ArenaNet Open House / Guild Wars 2 FanDay Preview!

The floodgates, as they say, have been opened. Be prepared!

I was extremely thrilled (and extremely lucky) to have been invited to the new ArenaNet office for a community FanDay event being held this Friday, June 24th. Myself and the other 16 or  lucky community reps and fans are in for some crazy surprises, and the ANet crew has been more than generous with their relentless teasing and secrecy. Seriously, we have -no idea- what the devious developers have in store for us (perhaps we like it that way?…Maybe…).

While this is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — the kind that only comes once every 75 years like a comet and drops ectos from the sky– myself and the others are still on a mission.

This is what we were all thinking. And anybody who says otherwise is a liar.

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MS Toga Party 2011 Re-Cap

As per TT tradition, we’re coming in with this a little late. But better late than never!

We tweeted / spammed a few weeks back about the charity fundraiser run by Gamers Giving back for multiple sclerosis awareness. Although the turnout was smaller than expected, we were still pleased to meet and surpass our goal of $1337! In fact, we ended up totaling around $1700+ !

A HUGE thank you to everybody who attended, volunteered, and donated. You guys are awesome.
And of course, many props to Gaming World Entertainment Network for all the work you guys do to make the world a better place.

Here are some highlights from the event:

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Guild Wars Guru GvG Tournament (That’s a lot of G’s)

Sharpen those blades, hone those skills, and read up on those builds. It’s GvG time!

The folks over at Guild Wars Guru announced last week that they’ll be hosting a wide-scale GvG tournament this spring, with an explicit focus on making the championship accessible to as many players as possible.

The tourney will have four divisions: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Casual, and each boasts some great prizes to give away to top players.

On top of the tiered divisions, they are offering a mentorship program to help casual guilds and players with little to no GvG experience in order to teach them the ways of the wise. Guild will be able to pick a mentor once they register for the casual division.

Dates to note are as follows:
Registration: March 19th – April 4th
Bronze & Casual Division: April 9th
Gold & Silver Division: April 16th

And the prizes:
Gold Division – NVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti (retail value: $250)
Silver Division – Logitech G110 Gaming Keyboard & G930 Wireless Gaming Headset (combined retail value: $223.98)
Bronze Division – Rude Gameware Fierce 5000 DPI Laser Gaming Mouse v. 2 & Fierce Teflon ® & Steel Mouse Surface (combined retail value: $79.90)
Casual Division – Bigfoot Killer NIC (retail value: $89.99)

This is a great opportunity to get this feat under your belt. If you’ve always wanted to give GvG a real go and never had a chance, this is the time to do it!

Check out the thread and official pages on Guru. Feel free to register and ask questions, hop in the Guru IRC, or follow GuildWarsGuru on twitter to keep updated as new information comes out!

Spread the news and hope to see you on the battlefield!

Prizes are courtesy of NVidia, Logitech, Rude Gameware, and Bigfoot. Image courtesy of Guru and BlueXIV.

Comment Corner: What do you guys think? Excited for the tournament? Thinking of joining in the fray?

Drawing Guild Wars #001 : Norn Initiate

Drawing is a bit of a process for me. I have no set style for some reason. I used to do comissions for in-game gold. That worked out pretty well but in the end I realized I could just farm Zkeys and make money way faster.

Anyway, I’ve been back and forth with the drawing bit. It’s hard to get inspired sometimes, since I’m a designer by profession and it sucks the creative juice out of me.
I generally do fanart one of two ways. Style a) I sketch in a light colored pencil, ink over with pens, scan, photoshop out the sketch, and digitally color. 2nd way is sketching and then doing the lines and colors all digitally.

I’ve been working on a teenaged norn drawing for months now. I thought I’d show the progress.

It starts with a basic pencil sketch. Usually goes through a few changes.  I decided she looked a little too much like Jora, so when I went in to add detail I fixed her hair to make her look a little different.

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Guild Wars Community Projects Update

One thing that has kept Guild Wars so alive is this fantabulous community of ours. While we do have our fair share of healthy competition, the amount of support and bro-ing out that goes on with everyone is pretty awesome. In light of the love and fever of a new year, I thought I’d give a mention to some changes going on out there right now.

Guild Wars fans have been seriously busy bees this winter. Several new sites, forums, and projects have sprung up, a few of which have gone live. In the process of updating my community list, I thought I’d give a heads up on what everyone should be looking out for. There’s a lot to cover, and this is all really exciting news for the community. So lets check it out!

