#GW2Fanday – Guild Wars Winds of Change

It’s a tough decision to decide what to write about first for the ArenaNet Community Open House (#GW2Fanday). My head is exploding with ideas and thoughts. I chose to start with Guild Wars for a couple reasons, one of which is that I have some neat screenshots to share (taken by the steady-handed Matthew Moore). Let me start with an anecdote.

Randy Price (Senior V.P. at ArenaNet) and I were chatting over food and libations to other times, now moot in memory, when the subject of John Stumme was brought up. Much to my surprise, Price raved about what Stumme had done with the Guild Wars Live Team for a couple minutes. It wasn’t surprising to me that Stumme and the Live Team deserved such praise. It was surprising to see one of the heads of ArenaNet so honestly and unabashedly talk about the meteoric rise of one of the employees. It wasn’t even humble (see also our libations), and I asked Price if I could quote him when he said he believed that the Live Team was so efficient and hard-working that they were producing on the level of a couple dozen-man development team.


Winds of Change is the next chapter in Guild Wars Beyond, which attempts to tie up some loose ends as the lore shifts 250 years towards Guild Wars 2. We played a “spoil-free” portion of the first of three sequences where we joined the Ministry of Purity to cleanse the remaining Afflicted in the slums of Kaineng City. The Live Team had given us pre-made characters and a “generous” array of consumables so we could basically rock our way through Afflicted death explosions like heroes in a Michael Bay movie. It was a nice change of pace from the previous engagements of the day because it was so comfortable to play the game I had been a fan of for the better half of a decade.

In the two quests we played, we are tasked with cleaning up parts of Kaineng City by the newly formed Ministry of Purity. We took out swarms of Afflicted and their Am Fah “human” counterparts. I was allowed to take a few pictures (actually Moore took them while I played) of the new armor art for the Ministry of Purity NPCs as well as a neat dragon armor for another new NPC. Sorry they are so fuzzy, but hopefully some of their beauty shines through.

What I am really enjoying about the design goals for Winds of Change is that the Live Team has put a lot of heart in to making a player’s impact on the world actually seen. For example, players can apparently rid the explorable areas of Afflicted (their spawns will be replaced by “something else”). They have also hidden quite a number of scenes in the explorable areas, which are used to respond to characters completing quests. For my made-up example, a player could stumble upon a scene of Cantha citizens discussing the Ministry of Purity’s response to that “something else.” I have been wanting this level of impact ever since ArenaNet discussed having a persistently destroyed bridge in the explorable areas.

As all the other guests went off to dinner, I bogarted Stumme. I said I really liked the cause/effect emphasis they are placing on Winds of Change. Stumme said that when he joined the Live Team, he wanted to include everything he had been dreaming of for Guild Wars since he first started playing long ago. This was one of those things, and they were pushing the aging engine as far as they could (with the magic of Joe Kimmes, who scares everybody when he calls a programming problem “interesting” as he strokes his Old Spice-endorsed man chin). Stumme was really excited about what Winds of Change would bring to Guild Wars.

I had made Stumme unconsciously lead me back to the Live Team’s lair, where I took a screenshot of their master plans. Knowing the importance of the contents of my camera’s memory card, Stumme challenged me to a bushido-style duel to the death. We fought our way poetically through the art-filled halls of ArenaNet, where our moves created momentary haikus, cherry blossoms, and octopus highlights. Just then his fiancée stepped in, and in a flash of smoke Stumme abruptly disappeared. Perhaps his mastery had led me unknowingly to the buffet, where the distractions of food made me forget about all of the secrets I had seen. I bow to such a master, but I still had kept the memory card. And now I will share this damning picture of their plans.


23 thoughts on “#GW2Fanday – Guild Wars Winds of Change”

  1. Did John gave you ANY vague idea about when can we expect this new content?

    1. It sounded like the first arc was nearing completion. I’m not sure, I got confused at one point because at one time I swear I heard them saying we played the end of one arc, but then we could go on an play really hard, unbalanced content that was not yet finalized. Sorry, his moves were too balanced to punch those juicy answers out of him.

  2. It sounds magnificent!

    Nice to know GW1 can still genuinely surprise me after almost-6 years; I never expected to be able to cleanse Cantha of those vile Afflicted for good.

    Of course, I’ll never be able to cleanse them of their terrible fondness for cardboard architecture and teapot hats.
    I may demand a rematch in 250 Guild Wars years, armed with a color palette so expansive it is a match for even unicorns wrapped in double rainbows.

  3. Sounds cool. It seems like they are taking sort of Guild Wars 2 with it’s persistent content and crafting it back into Guild Wars 1, or the other way around I assume but now it’s coming back into Guild Wars 1. The live team seems like a smart group of devs who know what they are doing. Should be a great way to finalize those 250 years.

    Can’t wait for this!

  4. I have been on a GW break waiting for Winds of Change. It sounds like just the right medicine to get me back in the groove. I too would like to smash through afflicted as though I was in a Michael Bay film!

  5. I am looking forward to Winds of Change. I had a feeling it would involve the Ministry in some way but apparently my creativity had a brain fart about the afflicted. I’m glad to see they can squeeze some persistence out of the old instanced world.

    I appreciate that he was so open with you about it and I appreciate your willingness to learn more. Obviously you were interested, but you took the time to find out something from ANet that other fans and bloggers would have overlooked–namely, anything associated with GW rather than GW2.

    Also, props on the Ronin Warriors style armor. I wonder if we will get costumes or armor skins with this one.

  6. Thank you for writing about Winds of Change first! I’ll be happy when it’s out and I’m very interested how they will work with the permanent changes in Guild Wars 1.

  7. Judging from what we know about what happens to Cantha by the time of GW2, I can assume that the Ministry of Purity will end up expanding their role after cleaning up the Afflicted (and maybe “something else” too) in order to purify the continent of the other non-humans.

  8. Sounds like a really fun way to wrap up the cantha storyline in guild wars, hopefully there will be some unique armour and weapon skins we can get during the storyline/after its completed.

  9. Amazing! Thank you for the information. You’ve got to be the most interesting bloggers I’ve read from.

  10. The live-team guys really impressed me. I guess in a biased way, it’s cause I spent so much time talking with Mike Z, Joe (i think?), and the others just about what we all loved and didn’t love about Guild Wars.

    I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to talk to Stumme more, though.

    Either way, I love that these guys are so determined to keep the spirit of Guild Wars alive no matter what happens. They’ve made that much clear. Gotta love them for it.

  11. Ha! I don’t mind giving Matthew Medina credit for being an awesome guy, but I won’t let him take the blame for my blurry photos. Hell, he’s probably got a steadier hand than I do, so I’ll call him in next time. :D

    For Izzie, I distinctly remember her sitting at a table during the after party with Mike Z, Joe Kimmes, Robert Gee, and myself. It was great to hang out with you all.

  12. I’m glad they were able to fit finding the lost city of Atlantis into their busy schedule. I suppose they left step three out of their plans since everyone already knows it meant profit…

    Great write up makes me even more excited to tear through cantha with my guild!!!

  13. Thanks for the info Rav. Just as a number of people have said, I’m also taking a short gw-hiatus till WoC (or something equally exciting) kicks in. Sounds like it will be a blast!

  14. since you played the first few quests, where do we get the first one from? keineng? market place? raisu palace?

    1. We were actually dumped mid-stride. I don’t think we started at the beginning. I could be wrong though.

      1. could you tell us where you started the quest? maybe we’ll have some idea of where to look when they do decide to start it off

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