Many of you have probably watched his daily Guild Wars 2 countdown videos on YouTube or his run-throughs of dungeons and jumping puzzles…
For today, Guild Wars 2 lore buff WoodenPotatoes sat down with us and gave us a some answers to questions that had been itching at us ever since his countdown started in the 50-day range. Today we will be running the first half of our interview, and the remaining parts will run later this week. Be sure to hit the jump to see it all; it’s a lot to read and take in.
What motivates you to put out so many quality videos in such frequency?
Hmm. I think a big part of building a viewerbase, particularly on youtube, is getting into peoples schedules – and it’s far easier to do that when you’re being regular with the content you deliver. There are an awful lot of channels out there doing Guild Wars 2 stuff, and some of them put out incredible work that can spread through the community and gather thousands of views very quickly, but often it’s a flash in the pan – they get something good but can’t grow an audience from it because as quickly as they came, their viewers are gone again. I started covering Guild Wars with a Let’s Play that was so large it took about a year and a half of daily videos to finish. So when transitioning to Guild Wars 2, it was easy for me to stick with that kind of schedule, and I think that’s really the main thing that’s allowed me to be where I am today.
As a further motivation – if you don’t continue delivering what the audience has come to expect, then you can drop off far faster than you climbed up. You can see a lot of dead channels on YouTube, Guild Wars 2 aside, that have millions of lifetime views but only 50-100 views per video these days, and it’s because they went MIA for three to six months. Time moves quickly on the internet, people move on and forget about you – even if they’re still subscribed. I went one day without a video this week and people were asking me if I had been in an accident! That’s why it’s so important to keep it at. And I think the main reason why everyone doesn’t find success making videos is exactly that. It’s easy to convince yourself you can be regular and put out a lot of content for a few weeks, but six months? Nine? Two years? Not everyone has it in them, especially when real life throws them a curveball. New job, moving, a baby… it doesn’t take much to throw you. The success of an individual video isn’t always indicative of its quality. In fact, nine times out of ten, I wouldn’t say it is. It’s born from all the work that went before it. If there aren’t months of history already stacked up on someone’s channel, they can release the Guild Wars 2 video of a lifetime and my stupid April Fools video will still get twenty times the views.
Community expectations are definitely a part of it, but you have to enjoy what you’re doing too. It’s no secret that making a video isn’t as simple as talking into a microphone for twenty minutes and then being done, and there are a lot of people out there who complain about all the time spent on researching, editing, rendering, and uploading. But really, it’s not that bad. Every video I’ve ever made has been different from the last. It’s had different footage, different places that need to be cut, different things that I’m talking about. That helps a lot. So does the fact you can be creative. When I first started making videos I knew nothing, but every now and then I’ll think to myself ”I’d love to do this..” And all of a sudden I’ve taught myself how to greenscreen or properly use envelopes. You get to be creative, so it’s all good fun, even when you have external obligations to make a video playing on your mind, too.
Is there any story line/theme from Guild Wars 1 that you’d hope to see expanded on in Guild Wars 2?
There are a lot of big ones; the Mursaat, the Seers, the Wizard’s Tower, the Dominion of Winds, the cancelled campaign, Utopia, and all that good stuff. But maybe those are too easy. There are a lot of weird nuggets of information ArenaNet have put out that seem to hint at plotlines, too, but we know so little about them right now, it’s impossible to know what they could mean. For example, in Guild Wars 1 in Ascalon there lived a particular type of creature, Gargoyles. They were all over the place, and quite distinct too, in terms of their mechanics, being one of the first enemies you find capable of resurrection. But now in 250 years… they’re all gone. Not only this, but we know that, specifically, they all vanished without a trace in the year 1185AE. Why? It’s little things like that which interest me. What’s the story there? If you asked me, though, one particular unfinished story I would want concluded above all others, it would have to be Saul D’alessio. We saw the man dragged away by the mursaat in the bonus mission pack, where is he now? Where did he go, is he alive? He has a lot of backstory and currently just feels unfinished. I’d hate to see him end up as a boss at the end of some random meta event. This guy is a big deal, and should get an expansion all to himself just dealing with what happened to him!
