The day after the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event ended, I felt fine. I had enjoyed my virtual exploits and gotten a good taste of the game’s promise of adventure.
The next day, I was a tad cranky, but nothing peculiar for me.
By the end of the week, my hands were shaking. My stomach was unsettled constantly, and I broke into a cold sweat every twenty minutes.
It was full-blown Guild Wars withdrawal.
Of course, the game’s release was months away. Sure, there’d be other games to steal my interest in the interim: Diablo 3, Path of Exile, possibly even (gulp) Assassin’s Creed 3. But none of that would fill the void in my soul that was quickly growing deeper than Sorrow’s Furnace. Those games couldn’t provide Soothing Images or remove the Conjured Nightmare I had created for myself.
No… the only solution was to go back and reinstall Guild Wars.
I didn’t really know what my plan was or what I was doing. It had been years since I touched the original GW trilogy-and-a-half, and (best I could recall) I had only made it about 1/4 of the way through Eye of the North. I was far too rusty to try beating EOTN, so I needed a simpler goal. Something like filling the Hall of Monuments.
In over my head
Added in Guild Wars’ final expansion, the Hall of Monuments was a virtual shrine where players could display statues and treasures representing their in-game accomplishments. The purpose, other than adding
grind replay value to the game, was to reward enthusiastic fans with aesthetic prizes in the game’s sequel.
Explore enough of the original map, and your Cartographer title might earn you a fancy suit of armor in Guild Wars 2. Capture a rare pet and you could unlock the same sidekick for the future version of you. You get the idea.
The unlocks are actually linear, with only 30 out of 50 points required to obtain all but the most
lame prestigious titles. Six points would net you a nice set of Legacy armor, with 15 granting equipment for nearly every class, plus a few cool pets. It seemed like a reasonable goal to attain, especially since I had an achievement guide that promised the whole thing could be done easily and, in some cases, really quickly… at the cost of a few platinum.
Luckily, I’d played Guild Wars for years, so buying my way through the first few challenges wasn’t going to be a problem.
Starting from scratch
Eager to climb a quick ladder of riches and turn in my money, elite armor, pets, and titles for glory, I downloaded the gigantic client and installed the game. My password entry took a few attempts, but once I was in, I was greeted with the (now running at maximum graphics) faces of my beloved characters: a cryptic Ritualist, a snazzy Mesmer, and an adventuring Ranger who, for some reason, had no shirt. Weird.
Upon loading my first character, Reticent Druhn, in Lion’s Arch, I found his inventory to be bereft of anything aside from the equipment on his back. Dashing over to my stash, it was filled only with candy, alcohol, more candy, and a few hunks of coal.
Panicked, I switched characters and checked their wares. Candy, candy, firecrackers, and… you guessed it… fucking candy. I had maybe 200 gold to my name.
Remember that time I said I had played Guild Wars for years and surely had amassed a fortune in platinum? Well, apparently the 2006 version of me thought it would be absolutely hilarious to give away everything I owned in-game. I don’t remember who benefited from my generosity or why I had decided to keep enough sweets to give Willy Wonka type-4 diabetes, but it didn’t matter. I no longer owned any elite armor, or intimidating weapons, or ectoplasm. I was broke.
A bridge too far
Fine, I wouldn’t be buying my way into the Hall of Monuments. Surely my accomplishments during my time in Tyria, Cantha, and Elona counted for something, right? I took Druhn up to the Eye of the North to check on my progress.
- I had linked my GW and GW2 accounts, granting three gimme points. Easy.
- I had beaten all three main campaigns, but this only granted two points for “any Honor statue.” The next reward was for five statues!
- I was wearing one set of elite Asuran armor (having for some reason trashed the other four I owned). One measly point.
…that was it. I didn’t have a single elite weapon, and I didn’t even know where to get them. My only pet was a sad, level seven crab I had tamed out of pity in the Jade Sea. His name was even Crabby Sadclaws. It was like a metaphor for my own failure as a player.
Regardless, six points was enough to unlock all the components of Guild Wars 2 Legacy Armor (which is, admittedly, stunning).
But I knew I could do better...