Get Drunk and Break Things in Guild Wars 2

ArenaNet’s John Stumme has explained on the developer’s blog how Guild Wars 2 is about more than just heroically battling monsters for the good of the people – it’s also about getting absurdly drunk on ale and smashing up a tavern. Magnificently unconcerned with setting a responsible example for bar dwellers everywhere, ArenaNet is including the “bar brawl” activity as one way in which players can relax and let off steam in between their epic, world-saving quests. According to Stumme, not only is it possible to “kick someone into a table, splintering it into pieces”, but if you really see yourself as a hardened criminal during your off duty hours, feel free to “use your broken bottle to shank people!

This may be leading you to believe that the world of Guild Wars 2 is a much darker place than you had previously assumed, but that is not necessarily the case. Almost in the next breath, Stumme explains that the more law-abiding players can engage in carnival-style shooting contests with built-in special abilities that must be rationed effectively. Finally, for those that truly crave family-friendly fun in the cities of Tyria, why not enjoy the long-running Guild Wars tradition of a snowball fight? I’m honestly not sure which is more incongruous, the apparent horrifying violence lurking in every tavern or the carefree winter revelling occurring just outside.

Whichever activity you decide most accurately expresses your hero’s seemingly schizophrenic identity, I have no doubt that adding minigames and extracurricular activities will be to GW2s benefit. MMOs, in particular among games, are capable of offering a great deal more than just an awesome quest for a player to undertake (though I’m sure that will be present), due to the in-built social aspects of the genre. I, for one, will almost certainly spend as much of my time boozing and carousing across Tyria as I do endeavouring to protect it.


  1. Wait, wait, wait – the horrorfying violence inside the bar? There will only be shanking inside the bar if people decide to shank – if there isn’t, there isn’t. That’s the same as the real world – is the real world horrorfying? That’s how the real world works too – the knife edge of decision, every moment.

  2. It’s difficult to express this situation in an analogy to the real world because the concepts are far above what actually exists, but here is one way of looking at it:

    Imagine if real-world heroes such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics and so forth are even more heroic – they aren’t just battling to save a few people in their jurisdiction, but the entire world (the player characters in Guild Wars 2). Then imagine that there is one singular global government, and it is so powerful that it can actually shape reality to make it so that people can only participate in activities it has sanctioned and encouraged, alternatively you can just imagine this as a manifest pantheon of gods (the developers ArenaNet).

    Finally, imagine that one of the few activities these heroic individuals can engage in, and have it be not only sanctioned but encouraged by the government/gods, is viciously attacking each other and possibly present civilians in bars, pubs and clubs. Does that not seem fairly horrifying to you?

    I have no doubt that this feature will be very fun in the game, but when considered as a simple concept at face value, especially with the juxtaposition with snowball fights, it seems pretty incongruous to me.

  3. Physics in the real world already ‘sanction’ you picking up a kitchen knife, walking out the door and shanking someone. You can. You don’t. Not because you can’t do so, but because you choose not to (or you’ve never thought about it, but lets call that choice for now)
    If violent brawling was the only way forward in the story or game progress, I’d agree the game company makes you do voilent things in their game (that or not play what you payed for).
    But if it isn’t and say, they could snowball their way ahead – then if anyones violently brawling, it’s because the player decided to do this.
    If you find it peaceful where you live in RL, it’s not because it’s actually peaceful – it’s because everyone has decided not to pick up sharp impliments and have at each other (decided, or they are just following a habit of not doing it).
    In real life, people walking quietly past each other might seem incongruous with the capacity in real life to also pull out a knife and stab at each other, yet both are equally possible, via physics in real life.
    So no, for a game to have both snowballing or shank ’em with a broken bottle bar fights, I don’t find incongruous. Because if I did, I’d find reality to be incongruous
    It’ll be gamers, by their own actions, making the game a violent or snow filled one, rather than the game designers deciding this themselves (and the players just playing out the designers choice)
    Do you want players to decide how violent the world is, by their very actions, or the designers to decide it? I’m not asking in a snarky way – if you like the designers to decide it, fair enough, okay, but I don’t think this design does it that way.

  4. While it’s a fair point that people in real life can as equally choose to go start a bar fight and shank people as GW2 players can, these choices aren’t made in a vacuum. The difference here is that in reality, in most places in the world there are serious repercussions for acting violently without cause.

    What’s more, we’re talking about a scope of activity – in real life there are a vast number of things that a healthy adult human can spend their recreational time on. In Guild Wars 2, there will not be that many (although it’s nice that there is this extracurricular content at all). While there will probably be more than just the three listed here, if we take this as a base line the analogy would be that in reality I would only be capable of having snowball fights, participating in shooting competitions or starting bar fights when I’m on my off hours.

    The only point I was attempting to make about this is that, if we from this reality were suddenly to consider another reality in which all humans did for recreation was one of these three activities, it would seem quite incongruous for the population to be endlessly oscillating between what would be, from our perspective, dangerous and illegal violence to carefree, wholesome group fun. I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with it in the game or even that it breaks the “magic circle” in terms of this game world, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t find that concept at all strange for a moment.

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