An Epic Free Weekend in Guild Wars 2
As anyone that knows me knows, I once was a huge MMO player. Originally, I played a lot of Asheron’s Call and World of Warcraft, but I’ve also dabbled in many of the other online games as well. I had played the original Guild Wars for a few months back when it initially released. And due to my relationship with IGN, I was lucky enough to beta test Guild Wars 2, but I never got too far with either game. Last month, Guild Wars 2 announced that they were going free-to-play in preparation for an upcoming expansion, so I thought I’d download it and take it for a spin.
The game starts off much like every other MMO. I was placed in a starter town, and a bunch of onscreen tool tips held my hand as I ran around the map. I saved some farmers, collected some tools for the workers, and performed other minor tasks. Somewhere around level 5, I ran into a large group of players that happened to be passing through. Brother Drake invited me to join their RP adventure as they trek across the lands.
Long story short, this roleplaying guild was taking players new and old on a 10+ hour journey across the game world, opening up the game map, seeing the sights, picking up waypoints, collecting treasure, and even at one point, battling a huge blue dragon world boss. My silly little starter quest run all of the sudden was about to get crazy, and I had the pleasure of meeting some very awesome people that kept resurrecting me every time I died in places my character had no business being. By the end of the day, I was level 25, fully decked out in protective armor (I was still getting one-hit), and yet it was my first day in the game. It was crazy fun!
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how much I will play. Guild Wars 2 seems like a lot of fun, and the gameplay mechanics seem really refined. For example, at one point, we had over 100+ people fighting the world boss, and the game didn’t skip a beat. The problem is that I find I’m not as drawn to MMOs as much as I once was, but for the low low price of free, I will continue to keep the game active on my computer. The next step in Guild Wars 2 for my character, Zprawl, is to join Brother Drake’s roleplaying guild, and that means developing a backstory to my character. So here goes… Part 1 of ?. Enjoy!
Chapter 1: Regrets
I lifted the cold mug and took a small sip.
As I held the ale to my lips, I took the opportunity to examine the other occupants of the small human tavern. In one corner sat a rather large man, probably 240 or so pounds of muscle with a respectable beer gut, but he didn’t seem like he was looking for any trouble. He appeared to be an off duty guard just looking to forget about his day. Three smaller individuals were playing cards at the far table near the end of the bar, but otherwise, the place was empty of guests.
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure why I came here anymore. Well, actually I was, but I really should look to move on. My uncle used to love this establishment. In fact, he would get wasted here regularly, especially after I was thrusted upon him as a small lad at age 5. I was an adult now, but a child never forgets.
My parents, well, I didn’t know them. They passed away bravely, or so I was told, when I was very young. I think I remember my mother’s face, but I’m not so sure. It’s almost like I’ve created my own version of her visage through other people’s memories of her. My uncle seemed to be pretty close to my parents, or at least close enough to have adopted me when they passed. Little was known about what had happened, and I was never able to get a straight answer from my uncle. Something to do with the Sereph, but I really didn’t know much. It’s a shame too, because now that he was gone, I may never know the complete story. That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to keep digging though.
Tonight… tonight, it was time for a break. My uncle was never a gentle man. He raised a hand at me a few times when I first came to live with him, but one learned to stay out of his way when he returned from this very tavern. “The Lucky Peacock” it proclaimed on a sign haphazardly nailed to the front of the building. “Lucky for whom?” I often wondered to myself.
As I lowered the mug to the table, I noticed the serving wench from behind the counter raising her head and looking towards the door rather abruptly. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed her before. She would be a rather attractive woman were she to clean up a little, but being the only employee in a tavern on the outskirts of nowhere didn’t really allow one any time for luxuries.
Lost in thought, no more than a few seconds later, the door came crashing open and the stormy weather from beyond bellowed forth followed by three imposing men. This would be trouble. The one who was clearly the leader of the group immediately approached the bar, while his two companions proceeded to move to opposite sides of the room. The leader whispered something to the wench that was outside of my hearing range, but clearly it did not go as he wanted, for no sooner did she turn away, did she find herself pinned face first to the bar.
I lifted my mug for another sip.
The leader of the group pulled her by the hair and raised his voice for all to hear. “Greetings, my friends!” He called out as he exchanged knowing looks with his companions. “My name is Slippery Pete.” He continued as if he was putting on a show for hundreds, but without much of a response. The wench however had managed to free herself somewhat from his grasp as he focused on his upcoming speech. “I suggest everyone empty their pockets for my friends here, and then please allow us to escort you to the door.”
