Ten years ago, I was in the middle of playing Morrowind and/or Neverwinter Nights (yes, both released in 2002 but I didn’t pick them up until ~2 years later). I had stopped playing my first and at the time only, MMO, Asheron’s Call, about 3 years prior. I read about a new game coming out, that promised no subscription fee. What the heck, I figured I’d give it a shot. And so I bought Guild Wars, and got around to creating a character 2 or 3 days later.
I wasn’t able to play much until months later, it was a hectic time because I moved to another state. My original day 2 or 3 character was a Ranger/Mesmer I named Dawn Stormborn, but I decided I’d rather have a Ranger/Monk, and not knowing I’d eventually be able to switch secondary professions, I just deleted and recreated the char.
That’s why as of when I took the screenshot (yesterday), the /age command shows me as playing 119 months and Dawn being 113 months old. That should flip over to 120 months in another day or two.
I played fairly heavy back then – I had more time available. 3318 hours total and 1266 on Dawn! That was accumulated over about 2.5 years so I was averaging nearly 10 hours a week just playing Dawn and nearly 25 playing Guild Wars.
I loved it all. I loved the missions, the bonuses to the missions, the skill system with limited space plus and optional elite skill, the storylines, capturing elite skills, fast travel to outposts after reaching them the first time, no permanent death penalty (clear vitae by getting to an outpost), henchmen, heroes, instanced zones, the guilds I was in, grouping with guildies to do missions even though at a certain point I basically had them memorized, grouping with the “Zoo Crew” on some Saturday afternoons to play through content as beastmasters, Prophecies quests that granted skills, etc. Good times.
I enjoyed the missions and storyline so much I did all of Prophecies, Factions, and Nightfall at the Protector level (all bonuses to the missions) on 8 different classes. The only ones missing were Elementalist, a profession I never really played – what I did was repurpose my mesmer as an elementalist secondary – and my Ritualist that I barely took into Nightfall. By that point in late 2007 I wanted some variety and turned to WoW and LoTRO. 😉
For Dawn, I did all that plus the Guardian titles (i.e. missions and bonuses in hard mode). I did most with heroes and henchmen, with a few exceptions such as Aurora Glade, Thirsty River, Eternal Grove, and Gate of Madness, where I grouped with guildies and friends.
Some of my most vivid memories of MMO gaming, even 7-8 years later, were doing those missions for Guardian titles, controlling my heroes and henchmen, determined to finish.
I enjoyed the elite skill capture mechanism, and decided early on to capture every elite on Dawn. Thus, when the official Skill Hunter track was introduced to the game, I was well on the way to finishing. I made an attempt to do cartography but that was too dull for me, wall hugging every zone. I started on Vanquisher but got tired of that as well. I really just wanted to get the Guardian and Skill Hunter titles, and wound up with 13 max titles putting Dawn in the “People Know Me” meta-title, 2 short of the next one.
By time time EoTN rolled around, and the bonus mission pack, I was getting a little burned out. I only took 2 characters all the way through EoTN – my ranger Dawn and my mesmer Rhaella. I think I brought another char or two in there but never finished the final mission. Or maybe I did on one of them.
I did not get into PvP much… until Factions released and brought Alliance Battle. I rolled up a few PvP chars and played that fairly often, it was just fun. That’s the only type of PvP I actually enjoy – I hate open world PvP, vastly preferring the instanced battleground-style version.
People talk about how you always fondly remember your first MMO. For me that mystical game on a pedestal was actually my second MMO! I had fun in Asheron’s Call but Guild Wars totally buried it (for me) in every way. GW overshadows GW2 such that I can’t seem to stick with its sequel.
EDIT: I should have included a visit to my Hall of Monuments!
Giant-size versions of my favorite armors.
Lots of mini-pets!