GuildMag issue #6



Tyria: A World That Could Have Been

Change. It’s a word that can bring both sadness and joy to a gamer's life. When it comes to MMOs, change is always a constant factor. Guild Wars is no exception to this golden rule; the game is constantly changing. Game features come and go like the wind. The Xunlai Tournament House was removed and hero battles are gone, while Guild Wars Beyond content keeps piling on, preparing us for Guild Wars 2's ultimate release. Some take this constant cycle of change a blessing, whilst others might call it a curse. But what of the content that never came to be? What of the features that players didn't ever get a chance to experience besides a few entries in the .dat file? In this issue, we'll explore what Tyria could have been had these elements been included in the game; from the ultimate world-changing features lost in time, down to the various skills and spells that could have changed the way we farm raptors today. So, without further ado, let us open the gates to obscurity and take a step into the mystical world of the Tyria that never was.


Guild Wars Utopia:

The Campaign that Never Was

Enter Campaign 4

The original Guild Wars campaign, now known as Prophecies, came out in April of 2005. Factions and Nightfall followed in the short years to come. With new content being periodically pumped out every six months or so, people wondered what would come after the release of Nightfall. What theme would the next campaign have this time? What classes would be created? What sort of cool new skills would we be able to use? For months, an air of mystery surrounded the entity now referred to as the mythical Guild Wars Utopia; campaign 4.

In May of 2007, an article appeared in PC Gamer Magazine that shook the Guild Wars community to its core. “GUILD WARS CAMPAIGNS CANCELLED” they so frantically proclaimed. We found the game we knew and loved, scrapped. A pat on the back and the promise of a sequel was a tough pill to swallow for most of us. It seemed as if our beloved Guild Wars Trilogy would stay just that - a trilogy. As it never saw the light of day, very little is known about the fourth installment in the Guild Wars franchise. Rumours began emerging about possible locations and features that were to be included in the game. “Horses! Mounts!” some shouted, pointing at concept art and promotional images. Others wallowed in disappointment at their thought of not being able to play the lolz-tastic, rumored Chronomancer profession. Ironically, it is these amazing features that drove ArenaNet to scrap the project.

It is a widely known fact that with the release of each campaign, countless issues arose regarding the balance of new skills and abilities to coexist with existing content. Balancing a game is no easy feat. Sometimes solutions are easy, but more often than not, sacrifices have to be made, and the players are seldom happy about it. It’s quite likely that a fourth campaign would have brought countless Smiter’s Boon situations and tons of hate for Izzy and the rest of the then-balance team. Could the cancellation of Utopia possibly have been a good thing for the game? It seems so, but we can still rage and fantasize about what could have been, right?


A controversial subject that drew a significant amount of attention to Campaign 4 is the professions that were to be included in the new release. With ArenaNet running out of character archetypes, predicting professions became a tough call. Some called for a summoner class, to conjure beasts from the mists to do their bidding. Others noticed intriguing concept art and conjured up their own ideas about a mysterious figure referred to as the chronomancer: a time-manipulating, half-ethereal Doctor Who sort of guy. While the idea makes most of us excited to the point of screaming like a little schoolgirl (no? just me?), it’s not hard to imagine how it would have proven itself either utterly useless or jaw-droppingly overpowered. How far can you go with such a profession without breaking the game? I get a chuckle out of the thought of one chronomancer casting a spell somewhere in the outskirts of Lion’s Arch and everyone in the game having to wait for the flow of time to return to normal.

Other pieces of concept art pointed at yet another meele fighter class. After the warrior, paragon, dervish, and assassin, you would have thought ArenaNet would have run out of ideas. And you would have thought wrong. Concept art appeared of characters wielding a surfeit of martial weapons, some new, some reimagined. Maces, halberds, and javelins, as well as two-handed and dual-wielded flavors of existing weapons like swords, axes and spears all made an appearance. Some expected a new class specializing in wielding this wide array of weapons, while others insisted that these would be new tools at the disposal of existing professions. I would imagine it was the people theorizing and looking forward to these features that were hit the hardest by the news of Utopia’s cancellation.

Aztecs? In my Guild Wars? Where?!