Any thoughts or opinions on the black and white images ArenaNet has floating around?
I have thoughts, but they’re not my own. The possibility of it being from a live-action trailer is enticing – seeing Tyria represented in live action is something I’ve often hoped we’d one day see. I’ve heard a few theories that the trailer may have to do with the new song from Jeremy Soule and Ree Soesbee ”Fear Not This Night”, too, which would be a great setting. Somewhat similar to the gamescom trailer from a while back with that haunting piano theme. As for the character? My money is on Eir. Whatever the case, surely it’s only a matter of time before we find out.
Are there any big figures in Guild Wars lore that you think don’t have enough attention?
Well two, really. There is one period of the lore that has always fascinated me – and that’s the early years before the events of the first game, ending with the searing, the catacylsm and Kryta’s recovery from the charr invasion. We had three human kings during this period. Adelbern of Ascalon, who gets plenty of attention, and we also have King Jadon of Kryta and Reza of Orr. Both of these men were just as powerful as, if not more powerful than, Adelbern, and yet we have so little on them. I’m sure that the story of Reza’s final moments of doubt while the Charr scoured the holy city of Arah and his advisor, vizier Khilbron, invoked the cataclysm, would be a fantastic tale – but more than that, I want to hear about Jadon. Here we have a man, descended from King Doric, just as Reza was, stuck in Guild Wars with Ascalon. Why? What caused such hate between them? And further, why did he flee Kryta and doom it? Jadon, as the charr approached, lost all hope and abandoned his people. To this day, we still don’t know what happened to him. His illegitimate daughter, Salma, took the throne in his stead, but what of him? Was he always a coward? Did he survive and have more children of royal blood? Only ArenaNet knows, but there are stories to be told here – layered personalties and characters to be explored. I picture a scene of the three men shortly before the events of Prophecies meeting to discuss some kind of peace. I wonder if they had any idea what would become of them in just a few years time. How fearful, desperate, and mad they each in-turn would become – and how it would be their undoing. But, of course, no one thinks of those three Kings – and going 250 years forward, I wonder whether it will ever be revisited.
If you could see any of the minor races developed into a playable character race, which would it be?
Oh come onnnnnn it HAS to be the tengu! Can we even consider them a minor race at this point? There is too much that’s been written about them to imagine them not becoming playable, for me. The whole Dominion of Winds is quite conveniently located for a starter area, connecting directly to the Brisband wildlands, Lions Arch and the Kessex Hills. You can even speak to the tengu by the walls to hear about different houses and tribes they belong to, similar to the human ancestry, asura colleges, norn spirits, and so on. Oh, and doesn’t it seem odd that such a significant race as the tengu still doesn’t have a post on the ArenaNet blog giving them a spotlight? Maybe its because they won’t be getting one article, they’ll be getting a whole week, just like the other 5 playable races, when the time comes. I’ll be here shouting ”called it” when we’re in tengu week, truuust me.
For those new to the Guild Wars universe, what is the most important bit of lore to understand?
The main thing I would say is that this is a game where, as far as story is concerned, you get out what you put into it. There is a big backstory to find and marvel at, but it can all go under your nose if you let it. Speak to NPCs during events and hearts, listen to them as they speak, explore the cities and interact with the world even when there isn’t some achievement or carrot on a stick telling you to do so – ArenaNet have put so much there; hints and treats and morsels of information about Cantha in the right district of divinities reach, or tales of the Jotun from the ancient world in Hoelbrak. But it will all be for nothing if you don’t reach out and take it. That thirst for learning will enrich the experience of the game tenfold, but it’s the kind of thing you, as a player, need to put on your own back, because sadly, you don’t earn gold simply from knowing stuff.
And don’t be intimidated. A lot of the original Guild Wars stuff isn’t relevant right away for Guild Wars 2. You just learn what you want and what is interesting, not because you absolutely need to know it all. It’s not like you’re sitting down about to read a massive research paper the size of a novel, it’s more like you’re going to the movies and you always have the option to find out a little bit more here and there.
Be sure to check back in, as we will have the next half of this interview posted up soon!