On Game Launches

The release date for Guild Wars 2 was announced a few days ago, and the Internet exploded. I joined a guild for it, and prepurchased the game so I could participate in the Head Start on August 25th. We’re making plans for the three-day period before the game is released to everyone else, and the air is thick with excitement. Shopping lists, arrangements for sitters, usage of vacation time at work, and so forth are all being discussed and implemented.

This is a fairly common occurrence in the video and computer game world. When a major new game is about to be released, launch parties are organized, people take time off work, and the atmosphere is charged with anticipation.

In my experience, this has never happened in the tabletop gaming world.

There have never been launch parties planned around when a particular product is released. Even Dungeons & Dragons, which managed to plan a few launch events surrounding its 3rd and 4th editions, has never managed to grab the attention of its target audience in the same way that Blizzard, NCSoft, and other purveyors of electronic entertainment have.

Why is this? Is it that roleplayers are less passionate about their games than computer gamers? Is it that the companies are less able to support such events? Or perhaps is it that no tabletop company has really tried?

When Silver Gryphon Games finally releases the fantasy campaign setting Eiridia, we will have a launch event. We’re a small company with a small fan base, but our fans are awesome and passionate about our games. As Eiridia develops I’ll chronicle its journey here from time to time, and when we’re gearing up for release, I’ll post about the official launch party here.

Because really, tabletop games are just as much cause for excitement as computer games.

Rediscovering Guild Wars

Years ago, my wife and I picked up Guild Wars on a whim. We played a little bit, maybe a few hours, over the course of a week… and then abandoned it to return to World of Warcraft or Everquest II or something along those lines.

With all the fervor surrounding Guild Wars 2, and my reignited interest in that game, I decided to reinstall my copy of Guild Wars and see what I had missed.

And, with all honesty, I can’t believe I didn’t buy heavily into this in the first place.

I have two characters I’m switching between at the moment – a Necromancer/Ranger, and a Warrior who I’ll probably mix with a Mesmer or Ranger. The way the game mixes classes and skills, and enables you to further mix that up by choosing your set of active skills whenever you’re in town.

I have not yet had a chance to get deep into the lore, but I recognized the attacking Charr immediately in the initial cutscene for Guild Wars. I’m greatly looking forward to exploring the original game before being able to afford jumping into its sequel. While usually I go for sandbox MMORPGs, I think in this case I’m most interested in exploring the character-centric nature of GW2, and in Guild Wars 1 by going through the many available stories.

I would love to find a group of folks to game with, if any of you reading this play Guild Wars!

The Lore of Starsiege: Tribes

One of the computer games I play most often these days is Tribes: Ascend, the latest descendent of the 1998 classic Starsiege: Tribes. Great gameplay aside, the lore of the Tribes universe is fascinating.

The story is derived from an even older game called Starsiege. At the end of a war between humans and cybernetic organisms called Cybrids, the humans emerged victorious and chased the Cybrid survivors deep out into space. They discovered a network of “jumpgates” not unlike Stargate’s network, and rapidly expanded out into the universe.

The settlers, far from the Terran Imperium, grew into large tribal civilizations entirely separate from Earth. These became known generally as the Children of Phoenix. The Empire sent a group of Imperial Knights, the Order of the Blood Eagle, to pacify these errant tribes.

The conflict splinters the Children of Phoenix, but the war continues unabated. A group calling itself the Diamond Sword, knights under the tutelage of a Buddhist-like Enlightened Master, enters onto the scene and starts gaining followers. Another tribe, the Starwolf, also appears – apparently a merging of Blood Eagle and Children of Phoenix deserters.

When attacks from the Empire slow and then stop, the four major tribes – Blood Eagle, Starwolf, Children of Phoenix, and Diamond Sword escalate their conflict. Minor tribes break away from the major ones, and things just get worse from there.

If you want to read the full timeline developed for Tribes, and download some documents going into wonderful detail on the Tribes universe – including technology, cultures, even slang – go here:

http://tribes.wikia.com/wiki/Backstory_timeline

I’m considering approaching Hi-Rez Studios, the current holders of the intellectual property rights, to see if Silver Gryphon Games can produce a tabletop RPG based on the Tribes universe.