Another popular topic of debate that lingered even before Campaign 4 was announced was the location of this new content. Some pointed at the huge empty plot of space in northwest Tyria, while others insisted that the new content would expand the world east. Although this topic is one we will most likely have no clarification about, it is still a popular subject of discussion even among Guild Wars 2-watchers hoping for the new game’s map to expand the boundaries beyond what was seen in the original trilogy.

A clue that was a hot topic for a while in Guild Wars Guru were several pictures players had taken, from places such as Fahranur, The First City, and western Kourna.These pictures all showed a strange sight: an icy, Mount Everest-sized mountain seemingly in the middle of the ocean. Was this a forgotten hint that ArenaNet left in to tease us? Was this intended to be a connection to the new content? Some players thought that this meant that the new campaign would implement sailing, and that we would sail over to investigate this mysterious mountain. The discussion went on for quite a while, but after no official confirmation was given, the thread was buried in the dead pile.

We may never know where the new campaign was to take place. Hell, maybe not even the developers knew at the time of cancellation. The only thing we can hope for now is to see some of the new areas in Guild Wars 2.

What? We DID see some of the new content?

When news of Campaign 4’s cancellation came around, with it came notice that the content that was made for the campaign would be implemented into Eye of the North, and Guild Wars 2. Most of us are most familiar with the former, and what features hinted at influence from Utopia.

The asura, for example, have architecture and culture based partly on the Aztec people of Mesoamerica. This was a concept originally intended for Campaign 4. Perhaps more important than the asura, however, are the golems they constructed in the Eye of the North expansion. Golems are featured in artwork, and appear as some sort of remnant of an earlier civilization. These everlasting pieces of machinery would be a testament of the older civilization. Much of Campaign 4’s storyline is rumored to have been involved with the golems and their relation to the earlier empire. The golems’ smaller role in Eye of the North seems to imply that their relation to the older civilization was scrapped.

Could the Aztec architecture be a shadow of a fallen empire’s former glory? Perhaps the asura just simply walked into Mordor, the remains of the former civilization, and took over from there, as some assumed was the case with the asura gate network. This we can’t know for sure, but it is a possibility.

The precursors to the destroyers also starred in concept art for Campaign 4, just not as they appeared in Eye of the North’s release. Creatures called Tanneks (or Tannecks, Tanecks, or Tannecs, depending on who you ask) appeared to have a similar role in Utopia as destroyers in Eye of the North – to wreak havoc on the world. These Tanneks, however, were fleshy creatures reminiscent of a mix between a dredge, a charr, and a norn of sorts. They were seemingly the main villain in the storyline, purportedly impeding players from learning more about the fallen civilization that used to exist in the new continent.

The Tanneks’ transformation to their current fiery form can be observed in transitional concept art. For example, the following image shows a hybrid between a Tannek and a destroyer. It is unknown whether this was created after development of Eye of the North, or if it was made to adapt the infernal creatures to their present state.


Well, at least we’ll still see some of the cool stuff in Guild Wars 2, right?

We, the players, were informed that development for Utopia was scrapped in favor of Guild Wars 2. Does this mean that some of the unseen content (pun intended. Mursaat, pretty please?) will be featured in the long-awaited sequel? I for one sure hope so. While it has been stated that the chronomancer will not be making an appearance, there is still some hope for the other amazing things we saw in concept art. The Tarnished Coast, for example, is inspired by areas intended for Utopia. We only saw a small fraction of it in Eye of the North, however. Most of the map area to the west was inaccessible, leaving much to the imagination. What is that island in the middle of that body of water? Where in Tyria is the Mursaat homeland? So many questions yet to be answered.

It seems everybody has a different interpretation of if, and how, that content will appear in Guild Wars 2. Only time will tell, however. What does this mean to the average player? Well, it means yet another reason to anxiously anticipate the release of Guild Wars 2. Just what we needed, right?


The Xunlai Market:

A new way to trade?


