A bit over a month after the release of the game and those two days I spent playing the release version of Guild Wars with the access that my preorder got me, I finally bought Guild Wars. I bought a retail copy, though I never used the disc, I just entered that key into my beta install of the game. I believe that the preorder had expired, so I had to pay the full $50, which I was fine with given how much playtime I got out of that $5.
So, from this point on, for the most part this series gets less interesting from a historical perspective — Guild Wars was out, so you won’t be seeing as much of a chronicle of the visual and content changes the game underwent during development. I have many hundreds more screenshots of Guild Wars that I’ve taken over the years, though, so I want to keep posting these articles anyway. I hope something here is of interest.
Guild Wars: Prophecies Release, June-July 2005
Comparing the shots in this update from how the game is now, a couple of differences stand out. Most obviously, of course the Heroes and the party movement control buttons on the bottom of the minimap did not exist yet, as they would not until Nightfall released a year and a half later. Additionally, the Battle Islands also did not exist yet. The Random Arena did go through multiple maps, but there was no centralized Battle Islands hub for multiplayer areas, they were still scattered around the main map, with the Random Arena on that island south of Kryta, and the high-level tournament in Tomb of the Primeval Kings in the desert. A Team Arena did also exist, in the South Shiverpeaks, but I don’t believe that the Random Arena would send you there at this point. So, as you will see later in this update, you could just keep going in the random arena until you lost, pretty much.
So, I actually never played GW in May 2005; the release was at the end of April, then I bought the game in early June. The screenshots in this update from cover from early June 2005, the month I bought the game about five weeks after release, until July 11th. There are 52 screenshots in this article, so there are fewer than the last one. It ends at that date in specific because some time after that my computer had some issue or something, and the next 133 screenshots do not have accurate date codes in them. They’re all dated “July 20, 2006” which is most definitely not accurate. I went back to that computer to see if anything better was there, but sadly no, none of the screenshots are still there; the originals were probably lost in a partial hard drive failure that computer suffered several years back, though they probably also have that incorrect date on them so that wouldn’t be too useful anyway. From looking at those screenshots they clearly are from after this set ends until fall ’05, though. Anyway, as far as number of screenshots goes, the next two folders, which cover to spring ’06, are the largest; after mid ’06 I continued playing Guild Wars, but not as much as it had the first two years (from mid ’04 to mid ’06). That’s next update, though.
At this point, both of my characters are in Seared Ascalon. That would soon change, however… well, for one of them.
I’ve got some quests to do.
My skillbar still has a bunch of these skills in it…
Winter is my favorite season in real life, and it looks amazing in Guild Wars too. I love the look of GW’s snow-laden trees!
These people look like trouble… and like they’re reusing that model a bit too much perhaps? Heh.
The White Mantle are your friends… those Unseen Ones they worship totally aren’t suspicious at all!
Before the Xun’lai chests inventory space was a real problem.
Looks like I’ve fully explored this zone!
Random Arena time! … Yes, I probably should switch to res signet for the arena, but I rarely did.
It can be fun to look at all the different costumes available in this game.
I do have the Necromancer scar pattern armor, but not the Monk tattoo one.
I took several shots of my character here for some reason. … Yes though, that angle the tree takes a few feet off the ground is interesting…
And here is that same image without the image enhancement of Shift+Printscreen.
Similar image, but I like the background better in this direction.
The Searing left some burning scars like this in Ascalon.
This is a pretty cool angle for the sun and lighting on this mural…
Random arena I presume.
Yeah, having a chest to put your rare crafting materials in was a big improvement. It’ll be quite a while after this until they add it to the game though.
Not too much going on here, but GW environment art is great.
And here is how material crafters look in the final game.
And here I took shots of a couple of other female Necromancers with similar hair to mine. Not sure why really.
And a third, along with plenty of people in the background.
Shortly after this I had to give up on my guild cape, because for a while I joined a guild with some people I knew in college and wasn’t the guild leader. It’ll return eventually though…
Nice heroic shot! But yes, this shows how my Ranger’s still in Ascalon, while the Necromancer progresses through the game steadily. Yeah, I was playing as the latter character a lot more.
