pry me away from that computer unless there was a family obligation, or the house was burning down, or I actually had to sleep.  I was hooked.  My ranger was my baby.  I did everything on that character.  I was in a few guilds until I found the right mix of people for me.  I had quite a few online friends...Oh, I had so much fun!

And it helped with the Depression part of my Bipolar a lot.  Especially if I ever did PvP just to blow off some aggrivation (I wasn't good at it, but it helped with some anger issues).  Of course I got the other stand-alone games, Factions and Nightfall and the expansion.  And, after awhile, I did branch out into other games, as one does the more one plays.

There were also times when I realized that I was doing too much gaming too and had to step away for a bit.  Live in the real world for awhile because, yes, gaming can become addictive.  When I heard that GW2 was going to be made, I was thrilled, though, and planned on getting it as soon as I could.  But the waiting...oh man!

So, the release rolls around, but I didn't have the money for it quite yet, so I had to wait a bit.  There were other things on my plate before I could get the game.  And then finally, 6 months after release, I was able to get it.  I was a little confused at first, but I managed to catch on quick, because of the GW community.  It's been awhile, but...between a few people helping me out by either donating either bigger bags, or just a few spare g, I was able to really get going and do what I needed to do.  And I found my niches in the game.

I wish I could say that I found the love of my life here or something like that, but...what I found in GW2 was a little different.  It gave me something better.  1.  It gave me a way to destress that wasn't sitting in front of a TV watching boring shows that I hate.  2.  It also helped me be able to do some small talk when talking with other people (helping me with some social anxiety issues).  3.  It gave me a way to get out of dark headspace when depression was getting really bad.  4.  And most important, it gave me something to look forward to when nothing else did.  So I'm really just thankfull and gratefull for all of that.

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