A boy and his raccoon minipet
What’s that Daddy?” my three-year-old asks as he cuddles up next to me and peers at my laptop. I’d been sneaking a look at the Hall of Monuments calculator for Guild Wars 2 while Daniel watched Curious George. My son immediately lights up as I mouse over one reward item in particular – the rockfur raccoon minipet.
“It’s Maskie!” Daniel squeals in delight, thinking the digital raccoon looks just like one of his favorite stuffed animals.
“Yes, it’s Maskie,” I reply. “He’s part of daddy’s game.”
“Oh, so we can play with him like the Angry Birds?” Daniel asks. Playing Angry Birds on the plane was the highlight of our family trip to see granddad this summer. In fact, he can barely remember that we all went out in 90-degree weather for freaking Thomas the Tank Engine day. But how he can remember playing Angry Birds.
“Sure son. When Daddy’s game comes out, I’ll let you play with Maskie.”
What I didn’t tell Daniel is that I still haven’t technically unlocked the Rockfur Raccoon. You see, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I never finished the Eye of the North campaign. The fact that I was also once a Guild Wars 1 fanatic is a testament to how ArenaNet created such a compelling online world as Tyria. I’ve spent countless hours exploring the frozen expanses of the Shiverpeaks, the haunted Jade Sea, and the floating palatial gardens of Vabbi. There’s never been a game that I think quite captures the magical quality of dreams as well as Guild Wars.
Guild Wars offered a seemingly endless gaming smorgasbord of fun things to do, and I was in no hurry to unlock everything in my Hall of Monuments. I played through my favorite missions first in normal mode, then seeing if I could beat them perfectly in hard mode. I had the perfect solo necromancer build for venturing into the Underworld, and joined my guildmates as we battled our way into the Deep and across the Realm of Torment. And of course I remember epic battles during Alliance Battle weekends, when from Friday night to Sunday afternoon I would help push the front line forward deep into Luxon territory.
But somewhere along the way, the responsibilities of adulthood began to claim more and more of my time. I went from a series of part-time jobs to a “career” with all the extra hours and early morning commute that entailed. And then I embarked on the greatest hero’s journey of all when my son was born. I vaguely remembered my epic times in Guild Wars 1 and the excitement I had once felt when the sequel was announced. But Guild Wars 1 had long since become a game I dabbled in, usually around Wintersday or the Canthan New Year.
I’m sure there are plenty of players like me scrambling to unlock as many heritage items they can by playing the original Guild Wars. Five years ago, I’m sure I would be among those players gunning for the Champion of the Gods title. But at this time in my life, I only have one major goal before Guild Wars 2 launches – I need to earn Maskie’s online alter ego. If only for the chance to see Daniel’s beaming face as he watches the rockfur raccoon scurry behind my hulking Norn.