There was a thunderstorm outside, and I had had enough trouble for one day with my last known family member passing and all. I took a moment to say a small prayer to the goddess of Luck, as if she could somehow turn back time. I should have stayed back at my uncle’s cabin – well, I guess it was mine now – just outside of Divinity’s Reach, but at the time it felt more appropriate to honor his death by having a drink at his favorite tavern. I wasn’t about to dishonor a fallen relative, no matter how much I detested him.
So, I took another sip.
The shortest of the three men approached my table. He was wielding a foot long dagger in his right hand, but otherwise did not seem to have any other weapons. I suppose he could have had a small knife hidden in his boot as it was smart to have these days, but he seemed as though he wouldn’t put up too much of a fight, if contested.
My real issue was going to be the leader, Slippery Pete. He wasn’t too terribly large, but he held a rather large gun, and my pistol was back at the cabin. I currently only had two small daggers, but they were still on my belt, and any move towards them would have escalated things quicker than I would have liked.
“Place your coin on the table,” stated the thief. “And don’t think about reaching for those daggers.” He continued while glaring down at me, posed to strike should I disagree with him. At that same moment, Slippery Pete turned in my direction. He didn’t raise the pistol, but the threat was clear. I didn’t see much point in fighting at the moment, since the only coin I had with me I had planned to spend at the tavern that night.
I took a little while, on purpose, but fished 14 copper pieces out of my purse and placed them on the table. I had a few more with me, but no point in sacrificing it all if it wasn’t needed.
“Give me your purse.” Stated the thief.
That was too bad. He had seen through my ruse. I quickly tossed him the bag, causing him to fumble with his dagger a little bit, but I waited to make my move. A few copper wasn’t worth it.
During all of the commotion, the tavern keeper Norah had made the mistake of coming out of her room in the back, and was quickly grabbed and ushered behind the bar to take her place next to the wench. While the small thief was collecting my coin off of the table, I looked across the room to the other occupants to assess if they were complying with the gang’s demands. The card players looked completely subdued. They had given over what appeared to be all of their winnings without a fight, and the other thief had moved towards the large quiet man that up until now hadn’t appeared to have moved or said a word.
I took another sip to prepare myself.
It was good to see some evidence that the large man was still alive when he lifted his head from the table and grumbled some sort of nonsense reply to the thieves. Slippery Pete made a gesture to his companion with my copper to come stand guard next to the women while he assisted his companion with the drunken oaf.
“We don’t want to see anyone hurt…” started Slippery Pete to the brute, who proceeded to reply by lowering his head back down onto the table. Pete raised the butt of his pistol to strike the large man, but before he could connect, the man quickly grabbed his wrist and stopped him mid-strike. He raised his head quickly and in a very sobering move twisted Slippery Pete’s arm, bringing him down to the ground and sending his pistol sliding across the floor towards me. He held him there as both companions moved to help their leader.
I took one more sip, dropped my mug to the floor, and reached for my belt.
The blood choked cries of the two thieves could barely be heard above the shattering sound of my cup hitting the floor. My daggers left their place by my side and with a flick of both wrists, flew into the back of the two companion’s necks, immediately reducing the number of threats to one. While the large brute held Slippery Pete to the floor, I moved to retrieve his pistol.
It was too late for these clowns. One of the companions was still alive, but severely injured on the floor. He struggled to try to get up. I debated for a short moment to let him live, but I already have enough marks after me. I could do without another. So I pulled the trigger.
Both ladies screamed.
You could see the fight immediately drain from Slippery Pete’s eyes, so the brute let him free. Pete cradled his injured arm and starred at me, eyes wide open. I casually walked over to both companions and emptied their pockets. I retrieved my copper and returned the other coin to their rightful owners. Other than muffled thanks, no one said a word.
I walked back to my table, sat down, and immediately regretted that I had dropped my beverage. Pete looked at the brute, looked at me, and considered making a run for it. I was closer to the door than he was and I held his gun, pointing it in his general direction. He loaded it. He knew I had five more shots left. One was bound to hit my target were he to attempt escape.
After another minute of awkward silence, I gestured to not-so-Slippery Pete to join me. As he sat down, I placed the pistol on the table, pointing it in his direction, ready to fire. Without taking an eye off Pete, I gesture to the tavern keeper to fetch us some ale, and both women quickly disappeared into the back rooms. At first, I wasn’t sure if they would return, but after another long minute, the owner Norah returned with two fresh cold mugs of what I had ordered earlier and stated that they would be on the house.
“First, we drink to my uncle.” I stated as I raised the mug and took a sip, keeping my eyes on him, of course. I was cocky, at times, but I wasn’t stupid.
He also took a sip while holding eye contact. “What is second, then?” asked Pete. In the last few minutes, he had regained his composure and was attempting to feign confidence, but I had him where I wanted him.
“I have a job for you.” I replied.