In late October 2006, Arena.net started up the second annual Halloween event. This builds on 2005’s event, but with some new stuff added to give players more to do. At the same time, Guild Wars Nightfall released. Yes, Nightfall released right when the Halloween event began. I once again took a whole bunch of screenshots… and once again took almost none of the Christmas event, even though that is my favorite holiday. Actually, this time there are none at all from Christmas; as far as holidays go it skips from Halloween to the second Dragon Festival in early 2007. Oh well. In between, I play more Factions, and finish it with my main. So yeah, this is a pretty decent image set which covers a lot of ground.
A. Guild Wars Halloween 2006: late October-early November
While I had always played Guild Wars with a download, for Prophecies and Factions, I bought a retail box and entered the key from that box in order to unlock those campaigns in the game. This time, however, with Nightfall, I did something new for me: I bought a game digitally. Getting computer games digitally, without a box or disc/disk at all, was still a somewhat uncommon thing in 2006, though it was becoming a lot less uncommon. There are positives and negatives to digital-only game purchases, but Arena.net encouraged digital purchases by offering some Halloween rewards you could only get by visiting Kamadan, the main city of the new campaign, during this short 5-day Halloween event. This was enough to convince me to buy the game digitally, and so I did. Much later I would get a box for the game for a few dollars from Goodwill, just to have one, but a digital-only game purchase still felt new and interesting at the time. Today I see more of the negatives of digital-only game playing than the positives, for example because it allows companies to control what games you are allowed to play with far less to no recourse for people to play shut down or delisted games they may be interested in, but fortunately Arena.net is still around and running Guild Wars’ servers, so in this case at least so far that is not a problem yet.
These first two shots are from before Halloween. It looks like I’m playing at least a little bit on the Luxon side here, that’s Luxon clothing.
This field would look a LOT nicer on a video card with post-processing and better antialiasing, that’s for sure.
And here we go, Halloween ’06 has started. Here we are in the center of Lion’s Arch by the great kettle.
Mad King Thorn is here again, so it’s Halloween day! The visits worked similarly to ’05’s. There are a lot of people here for the event, that’s nice.
Yup, He’s as capriciously evil as usual. Dance or die!
I’m not certain, but that disco ball is probably a party item someone set off and not part of the event.
Do what he wants now…
Everyone there to see Mad King Thorn got a new pumpkin crown. At the time the only way to get these was to be at this specific event, the ability to get old hats you missed wasn’t added until many years later.
Yup, rock-paper-scissors-with a name change returns. It’s as random as it sounds.
This cardboard cutout haunted house standee has always reminded me of the haunted house in the classic early ’90s PC adventure game Hugo’s House of Horrors… it doesn’t look the same as that one, but it’s close enough to be somewhat similar.
Yeah, the green water, sinking ship, and transformed Krytans return from last year.
Here’s something new, though: Halloween in Kamadan, the main city in Nightfall! I bought Nightfall day one, digitally, in part so that I could experience the Halloween ’07 event, and here it is. Here are a bunch of candy corn guards.
And here’s Mad King Thorn in Kamadan. This crowd looks smaller than the one in Lion’s Arch, which makes sense; surely many people hadn’t bought Nightfall yet.
There are still a good number of people here to “enjoy” Mad King Thorn’s games, though.
Kamadan has been decorated for Halloween as well. This thing is interesting… and the way the moon is just in the background’s kind of cool too.
Hah, is that a cardboard cutout of a monster to take photos with your face in? Silly…
Looks like Talindra has a witch hat now, one of the new things for this event I believe.
B. Guild Wars Gameplay, November 2006 – mid February 2007
After the seasonal event ended, I went back to mostly not playing Nightfall, as this next image set will show. There are a couple of Nightfall shots here, but that’s it. Instead, I kept going towards the end of Factions with my main, and used one of my new character slots for something else…
Here I logged in to my other account for a moment to look at the three remaining characters there, and decide if I wanted to remake any of them in my main account, since the new campaign gave me two new character slots… so who should it be? A second Elementalist perhaps?
Second, another Assassin.
Last, a Paragon. I really should actually play this class at some point.
