Flameseeker Chronicles: My favourite Guild Wars 2 Friend/Ships stories

Friendships and social interaction are everything when it comes to enjoying MMOs in my mind, so you can imagine how much I adore the Guild Wars 2 Friends/Ships initiative that ArenaNet started this month to celebrate Valentine’s Day outside of Tyria. Using the hashtag #GW2Friendships hooks up players’ game-related friendship stories to a special webpage that is full of feelgood, touching GW2 anecdotes about how the game brings people together, and I’ve had a wonderful time checking out all the ways in which the game has managed to solidify such meaningful relationships between people. It’s wonderful to see a Valentine’s Day initiative that doesn’t centre only on romantic love: I’ve seen stories that involve couples, of course, but most are stories about friendship and some again even tell of bringing family units closer together through their shared hobby.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll take you through some of my favourite stories I found during my browsing and will also share my own. You can read the full submissions by clicking the link in each heading: I don’t want to simply regurgitate each story in this article but I do give you enough information to get the gist while also explaining why I loved it so much. Feel free to join in with the friendly sharing in the comments here as usual, but remember that the Friends/Ships initiative runs until the end of the month and the associated competition for sharing your story (in which you can win a trip to the ArenaNet studio and PAX West!) runs until February 28. Simply use both the #GW2Friendships and #GW2Giveaway hashtags on your social media share of the story to enter: Check out the full terms before posting.

Geezer Guild

Having joined some amazing guilds for slightly older players before, I loved this story submitted by Rick Lee about Bill by the end of the first sentence! This story honestly brought me to tears: Two online friends spent every day talking online and gaming together until one day, all communication stopped from one side without warning. Knowing something was definitely wrong with Bill if he was offline without explanation, Rick went to great lengths to ensure his friend was well, which nearly concluded with a road trip from Michigan to Alabama! Thankfully, Rick’s research paid off and a relative managed to get in touch to say that Bill had, unfortunately, had a stroke and had been in a coma: When he came to and learned that Rick had been trying to find out how he was, he managed to get across to his relative how to get in touch with his guildmates to let them know about his condition. Bill ultimately recovered from his stroke, but not before huge amounts of rehabilitation involving plenty of nurturing from his dear friend Rick.

Now that my friend was back home Guild Wars rehab would begin. His speech was very, very halting. He would get stuck on words. He couldn’t use a keyboard with any accuracy. We would spend an hour on the phone just getting him logged into Ventrilo. We would spend even more time figuring out how to log into Guild Wars. — Rick Lee

What really stood out about this submission is the permanence and depth of this friendship, especially when I consider that the guild is still thriving almost 13 years on from its inception and that Rick and the guild took such an active role in Bill’s reinduction to Tyria. The stroke made speech and keyboard use challenging, but Geezer Guild didn’t abandon Bill despite the challenges in communicating and helping him relearn how to use the game and associated tools. It’s so lovely that such an enduring friendship was forged in Guild Wars! I wish you well, Geezer Guild: Let me know where the in-game 13th birthday bash will happen and I’ll be sure to drop by!

70 years young

Who doesn’t love a good love story?! Shaolin Fou wrote a wonderful piece on her 70-year-old husband that explained how GW and GW2 got them both through long winters of separation in the early days during which they were forced to be 6,000 miles apart. The game allowed them to stay connected and spend time together, despite the distance, their ages, and disability. The couple cobbled together computers and plodded through seemingly impossible learning curves to keep playing, and I adored how Shaolin Fou focused on the friendships made along their journey that facilitated their relationship and helped them keep up with younger players.

As people without young reflexes it is hard to convey the joys of movement in-game: jumping, running, rolling, flying and riding…bravo for those natural mechanics, they take our breaths away. How we would love to try to introduce this game to a senior citizen’s home! — Shaolin Fou

One sentence struck me in particular: Shaolin Fou honed in on how marvellous the suite of movement mechanics available in GW2 truly is to those who perhaps don’t have amazing reflexes, physical dexterity, or motor control. Not only are running and jumping possible in Tyria, but we can glide, mount up, and dodge through wild lands that many of us couldn’t hope to easily traverse in reality. Thank you for the reminder on that front, Shaolin, and here’s to many more years of happy gaming to you and your love!

