I got GW Nightfall this weekend.
I remember my first Guild Wars character, Black Willow. It was April, 2005. I randomly stopped by Electronics Boutique to reward myself for finding a new job; I was fascinated by the idea of a MMORPG without monthy fees, grind, high level caps, and with a focus on player skill instead of hours played.
It was day one of the Guild Wars launch. There were probably Beta testers out there somewhere, but other than that, no one knew what to expect. It was a fresh horizon, and every area, every quest, was a new frontier, a new adventure. There was no Iron Dragon Society, and I had no accumulated wealth to go upon. I had to scrimp and save for every piece of armor. Every new skill was a ‘whoa’ moment; it was something I had never seen before. You had to work to get your Fur Squares; the Expert Salvage Kits didn’t show up until Yak’s Bend, and to get there, you had to walk uphill. Both ways. And we liked it. I was level thirteen, which meant I was hot stuff.
I introduced GW to Matt, and he introduced it to Tommy and Laura, and thus the IDS was born. I had allies! By that time I was up to the Shiverpeaks and the Ring of Fire (Matt got there first), and I needed them.
I bought the strategy guide, rolled up two more characters- Willow Arcadia, my monk, and Roller Bow Lady, my ranger. This time through, I had the benefits of a large gold and materials stockpile to draw from, and could easily find end-game weapons for my characters to use in the mid-game. The second time through was keen, but the third seemed like a chore in some ways.
Factions came. Unlike Prophecies, I knew full and well what the story was going in: with Proph, you know it’s “something about the Charr,” and that doesn’t even take you very far into the game. With Factions, it’s “something about the Luxons and Kurzicks, and also Shiro.” Anet spread the word far and wide about Cantha, and the setting was pretty cool. But if you were paying attention, you knew exactly what you were getting into: an early game of training, followed by awesome street-level-fighting (still cool, and I’m hoping we see more metropolitan explorable zones in the future), then a mid-game focusing on something about the Luxons and Kurzicks, and then and end game to kill this Shiro fellow.
(And Shiro gets name-dropped in the second mission. In Prophecies, the identity of the end boss isn’t really explicitly clear until the end of the second-to-last mission.)
Fun yes, but not the same fun.
Elona. It’s based on Africa. The Dark Continent.
Unlike Factions, the plot of Nightfall is kept under wraps. I know there’s the Sunspears, and they fight evil or something, and I’m one of them. And there’s an ancient evil, or something. And I can’t wait to find out more.
And I’m not giving myself all the money I need to twink out my character. I’m getting her gear the hard way. I’m playing a Paragon, and I’ve done no research into what skills they have.
That sense of wonder is there again. I zoom out, and look at the Elonan continent map, and I have no idea what awaits. I look forward with anticipation. What awesome skills will I get? What heroes are there for me to have? What’s going to happen next?
And to top it off, I’m level seven. Which means that I am hot stuff.