First, though, my Ranger has gotten to the Fire Islands now, so I’m closing in on the end of the Prophecies campaign with my original GW character…
And here we see what I chose: Yup, I made a second Elementalist, this time a Factions one, in one of the two Nightfall character slots. The other one still has that Nightfall Dervish in it. I like the start of Factions, it’s a very quick starting island — a quite dramatic difference from the long, slow trip to level 20 Prophecies brings you through — but it looks beautiful and is fun to explore, so that’s alright. It’s nice to have options, either the slow 20 of Prophecies, the mid-speed one of Nightfall, and the quick one of Factions. This area of the starter island has the only snow in the Factions campaign, so of course I took some screenshots there.
Don’t worry, Wulf Cragfist is a friendly giant, not an enemy. He’ll help you out here.
A Kurzick in Luxon territories? Either this is an enemy, which is possible but seems unlikely from the pose, or a guard near an outpost in the Jade Sea side of the map owned by a Kurzick guild. Factions has a faction-war element where player guild align with either the Kurzicks or the Luxons and can fight eachother in two PvP combat areas and buy outposts for their guild. When a guild owns an outpost their name is listed on the map, and the territory around that outpost is shown as belonging to the Luxons or Kurzicks on the map, depending. Neither side can actually win this war, because the home bases of both sides can only be controlled by their side, but it gives players something to do. Kurzick-aligned guilds have been fairly dominant a lot of the time.
Here in this outpost, the ground has loaded in but the player models have not yet. So, you can see the names where players are, but not their characters… it’s kind of amusing stuff.
Hey, it’s Nightfall! As you can see I’ve gotten really far in it with my main Talindra here, all the way to the first outpost in the starter island…
And here’s another shot of some of the people in that outpost. Nightfall does have a pretty cool aesthetic to it, you don’t see African-themed videogames very often at all.
Now though, back to Factions. This definitely does not look like a good part of town. Those white boxes in the background are interesting, though — I’ve mentioned them before, but those are another way that characters who hadn’t loaded properly would appear on this computer, as a large white box instead of a person.
New clothes I guess, I haven’t dyed them green yet like I usually do. This is a pretty generic screenshot, but I’ll post it anyway. Even average Guild Wars environments like this looks good.
The Canthan New Year Festival and the Ending to Factions (And This PC) – mid to late February, 2007
This final image set is 23 screenshots. I must not have played for a little while, busy with school perhaps, but I came back to Guild Wars in February for the Canthan New Year seasonal special event. I had ordered a new computer in February, finally, after having used my GeForce2-powered WinME machine for 5 1/2 years, but it hadn’t arrived yet so I was still playing on this machine. This, then, excepting a few screenshots from late ’09 I took on the machine, will be the last batch of screenshots on the computer I used for the first two and a half years of Guild Wars’ life since the first public test in May 2004. I’m sure I spent more time playing GW in that 2 1/2 years than I have in the more than twelve years since then, but that’s alright, I love the game regardless. It may seem kind of strange that I’d play the game less once I finally got a computer able to run it at a stable framerate, as opposed to the often very low framerates the performance monitor shows I was getting on the WinME PC, but I’d gotten used to the sometimes-low framerates so it wasn’t as bad as it may seem.
Some time has passed, I didn’t take any screenshots around Christmas (Wintersday) apparently, and it’s now early 2007, time for the 2007 Canthan New Year festival. This was the first Canthan New Year festival, and it ran from Feb. 16 to 19 2007 according to the Wiki. Today Canthan New Year festivals run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7 each year. The Canthan New Year festival centers on Shing Jea Island, so that is where I have gone. You can tell that the Canthan New Year is on because of the decorative lanterns in the background. The Shing Jea Boardwalk from the Dragon Festival that started in summer 2006 also re-opens during this event, which is great because the two minigames there, Rollerbeetle Racing and the Dragon Arena, are pretty good.
This game still looks great, even with grass as pixelated as this is…
Here is one of the festival NPCs, offering a limited-time quest only available during the Canthan New Year. Each year, starting in 2007 of course, a miniature pet was offered to players who were there. I have the one from 2007, the Miniature Pig, since 2007 was the year of the pig in the Chinese Zodiac that this goes by. Guild Wars added more miniature pet gifts from other holidays as well as time went on, and as with festival hats, eventually you could get ones you previously missed, instead of only people who were at the initial event having them. You could also get a Lion Mask during this event for doing certain things, but I don’t believe I got that.