Full house

Dominarian’s story stood out to me because it tells of bringing many GW2 friends together in person to help a friend in great need. Dom relocated to make room at home for a friend called Shan who needed a place to stay and a strong support network around her so she could rebuild her life: After meeting in their shared guild and listening to Shan and her significant other Dani vent about her situation, Dom knew what needed to be done and selflessly offered her that security.

Shan is still with me, Jimmy still comes to visit all the time, Dani comes when she’s able, and myself and my s/o are still playing with all of them. Because I play GW2, I was able to be of help to someone in need. That makes it all worth it to me. — Dominarian

To top off the story, Dom also plays the game with best friend Jimmy, who happens to live close to Dom, and significant other Dingwick: All five friends have managed to be in Dom’s house together at one time to enjoy one another’s company — and some great lasagne courtesy of Jimmy — all under one roof, which is so special. I love that these people shared one thing in common initially, their love of GW2, and that this inspired such kindness and faith in one another.

The woman at the other end of the room

This one made me blub big ol’ ugly tears: Family relationships aren’t always easy and kind communication isn’t always natural for a myriad of different and conflicting reasons, so everyone can relate to this tale. Cnicole describes how her mother used the game to forge a bond with her in such a real way that I couldn’t help but include the story in my list: Sadly, the pair didn’t get along with Cnicole was in school, but her mom started playing GW with her and the relationship matured through the shared sense of struggle and achievement experience provided them. Her dad played with them too until he unfortunately passed away, but the mother and child duo kept on playing despite the tragedy and used it as a way to stay connected when Cnicole moved away to college.

We were going to bed I said “I love you mom,” I had to hold back tears I missed her so much and I never meant it more. — Cnicole

The game also gave her a renewed sense of direction in the face of financial hardship and having to quit school: Cnicole is now a novice programmer and has fallen in love with coding, hoping that one day she can create wonderful games too. I believe in you wholeheartedly and entirely, having gone back to university myself to learn to program for the sole purpose of furthering my business and creating the games I want to play. Best of luck with the coding and here’s to many more years of happy gaming with your mom!

Paying kindness forward

The final story I selected sums up what I love most about MMOs in general and GW2 in particular: Community spirit can move mountains and empowers the individual to achieve more than they thought was ever possible when they considered the game from an individual standpoint. This simple story submission from Capitan explains that one mentor going above and beyond has had a cascade effect as Capitan passes on the help that was received and encourages others to do the same.

My #GW2Friendships story

I fell in love with GW because of the people I shared it with: My real-world friends, including my husband, and I formed a guild called Stealth Ninja Pirates and had countless wonderful adventures together that I have since remembered and forgotten all over again over the span of time. Many of those same faces joined me in GW2 and I can guarantee you that every ounce of enthusiasm I have for the game is because of the people I share it with just as much as the people who created such a gripping game. Gaming with my real-world friends allows me to see sides of them I wouldn’t necessarily see during the daily grind, especially those whom I don’t know in a professional or leadership capacity. The skills they bring into the game from the spheres of their lives I have no part in gives me a better glimpse of the whole person than I would ordinarily have and I’m so thankful for that.

Compounding that are the relationships that I’ve forged entirely within the gamespace: Although I have friends in many MMOs, my GW2 krewe is entirely special to me for a whole host of reasons I’ll never put in print, but I am adamant that no other game could have incubated such amazing friendships quite like GW2 did. Thanks, ArenaNet, for creating a world through which people can be seen through the best lens possible.

Over to you!

Don’t forget to share your GW2 friendship stories with me in the comments or, better yet, with ArenaNet since they’re offering prizes for doing so! If you want to get more friends into Tyria to make more friendship memories, give them a nice incentive for joining you in the form of a nice 25% discount on Path of Fire with the code GW2FRIENDSHIPS.

Tina Lauro has been playing Guild Wars 2 since it launched and now pens the long-running Flameseeker Chronicles column, which runs every other Wednesday and covers everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see covered, drop a comment Tina’s way or mail her at tina@massivelyop.com.
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