Guild Wars Database
This is a really ambitious project headed by the awesome Karasu (Poeffie on twitter). The idea is to have an interactive and fully customizable tracking system for everything Guild Wars. Karasu is taking up the challenge to test for a similar project when Guild Wars 2 releases. So then, what exactly can you do with it? There are a ton of ridiculous features that are sure to keep you busy and make achivements and end-game missions tons easier.
List your titles, vanquishing progress, Guild information, mission / bonus progress, characters and alts…and find others with the same goals.  You name it, it’s there.
GWDB is currently in closed alpha and you can apply for a chance to beta on their site. No word yet on when it will go to beta or go live, but you can check out their preview screenshots here. Also keep an eye on their site, blog, and twitter for updates on progress and when it will move on to the beta stage. I can’t wait to see this to be released!

Quaggan.com
Nox (author of ConjurePhantasm) has been working his bum off on several innovative projects. His current “baby”, so to speak, is Quaggan.com. It’s another forum, and one he pledges to deliver an experience like no other Guild Wars forum you’ve been to. And I have to say, judging by what I’ve seen so far he’s making good on that promise.
Specific features that will set Quaggan apart:
•  Integrated Karma system (for reputation)
• A fun and graphically appealing award badge system.
• Completely unique and non-conventional style and design.
The site is currently in “beta” with Nox accepting limited applications for testing and quality control by experienced community members. I expect it to go live  soon, though. Keep an eye on Nox’s twitter / blog for updates!

GuildMag
GuildMag may have been around for a while, but it’s in the works of some major overhauls, specifically on our website. In order to supplement our bi-monthly digital publication (the latest issue can be found here), the site will be featuring much more content including opinion pieces, reviews, more blogging and other special features. No launch date just yet, but fans of Guild Mag old and new should be very excited for the changes. Jonny and Dutch are both working hard, as well as the rest of the staff, to bring some awesome creative and informative content to the masses.
And after a holiday hiatus, Sabre Wolf, Malchior Devenholmn, and myself have returned to our weekly live pod-cast schedule! Check out GuildMag.com or follow us at @GuildMag on twitter.

GuildFans
Launched by Dan/JR, Guild Fans is made up of and run by many familiar faces. The site boasts contests, interviews, a built-in wiki, and wonderfully organized media galleries for the pleasure of the masses. Their forums aim to provide a more intimate and less chaotic setting than the usual fare.
GuildFans continues to achieve a lot of what we have come to expect and love from the guys that brought us some of the greatest communities that have ever existed in the Guild Wars universe. With a continued focus on member experience and interaction, GuildFans has a promising and exciting future as more and more fans, new and old alike, begin to gather en-masse in excitment for the sequel. Follow them on twitter and don’t forget to sign up for their live-feed from their site!

GuildSearch
Another brilliant project by Nox. It’s currently on the back burner but still deserves a mention for the work already put in. Nox’s savvy eye for design and simplicity meets function in this Guild Recruitment search engine that aims to make finding the perfect home or the perfect members easier and streamlined. With filters to search by content (PvE vs PvP, for instance) and server, this site seems a godsend, and one that could easily be applied to GW1 and 2 alike. What I’ve gathered from comments and replies is that Quaggan and GuildSearch will be combined somehow in the future, something that’s very exciting and sure to make Quaggan an even more awesome place. Until then, keep an eye on Nox’s blog, twitter, and Quaggan forums and check out the development preview here.

Guild Wars Skill Reference
No geeky fandom is fully complete without a little go-go-gadget fun. That’s were GWSR comes in. It’s a currently functional but still developing Android app that lets you look up any skill in the game right from your phone. The filters are smooth and the layout is easy on the eyes. You can find out anything about the skill in question: recharge time, cost, effects, and descriptions. Search by profession, toggle PvP / PvE, and look up other skills with similar effects.
If you’re a droid owner and a Guild Wars fan, you’ve got to get this on your phone.  Follow the development process on twitter, check out the app developer’s official site, or take a search for Guild Wars Skill Reference on the market.

Guild Wars 2 Character Creator
This is probably one of the most impressive projects yet, because of the sheer awesomeness of it all. It’s a Guild Wars 2 build creation site. Yes, you heard right. Guild Wars 2. What the masterminds behind the project have done is vigorously research everything we’ve learned so far about skills and weapons for the current four professions that have been released and created an interactive applet that allows you to effectively create a build.
This must have been a lot of work, but it’s unbelievably awesome as the first site to implement the Guild Wars 2 data into something of this caliber. We can expect great things to come of it in the future as more information is released.

So there you have it. I’m sure there are tons more to cover in the future, and I can’t wait. I’m always amazed at the sort of creativity and dedication that comes from this wonderful community. Sometimes I am astounded at what we can do when we really love something to this degree. It’s awesome.

To the readers: What do you guys think of all the projects coming out? Are you impressed? Got a favorite?  Have any ideas for something you’d like to see? Did I miss anything? <3

*edit* 1-7-10 9:45am: Added the 2nd paragraph to GuildFans that somehow disappeared when imported. Edited Guild Wars Data Base to more accurately reflect the project’s goals. Added Guild Wars Skill Reference’s official site link. Minor edit, grammar, and spelling fixes.