The Xunlai Market:

Going back as far as the Beta Weekend Events, people have experienced problems with the trading system in Guild Wars. Players often found themselves drowning in an ocean of trade-related text, where ads for all manner of items set up camp and remained until they swapped owners, only to be replaced by two more moments later. All things considered, it was a vicious circle of trade-spam. To rectify this unsightly situation, a new Trade Channel was implemented – a feature most players are now very familiar with. The great thing about this aspect of the game is that not only does it make trading easier by displaying a list of traders in a town or outpost, but it also separates them from the non-traders, thus allowing those not interested in purchasing massive amounts of ectoplasms to communicate without being interrupted every few sentences. Theoretically, everyone wins. In reality, however, it hasn’t really made trading all that much easier. Technically, all the posts - the constant barrage of text - is still there, just hidden. Despite a dedicated trade channel and a list of all people willing to buy or sell something, players often continue to spam their messages in attempt to increase their clientele. So what happens when a non-trader wishes to sell an item they realise they no longer want, whilst still looking to chat to the other people in their district? In essence, it becomes very difficult to do so as they're going to be forced into spamming their advert when there's a gap in the barrage of messages, whilst still looking to keep ontop of what's happening in the 'normal' channel . So, to turn the tides on the trading war, the developers decided to do something about it. The brainchild of this venture was the development and implementation, or lack thereof, of the mythical Xunlai Market.

The Xunlai Market may have been just the thing to revolutionise the way players trade in Guild Wars. Despite never being officially announced (or even hinted at, for that matter), there’s a surprising amount of information about the Market thanks to people tech-savvy enough to dig through the .DAT file back in early 2008. Summed up, the Xunlai Market was to be an outpost structured specifically for trading. Players could sell their items at a fixed price (as opposed to an auction-like affair). A player would pay a variable fee for their item to be displayed in a categorised list full of items just waiting to be bought. This list was to be accessible thanks to a button named ‘Market’ in the Party Search panel. Once an item was listed, it was to remain in a player’s inventory for as long as the offer stood valid. After said item was bought by another player, it would be automatically transferred to the buyer's inventory, whilst the gold would be placed into the seller’s storage. Most tradeable items were to be accepted into the trade system, though unidentified, customised and equipped items were unable to be added to the Market. With all the available information, it appeared at the time that the Xunlai Market was definitely being given the green light – some even found localised Spanish and German strings in the file, which indicates that the project was fairly advanced in its development. And then, on 31st January 2008, all traces of the Xunlai Market disappeared. The merchants' paradise between the Great Temple of Balthazar and the Zaishen Challenge outpost, seemed to have vanished into the Mists.

Some would call the Xunlai Market a haven for traders and non-traders alike. Though while some were disappointed about the loss of such a useful feature, others rejoiced in this 'relieving' piece of news. The Xunlai Market would almost certainly reduce the number of people posting in the Trade Channel with the usual ‘WTB’ or ‘WTS’ messages in other towns, but perhaps in doing so it would just relocate the trade-spam to a new outpost. Not everybody would have their items bought by other players immediately after listing their wares. Impatient groups may then resort to advertising the fact that they have items in the Market as a way to increase sales. So, in this sense, would the Xunlai Market really have made a difference? Besides, other means of trading already existed in fan forums around the internet. Though sometimes unreliable, the solution was already here.

All in all, the Xunlai Market would most likely have received mixed reviews, as with many new features added to the game. Does the Xunlai market have any hopes of ever being implimented into Guild Wars? As the place of trade it was originally intended to be – no. However, we may at least receive a taste of the Market's aesthetics. For those unaware, there is an upcoming update featuring an outpost named Embark Beach, which will provide access to every mission the player is currently allowed to enter. The importance of the new Embark Beach outpost is that it is thought by many to use the map originally made for the Xunlai Market. The Xunlai Market might just make it to the game after all, just not as it was originally intended.

Moving forward 250 years, there will in fact be a marketplace coming to Guild Wars 2. Players will even have the ability to browse the marketplace and check on their items from the comfort of a smartphone or web browser, without having to be in-game. Perhaps the reason behind the Xunlai Market's lack of existence was the possibility that the developers needed those extra 250 years to tweak the marketplace before releasing it...