When you’ve got life regen stuff and there isn’t an ongoing match, it can be fun to stand in the lava and watch your health not go down much…
I’ve reached the Crystal Desert! Cool. Looks like I died though… oh well.
And here’s an amusingly weird thing about Guild Wars: some things disappear when viewed through water. Guild Wars isn’t a game with an underwater component, but you can walk into the edges of seashores and such at some points. And when you do so, you notice two things: hair, for some reason, vanishes along with the top of your characters’ head, and the bikini clothing parts of Necromancer scar pattern armor also vanish. These parts of your character model disappear completely, and you can see the sea floor on the other side in this shot. It’s a little easier to show off the hair part with a character as short as Talindra is, taller ones can’t get deep enough in many places, but regardless, it’s weird that this is a thing, and it is still like this — you can do this in GW today and you’ll see the same silly disappearing body parts thing.
And here, you see that the above disappearing-hair-and-clothing thing only is visible when you’re looking through the water-surface texture. If you manage to get the camera underwater as I did here, though, you see that the character model is fully visible like normal. Yes, I’m underwater here, and that’s the water surface above me, but my hair is visible because of where the camera is. Guild Wars is amusingly weird sometimes… 🙂 Oh, and yes, this is the first cape from one of those guilds with people from college. It’s alright but I like mine the most.
19 straight wins! Very impressive, this is one of my better winning streaks I believe. I think that later on things were changed so before you reach 19 wins you get sent to the Team Arena lobby, instead of just continuing on in Random Arenas… but as you can see here before that point you could just keep going. Unless this is from the Team Arena? I don’t think so, though.
… And yeah, with one of our team leaving that pretty much ended this awesome run, which is why we’re unhappy in the chat. Random new person (no screenshot after this one) wasn’t as good.
Yeah, I’m progressing through the game nicely with Talindra, farther in the desert now.
This is a somewhat ominous looking cave shot, if you think of it as a picture and not just ‘party standing still in a mission’…
“A new build of Guild Wars is available. Please exit and run the program again.” appears when the game is patched. When this happens you can stay in the game, but can’t do much and eventually will be forced to log out and download the patch by running the game again. Fortunately this usually didn’t take long. It’s too bad we didn’t beat the mission before the patch dropped… oh well.
At this point I decided to make a third character. Yes, it was an Elementalist again, always my third class. As you can see though I redesigned my character from my beta Elementalists. I’d been reading some Drow D&D books at the time, so I chose the darkest skin tone and a character name I made in a Drow name creator online. Of course she’s human though, there are no elves in Guild Wars (or playable nonhumans).
Yup, still in Ascalon. My new character has already matched this ones’ level… though I would eventually finish Prophecies with this character and not the Elementalist (yet at least) so that would eventually change.
Somehow that ultra-light skin never burns. Videogames are nice in some ways…
Once again, we see the way the clothing textures simply aren’t there through water.
Looks like we lost this one.
Heh… here’s another silly glitch. This rock, at this point, still didn’t have the right collision on it, so you could stand inside this edge of the rock. This may have been fixed since then, I’m not sure.
Guild chat? I haven’t seen any of that in like ten years now…
The desert and snow can look kind of similar if you just look at the ground, but this is the desert.
No, I’m not quite at the Fire Islands yet, this is the Random Arena map.
And now we’re in the snowy lands of the South Shiverpeaks. The ground definitely looks kind of similar.
Light and statue
And here it is from a different angle. Not quite as cool from this direction…
I don’t think I currently have Pyromancer robes for either of my Elementalist characters… I should fix that problem, it has always been my favorite female Elementalist outfit… but yeah, that skillbar could use some work. I hope I don’t have many skills yet.
A decent loading screen.
And now I have, for real, reached the Fire Islands, the final area of the story, with my main. I’m probably close to a hundred hours in (since launch) with Talindra at this point, Prophecies took me at least a hundred hours to finish per character.
The Fire Islands are an appropriate end point, being all lava and igneous rock.
First though, let’s go back to the Elementalist for a bit, in this low-level Arena.
This is a pretty good map, it has some nice options.
Next time: More of release Guild Wars. After that, Sorrow’s Furnace and the first Halloween event.