The original Guild Wars launched in 2005 and has continued to run online for dedicated players who still explore the fantasy realm of Kryta using the game's unique combination of strategic, collectible-card-like power selection and action role-playing hack-and-slash gameplay. However, what Guild Wars fans really want is the sequel, Guild Wars 2, which has been in development for quite some time with little in the way of news or updates. GameSpot has one of the first updates on Guild Wars 2 in a long, long time…by way of the original Guild Wars. Specifically, the original Guild Wars will be launching a new in-game event, the War in Kryta, that will relate directly to the story and events of the upcoming sequel. We've got the details on the Guild Wars event and some new insight into how it will affect the world and story of Guild Wars 2. And stay tuned to GameSpot because we'll have more substantial updates on the sequel itself in the very near future. For the time being, ArenaNet lead designer Linsey Murdock fills us in on the in-game event and what it means for the future.
GameSpot: For those who haven't been keeping up with the events in Guild Wars' land of Kryta, can you catch us up?
Linsey Murdock: Guild Wars: Prophecies players will remember the White Mantle, the seemingly upright and pious group that rules the nation of Kryta. Sure, they worship "gods" known as the "unseen ones," which is a little creepy, but the White Mantle seem OK at first. After all, they repelled the charr invasion and saved Kryta, and they seem so noble and pure.
But appearances can be deceiving. With the aid of a group of stealthy Krytan rebels known as the Shining Blade, players learned the White Mantle were really a sinister cult that sacrificed innocent people to the unseen ones--who were actually the "mursaat," a race of evil spellcasters. With the aid of the Shining Blade, players were able to wipe out the Inner Council of the White Mantle and most of the mursaat were destroyed by the subsequent unleashing of the titans.
But the White Mantle and the mursaat they worship were not completely defeated. At the start of the War in Kryta, the White Mantle's former middle management has stepped up to power and are desperately trying to stay in control while the Shining Blade gather their forces in the wilderness. The Shining Blade faction wants Princess Salma, daughter of the absent king, on the Krytan throne to restore justice and royal rule to their homeland. As you can imagine, the White Mantle faction want the exact opposite. They've responded to the rebel threat by cracking down on common Krytans with oppressive laws and by hiring the "peacekeepers," government-sanctioned bandits and thugs who terrorize the populace.
GS: How will the events planned to take place in the current version of Guild Wars set the tone for Guild Wars 2's story--specifically, the war between the White Mantle and Shining Blade factions?
LM: Like all of Guild Wars, the War in Kryta definitely lays the historical groundwork for Guild Wars 2, which takes place 250 years in the future. The key figures and events of the war will resonate through the centuries.
GS: We understand that key characters in the Guild Wars conflict, namely Gwen the mesmer, Keiran Thackeray the ranger, and Princess Salma will all be important figures. What role will they play in the coming conflict?
LM: Players will recognize a lot of the key players in the War in Kryta. Princess Salma is an absolutely important historical figure. We've revealed that Logan Thackeray is a major character in Guild Wars 2, but his exact connection to Keiran Thackeray is something that will be revealed in time. Keiran and other members of the Ebon Vanguard will play important roles in the upcoming events, but beyond that I can't really say.
GS: How will players be able to participate in the conflict? Can they join sides? How will their actions affect the conflict as it occurs in Guild Wars?
LM: The War in Kryta is a multimedia experience that is built around all-new in-game content. Since the White Mantle faction is clearly the bad guys, the players will join the rebel cause of the Shining Blade to free Kryta from tyranny. You'll join the fight through a variety of encounters, scenes, and quests that we'll roll out as the war escalates. We've also got two new costumes--players can support the rebels by wearing a Shining Blade uniform or impersonate the enemy in a White Mantle disguise.
Outside of the game, you can join the Shining Blade and White Mantle on their Facebook pages. To learn more about each side of the conflict, you can visit the War in Kryta Web site, which has wallpapers, info, propaganda, and the War Chronicles--regularly updated reports from the war by the intrepid scribe Murro.
GS: How far after the end of the conflict between the White Mantle and Shining Blade does Guild Wars 2 take place (assuming it does end by the time the sequel begins)? What has happened to Kryta as a result of the conflict when Guild Wars 2 begins?
LM: Guild Wars 2 takes place approximately 250 years in the future, where Kryta is radically different from what it looks like today. The War in Kryta is the first in a series of events that bridges the worlds of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. The end of the War in Kryta sets off a long chain of historical events that ultimately puts Queen Jennah on the Krytan throne in Guild Wars 2.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about this Guild Wars in-game event, its effects on the sequel, or about Guild Wars 2 in general?
As I mentioned before, the War in Kryta is the first part of "Guild Wars Beyond," an ongoing campaign that expands upon the Guild Wars storyline by focusing on key characters and historical events that shape the world in the years leading up to Guild Wars 2. In the coming year, Guild Wars Beyond will continue to reveal the lore of Tyria beyond the events of the original games. We've got a lot of cool stuff planned this year that will engage current players and set the stage for Guild Wars 2.
GS: Thanks, Linsey.