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Guild Wars Live Event

By Sean Ferguson

At PAX, ArenaNet staged an exciting series of quests and challenges based on aspects of the Guild Wars game. From shooting crossbows (doubly attractive because Nerf weapons were outlawed at PAX this year), to testing their wits and memory, PAX attendees became live Guild Wars quest-seekers, playing as one of the eight professions in Guild Wars Prophecies or Factions.

And, just like in the game, these quests came with rewards. Anyone finishing all quests earned points for the PAX merchandise booth, and accumulated points for their chosen Guild Wars faction (Kurzick or Luxon) as they completed each individual challenge.

A large map of Cantha in the ArenaNet booth showed the progress of the alliance battle throughout the weekend, which the Kurzicks ended up winning. For their efforts, everyone on the Kurzick side won a 14-day trial of Prophecies/Factions, and were entered into a drawing for five prize packs.


Ranger Quest

After registering, players began on the Ranger quest, tracking a series of animal signs in the exhibition hall to find and deliver a message to the hidden NPC at the end. Anyone who played as Ranger got a free hint (the eyes of each animal looked toward the next sign along the path). Upon delivery, the NPC punched their alliance ribbon with a Ranger symbol (each station awarded a different symbol punch on a person's ribbon, which became quite helpful in the Inner Sanctum) and sent them outside to find the Assassin and Warrior challenges. Did you get the message to the right person?


NPC incognito

Assassin Challenge

Here players had to shoot a crossbow with foam darts at an artful cardboard standee of Guild Wars characters. Two characters stood side-by-side, and hitting the wrong target would result in a loss. But Assassins shouldn't settle for simply hitting their target. As such, this challenge required people to strike exact areas of the body to score different points. Assassins had an advantage. They need fewer points and had easier spots to hit for a win. Elementalists shouldn't need to handle crossbows, so they had the hardest time, reflected in a more difficult score to reach.


Accuracy is key

Warrior Challenge

Where Assassins can hit their opponents from the shadows, Warriors often must stand and take damage to protect their team. At the Warrior challenge, instead of shooting at a target, players were the target. Donning protective gear and holding a shield, anyone wishing to make it through had to brave a barrage of darts fired by an NPC with a blowgun. Warriors have this task for a reason—they can soak up the damage like nothing else. To succeed here, they had to block fewer darts than any other profession.


"Shields Up!"

Elementalist Station

Moving on from Warrior, the Elementalist area called for memory and concentration, as well as a fair bit of hand-eye coordination of its own. Quite simply, the NPC here presented questers with a modified Simon Says game. Instead of large colored panels, this game used Elementalist symbols, reducing the color visibility and making the sound more important. Elementalists had the easiest time, because they didn't have to memorize as complicated a sequence as the other professions.


Thinking caps help

Ritualist Station

Quest-seekers traveling to the Ritualist station encountered several troughs full of a black, earthy substance (ok, they were dried beans). In a task involving kinesthetic sense and a hands-on approach, would-be Ritualists had to dig for parts of small 3D figures and assemble them into completed models. This action symbolized the in-game process of temporarily binding departed souls to the physical word for the purpose of aiding in battle. Ritualists had a head start at this station, with access to partially completed models buried within a different tub.


Patience, young Ritualist

Mesmerized by Sudoko

Using icons from Guild Wars skills, the Mesmer puzzle utilized Sudoku mechanics to form an intriguing mental challenge. Depending on profession, players started with varying degrees of the puzzle already completed. Mesmers, of course, had no problems here and assisted their less mentally fit Warrior compatriots through this arduous affair. NPCs also stood by, eager to give hints where needed.


Friendly NPCs

Necromancer Enigma

Nestled peacefully away in the Satellite Theatre, this puzzle took place, for the most part, in a quiet room, fitting for the dead and departed. On tables shrouded in dark cloth sat four plastic skulls with glowing eyes. In this mystery, players had to identify the cause of death. How? By looking into each skull's eye-sockets to see the last scene that person saw while still alive. These scenes revealed a rebus puzzle of six icons, graphic representations of a word or part of a word. By putting together the images, people could find the solution. Because of their affinity with the dead, Necromancers could open the top of the skull for a better view of the overall puzzle.


Necros of all ages welcome!

Monk Quest

Located five minutes away by shuttle at the Red Lion Inn, the Monk quest featured a team vs. team trivia game based on in-game video footage displayed on a screen. For this quest, one of our ArenaNet staff who volunteered to run the event reports directly:

For each round I tried to split each team into Kurzicks versus Luxons, but I was splitting single-alliance groups when only one was present (after all, waiting around isn't fun). I then explained the rules and displayed one of three movies from our website (Nightfall trailer, Factions trailer, or Prophecies PvP trailer).

The fun began when I started picking question from a list to throw at the teams, such as "What objects were used as the feet on the windmill?" I'd ask both teams the question, and then each team would discuss the answer. After 5-10 seconds, a representative from each team would give me their answer. If both teams gave the correct answer, then both teams would get a point.

The first team to get the required number of points won, and in the case of a tie, both teams would win and get a punch. Losing teams, would stay for another round. I occasionally had people lose three rounds in a row, in which case I gave them punches anyway for being good sports (and because I was then out of videos).

Here's where the Monks came in. If the representative for a team was a Monk, the team only needed three right answers instead of four for their team to win. If the representative was a Necromancer, then the team needed five (this never happened).

This system was a lot of fun, especially in the one game where a team of about 6-7 people had only one Monk, who happened to be a very young kid (7-10). They handled it wonderfully, having this boy collect and present their answer.

 
Monking ain't easy

Inner Sanctum

And at last, players came to the Inner Sanctum. Here they had to travel down a three-tile-wide walkway, stepping from one row of tiles to the next. If they stepped on a wrong tile, they were killed immediately, and sent to the resurrection temple to respawn five minutes later. The trick, it turned out, was realizing that the safe tiles matched the hole punches they received at the eight other stations. The treasure chest at the end of the path contained the last hole punch. They won a 10-"point" card at the PAX merchandise booth for finishing the whole Guild Wars Live Event.


Watch for traps

We offer a heartfelt thanks to all who turned out and accepted our Guild Wars Live challenge. All ArenaNet staff volunteering as NPCs had a great time, and went home happy for the chance to meet the public and mingle with fans. And numerous people reported they'd never tried Guild Wars, but now had plans to give it a spin. We hope they stick to these plans so we can welcome them to our vibrant online Guild Wars community!