Unimplimented Skills:


It’s no secret that not every skill made it past the design process. There is a nice little compilation of unimplemented skills over at the official Guild Wars wiki. This is a compilation of our favorite unimplemented skills. Be it due to their supremely overpowered nature, or due to the strange way in which they were taken care of, these skills drew our attention the most.


“I’m using REMOVE!”

These skills, like the others in this compilation, never made it to the game. What makes these special, however, is the fact that they were renamed before being removed. Why was this? Was the name spoiler-related? Was it simply to mark the skill for removal by other developers? Well, only a fraction of content developers know today.


REMOVE (Leadership skill). Energy cost 5, recharge time 45s.
• Elite Stance. For 15...51...60 seconds, you gain +2 Energy for each ally effected by your Chants and Shouts (maximum 8 Energy).
This one is a good one. With enough shouts and party members, this skill could have actually made the paragon a bit useful for a change!


REMOVE (Soul Reaping skill). Energy cost 10, recharge time 10s.
• Enchantment Spell. For 10 seconds, you gain 5...41...50 Health whenever a creature dies.
This one had an added bonus for the necromancer’s primary attribute. It’s hard to say why it was removed, but it seems like a decent skill. Perhaps it was a bit overpowered compared to other professions’ primary attributes.



REMOVE (Wind Prayers skill). Energy cost 10, recharge time 20s.
• Enchantment Spell. Lose all Enchantments. For 30 seconds, your attacks deal lightning damage. When this Enchantment ends, all adjacent foes are Weakened for 4...9...10 seconds.
Yet another generic initial -> duration -> end enchantment for the dervish. This skill seems useless aside from one or two areas with monsters weak to lightning damage. I for one won’t miss this skill.


Ice Skates
• Stance. For 10 seconds, you move 66% faster.


Verata’s Promise. Sacrifice 33%, Energy cost 15, recharge time 30s
• Enchantment Spell. For 10...50...60 seconds, your minions have +10 Health regeneration. When Verata's Promise ends, all your minions die.
Yet another skill that was to be named after the same random profession trainer from Pre-Searing Ascalon. Well... can anyone say invincible minion spike?


Bloodletting. Energy cost 5, recharge time 5s.
• Enchantment Spell. For 10 seconds, you have + 1...5...6 Health regeneration while Bleeding. When this enchantment ends, 1...3...4 conditions from which you are suffering are transferred to a nearby foe.
With only a level 5 in Blood Magic, you are immune to bleeding and transfer conditions. This would have had SO many possibilities for abuse.


Boon of the Gods. Energy cost 5, recharge time 30s.
• Elite Enchantment Spell. For 5...17...20 seconds, Spells you cast cost 1 less energy for each Enchantment on you.
With enough enchantments, you could practically cast away to your heart’s content. Caster dervishes salivate over this skill everywhere.


Cry of Lament. Energy cost 15, recharge time 5s.
• Spell. All party members are healed for 10...34...40 Health. If any party members are dead, Cry of Lament heals for an additional + 5...53...65.
A spell that rewards your party for having dead party members? What is this wizardry?


Will these controversial skills ever make an appearance in the game? Probably not. I mean, look at them, some of them would be more imbalanced than an Imbagon. Hell, one of them would even be able to REPLACE the Imbagon. I for one would have loved Boon of the Gods; at least until it was nerfed due to D/E bonders abusing it. Hey, isn’t there a dervish update coming soon? Wait... OH NO!


The Guild Vault:



Moving to the continent of Cantha, the release of Guild Wars Factions brought with it many new features, particularly some of interest to the guilds of Tyria. Perhaps the most influential of these updates was the ability to speak to the Guild Lord and purchase services for the guild hall, such as merchants, skill trainers, Xunlai storage agents and even a Priest of Balthazar. This essentially allowed a guild to have a self-sufficient outpost in the form of their guild hall. Nowadays, successful guilds are often measured by the content of their halls: a total cost of 510 platinum will give guild leaders and officers the right to say they have a ‘full guild hall’. This simple statement can make recruiting a breeze, rather than having a meagerly empty members list. One feature, however, was noticeably missing - the Guild Vault. This feature would have allowed members to put their unwanted items in a place where any guild member could access it. As well as the above, it also allowed for a legitimate place to hold the guild's common property. So what if this feature had been implemented after all? Would we no longer look for guilds with a full guild hall, but instead seek those which offer ‘full’ guild vaults instead? It’s certainly a possibility. But what ever happened to the guild vault? And, in all honesty, would it really have been that useful in the first place?