Those three are all I’ve got for the Canthan New Year for a while… kind of. This shot is from after it ended, after all; yes, the datestamps on screenshots are accurate again, thankfully, in this folder. I will get to that “kind of” near the end of this article, and I’m not sure what to make of it, but as for this screenshot, I’m exploring a nice, though ruined, environment. I like teh design of the area.
Hey, it’s a human player group in a mission! By this point that was becoming a somewhat less common thing, as Nightfall added more options for solo players and the userbase scattered across three campaigns, but this is a hard mission near the end of the Factions campaign, and human help is very welcome.
And here we are, Raisu Pavilion at the end of the Factions campaign… near several people in Obsidian Shard armor. Crazy expensive stuff, that is!
Another view of the Obsidian Shard armor.
Hmm, what’s happening here… oh right, I know where this is!
That’s right, I’ve finished Factions, with a player group too so it probably was a lot easier than when I did it solo with heroes with other characters later on. The Factions campaign only takes about 50 hours to complete, half the length of Prophecies, but it’s a very fun 50 hours so that’s okay. I did not take any screenshots of the ending to the story, so there are no spoilers here really; these shots are just of the celebration at the end, and of some of the people you can talk to in the ending corridor. Everyone else has left, but I’m taking my time here since I hadn’t beaten this campaign before. These end-of-campaign areas are ones you can only be in after beating the final mission, after all; you can’t just warp into these zones from the map.
Some nice fireworks celebrate my victory over Shiro Tagachi. Pretty!
They look better in motion to be sure, but you can get the sense of it from the screenshots.
In addition to fireworks, the games’ credits roll on the screen during a part of in these end-of-campaign zones, if you wait around long enough. I don’t think I have any shots of the credits here though, for whatever reason.
Here we can see Raisu Pavilion from above, in an upper gallery you only get to as a part of the ending celebration area. Also, clipping two characters right on top of eachother, like I’m doing here, is always kind of amusing…
Here is one last shot of my victory. After that it’s back to the game, to do more quests and such. Hard mode would not be added to the game until April 2007, and the postgame Canthan plague story arc until 2011, so for the moment that was all I could do in Factions, unless I wanted to go back and play the Luxon side of things that is, which I didn’t really do then.
There are always more quests to do in this game, unless you spend a WHOLE lot of hours in it that is… but I haven’t, so there’s always more to do in a campaign, even after finishing it. The green arrow over her head here shows this person probably has a quest.
When a character is not selected, they’re shadowed, matching the environment, as you can see here.
Click on the character, however, and they light up so you can see them clearly. It’s not realistic but works well in a videogame.
I’ve started some mission in the city, probably one of the harder quests.
… Uh, this looks like it could have gone better… I hope those dead people are all enemies!
Ah, it’s the Undercity, one of Factions’ unmappable, dungeon-like areas. It’s a tricky area which is pretty fun to explore.
And here is one of those screenshots I mentioned earlier which have me confused. So, this file is dated February 25, 2007. This is well after the stated ending of the Canthan New Year on Feb. 19, at which point the Dragon Arena should be rendered inaccessible again until the next Dragon Festival. However, as this shows, the Dragon Arena seems to still be open, because here I am in it! Perhaps it was open for the rest of the month, or something? I’ve done some searching online and haven’t found anything yet that says so, so I’m not sure. That’s pretty interesting, I wish I remembered why this is. I’ve been playing for quite a while, too, as the “you have played for 5 hours, please take a break” message says.
And here we see the post0game scoring summary for a Rollerbeetle race, the other Shing Jea Boardwalk minigame you can only access during those two festivals. They must have been open for some time after the end of the festival. Rollerbeetle Racing is fun stuff. As with everything in GW it comes down to being about skill usage, but the skills are unique to this event and the racing theme is done well; you do need to race down the track, while using skills to get ahead.
And last, a random shot of my Ranger character, showing some stuff in my inventory including the Halloween pumpkin mask rewards from 2006 and 2007, some Halloween party items, and such.
And with that, my time playing Guild Wars on the computer I had used up to this point came to a close: my new PC arrived in early March. As I’ve said, I responded by playing this game a lot less, so when I next do an article in this series it will cover even more ground — I’ve only got 45 screenshots for the rest of 2007 and all of 2008 combined. I will continue with these articles, though I’m almost past the most nostalgic part for me now, but next time, I’ll take a little break from this with something else. Expect that later this month.