Many would immediately argue that a guild vault would have been extremely useful. It’s unknown how much this service would have cost, but many players know of its existence and possibly uses.
Officially, it’s described as ‘item storage for the guild’s common property’ – but what does the term ‘common property’ entail? Would any, and all, items have been welcome in the guild vault, including gold, or only a select few such as crafting materials? Many players see the guild vault as a communal storage area for members to give and take from as they please, whilst others view it as a means to help raise funds for the guild; an idea that would require some sort of ‘lock’ on the vault to prevent others from withdrawing items. Whether or not this would have been the case is unknown, though some measures would almost certainly have to be taken to protect the vault from those who see it as a way to steal items from other guild members. This is where, inevitably, trust comes into play. It’s due to this lack of trust that made many players express a sigh of relief when the guild vault didn’t come into existence.

Trust has always existed in games which offer clans, guilds or any other form of group. In Guild Wars, officers are usually trusted members of a guild and have the ability to expel, recruit and even promote others to the rank of officer. This means, theoretically, one renegade officer could bring down an entire guild in a matter of minutes. All the hard work put into creating a successful community would be instantly evaporated, and guild members' faith in their leader would vanish eternally.

Unfortauntely, a similar guild-wide apocalypse may have been equally as possible with the advent of the guild vault, should there have been a lack of security measures. Due to a lack of information regarding the specific mechanics of the vault, it's possible that any member may have been able to take as much as they like from it, as soon as they’d joined a guild - and then what? Could a guild then recruit new members, safe in the knowledge that their guild’s shared property would still be there five minutes later? Most likely not. But it’s not just the members, new and old, that a guild would have to be wary about: leaders can also succumb to temptation. What would stop a guild leader from ‘raising guild funds’, only to turn around and bag themselves a few hundred platinum pieces? One assumes that a guild leader would have complete and total control over the vault, and hopes that the developers would have created some ingenious solution to prevent such sadistic events from occurring, else they’d be flooded with complaints about many an item disappearing from the vault. Despite all this negativity, though, the staff at ArenaNet didn’t appear to be phased by it. They still planned to have a guild vault, right up until the near-release of Factions. In the 49th edition of Fansite Friday, this was confirmed in an interview which stated that guild vaults will indeed feature in Guild Wars. So what happened?

Two words: server issues. That’s all we’re told. Perhaps, truly, having a shared storage panel was strenuous on the Guild Wars servers - after all, it would be like having thousands of extra storage panels accessible by many people, possibly simultaneously. On the other hand, another, off-the-record, option may have simply been because they were unable to resolve the final details of how a guild vault would work; as already noted, it’s open to a lot of exploitation. This is an issue that will probably never receive a full answer, so we can do nothing but speculate. The guild vault may have been an extremely useful way to share items amongst fellow guild members, or it may have emerged as a way for some players to earn some quick gold, but I guess we’ll never know... But, if I may, let me ask you this: what ever stopped guild members from asking for any spare items via the guild chat? Personally, I can’t think of anything wrong with that system. What the vault hoped to achieve is still very possible, it just involves a little more talking and trading. What's so wrong with a little human interaction?




There have been a vast array of unimplimented items throughout the game's lifespan, and we have but scratched the surface of the content we never saw. Undoubtedly, there is more lurking in the shadows than any of us dare to imagine. What's more, with the constant reassurance from ArenaNet that whilst developing Guild Wars 2 they're encapsulated in a cycle of testing what works and what doesn't, it's quite likely that there's already a large list of unimplimented content for that game too, and perhaps, in a few years, others will be attempting to exhibit what Guild Wars 2 may have been like, just as we have attempted. One thing's for certain, however: any game, no matter the genre, learns from its unimplimented content. It teaches the developers what would hinder a game's success - and what would improve it. And, ultimately, it allows for sequels to expand on these ideas to make one hell of a game.

The unofficial Guild Wars magazine.
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